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Iraq: A South African Analyst Considers The Effect On Africa - 2004-04-21

Does the escalating violence in Iraq and other Middle East countries have a major impact on Africa?

For an analysis, English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua spoke with Professor Michael Hough, director of South Africa?s Institute for Strategic Studies in Pretoria. Professor Hough says the situation in Iraq does affect the continent. He noted that Africa has itself been the scene of terrorism, such as the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, and that many African countries, such as Sudan and Algeria, are facing insurgencies. He also mentioned the concern about possible al Qaeda links in some of those cases.

But he said despite that, he thinks there is a ?sort of automatic knee-jerk reaction opposed to the action that the US. and its allies have undertaken in Iraq.? Professor Hough also pointed to the ?obvious sympathy for the Palestinian cause; he said, ?This has consistently led to outspoken criticism of the US decision to go into Iraq.?

He said what the intervention has really done is awaken militant Islam and that one can?t impose western-style thinking. As to what might be done to alleviate criticism, he said concessions from Israel on the Palestinian issue would go some way toward being seen as a ?package deal.?

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