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G.Bissau security forces vote in presidential poll
by Staff Writers
Bissau March 15, 2012

Soldiers and para-military troops were the first to vote in presidential elections in coup-prone Guinea-Bissau Thursday, three days before the rest of the country. The National Elections Commission said the vote concerned some 4,400 members of the armed forces of a total 579,000 registered voters. "We would like peace and stability for everyone," said Commander Usmane Djassi after casting his vote, one of the few to vote in civilian wear. Captain Alberto Bissangue said he expected a vote which would "guarantee stability, jobs and above all peace", in a country where tensions between the large and powerful army and the state have caused chronic instability. Since independence from Portugal in 1974, achieved by armed force, three presidents have been overthrown by coups and one was assassinated in office in 2009. The most recent failed coup bid took place on December 26, 2011. President Malam Bacai Sanha died in his first term from a long illness in January, which led to the early election. Army reform has been stiffly resisted, but is seen as crucial for future stability in the country whose volatility has made it fertile ground for Latin American drug lords looking for a hub to ship their cocaine to Europe. An army mutiny in April 2010 led both the European Union and United States to suspend support for security sector reforms. Nine candidates are running for office, including former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior and ex-president Kumba Yala.

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Algeria conflict shapes US military strategy
Washington (AFP) March 15, 2012
The French military experience in Algeria 50 years ago has left an indelible mark on a new generation of US officers, who have tried to apply the lessons of the conflict to the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq. As France marks the 50th anniversary of a war that remains a bitter memory, the strategy and tactics employed by French forces have enjoyed a revival inside the US mil ... read more

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