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On the Margins Roundup (August)

[Screenshot of, which tracks the results of the 2013 elections in Mali in realtime. Image from] [Screenshot of, which tracks the results of the 2013 elections in Mali in realtime. Image from]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to] 


Are the Islamists truly on the ropes? The author discusses how a new and much-lauded president is finding it hard to bury old divisions.

The worst fate: Somalia’s ship wrecked hostages The author reports on fifty sailors being held in grim conditions, abandoned by their ship’s owner whose willingness to pay to free them sank with their boat.

Emilia Pires on Somalia’s ‘homegrown’ approach to country ownership A member of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Framework offers his perspective on meeting the development challenges of fragile states like Somalia.

Amisom : le prix à payer pour sauver la Somalie The author details the high cost African troops of Amisom have paid to save Somalia.

Somalie : impossible unité The author analyzes the profound causes of the chaos in Somalia, making it difficult to achieve national unity.

Somalia’s Somewhat Friendly Skies The author narrates his experience flying on Jubba Airways, the unofficial national carrier of Somalia. 


Annual Report: Mauritania 2013 Amnesty International 2013 report on Mauritania.

Mauritania Slavery Abolished, Not Dead The author reports on the persistence of slavery in Mauritania despite its official abolition in 2007.

‘’La seule volonté que nous avons enregistrée…est de nier la pratique abjecte de l’esclavage’’ Boubacar Ould Messaoud, president of SOS-Esclaves, posits that the government’s denial of the practice of slavery prevents the eradication of the problem.

‘’Le système de domination et d’exclusion qui caractérise notre pays est arrivé à terme’’ Interview with Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, president of l’AJD/MR, on the system of domination and exclusion of blacks.

A l’heure de la rupture' à PK8 dans la famille de Biye Ahmed Youra qui tire vraiment le diable par la queue The author reports on the extreme poverty and difficulties facing a family during the Ramadan. 


Le Conseil d’administration du FMI conclut les consultations de 2013 avec djibouti An analysis on the International Monetary Fund’s report on Djibouti.

Djibouti needs to diversify its economy to reduce extreme poverty: IMF A key ally in the West's fight against militant Islam and piracy needs to push ahead with economic reforms to fight extreme poverty.

Second interconnector between Djibouti and Ethiopia A second agreement for a two billion dollar transmission interconnection was signed, which will allow additional electricity exported to Djibouti.

Djiboutian Employees Return to Work At U.S. Base After a fifty-day strike against plans to dismiss half of the local staff, Djiboutian workers at the United States Naval Expeditionary Base Camp Lemonnier returned to work.

Comoros Islands

L’inaccompli et l’inachevé, 38 ans après l’indépendance des Comores The author reports on the incomplete and unfinished since Comoros’ independence thirty-eight years ago.                                                                 Comores Telecom: l’Etat prendra-t-il le taureau par les cornes? The author depicts the challenges facing the telecom industry today in Comoros.       

“Aimons les Comores, et tout ira mieux” Interview with presidential hopeful, Saïd-Abdillah Saïd-Ahmed, on his chances of becoming Comoros next president.                                                                                    


Présidentielle au Mali: les enjeux vus par les Maliens Aïssata Ba examines the stakes of the presidential election from Malians’ perspective.

Mali's precarious election: Ready or not The author argues that Western nations’ insistence on early elections risks causing the vicious cycle of military coups and secessionist rebellions.

Qui sont les candidats à la présidentielle malienne? The author introduces the candidates for the presidential election.

Les trois menaces qui planent sur le vote The author details some threats that can prevent a successful presidential election.

Mali election: Donors on standby The author examines how successful the 28 July must be for donors to be satisfied.

After Mali's elections, tempered optimism for a fresh start “As aid money pours into the West African country, will Sunday’s polls augur a new beginning for Mali or a return to business as usual?”

In pictures: Mali prepares for historic vote “With just a few days to go before the first round of voting gets underway, organizational problems persist, particularly over voter registration.”

Mali's key election marked by low expectations The author shows how security risks and problems with voter lists are just some of the challenges facing the historic poll.

Politicians Warn of Election Fraud The author reports on warnings of widespread fraud ahead of the election leading to uncertainty about whether the elections will be free and fair.

Joy and Anger After Mali's Presidential Election The author describes the emotions following the Ministry for Territorial Administration’s announcement of provisional results.

In Mali, a Race Between a Former Finance Minister and a Pro-French Favorite The author discusses the two veteran politicians facing each other in a runoff in the second round of the presidential election.

Who is Mali’s ‘IBK’: junta’s man or people’s president? The author examines the political background of the leading candidate, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Which way after the election? In a live debate, Mark Owen and his panel discuss where Mali should go after the election.

Mali : le MNLA veut négocier avec Bamako un statut d'autonomie du nord du pays The MNLA announces its plan to demand autonomy following the second round of elections.

French leaders claim peaceful Mali vote justifies military intervention With no violence reported during the first round of voting, France's embattled Socialist government rushes to welcome the “peaceful vote.”

Refugees in Mali's Nianama Eve Irvine reports from a Catholic mission northeast of Bamako, where Malians displaced by violence voice their frustration at not being able to vote in the presidential election. 

South Sudan

Going for the nuclear option The author describes the fierce power struggle within the ruling party that lies behind President Kiir’s dissolvent of his cabinet.

South Sudan's Salva Kiir sacks cabinet The President’s decision to suspend his entire cabinet, including his main political rival, is raising fears of political instability in a country riven by ethnic rivalries.

Differences, Confusion, and Lack of Trust Delay the Appointment of the South Sudan’s VP The author explores the reasons behind leaving the vice presidential post unoccupied despite appointing cabinet ministers.

South Sudan’s Kiir, ex-VP Machar exchange spats over direction of the SPLM During an interview, ex-Vice President Riek Machar warns against any unilateral move to dissolve party structures.

Will Bashir halt the flow of oil of South Sudan? The joint mechanisms for the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement leaves President Bashir with no legal basis for cutting the flow of oil. 

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