Senegal: French military to leave, maybe
On April 5 President Abdoulaye Wade announced plans for removing all French bases from his country. Logistical arrangements for the military exodus apparently are in the works, although Al Jazeera characterizes the move as mainly symbolic. An agreement was reported recently on the future departure of 1,200 French troops from an airbase near the capital, Dakar. The nation this year celebrates 50 years of independence from France. French troops never left, however. Responding to Wade, French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised continuation of “a policy of military, bilateral and regional co-operation in Senegal, in support of regional stability.” With military installations also in Djibouti and Gabon, France remains the only European country with bases in Africa.
Kyrgyzstan: Coup leads to Afghan fallout
“Power is now in the hands of the people’s government,” proclaimed former Foreign Minister Rosa Otunbayeva, now heading a six-month interim government that took power April 7 amidst riots that killed almost 100 people and wounded 1,500 more. She promised a new constitution, elections and return to state ownership of privatized properties. The coup came in response to rising prices, corruption and arrests of opposition leaders, the BBC reported. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had visited deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev a week earlier to urge protection of human rights. Otunbayeva promised continued hosting of Russian and U. S. air bases. The U.S. military temporarily curtailed flights to Afghanistan from its Manas base, crucial to troop and material resupply there.
Israel: Nuclear weaponry remains despite talks, accords
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled plans at the last minute to attend a 46-nation Washington summit April 12-13 aimed at blocking the spread of nuclear weapons. He thereby evaded expected Arab demands that Israel sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The report by Agence France-Presse also cited recent British analyses placing Israel’s nuclear capabilities at around 200 nuclear warheads deliverable via missiles, tactical weapons and U.S.-supplied fighter jets and submarines. Nuclear danger in the region stems too from pains taken by Washington to maintain its nuclear threat against Iran, undiminished by the recently signed U.S.-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. PressTV notes that some 90 U.S. nuclear bombs are expected to remain deployed at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base.