Sunday’s Political Pressures in West Africa

  • Senegal did not fall apart after the elections yesterday, but the presidential race is still unresolved. Unofficially, incumbent President Wade will have to square off with former PM Macky Sall (BBC News).
  • Also on Sunday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe was in Mali, admonishing them to negotiate with Tuareg rebels (Reuters).
  • Finally, Niger’s government warned its people they could be targeted if they travel to Libya. Niger is refusing to extradite Gaddafi’s son Saadi. Some of the same instability with rebels that Mali is experiencing may also be a problem for Niger. (Reuters).

New feeds I’ve started monitoring recently (only the first one of these is really “new”)

Africa and Development

International Relations

International Law

  • Erga Omnes: This is a blog by Sonia Cardenas, Director of Trinity College’s Human Rights Program. (h/t Kevin Heller at Opinio Juris).

Africa Notes

  • Senegal is at a “critical historical juncture” today, writes Alpha Diedhiou. President Wade’s “unfortunate” (that was the U.S. Ambassador’s word for it, according to NPR this morning) decision to stand for reelection has challenged the peace of this otherwise stable and solid democracy. The poll is on Sunday.
  • “The BRICS want a BRIC Bank”. The proposal is said to originate with India. Also significant is that South Africa is part of this. It can been be seen in light of the BRICS’ desire to counter the weight of the West in the IMF and World Bank.
  • On Somalia:

Noted: African Summits, Direct democracy, and Jeremy Lin

African Summits
I meant to write up a summary of the recent summit activity on the continent but never got around to it. Fortunately, Alex Thurston at the Sahel Blog, did it for me: “Summits around the Continent”.
More reasons not to like direct democracy
I have thought for some time that California’s proposition system is once of the worse things that happened to that state. When I lived there my general rule was to vote against all propositions because the system is plain bad. The propositions themselves are written poorly, unnecessarily tie the hands of the state legislature (making them increasingly dysfunctional), and are decided by an electorate that really has no clue what they are voting on. Representative democracy is a much better (albeit imperfect) way to make law as it enables individuals to specialize. Unfortunately, California is not the only place that has such a system…

Jeremy Lin
I’m still following the incredible arrival of Jeremy Lin into the NBA.  But some crazy stuff has been going on around him. Here SNL tackles the hypocrisy of the stereotyping surrounding Jeremy Lin.:
SNL: Linsanity (requires Flash)
– Thanks, Kathy for the link!

Humberto Leal is dead. Does this threaten our own rights?

As I posted recently (“The Right to Access Your Consulate”), Humberto Leal was scheduled for execution by the state of Texas yesterday. Despite appeals from a large number of external actors (the UN, Obama, and apparently 4 of our current Supreme Court justices), Texas Governor Rick Perry decided to continue with the execution. As I stated in that previous post, at issue is the right of a foreigner to get assistance from their own country’s consulate (and to be told of this right) when arrested. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations that codified this right has been a relatively straightforward deal for most countries. We seem to be creating most of the problems (and of course, the fact that we allow for the death penalty in some states, while many other countries do not, brings more attention to our cases).

It is now up to Congress to pass legislation to make sure that we no longer run afoul of our international legal obligations. Fortunately, there is a bill in the pipeline. Let’s just hope that Congress acts soon.