This week I was musing about two historical colonial and imperiliastic atrocities which reminded me of the death of Chilean deomocratically-elected president, Salvador Allende (1973) and that of the first and democratically-elected PM of DRC, Patrice Lumumba (1961). Both leaders were toppled and killed by CIA.
Allende was killed by CIA just because he introduced what was known as Chileanization of the economy of his country. This meant: he had to empower Chileans to run their economy. By doing so, he was taking a morsel from the hands of foreigners especially American companies. To stop this, CIA brought one of its Americas school graduate Gen. Augusto Pinochet who ruined the country for many decades.
Another casualty of CIA machinations geared by greedy and exploitation of poor countries was Lumumba who was replaced by CIA agent Joseph Desire Mobutu, who, just like Pinochet, ruined DRC for decades. The involvement of CIA in the toppling of two leaders remained top secret for almost three decades. Many people did not know, and would not think, that CIA committed such sacrilegious acts on the democratic elected governments. Ironically, nobody would believe that the US could topple democratic governments and install dictatorial and kleptocratic regimes as it happened in two incedent above. This raised the question as to whether the US fights for democracy or it just uses democracy as pretext and cover to secure its hidden interests.
Along with Allende and Lumumba was Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, who was overthrown in 1954 by CIA just because he wanted to buy back the land that was owned by an American company so as to give it back to his landless citizens. Albenz was replaced by Carlos Castillo who also ruined the country. American United Fruit Company (UFCO) owned vast tracts of land which was not cultivated. UFCO used to undervalue its land so as to pay low tax, something our current investors do. Therefore, when president Albenz wanted to buy the same uncultivated land, UFCO found that it’d suffer a big loss. So, it demanded more money than the value it had declared. When Albenz held his horses, CIA decided to dispose him to save an American Company.
The above three incidents remind me to write this as prediction of what is going to happen to Africa, shall currently myopic regime press on with their so-called investment geared by globalization. I can see Africa heading for the so-called economic coalition path with neo-colonialism based on economic exploitation. I am trying to apply history to show how it sometimes repeats itself especially, when those supposed to understand it well fail to do so. Africa, since independence, has been repeating the same mistakes. Our economies still depend on our former colonial masters. Black colonial masters have always been in power to serve white colonial masters. We’re but small and poor banana republics producing what we can’t consume and consuming what we don’t produce like hens. Who could believe that US used to give Mobutu over $1Bn annually to end up in imperialistic and parasitic banks in Switzerland? When it came to Mobutu, the US did not want any litany on democracy of accountability. Many American created dictators came and left without being reprimanded by the “champion” of democracy! Corrupt and kleptocratic regimes are in power in many African countries and US does not preach any democracy to them. Instead of singing democracy, the US is singing free trade and globalization.
Given that the era of dictatorship is gone, currently, the same imperilialist powers are using the so-called democratically elected leaders to ruin and exploit poor countries. In 1995-2005 Tanzania was under Benjamin Mkapa who did everything to see to it that he robbed all public investment. Mkapa offered all profitable firms to investers at a throwaway price. Since then, the country has been cascading to abject poverty despite producing gold in tons. This is but a single example which tells us that if Africa is to go on with the ongoing diabolic investment, chances are that landless Africans will resort into fighting for freedom afresh.
It is sad though to note that many African regimes have been singing the song of investment and globalization without any scientific, fair and safe preparations or measures in place. Many mineral and energy companies are landing multibillion investments in Africa without paying tax or investing in human development. It recently came to light that some corrupt government officials in Tanzania stashed over $ 300,000,000 in Swiss banks. All this money was deposited to the banks by corrupt foreign investors. What is evident in many African countries is the rise of antagonism between poor citizenry and foreign companies, which have much influence in the upper echelons of power due to the kickbacks they give to venal rulers. Human rights and the environment are gravely abused and the champion of democracy is just watching silently!
I am not trying to avoid sounding like a Luddite especially for those who would wrongly think I’m against investment. Omnishambolic and exploitative investment “no”… “yes” to fair and reasonable investment. Without taking a leaf from the above incidents, Africa is going to cascade even more into neo-colonialism. While rich countries are using their companies to rake billions of dollars from Africa in order to invest in their people. African greedy rulers are selling their people with their resources. We are not allowed even to subsidize our poor farmers or offer social services, especially welfare, as it is in rich countries. They don’t allow us to do this fearing that the prices of our produce will rise and therefore making it hard for rich countries to buy them at low and exploitative prices, as it has been going on since time immemorial.
From energy wars to water wars, the 21st century will be determined by a fierce battle for the world’s remaining natural resources. The chessboard is global. The stakes are tremendous. Most battles will be invisible. All will be crucial.
In resource-rich Africa, a complex subplot of the New Great Game in Eurasia is already in effect. It’s all about three major intertwined developments:
1) The coming of age of the African Union (AU) in the early 2000s.
2) China’s investment offencive in Africa throughout the 2000s.
3) The onset of the Pentagon’s African Command (Africom) in 2007.
Beijing clearly sees that the Anglo-French-American bombing of Libya – apart from its myriad geopolitical implications – has risked billions of dollars in Chinese investments, not to mention forcing the (smooth) evacuation of more than 35,000 Chinese working across the country.
And crucially, depending on the outcome – as in renegotiated energy contracts by a pliable, pro-Western government – it may also seriously jeopardise Chinese oil imports (3 per cent of total Chinese imports in 2010).
No wonder the China Military, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) newspaper, as well as sectors in academia, are now openly arguing that China needs to drop Deng Xiaoping’s “low-profile” policy and bet on a sprawling armed forces to defend its strategic interests worldwide (these assets already total over $1.2 trillion).
Now compare it with a close examination of Africom’s strategy, which reveals as the proverbial hidden agenda the energy angle and a determined push to isolate China from northern Africa.
One report titled “China’s New Security Strategy in Africa” actually betrays the Pentagon’s fear of the PLA eventually sending troops to Africa to protect Chinese interests.
It won’t happen in Libya. It’s not about to happen in Sudan. But further on down the road, all bets are off.
Meddle is our middle name
The Pentagon has in fact been meddling in Africa’s affairs for more than half a century. According to a 2010 US Congressional Research Service study, this happened no less than 46 times before the current Libya civil war.
Among other exploits, the Pentagon invested in a botched large-scale invasion of Somalia and backed the infamous, genocide-related Rwanda regime.
The Bill Clinton administration raised hell in Liberia, Gabon, Congo and Sierra Leone, bombed Sudan, and sent “advisers” to Ethiopia to back dodgy clients grabbing a piece of Somalia (by the way, Somalia has been at war for 20 years).
The September 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS), conceived by the Bush administration, is explicit; Africa is a “strategic priority in fighting terrorism”.
Yet, the never-say-die “war on terror” is a sideshow in the Pentagon’s vast militarisation agenda, which favours client regimes, setting up military bases, and training of mercenaries – “cooperative partnerships” in Pentagon newspeak.
Africom has some sort of military “partnership” – bilateral agreements – with most of Africa’s 53 countries, not to mention fuzzy multilateral schemes such as West African Standby Force and Africa Partnership Station.
American warships have dropped by virtually every African nation except for those bordering the Mediterranean.
The exceptions: Ivory Coast, Sudan, Eritrea and Libya. Ivory Coast is now in the bag. So is South Sudan. Libya may be next. The only ones left to be incorporated to Africom will be Eritrea and Zimbabwe.
Africom’s reputation has not been exactly sterling – as the Tunisian and Egyptian chapters of the great 2011 Arab Revolt caught it totally by surprise. These “partners”, after all, were essential for surveillance of the southern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
Libya for its part presented juicy possibilities: an easily demonised dictator; a pliable post-Gaddafi puppet regime; a crucial military base for Africom; loads of excellent cheap oil; and the possibility of throwing China out of Libya.
Under the Obama administration, Africom thus started its first African war. In the words of its commander, General Carter Ham, “we completed a complex, short-notice, operational mission in Libya and… transferred that mission to NATO.”
And that leads us to the next step. Africom will share all its African “assets” with NATO. Africom and NATO are in fact one – the Pentagon is a many-headed hydra after all.
Beijing for its part sees right through it; the Mediterranean as a NATO lake (neocolonialism is back especially, via France and Britain); Africa militarised by Africom; and Chinese interests at high risk.
The lure of ChinAfrica
One of the last crucial stages of globalisation – what we may call “ChinAfrica” – established itself almost in silence and invisibility, at least for Western eyes.
In the past decade, Africa became China’s new Far West. The epic tale of masses of Chinese workers and entrepreneurs discovering big empty virgin spaces, and wild mixed emotions from exoticism to rejection, racism to outright adventure, grips anyone’s imagination.
Individual Chinese have pierced the collective unconscious of Africa, they have made Africans dream – while China the great power proved it could conjure miracles far away from its shores.
For Africa, this “opposites attract” syndrome was a great boost after the 1960s decolonisation – and the horrid mess that followed it.
China repaved roads and railroads, built dams in Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia, equipped the whole of Africa with fibre optics, opened hospitals and orphanages, and – just before Tahrir Square – was about to aid Egypt to relaunch its civilian nuclear programme.
The white man in Africa has been, most of the time, arrogant and condescending. The Chinese, humble, courageous, efficient and discreet.
China will soon become Africa’s largest trading partner – ahead of France and the UK – and its top source of foreign investment. It’s telling that the best the West could come up with to counteract this geopolitical earthquake was to go the militarised way.
The external Chinese model of trade, aid and investment – not to mention the internal Chinese model of large-scale, state-led investments in infrastructure – made Africa forget about the West while boosting the strategic importance of Africa in the global economy.
Why would an African government rely on the ideology-based “adjustments” of IMF and the World Bank when China attaches no political conditions and respects sovereignty – for Beijing, the most important principle of international law? On top of it, China carries no colonial historical baggage in Africa.
Essentially, large swathes of Africa have rejected the West’s trademark shock therapy, and embraced China.
Western elites, predictably, were not amused. Beijing now clearly sees that in the wider context of the New Great Game in Eurasia, the Pentagon has now positioned itself to conduct a remixed Cold War with China all across Africa – using every trick in the book from obscure “partnerships” to engineered chaos.
The leadership in Beijing is silently observing the waters. For the moment, the Little Helmsman Deng’s “crossing the river while feeling the stones” holds.
The Pentagon better wise up. The best Beijing may offer is to help Africa to fulfil its destiny. In the eyes of Africans themselves, that certainly beats any Tomahawk.
Hearing the mealymouthed hypocrisy-cum-lie propounded by Egyptian authorities, one feels nauseous. There is this standoff regarding who should and who should not use the waters of Nile.
Egyptians and Sudanese want colonial agreement over the use of Nile water to apply as it deprives upstream countries the right to the water! This infamous treaty denies upstream countries the right of using Nile water as pleased.
Recently, Egypt and Sudan boycotted signing Nile basin treaty. They want a lion share in the whole business of Nile! Do they know where Nile originates? Isn’t this mere provocation-cum-suttee in the first place? If common sense is used, the duo is but losers. Why should they want water to feed their people as others starve theirs? No life is better than another. Upstream countries, so too, use the same to feed their people. Who are they so as to demand lion share of Nile, as they refuse others to use their own water? Is it Arab mentality of better than thou or arrogance and slave mind? Go figure!
Suprise suprise! These guys still think they can convince the whole world to support their bulimia! You know what? The duo is basing their claims in a colonial pact entered between Egypt and British colonial regime at the high noon of colonialism. This stinking agreement stipulates that Egypt should have an upper hand with regards to the matters of Nile without owning the source of the same! This is the cudgel they want to use to bludgeon others. The duo would want to see Article 14 (b) of the proposed Co-operative Framework Agreement (CFA), which relates to historical water rights and uses apply! What hogwash!
“Egypt’s historic rights to Nile waters are a matter of life and death. We will not compromise them,” Moufid Shehab, Minister of Legal and Assembly Affairs, told parliament after the talks. This is provocative and laughable. Why don’t Egyptian authorities want to accept the fact that the British colonial regime entered this agreement to fool Egypt? How can a thief enter into any agreement with any party knowing what they are agreeing upon is a stolen item? Who is a fool in this illegal transaction? Supposed Nubian lay claim on owning and occupying Egypt just because history has it that Egypt and her civilization are theirs. What Shehab called historic rights are nothing but colonial lies.
The 1929 deal, brokered on one side by British colonial powers in Africa, gives Egypt 55.5 billion cubic metres a year, the biggest share of a flow of some 84 billion cubic metres. This stupid stipulation did not put in consideration that Ethiopia produces more than 80% of the water Egypt is hollering about! “We will not sign on to any agreement that does not clearly state and acknowledge our historical rights,” Egyptian Water Minister Mohamed Nasreddin Allam said after the meeting. Is this historic right or historic lie? This is hogwash. It is the same mentality of colonial parasites that still claim that white men discovered Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Practically, even if those countries sign a framework agreement without Egypt, its effects won’t be lasting …how are (upstream countries) going to stop the flow of water?” Safwat Abdel-Dayem, Secretary General of the Arab Water Council was recently quoted as saying. Again, is this Arab frozen and backward-thinking mentality? The issue is not to stop water or vengeance but making use of it. This reminds me of the laughable steps taken by Dubai when its royals were mistakenly expelled from Kenya. Instead of facing it, they imposed requirement for Kenyan to possess a university degree in order to enter Dubai.
However Egypt threatened to use military force to take on whosoever claims this right. Rule military confrontations out! Where will Egypt get the muscles to take on such comparably self sufficient countries? Egypt is not that mighty a bully and able to take on seven countries. It is not even that kamikaze and unreasonable. After all, time for war is long gone. If it tries, one can just attack one ship or two that bring poor and dirty wheat to feed Egyptians and the game will be over. Moreover thanks to dictatorship and nepotism, Egypt is divided and weak.
Importantly, Egypt should stop its self deception. Instead, it has to mend fences it has forgotten for long. The point is it should think of diplomacy. For long, Cairo has taken Nile water as a natural right whilst it is but shared by others. I have nary seen Egyptian president visiting any upstream country to talk about its life! Instead, it has invested heavily in the Middle East. Thanks to its Arab mentality, it has always been busy chasing deals with the West and Middle East as it ignored these strategic partners.
I recently saw some stupid and racist Egypt sheiks on youtube. They were saying that, despite African ladies being black, except their teeth and eyes, the only things that can attract Arab men, they must marry in upstream countries in order to spy them. This way they’ll fix the problem!
They too add another false claim. They allege that Israel is behind all this misunderstanding regarding Nile waters! Egyptian authorities are trying to create an enemy in order to get away with it. They don’t want to face reality that their lazy government is the problem in lieu of upstream countries. The authorities know the shortage of arable land they have. They still don’t encourage citizens to embark on family planning and population balancing!
If there is a real enemy facing Egypt, it is nothing but its big population. This plus corruption and bad governance make it harder for Egypt to make it through this crisis without looking into the eyes of a true enemy in lieu of the far-fetched one. Refer to food riots that caused death in 2008. Can the country that can not feed itself take on seven countries and succeed really? War will nary be a solution but wastage of resources and time.
By the way, can Egypt bespeak such of Thames waters? This is as impossible as it is to embark on military solutions as far as the use of waters of river Nile is concerned.
Thanks to Désiré Katihabwa for forwarding these videos.
As I watch the news coming from Haiti, the death, destruction and the rising chaos, my heart truly breaks for the people. Last night I watched as volunteer doctors and nurses delivered babies, performed amputations as well as other life saving operations, and dressed serious wounds on cots in the middle of the street… on men, women and children… without little or no anesthetic, sterilized equipment or clean bandages. A reporter pointed out that about 200 meters away from this street hospital, on the other side of a wall, was the airport where the much needed medical supplies were sitting on the tarmac.
There are the few stories of what could only be described as “miracles”… where babies and the elderly, have survived days under the rubble of a demolished building, without food or water and were rescued. Another reporter brought home a chilling fact though. After they are rescued, had their wounds treated and given some water and food , they are sent out to “nowhere” to fend for themselves… to make room for the other casualties streaming in. It’s become a revolving door of misery… a living nightmare. It’s been estimated that up to 200,000 are dead, hundreds of thousands more injured, up to 2 million homeless and millions more without adequate food and water.
While millions of dollars are being donated by governments and ordinary people to help the people of Haiti, at the same time 16,000 U.S. marines and paratroopers are now on the island to provide “security”. The U.N. has authorized an increase in their international “peacekeeping” army and police forces. The Obama administration has made it clear that any Haitian refugees after January 12th will be sent back to Haiti and already have tents prepared at Guantanamo Bay for Haitian “boat people” (economic terrorists) intercepted at sea by the U.S. Navy in case of a mass exodus (read here).
As I watched and reflected on all this drama, I started thinking about Pat Robertson and his statement that Haiti is cursed because the slaves who had fought and gained their freedom from the French, had succeeded due to making a pact with Satan. Looking at the current carnage and following the recent history of the social, political, economic and environmental calamities in Haiti, it’s difficult not to conclude that the Devil is indeed at work in the island… and has been for a long time. But it’s not the “Satan” that Pat Robertson was referring to.
I started researching the history of European and U.S. foreign policy in regards to Haiti. And as a Christian, I also wondered where did this propaganda that Robertson spews about Haiti originated. It’s all well and fine to rage against him, to clamor that he is an “old White racist”, or a “Christian”, or a “Christian Right Fanatic”, or an “old White racist Christian Right Fanatic”, but to really counter his arguments, to “nip it in the bud”, I wanted to get to the “root” of that poisonous plant.
I want to share a few articles which I found to be quite informative about Euro-American foreign policy in Haiti:
1. The Incapacitation of Haiti: Before and After the Quake by Ashley Smith
2. Why the U.S. owes Haiti billions by Bill Quigley
3. Profiting from Haiti’s Misery by Benjamin Dangl
4. Haiti 2010: An Unwelcome Katrina Redux by Cynthia McKinney
I also found this 3 part indepth article on Black and Christian.com, explaining how the story that the leaders of the Haitian revolution made a pact with Satan originated. “God, Satan and the Birth of Haiti” was authored in 2005 by Dr. Jean R. Gelin, a Haitian Christian minister.
The Haitian people will survive and overcome this latest catastrophe. They have God and history on their side. As they recover and once again move forward, they need to “stay alert and be vigilant, because their adversary the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour!” 1 Peter 5:8.