The Situation in the Middle East And Lessons for Africa

Four axes/blocks in the current Middle East

Currently there are four main political players in the Middle East (excluding Israel).

The first, and until lately the strongest, is the Iranian – Shia axis. This Axis is stretching between Iran (its center) in the east, through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and a proxy in the Gaza strip (Palestinian Islamic Jihad). Short of the last one, in all the other areas Iran is leaning heavily on local Shia communities.

The second is the Sunni moderateblock. This block includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia (those two are considered as the leaders of this block), Jordan, The Palestinian Authority, UAE and the rest of the Gulf States (short of Qatar).

The third is the Sunni radicalblock. This block includes Turkey, Qatar, Sudan and Hamas (in the Gaza Strip). This block identifies itself with the Muslim Brothers (an Egyptian Ideological movement that was established in Cairo in 1929 and is outlawed now in Egypt).

The fourth is the Sunni radicalNon-State Actor – Al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State in Syria and the Levant” (ISIL). This group (not an axis though) is nearly defeated in the Middle East. Against this defeat, you can see their attempts to infiltrate to Africa.

Conflicts between those axes/blocks

There are two main conflicts between those groups that are currently casting a shadow over the Middle East. The first is between the Shia axis and the Sunni moderate block. The second is between the Sunni moderate block and the Sunni radical block.

The conflict between the Shia axis and the Sunni moderate block is taking place in some different places in the Middle East – in Syria (where actually the Sunnis were beaten), in Lebanon, Iraq and the most active front – Yemen.

The conflict between the moderate Sunni group and the Radical Sunni group is taking place in the Persian (Arab) Gulf between Saudi Arabia and the UAE on one end and Qatar on the other. Another front is in the Horn of Africa where Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are competing against Qatar, Turkey and the Sudan in an attempt to reach more influence.

Common denominators between the Middle East and Africa that makes both “Terror Friendly”

Terror is always leaning on an ideological agenda (usually radical Islam). However, some “environments” are more “friendly” to terror. Among the conditions that help terror spread we can find the presence of “Failed states”, weakness of the central government, lack of social cohesiveness between the center and the periphery and the above all – economic frustration. All those elements can be found in both the Middle East and Africa.

So what can be done?

There are some lessons that Africa can draw from the Israeli experience in fighting terror. First,a holistic approach that brings together military sticks and economic carrots. Second is determination (the war on terror is always longer than a conventional war). Third is deterrence (does deterrence actually work against terror?). Fourth is an attempt to build a national unity. The fifth is an attempt to create partnerships in the war against terror (G 5 in the Sahel or Amisom in Somalia).

CDL: German diplomacy, centerpiece of the new Europe

Christoph Sander, Germany’s ambassador to Togo, was the guest of the Lomé Diplomatic Club (CDL) on Friday, September 29th to discuss German diplomacy at the heart of Europe.

He recalled in a preamble the foundations of his country’s foreign policy: to avoid the mistakes of our grandfathers, to work for peace in Europe (Deutsche AußenpolitikisteuropäischeFriedenspolitik).

Mr. Sander then returned to the history of his country, Bismarck, the First World War, that of 39-45 with the Nazi regime and its horrors, the division of Germany with the Cold War and then the fall of the wall of Berlin.

Germany is now the main European economic power in the Union, but the diplomat stressed that it must also face new challenges. First of all, there is the Russian threat to a possible violation of the sovereignty of a European State; secondly, the need for the European institutions to respond to the economic and financial crisis. Although the situation has improved since 2008, the EU is not immune from a relapse.

Christoph Sander has drawn up a rather pessimistic picture of the situation in Europe. Great Britain is emerging from the Union, Poland and Hungary defy European constitutional consensus, Scots and Catalans demand their independence, and finally the migratory crisis is problematic.

In Germany itself, and for the first time since 1945, a far-right party entered the Bundestag.

‘The new German government must face the challenges I have just described. (…) I am sure that we will be able to resolve the great questions of our time if our politicians are guided by the same principles as Schumann, Monet and Adenauer, Mitterrand, Kohl and Genscher ‘, the ambassador concluded.

Initiated by Robert Dussey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Lomé Diplomatic Club is an apolitical reflection group that receives regular Togolese and foreign personalities from diplomatic, political and international organizations.

Meeting of the CDL: fake drugs and impact on health in Africa

For the first issue of the diplomatic Club of Lo, this January 19, 2017 Club, the general concern has focused on counterfeit drugs and their effect on health in Africa.

“The smuggling of fake medicines is now an underlying factor to the laundering of money and other traffic. Beyond the threat to health public, this traffic is a real threat to the security of African States, given established networks in these areas”. That one of the consequences mentioned yesterday by Dr. Innocent Kpeto, president of the order of pharmacists of Togo, guest of honour of the diplomatic Club of January 19, 2017, the first of the year under the chairmanship of Professor Robert Dussey and with al moderation of the who resident representative in Togo Dr. me BOA Lucie.

For the first time, the Club came out of the geopolitical issues prevailing in the world to address a topic of concern for health concern, even beyond the fight against the drug trafficking.

Other consequences

According to Dr. Kpéto, citing several sources, there are 800,000 deaths each year due to the use of these counterfeit drugs. An information documented by the World Health Organization.

Crime, double, people remain hungry, for medicines, and finally themselves with fake

These are generally dose drugs, deaths by intoxication, behavioural disorders (the case of the tramadole on the zemidjan in Togo is cited as an example)

The scope of the topic.

10 percent of drugs in circulation worldwide would be fake, then in Africa and in poor countries, this increases to 40 to 60 percent. But generally on the Internet and the media, it’s 50 percent of drugs in circulation in Africa that are ‘fake’.

The circuit is very strict and even lucrative. According to Dr. Innocent Kpéto citing the World Customs Organization and the IRHCM, he would win more than 75 billion dollars a year to their players.

Also ‘ for 1 dollar, a drug dealer would win 10 to 20 fraud while making counterfeit drugs counterfeiting would win 200 at most $ 400’. They come between 50 and 70% of the India and China according to the World Customs Organization, these countries that also come from most of the good drugs recognized as such today. It’s a paradox.

Several referrals through operations in ports in Africa unfortunately confirm this fact according to Dr. Kpéto who encourage the fight against the phenomenon in all the States of Africa. The CDL has called president, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Togo, Prf Robert Dussey to engage subregional advocacy for the fight to be collective.

In Togo, although the sale of drugs at the edge of the road continues to climb in figure, public power don’t quite close your eyes.

Dr. Kpéto has reminded the audience the fruits of some operations to success. He cited the operation Cobra in October 2011, allowing to enter 7 tons of drugs in a week, other 9.2 tons seized in three days thanks to the Porcupine operation, seven 2015 and a the police operation which allowed to seize 22 tons of drugs transported in trucks from AKI always in 2016.