Archive | Africa

Egyptian Court Jails 56 over Migrant Boat Shipwreck

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  • The bodies of victims of a boat carrying migrants that capsized off Egypt
    The bodies of victims of a boat carrying migrants that capsized off Egypt’s coast, are seen on a military boat, in Al-Beheira, Egypt, Sept. 22, 2016. | Photo: Reuters
Since the EU-Turkey deal aimed at curbing the flow of migrants, most migrant journeys have taken the more dangerous route from north Africa to Italy.

An Egyptian court sentenced 56 people to prison terms of up to 14 years on Sunday over the capsizing of a boat that killed over 200 people, one of the deadliest disasters in the dangerous Mediterranean crossings of migrants to Europe.

The boat capsized off the Egyptian coast on Sept. 21. Rescue workers and fishermen rescued at least 169 people, but at least 202 died.

Fifty-seven people faced charges including causing the accidental death of 202 passengers, not using sufficient rescue equipment, endangering lives, receiving money from the victims, hiding suspects from authorities and using a vessel without a license. One woman was acquitted.

The boat sank in the Mediterranean off Burg Rashid, a village in Egypt’s northern Beheira province where the sea and the Nile meet. It had been carrying Egyptian, Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali migrants and was believed to be heading for Italy.

One month after the boat sank Egypt’s parliament passed legislation setting prison terms and fines for those found guilty of smuggling migrants, acting as brokers or facilitating migrants’ journeys.

A record 5,000 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean last year, aid agencies have said.

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Somalia: US Covert Operations (2001-2016)

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US and UK covert operations in Somalia

The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is the lead agency in the covert ‘war on terror’ in Somalia, although the CIA also has a strong regional presence.

The US has been carrying out extensive covert military operations inside Somalia since 2001, as a major six-part investigation by the US Army Times recently revealed.

Elite troops from the Pentagon’s JSOC are routinely deployed on the ground for surveillance, reconnaissance, and assault and capture operations. In June 2011, the US began carrying out drone strikes in Somalia. JSOC has its own fleet of armed Reaper drones, which are flown from various bases in the region.

The CIA also operates a secret base at Mogadishu airport, according to a detailed investigation by Jeremy Scahill at The Nation. Unarmed US surveillance drones also regularly fly from the airport, according to a well-informed Bureau source. While some of these are part of the US ‘war on terror’, many provide support for peacekeeping operations in the region.

The US’s primary target is currently al Shabaab, the militant group which controls much of the country’s south. On February 9 2012, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri announced that al Shabaab had formally become a franchise of al Qaeda.

In recent years, both Kenya and Ethiopia have invaded parts of Somalia, the latter allegedly with the military aid of the US. JSOC forces are reported to have taken advantage of these events to carry out more intensive operations against militants, often using helicopters, airstrikes, AC-130 gunships and “boots on the ground”.

Key reports of operations in Somalia

The Bureau has collated credible reports of known covert operations and other events in Somalia relating to the ‘war on terror’. These are drawn from major international news media and agencies, political and military memoirs and papers, and academic research. All sources are transparently presented.

Given the nature of covert operations and the difficulties in reporting from Somalia, the Bureau understands that this is an incomplete record. We welcome corrections and additions.

To Read the Complete report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism click here

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Hybrid War: Wreaking Havoc Across West Africa

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The first of the four main countries to be explored in the West Africa Hybrid War analysis is Chad, the sparsely populated state located at the trilateral crossroads between West-North-Central Africa. A cursory glance at the map reveals the geostrategic significance of this country, but it also misleadingly presents it as a desert-strewn state in the middle of nowhere.

While this might be partially true, it’s an injustice to simplify Chad to such basic descriptions, as such blanket terms don’t reveal the wealth of diversity and Hybrid War vulnerabilities within its borders. Moreover, dismissing Chad as a wasteland in the middle of Africa also doesn’t explain why its military is one of the most ambitious and battle-hardened in the entire continent, nor why the country is of such importance to China’s New Silk Road plans. Therefore, a comprehensive approach is urgently needed in order to better understand Chad’s internal and external dynamics, which in turn can help observers and strategists alike identify the most likely destabilization scenarios that could afflict this highly important state.

The Chad analysis begins by discussing the country’s geo-demographic situation before transitioning into how this relates to its history of northern and borderland militancy. After that, the research highlights the irreplaceable role that the military plays in acting as the ‘superglue’ that holds the whole state together, as well as its direct involvement in promoting Chad’s regional leadership. After describing the country’s position in African affairs, the article then moves along to explaining how it fits into China’s New Silk Road designs, concluding with an investigation into the most likely Hybrid War scenarios that could sprout up or be externally manufactured against Chad.

Geo-Demographic Dynamics

The simplest way to describe Chad’s geo-demographic situation is to highlight the division of the country between north and south, but even that dichotomy in and of itself isn’t completely accurate. While most of the northern part of the country is populated by Muslims, so too is a lot of the southern region as well, though mostly in the southeast of Chad near the Sudanese border. The southwestern corner of Chad between the Cameroonian border and the Chari River is mostly inhabited by Christians. All in all, the CIA World Factbook states that Muslims account for around 58% of the population while Christians are 34%. Both, however, are equally impoverished and recognized by the World Bank as one of the poorest populations in the world, with Chad also ignominiously counting itself among the least developed and hunger-prone countries. These three facts plus the jaw-dropping illiteracy rate of 65% reasonably make Chad’s citizens inherently restless and susceptible to anti-government sentiment.

Extrapolating further on a geo-demographic plane, most of the country’s Muslims live along easily traversable desert or dry bushland terrain (Sahel), while the Christians inhabit the savanna, wetlands, and prairies. This is relevant because of the effect that it has on the internal military situation in the country, namely the ease with which northern Muslim rebels have been able to move throughout “their” part of Chad, which greatly contributed to the northern militancy that will be described in the next section. The Christians, however, have typically been sedentary people and have no recent history of moving their rebel forces all throughout the country. This has nothing to do with either group’s religion, but is an interesting factor that should be commented on nonetheless in order to acquire a more solid conception of the country’s geo-demographic dynamics. Digging deeper and peeling off the layers of difference that exist with both overly simplified categories of Chadian citizens, it should be remarked that Chad boasts an exceptionally diversified population that includes more than 200 ethno-linguistic groups. 44% of the population is under the age of 15, which indicates that a population boom can be expected in the near future, too. This could more than double Chad’s current 14 million or so citizens to over 35 million by mid-century while nearly doubling it once more to 68 million by the turn of the next century.

Being a country landlocked with such mostly inhospitable terrain as Chad has, this can be taken to mean that the government will become even more dependent on external trade routes than it is today and that the newly added members of the population might predictably gather closer to the agriculturally productive regions of the country. To the latter point, this could see an influx of northern Muslims to the southern Christian lands, which aside from the ‘civilizational’ sectarianism that might erupt between them, could even lead to ‘tribal’ tension as well. These two layers of destabilization could combine in such a way that the government would have extraordinary difficulty maintaining peace and order, which could thus contribute to ethnic cleansing and genocide in the event that the authorities lose total control (even temporarily) during a related identity-driven conflict. The only preemptive solution to such a calamity is the strengthening of the state and its supportive military institution, a trend which has been steadily underway for decades already and shows no signs of abating. Should anything happen to weaken either of these two related pillars of stability (such as the [forced] introduction of Western style “democracy”), however, then it’s almost certain that Chad’s identity differences will inevitably tear it apart soon afterwards.

Northern And Borderland Militancy

First Chadian Civil War:

Chad is no stranger to civil conflict, though, having been embroiled in some sort of insurgency for most of the time that it’s been independent. The First Chadian Civil War was launched by the Muslim Northerners against the country’s immediate post-independence leader François Tombalbaye, a Christian Southerner. This was the only time in Chad’s history that it was led by someone from that region and with that confession, which essentially amounted to the rule of the minority over the majority. This explains the fervency with which the Muslim Northerners fought, since they believed that Tombalbayne’s policies were discriminatory towards them and were unfairly elevating the role of Christian Southerners at their expense. After years of fighting and political miscalculations in ostracizing his own powerbase and the military, the President was overthrown in a 1975 coup and executed, after which the military briefly ruled the country during a short transitional period.

Second Chadian Civil War And The French-Libyan Proxy Conflict:

The Second Chadian Civil War broke out in the 1980s among disgruntled northerners that wanted to topple their fellow Muslim Northerner who took Tombalbaye’s place. The fight against President Hissène Habré quickly became internationalized as Libya started sponsoring the rebels and the French forces already stationed in Chad threw their weight behind N’Djamena. There was even a period of time where Libyan forces formally entered Chad in support of both their proxies and Tripoli’s claims to the uranium-rich Aozou Strip, which in turn prompted a more substantial French intervention after Libya and its surrogates undertook a desert blitzkrieg towards the capital. The Chadian-Libyan War came to be a major Cold War flashpoint in Africa between the West and Libya, with Tripoli aiming to create a friendly buffer state to its south while the West wanted to use their traditional client state as a proxy base for destabilizing southern Libya. The conflict ended when Libyan forces were expelled from the country in the late 1980s, though it was ultimately a pyrrhic victory for Habré because he was later overthrown by current President Idriss Deby in 1990.

Third Chadian Civil War And The Darfur Overspill:

Deby aimed to solidify this rule all throughout the next decade but wasn’t successful in completely purging the country of rebel groups. The problem was that some of them were being supported this time by Sudan, and the conflict in Darfur began spilling over the border and evolving into a larger Chadian-Sudanese proxy war in one of the most barren wastelands on the planet, one which was also being waged between two of the world’s most impoverished and already internally destabilized states. This triggered what could be referred to as the Third Chadian Civil War, which raged from 2005-2010 before N’Djamena and Khartoum signed a peace agreement with one another in which they agreed to jointly patrol their mutual border and normalize their political relations. The restoration of positive ties between these Saharan neighbors went a long way towards stabilizing both of their internal situations, with the war in Darfur quickly abating soon thereafter and Chad progressively becoming more peaceful as well. The landmark 2010 agreement also paved the way for joint projects between both sides, the most ambitious of which is the Chinese-proposed railroad which regrettably has yet to be built but still holds infinite potential for the betterment of the region.

Boko Haram:

On the western side of the Chadian borderlands, a new conflict was brewing precisely around the time that the eastern one near Darfur was cooling down. Boko Haram started gaining ground in northeastern Nigeria and aggressively expanding its territory, which saw it launching cross-border raids against all of the countries in the Lake Chad basin a few years later. Chad is highly sensitive to the terrorist group because its capital of N’Djamena is within very close proximity to Boko Haram’s northeast Nigerian homeland, and if the city were to be substantially destabilized by the militants, then it would shake the balance of power within Chad itself and create space for its own insurgents to rise up, a Color Revolution to happen, or even a military coup to be carried out by disgruntled and rebellious generals. Therefore, President Deby dedicated the Chadian Armed Forces to being the vanguard actor in the regional anti-Boko Haram coalition, knowing that if Chad’s military – the strongest in the area – didn’t take the lead, then the terrorists would continue to expand at a bristling pace and eventually become a fully unmanageable and existential threat against the state itself.

Summary:

The prevailing trend is that northern rebels are usually the main culprits when it comes to Chad’s internal militarized destabilization, but problems in the eastern and western borderland regions have lately come to dominate the country’s security concerns. Be it the overflow of the Darfur conflict into Chad’s borders or the spread of Boko Haram, N’Djamena is cognizant that external threats could have a very real impact on catalyzing internal conflicts, with the worst-case scenario being that a blend of international and domestic factors is unleashed in such a way that the military is overwhelmed from all angles. This doesn’t appear to be likely anytime soon, so long of course that the military remains successful in snuffing out all categories of threats as they emerge. This pressing imperative explains why the military is the most important institution in preserving Chadian unity as well as why it played such an active role abroad in intervening in several conflicts over the past couple of years.

Chad As The Regional Champion

Chad has positioned itself as the go-to actor for resolving regional military problems, interestingly having a much stronger and more direct role in West-Central African affairs than the presumed hegemon Nigeria does. This can be attributed to a confluence of two mutually enabling factors, the first being the military-strategic imperatives explained above vis-à-vis the existential security of the Chadian state (bolstered by French support), and the second being the catastrophic corruption and myriad domestic challenges that have plagued Nigeria for decades and held it back from assuming what would ordinarily be its rightful place as the transregional leader. As a perfect example in illustrating just how ambitious and effective the Chadian Armed Forces are in comparison to their Nigerian counterparts, one need only to look at N’Djamena’s interventions in the Central African Republic (2012-2014), Mali (2013), and even sporadically in Northeast Nigeria itself against Boko Haram (2015-present).

Chad’s failed involvement in its southern neighbor was to support the government in the face of a rebel onslaught but later morphed into a peacekeeping mission aimed at ending violence between Christians and Muslims, while its cross-Sahel operation was to aid French troops as they liberated northern Mali from Ansar Dine, an AQIM terrorist affiliate that seized control of 2/3 of the country amidst the Tuareg’s astoundingly successful post-Gaddafi offensive there. As for Nigeria, it was already explained in the previous section why Chad is so interested in putting a stop to Boko Haram’s cross-border terrorism. Altogether, N’Djamena’s moves point to its leadership’s ambition to carve out a regional sphere of influence and position their country as the champion in attempting to settle all military disputes.

Central African Republic:

Chad shares an extremely porous border with its southern neighbor, a state of affairs which has remained constant ever since independence but finally presented an urgent security threat during the Central African Republic’s (CAR) meltdown in late-2012. There was a moment when a Darfur-like overspill was frighteningly real, which is why N’Djamena heeded Bangui’s request to intervene in helping the government stave off the rebel advance. This was somewhat ironic from the frame of identity politics but perfectly understandable from the realistic pragmatic one, since the Muslim-led Chadian authorities were trying to fight back Muslim rebels that were intent on toppling the Christian government, but the authorities were on pretty good standing with Chad at that time so it would have been disadvantageous for N’Djamena to have them successfully ousted. Of course, the Muslim-Christian angle is a major oversimplification of the situation and the author doesn’t believe that such superficial descriptions could satisfactorily account for the depth of what was actually happening at that moment, but the reason why this understanding is being mentioned in the first is because of the future threat of a “Clash of Civilizations” going out of control in the Central African Republic and spreading to southern Chad, with gullible populations in both states falling for the narrow-minded “us versus them” approach to Christian-Muslim conflict.

Chad also seems to have been aware of just how easily this could happen when it decided to contribute troops to the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, though it later withdrew them in 2014 after coming under heavy criticism for allegedly staging an unprovoked attack against civilians in one of the capital’s main markets. As Al Jazeera noted at the time, there were prior accusations that Chadian forces were favorable towards the Muslims, which to remind the reader, comprised most of the eastern-residing Séléka rebels who overthrew President Bozize in 2013. CAR, like it was pointed out in the relevant chapter about the Failed State Belt, has many Muslims living in the sparsely populated eastern savannahs of the country, while most of the population is Christian and lives in the jungled western interior. The “Clash of Civilizations” that sprung up in the country after Séléka’s victory was due in part to the mostly Christian antibalaka vigilantes carrying out reprisal killings against the Muslims, which quickly turned into a brief but very intense period of identity-driven civil warfare.

From Chad’s perspective, this presented a serious quandary, because its Muslim-led government felt obliged to protect its fellow co-confessionals despite their rebel leaders having been responsible for the fall of the government and inadvertently subsequent ethnic cleansing in the first place. Additionally, there are inherent fears that a mass influx of refugees into southern Chad could greatly upset the fragile balance in the country, particularly if the CAR’s fleeing Christian and Muslim communities end up on the ‘wrong side’ of the border, meaning that Christians find themselves in the mostly Muslim Chadian southeast and Muslims end up in the mostly Christian southwest. This could lead to domestic communal conflict within the state and demonstrate an instance of Weapons of Mass Migration. Chad presently has the Southern Christian population under control and doesn’t want to endanger the stability that set over the region, which is why it’s so sensitive to a ‘Clash of Civilizations’ in CAR leading to a domino effect that emboldens this demographic to rise up against the state. Having lost its influence over the entirety of its neighbor’s southern territory following its collapse into a total failed state status, Chad still has the potential to cultivate soft power and – if need be – selectivity intervene in the eastern part of the CAR to protect the indigenous Muslim population there, thus flexing its influence along part of its southern periphery.

Mali:

Chad’s support mission in Mali, to which it sent a few thousand troops, was very influential in gaining positive media coverage for the country and boosting its global prestige, despite its dismal domestic economic situation and widespread “human rights” criticisms. Furthermore, N’Djamena reinforced its strategic relations with Paris and reminded its former imperial master and one-time kingmaker in its affairs of why the present leadership is useful in promoting shared “Françafrique” interests. This could thus be interpreted as a proactive move on Deby’s part to preempt any future regime change schemes that France might be tempted into hatching, whether on its own prerogative or pressured to do so as part of the US-French trans-African alliance that’s been active over the past several years.

From a more self-interested standpoint, Chad was able to resolutely demonstrate its commitment to effectively fighting terrorism and also showcased the breadth and scope of its military reach. Being able to transport around 2,000 troops on short notice through the Nigerien Sahel to eastern Mali’s borders was an impressive feat, made even more striking by the fact that Nigeria has yet to demonstrate this capability. Moreover, from a grand strategic perspective, Chad showed that it has very close relations with Niger and Mali in order to do this in the first place, thus bearing proof that N’Djamena’s influence is confidently expanding past its borders and all along Nigeria’s northern frontier. It doesn’t mean that Chad is doing any of this with explicit anti-Nigerian intentions in mind, but it can’t be excluded that Abuja might interpret it in a zero-sum way to mean that its neighbor is ‘getting the best of it’ in its own ECOWAS sphere.

Anti-Boko Haram Coalition:

Through the mechanism of multilateral coordination against the shared threat of Boko Haram, Chad has been able to somewhat formalize its role as the regional hegemon of the Lake Chad basin. This doesn’t mean that it exerts full control over each of the countries that it’s allied with, but that it definitely holds the upper hand when it comes to military prowess in their related borderland regions. N’Djamena doesn’t isn’t set to abuse this, however, since it doesn’t want to isolate its Nigerien ally nor its Cameroonian one on which it depends for most of its international trade. Rather, Chad wants to establish a sort of buffer region in Northeastern Nigeria that would proactively prevent a rejuvenated Nigeria from ever becoming too self-confident in the borderland region. To remind the reader, the reason why Chad is so particularly sensitive to this is because its capital lies within very close distance to Nigeria itself, separated only by a very thin corridor of Cameroon’s Far North Region. Being the strong military power that it’s progressively evolved into being, Chad has the capabilities and the willpower to enforce its regional vision on its much more populous and wealthy Nigerian neighbor, despite the peculiar optics of such a small and absolutely impoverished country like Chad being able to strategically strong arm its much larger and oil-rich rival.

Going even further, there might be some very forward-looking logic to what Chad is trying to do. Many observers agree that Nigeria is deeply divided between its Muslim North and Christian South, with each region being far from homogenous and afflicted by its own local conflicts (such as Boko Haram against fellow Muslims in the North or MEND/”Avengers” against their Southern Christian counterparts). Although Nigeria is now divided up into dozens of states and this North-South dichotomy is no longer as clear cut nor administratively formalized like it was in the years right after independence, it’s unmistakable that this sense of oppositional identity has never gone away and could provocatively be said to have even strengthened in the past couple of years with Boko Haram and MEND/”Avengers”. Therefore, Chad’s active involvement in beating back Boko Haram and saving regular Muslims from its terror, a responsibility which would ordinarily fall on the Nigerian national government had it not been for the authorities’ absolute dysfunction in most regards, has considerable influence in warming up this northern population towards N’Djamena’s soft power advances, something which could be very useful for its foreign policy in the event that the North-South Nigerian split becomes more pronounced and results in the emergence of quasi-independent states (or statelets) in the future.

A Chadian-Angolan Tag Team?:

Chad’s rise as a regional heavyweight in the Lake Chad basin and surrounding territories occurs at the same time as Angola becomes more prominent in African affairs as well. Like it was explained in the appropriate chapter about that country, Angola and Nigeria appear to be on a strategic collision course in becoming undeclared rivals with one another, as Abuja fears Luanda’s creeping influence in the Gulf of Guinea and along Nigeria’s coastal energy deposits. From a mainland perspective in the opposite cardinal direction, Chad is also competing with Nigeria and seems to be on the winning side for now. If one takes for granted the supposition that smaller states typically bandwagon together in balancing against stronger ones (whether that said country is presently strong or has the potential to be so in the future), then it would make sense for Angola and Chad to coordinate their complementary actions in strategically ‘containing’ Nigeria.

Angola already competes with Nigeria in the energy sphere and has growing influence in the maritime and coastal reaches that Abuja believes constitute its exclusive sphere of influence, while Chad has proven that it is much more militarily capable than Nigeria and has heavier sway in the neighboring Francophone countries than the Anglophone state will ever have. Luanda and N’Djamena thus have corresponding advantageous that could harmoniously interlock with one another in keeping Nigeria in check. The author isn’t espousing this idea, but merely drawing attention to it and raising awareness about its obvious existence. Angola and Chad certainly have a shared interest in keeping Nigeria in its presently weakened state, yet neither of these potential strategic partners is physically close enough to the other to let their rivalry ever interfere with their respective interests. Angola is chiefly concerned about energy and potential maritime affairs vis-à-vis its insular and coastal partners, while Chad’s focus is on the Lake Chad basin and the Muslim communities in the region. If the two countries partner up, whether officially or informally, in ‘countering’ Nigeria and conspiring to perpetually keep it on the strategic defensive, then it could evolve into a real asymmetrical threat for Abuja which might even be exploited one day by unipolar powers such as France and the US.

New Silk Road Connectivity

Chad has somewhat surprisingly become the regional focus of China’s New Silk Road plans, though for the convoluted geopolitical reasons explained in the previous introductory chapter. Up until recently, China’s only interest in the country was oil, of which Chad has plenty in its Southern Christian region. There’s also substantial oil located in the Lake Chad basin, but it’s the reserves in the south which have garnered international attention. Exxon Mobil partnered up with Chevon and Petronas to build the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline in 2003 which connected the oil fields in Doba with the Atlantic port of Kribi, the latter of which is Central Africa’s only deep-sea port and is financed by China’s Export-Import Bank.  China eventually gained extraction rights to several nearby fields but ran into trouble with the authorities over environmental regulations in 2012-2013, which resulted in the government cancelling five of its permits in 2014. It’s likely that there was more to this scandal than initially met the eye and that Chad’s French and/or American allies might have put pressure on N’Djamena to make the business environment very difficult for Chinese energy companies, but the spat appears to have been resolved a year later with the Chadian government and its CNPC partners renegotiating a profit-sharing deal in 2015.

While energy ties are indeed the anchor of the Chadian-Chinese relationship, mutual ties between both partners have slowly begun to take on a more comprehensive form. “The Globalist” writes that “China created an African power” in Chad by purchasing so much of its oil that it helped fuel the state’s military expansion, which interestingly also worked out to the benefit of France when it came to ‘contracting’ N’Djamena’s forces for participation in Mali and the Central African Republic. The Chinese also envision Chad functioning as a crucial transit state for Nigerien oil and cross-continental trade in general, with the former being due to the plans for a prospective Niger-Chad pipeline through the country to connect with the Chad-Cameroon one, while the latter is epitomized by the CCS (Cameroon-Chad-Sudan) Silk Road to the Cameroonian port of Douala. Chad consistently ranks near the top of the list when evaluating the world’s poorest and most destitute countries, so even a comparably minimal expansion of real-sector trade through its territory could have the effect of immensely bettering its citizens’ standard of living and having visibly tangible effects on the country.

Another intriguing observation is that the more interconnected that Chad becomes to the outside world, especially through the framework of the New Silk Road, the more inadvertently dependent it becomes on Cameroon, which is its gateway to wider trade. Specifically, Chadian national security no longer ends at the country’s borders or its near environs (like Darfur, Northeastern Nigeria, or the Northern CAR), but now extends as far as the Cameroonian Atlantic ports of Douala and Kribi. This means that the country now has a very real stake in everything that happens with its southwestern neighbor, which has become elevated to the point of being its most strategic partner. It’s partially for this reason as well as self-interested ones of directly securing N’Djamena that Chad directly intervened in Cameroon’s Far North Region and helped Yaoundé expel Boko Haram from its territory. The effect that this had was highly beneficial in strengthening the Cameroonian-Chadian Strategic Partnership and showing the former that it can depend on its much militarily stronger counterpart so long as it continues to provide the latter with unrestricted access to the seas by means of its port facilities.

In the future and if everything goes according to plan with the CCS Silk Road, then Chad will diversify is dependency on Cameroon by expanding its commercial linkages with Sudan. It doesn’t seem at all feasible that Chad will ever come to rely on Libya as a northern vector of trade owing both to the complete dearth of trade-facilitating infrastructure between the two countries and the perpetually insecure situation in the former Jamahiriya. From the Western angle, it wouldn’t make much sense for Chad to detour as far as Benin’s Cotonou like Niger does, nor does N’Djamena have the money to invest in proper roads to make this happen. While the theoretical solution would be to use Nigeria as its premier access route to the global market, for strategic and security considerations, this isn’t something that’s viable or attractive to Chad’s leaders. Becoming reliant on Nigeria would totally reverse Chad’s erstwhile strategy of asserting itself as an independent actor vis-à-vis the expected (but not actual) regional heavyweight, and even if such a determination was eventually made to be in the country’s best interests, the fragile security situation in Nigeria makes it irresponsible for Chadian decision makers to place too much hope in safe transit through its territory.

Consequently, the Cameroonian-Chadian Strategic Partnership is the most dependable option that N’Djamena has for achieving New Silk Road connectivity, though it would be much better balanced if it made physical progress in its portion of the CCS Silk Road and began integrating its economy more closely with Sudan’s like China has been encouraging.

Hybrid War In The North-Central African Heartland

It’s now time to explore the handful of Hybrid War scenarios that could realistically occur in Chad. All of the following possibilities are connected and build upon the observations and conclusions previously made in the research. The salience to this part of the study is in identifying the driving forces that could contribute to Chad backsliding into the totally failed state that it was at the beginning of the 1980s, when warlords abounded and foreign powers had a free-for-all in intervening in its affairs. The implosion of Chad into a black hole of chaos would complete the process of trans-Saharan destruction initiated by Libya’s Western-inflicted collapse, making it nearly impossible for any dependable multipolar transnational connective infrastructure projects to traverse through their territories. This in effect would prevent the supra-equatorial east-west integration of the continent and make it all the more difficult for grander transregional integration projects to succeed in Africa. Other than the inherent civilizational risk that violent ‘tribalism’ could develop among the country’s over 200 separate ethnic groups (though only in any case through a prior deterioration of the military and state’s control), the most likely Hybrid War scenarios facing Chad are as follows:

Color Revolution:

The traditional method of asymmetrical regime change that was first rolled out in the former communist bloc and then perfected in the “Arab Spring” is also very applicable to Chad, especially since 65.1% of the population is 25 years or younger and thus very susceptible to partaking in these events. There are two contexts through which a Color Revolution could occur in the country, and they can be divided into whether Deby is still alive and ruling the country or if he passes away. To begin by addressing the first, this could likely occur if an incipient Hybrid War situation develops in coastal Cameroon which ends up disrupting the routes that Chad depends on for most of its trade. It was earlier remarked that this could lead to a sudden surge in prices concurrent with product shortages, which together would exacerbate the already existing anti-government feelings among some parts of the country and might even push the Southern Christians over the edge, especially if the government’s response is plausibly interpreted as favoring Northern Muslims at their expense. A variation of this scenario would be if an ‘Islamic uprising’ is able to take hold in the country, whether independently occurring of any aggravated economic crisis or consequently related to it. The government has done an excellent job in preventing this from happening, even going as far as to ban the burka for security reasons, but it can’t be discounted that Islamic fundamentalist terror cells might already be embedded in the country and waiting for the right time to spring into action.

As for the second context in which a Color Revolution could occur, this would be in the immediate aftermath of Deby’s passing, which could prove to be a trigger event for initiating this sort of destabilization. The government would have to make sure that the uncertainty surrounding his successor is resolved as soon as possible, such as how the case was with Turkmenistan and recently Uzbekistan, since the longer that elite infighting goes on for, the more vulnerable the state as a whole becomes to non-state-actor destabilizations, be they Color Revolutionaries, terrorists, or their combined manifestation as Hybrid Warriors. On a related note, the military is indisputably the most powerful institution in the country, so it would end up having the final say over who succeeds Deby. If it’s sidelined in any way, or an irreconcilable split emerges or is brought to light by the president’s passing, then it could be possible that a military coup might be attempted by the dissatisfied segments of this bloc. For the moment, however, this is just analytical speculation about theoretical scenarios, since it’s extremely hard to get any information out of the country about the state of the military and its unity, but it’s important for observers to at least be made aware of this unlikely possibility so that it doesn’t take them off guard in the event that it indeed happens.

Breaching The Borderland:

The next related scenario that could transpire to upset Chad’s internal stability would be if border conflicts resume along its periphery and end up spilling over into its territory. The problem with Boko Haram is the most pressing for the moment, and it doesn’t seem as though it’ll go away anytime soon, which is why the Chadian military regularly remains on standby for sporadic cross-border raids into Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Chad cannot at all afford for Boko Haram to make any progress on its territory because of the geographically vulnerable position of its capital right near the front lines of the war, which would lead to a regional catastrophe and most likely a global crisis if it ever fell. This probably won’t happen because of the battle-hardened nature of the Chadian Armed Forces as compared to the much lesser experienced Boko Haram militants, but the problem might be if the terrorists breach the border in unconventional asymmetrical ways such as through their ideological appeal among the population. While Chad could easily defend itself from a conventional cross-border invasion by the group, it would have much more difficulty countering its ideological aggression, which might lay the seeds for many sleeper cells all through the country. The state would have a hard time responding to the coordinated uprising of multiple terrorist networks all throughout the country, especially if this occurred in the context of an uncertain leadership transition after Deby’s passing, for example, and if the military is caught off guard by this in any serious way, then it might creating an opening for rebel groups to advance on the capital like they did in 2008.

The other peripheral conflict that could easily spill over into Chad would be if there was a resumption of fighting in Darfur, though so long as N’Djamena has nothing to do with it, then it’s not expected that Khartoum would respond as it did in the mid-2000s by supporting its proxy equivalents in Chad. Actually, Chad and Sudan might be able to work together in the spirit of their recently renewed good neighborliness in jointly squashing any external attempts to foment violence in their shared borderland region, which could then end up making the two partners even closer than they’ve ever been before. However, if an atmosphere of distrust once more returns to the bilateral relationship (whether ‘organically’ or through the interference of a third-party actor such as the US or France), then the chances for a renewed round of crisis in Darfur would phenomenally rise, with the first metaphorical victim being the CCS Silk Road. Compared to an outbreak of cross-border conflict with Boko Haram, though, a continuation conflict in Darfur wouldn’t be as instantly destabilizing for Chad because of how far away it would occur from the country’s center of gravity along the western-southern periphery. The consequences could thus be more easily contained with refugee to deal with “Weapons of Mass Migration” and armed checkpoints to guard against insurgent infiltration.

In giving a comprehensive overview of all of the borderland threats which could affect Chad, it’s necessary to offer a few words on those emanating from Libya and the Central African Republic. The North African state is a dysfunctional mess and its Mediterranean coast is controlled by an ever-changing mix of terrorist and rebel groups. The southern Fezzan region abutting Chad is noticeably less destabilized, though that’s only in comparative terms. Tens of thousands of economic immigrants cross the Chadian-Libyan border en route to the northern coast on their eventual way to the EU, but for now at least, there isn’t any significant flow going the other way (though there was in the immediate aftermath of the NATO War on Libya). This is mostly due to the fact that the terrorists don’t have any control over this part of the country because they’re more concerned with achieving operational proximity to Europe, controlling the oil terminals, and administering populated and economically active areas from which they could procure ‘taxes’ (protection money). Also, just like with Chad’s eastern border with Sudan’s Darfur, the northern one with Libya is mostly deserted and easy to manage, meaning that any threatening cross-border activity such as the conventional spread of Daesh could be quickly dealt with. Thus, in all actuality, Libya doesn’t pose much of a danger to Chad’s national security right now, though the authorities would of course rest easier if their neighbor hadn’t turned into such a terrorist nest, despite these forces mostly being concentrated on the extreme northern side of the country.

“Weapons Of Mass Migration”:

Out of all of Chad’s neighbors, it might end up being the Central African Republic (CAR) that poses the most dangerous overspill scenarios of all of them. It was already explained how CAR is divided between Christians and Muslims, and how a low-scale “Clash of Civilizations” genocidally played out on its territory and prompted a French and African Union intervention. The country’s citizens have mostly stayed within their borders and haven’t engaged in any large-scale refugee outflows to their neighbors, but a return to violence there in the wake of Chad’s 2014 withdrawal and France’s future one at the end of 2016 could be catastrophic and lead to this eventuality, in which case and depending upon the specific conflict scenario and unfolding dynamics, could lead to western-based Christians going to Cameroon and northern Muslims fleeing to Chad. The reason why this is being discussed as part of the Hybrid War possibilities against Chad is because the prospective host country already has a very delicate internal balance between its 200+ ethnicities and the North-South rivalry between Muslims and Christians. Moreover, the southern part of the country is where most of the foreign-exported oil is located, which gives it an even more heightened strategic role for the state.

In such an important yet fragile region, the large-scale influx of religiously separate refugees would undoubtedly create a security problem for the state. Many of the individuals that would arrive in Chad would have been fleeing because they were targeted due to their identity, thus making them self-conscious and on guard when around locals of the ‘rival’ religion (as they’d interpret it after having just fled from marauding mobs of the opposition confession). The obvious tension that this would create in and of itself, multiplied by the social and economic stresses that would soon unfold after their arrival, could be enough to push the Southern Christians past the edge and into open rebellion, whether against the refugees, the government, or both. This demographic is aware of the strength of the Chadian Army which has managed to keep their otherwise restive sentiments under control for the past decades, but in a desperate situation where they’re already angry about not receiving what they feel is their fair share of natural resource revenue from under “their” soil, faced with sudden socio-economic challenges such as food shortages and inflation due to the refugee influx’s resultant spike in consumption, and confronted with what may be hostile and somewhat terroristic elements within their mix, it would be understandable why the Southern Christians might reckon that enough is enough and resort to agitational means (Color Revolution, Unconventional War) to resolve their plight.

‘Clash Of Civilizations’:

Finally, the most debilitating Hybrid War event that could occur within Chad would be Central African Republic-like ‘Clash of Civilizations’ between the Northern Muslims and the Southern Christians. The author would like to emphasize at this point that he would hate to see this happen and that all Chadian citizens should ideally identify themselves by their inclusive, composite nationality and not by exclusive, separatist ethnic, tribal, or religious labels, but that it’s a fact of life that many people – especially the impoverished and uneducated, of which Chad unfortunately has a statistical plethora – are often prone to these sorts of simplistic and divisive self-identifications, thereby making them prime targets for provocative rabble-rousers intent on causing trouble. Having clarified that, the Southern Christians seem to be the super-demographic most at risk of turning against the government en mass, given that they could be corralled into believing that they share the same collective grievances despite their tribal differences. As was mentioned in the previous scenario and earlier in the text, these are animosity over what they might be led to believe is the unfair dispersal of the resource revenue gained from under “their” soil and the perception that the Muslim-led government mostly supports Muslim and Northern interests in general.

The mighty military, the only real (coercive) integrational force within the country, has thus far kept the region and its population in check and prevented any real uprising from occurring, but if the people are forced into desperation through “Weapons of Mass Migration” and/or the military is destabilized in any way due to an unexpectedly fierce border breach (let alone multiple simultaneously occurring ones from opposite directions) or an uncertain leadership transition fraught with elite infighting, then the space might open up for this to happen. Again, it’s not to predict that this will happen, but simply to identify the facts that would have to be in place for it to occur, thus giving observers certain indicators to monitor in tracking the progression of this scenario. Even though it’s of low certainty, it’s definitely a high-risk eventuality, which is why it must be seriously discussed and assessed by experts and relevant decision makers alike. This conflict template is so disruptive because of the speed with which it could generate international media coverage and prompt outside intervention, whether of the overt type that could potentially be carried out by France and its in-country military forces (possibly as “peacekeepers” in joint coordination with the African Union) or the covert one of Salafist terrorists and hostile/supportive state actors such as Sudan (depending on the circumstances of the bilateral relationship at that time).

A Southern Christian revolt against the Northern Muslims could quickly turn into a civil war that might then rapidly grow into an international one if “genocide” (whether real, imagined, or exaggerated) occurs and/or state failure follows. The eruption of another front in the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ (itself just a blueprint for how the US plans to divide and rule the Eastern Hemisphere in the post-Cold War era) could have the demonstration effect of encouraging similar sorts of conflicts in Chad’s neighborhood or emboldening the ones that are already occurring, potentially leading to a transnational zone of destabilization and an expansion of the Failed State Belt into the Sahel-Sahara region.

To be continued…

 

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS:

Hybrid Wars 1. The Law Of Hybrid Warfare

Hybrid Wars 2. Testing the Theory – Syria & Ukraine

Hybrid Wars 3. Predicting Next Hybrid Wars

Hybrid Wars 4. In the Greater Heartland

Hybrid Wars 5. Breaking the Balkans

Hybrid Wars 6. Trick To Containing China

Hybrid Wars 7. How The US Could Manufacture A Mess In Myanmar

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Kagame’s Economic Mirage in Rwanda

NOVANEWS
An Interview with David Himbara
 
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The tiny East African nation of Rwanda has played a unique and prominent role in U.S. political ideation since the 1994 massacres known as the Rwandan Genocide. The West’s so-called “failure to intervene in Rwanda” — and the Holocaust — became arguments for violating the national sovereignty of nations in the Global South to protect people from their own governments.

The 1994 bloodbath in Rwanda also became an argument for the suppression or even criminalization of speech. No one makes these arguments more fiercely and absolutely than Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Kagame is now campaigning for his third formal term in office, though he has in fact ruled Rwanda since overthrowing its government with the covert assistance of the U.S. and U.K. in 1994, at the end of a four-year war. That four-year war began when Kagame’s army invaded Rwanda from Uganda.

Kagame claims to have inspired Rwandans to rise from the ashes to build an economic miracle and example for all Africa, and no one reinforces these claims more than Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. In a new book, however, economist David Himbara says that Kagame’s economic miracle is in fact an economic mirage. I spoke to David Himbara.

Ann Garrison: David Himbara, why do you call Kagame’s so-called economic miracle a mirage?

David Himbara: Kagame has grossly exaggerated his social and economic accomplishments of the past 23 years. He says he has built an African economic lion — the Singapore of Africa. In reality Rwanda remains the poorest country in East Africa, except for Burundi. Its per capita income stands at $697.3 versus Kenya’s of $1,376.7; Uganda, $705; and Tanzania at $879. Burundi is poorer than Rwanda with per capita of $277. Rwanda receives $1 billion a year in foreign aid, which is half of its annual budget of $2 billion. This is hardly a spectacular success.

AG: And you held a unique position in Kagame’s administration that enabled you to observe the so-called economic miracle, no?

DH: I was the president’s principal private secretary for two years and head of strategy and policy, Office of the President, for four years. In the latter category, we made some good reforms in the first two years, but the last two years were frustrating.

Kagame was more obsessed with the looks of the capital city of Kigali than building national systems to improve lives. He routinely manipulated statistics to exaggerate social and economic performance.

AG: Rwanda will be staging another election this year on Aug. 4. Since Kagame has in effect ruled since 1994, this will be his fourth term, though he’s calling it his third, after having the Rwandan Constitution changed to make that acceptable.

In 2010, he awarded himself 93 percent of the vote, an improbable number in any real pluralist democracy, but none of the Western donors who provide half of Rwanda’s budget withheld their support, as they have with neighboring Burundi, where President Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term with 64 percent in 2015. Kagame will no doubt claim to win another improbable mandate this year, but do you think there’s any chance that the Western donors providing half of Rwanda’s budget will finally turn away?

DH: The U.S. is the largest bilateral aid donor to Rwanda, while Britain is the second largest. American aid supports agriculture and health, while U.K. money goes into education.

A smaller portion of U.S. aid supports Rwandan troops who serve as peacekeepers. I doubt either of these two countries would cease supporting Rwanda. They have invested too much into Kagame to abandon him — unless he does something extraordinarily foolish like invading Congo again.

AG: In your book, you write that you fled Rwanda after Kagame asked you to misreport economic statistics. Could you give us the specifics of that?

DH: A confrontation convinced me to leave Rwanda. I questioned the annual economic growth of 11 percent in 2009 during the global financial crisis. Kagame became aggressive and abusive. I decided to leave Rwanda at the earliest opportunity, which was January 2010.

There are many examples of statistical exaggeration in Kagame’s Rwanda. He says for example that Rwanda has achieved universal healthcare coverage, but there are less than 700 doctors in Rwanda and there are 12 million people.

In any event, when I moved to South Africa in 2010, it soon became apparent that I was not safe there either. That was the year that Kagame’s former army chief of staff was almost assassinated in South Africa, where he was living in exile. Soon after that, the former intelligence chief – also in exile in South Africa – was assassinated. Kagame had turned South Africa into a hunting ground; that is what convinced me to move to Canada.

AG: Why do you think Bill Clinton and Tony Blair seem to be as committed to these misrepresentations as Kagame himself?

DH: These two former leaders support Kagame no matter what. The two have foundations in Rwanda.

The Americans and British also feel guilty because they stopped the U.N. from organizing an intervention in the Rwandan Genocide. Clinton and Blair seem to have overcompensated by becoming Kagame’s ambassadors even when he does nasty things. When Kagame’s proxy militia overran Goma in D.R. Congo in 2012, Blair in particular stood by his man.

AG: The United States and Britain never seem to acknowledge the human catastrophe caused by Kagame’s repeated invasions and plunder of the Democratic Republic of the Congo despite abundant documentation. Why do you think that is?

DH: Kagame has outlasted three American presidents – Clinton, Bush, and Obama – and now we will see if he outlasts Trump. Each of the first three American presidents had his reason for maintaining the status quo. Clinton simply looked the other way when Kagame invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996 and 1998.

Clinton was driven by guilt for preventing a UN intervention during the genocide. Kagame took advantage of this by his adventure and plunder of Congo.

“Kagame routinely manipulated statistics to exaggerate social and economic performance.”

President George W. Bush supported Kagame for different reasons – peacemaking operations. The American military establishment helped build Rwanda into a peacekeeping force in such places as Darfur, Sudan, South Sudan and Haiti. Meanwhile in Britain, the same pattern held, under both the Labor and Conservative governments.

The Obama presidency was different from previous American and British administrations. When Kagame’s militia invaded the capital town of eastern DR Congo, Goma, Obama cut military aid to Rwanda — an action that other donors soon followed.

Donors either cut or suspended aid to Rwanda. The U.N. sanctioned a robust force comprised of South African and Tanzanian forces that defeated Kagame’s militia. That is how Kagame met his defeat in Congo.

AG: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

DH: Regarding Kagame’s economic performance, we have to give him his dues. Here is a man who mastered the “big lie” philosophy. As the infamous big lie reasoning goes, if you keep repeating a falsehood over and over again, people will sooner or later believe it.

And so Kagame relentlessly went on a global stage and repeatedly lied that he had built an economic powerhouse. He had a motive. He believed that if he convinced his international supporters that he was creating prosperity in Rwanda, they would tolerate his human rights abuses.

In other words, Kagame sold them a trade-off; he told them that Rwandan people are more interested in food and jobs than democracy and human rights. There was one problem though — Kagame delivered neither development nor democracy.

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Janjaweed militiamen gang-rape 3 Darfur women: IDP spokesman

NOVANEWS

Janjaweed may head to Sanaa 

Three Darfuri women were gang-raped after they left their camps to gather firewood, a spokesperson for Darfur displaced said today.
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Sudanese women made homeless during the five-year Darfur conflict, crowd to see President Omar al-Beshir during his trip to El-Fasher, north Darfur on July 23, 2008 (AFP)

 

“This happens at a time when government officials claim that Darfur is enjoying security. The crimes and human right violations continue” Hussein Abu-Sharati the spokesperson of Darfur displaced and refugees at the Kalma camp in South Darfur told Sudan Tribune.

Abu-Sharati said that the women were intercepted by a group of Janjaweed militiamen who were present in the area of Wadi Bargo in South Darfur.

He listed the names of the victims as Tayba Adam Al-Tahir 15 years old; Aicha Youssef 17 years old; Kaltouma Salih 55 years old.

“The three women are at the Kass hospital in South Darfur in case anyone has doubts” he added.

The Janjaweed is a heavily armed militia blamed for waging a campaign of rape, killing and pillage in Darfur.

Rights groups and Western governments say that Khartoum used the Janjaweed as a proxy militia against Darfur rebels and civilians suspected of rebel sympathies. However the government denies this and says that the Janjaweed are outlaws.

Abu-Sharati said that an Egyptian officer with the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was notified of the incident “but took no action”.

“We also informed the UN officer in charge of humanitarian aid to be our witness. There can be no peace in Darfur without giving us security” he said.

In mid-July the ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo submitted to the judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I an application for an arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.

Ocampo filed 10 charges against Al-Bashir: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder against the African tribes of Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa.

Ocampo alleged that rape in Darfur “has been committed systematically and continuously for 5 years”.

“Rape is an integral part of the pattern of destruction that the Government of the Sudan is inflicting upon the target groups in Darfur” the prosecutor stated in the summary of his application submitted to the judges.

In a separate incident Abu-Sharati said that Sudanese security officers arrested families of the IDP’s who came to visit them.

“Last week they took away around 73 people. They stopped cars at checkpoints leading to Kalma and Abu-Shouk camps and ask passengers to get out. They picked a number of them and took them to an unknown location” Abu-Sharati said.

“Their families know nothing about them. The Sudanese authorities must release them and guarantee their legal rights” he added.

UN experts estimate some 300,000 people have died and 2.5 million driven from their homes. Sudan blames the Western media for exaggerating the conflict and puts the death toll at 10,000.

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Rwanda: Human Rights Watch and the Absolute Truth

NOVANEWS
 
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) is well known for accepting U.S. wars of aggression so long as they’re conducted according to the Geneva Conventions. HRW famously crusades for the same U.S. wars of aggression for the purpose of protecting citizens of other nations from their own governments. Its warmongering catechism includes Halabja, Rwanda, Srebrenica and now Aleppo, all of which it cites as failures to protect civilians that compel the U.S. to humanitarian war evermore.

This week HRW’s Central Africa Director, Ida Sawyer, produced an HRW absolutist classic, A March 8th HRW “dispatch. It tells the story of Joseph Nkusi, a Rwandan blogger and political asylum seeker who was deported from Norway after a court rejected his claim that he would be persecuted if he were deported to Rwanda after eight years in Norway. Nkusi was arrested upon arrival, like most Rwandan emigrés who fail to convince Western courts that they will be persecuted in Rwanda. He is now on trial for “genocide ideology,” a Rwandan crime modeled on European “Holocaust denial” laws, which makes it illegal to publicly “deny, revise, trivialize, or negate” the Rwandan Genocide. In Rwanda, even using the description “Rwandan Genocide” is a crime; authorities enforce a law passed in 2008 making “genocide against the Tutsi” the only legal description.

Joseph Nkusi is on trial for claiming that both Hutus and Tutsis were targeted in a “double genocide,” meaning that members of both groups killed each other during the Rwandan war and massacres of 1990 – 1994. Human Rights Watch is OK with Nkusi’s prosecution because its own absolutist conclusions about the genocide are compatible with those of Rwanda’s absolutist, totalitarian government:

“Some of the writings on Nkusi’s blog relay claims about the genocide that are unfounded – stating, for example, that both Hutus and Tutsis were targeted in a ‘double genocide.’ This is offensive to genocide survivors [Tutsis], and contrary to research findings by Human Rights Watch and other independent organizations. Other writings criticize the Rwandan government’s human rights record.”

There is abundant evidence that both Kagame’s Tutsi army and Tutsi civilians targeted Hutu people for mass killing, not only in Rwanda but also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Canadian journalist Judi Rever has documented the massacre of Hutu people committed by Kagame’s army with the help of Tutsi technocrats in, for example, “What Remains Hidden in Rwanda: The Role of Tutsi Civilians in Killing Hutus.”

Australian peacekeepers and Australian artist George Gittoes observed and documented the Kibeho Massacre of Hutu refugees in Rwanda on April 22,1995. The UN Mapping Report on Human Rights Abuse, 1993 – 2003, documented the massacre of Rwandan Hutu refugees who fled into DRC to escape Kagame’s advancing army. In Dying to Live: A Rwandan Family’s Five-Year Flight Across the Congo, Hutu refugee Pierre-Claver Ndacyayisenga recounts their harrowing journey all the way through the Congolese jungle, from east to west, with Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army in pursuit.

In Surviving the Slaughter, Marie Beatrice Umuetesi recounts the same horrors, as does the five part documentary Tingi Tingi Hutu Refugee Massacre.  Other well documented challenges to the Human Rights Watch narrative include Robin Philpot‘s Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa: from Tragedy to Useful Fiction, Peter Erlinder‘s The Accidental Genocide, and Barrie Collins‘s Rwanda Genocide: The Myth of the Akazu Genocide Experience and Its Consequences.

It seems that none of this evidence has reached Human Rights Watch or, if it did, the organization was unwilling to recant its own absolutist conclusions about “genocide against the Tutsi.” According to Ida Sawyer, Nkusi’s arrest for daring to differ is justifiable. However, Sawyer is concerned about Rwandans’ freedom to criticize the Rwandan government’s human rights record:

“Nkusi’s trial is an opportunity for Rwanda to show that it clearly distinguishes between ‘genocide ideology’ – a criminal offense in Rwandan law – and free speech, or the freedom to criticize the government or the ruling party.”

. . .

“While some of his writings are reprehensible, the Rwandan authorities should ensure that Joseph Nkusi gets a fair trial and is not prosecuted nor convicted for criticism of the government or the ruling party. International actors, including the government of Norway, should closely monitor the trial proceedings and be prepared to publicly denounce any breaches of fair trial standards or violation of free speech.”

As is so often the case, Human Rights Watch knows the one, the only, and the absolute truth and deploys it to justify human rights crimes, from bombing Libya and Syria to the imprisonment of a Rwandan blogger who dares to differ with the Rwandan government and with HRW’s own “research findings.”

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Operation Crimson Mist, Electronic Slaughter in Rwanda

 

NOVANEWS

Spooks now use technology in Baghdad that was “proven” on one-million dead Africans in Rwanda

By Joe Vialls

Original title: American Mind Control in Baghdad

Operation Crimson Mist
During the late afternoon of 6 April 1994, a hail of cannon shells tore through the fuselage of a commercial airliner flying overhead central Rwanda. Several seconds later the blazing plane exploded on impact with the ground, killing President Habyarimana of Rwanda, President Ntaryamira of Burundi, and most of their senior government officials. In that fatal millisecond of time, the entire political command structure of central Africa was decapitated, leaving the way open for “Operation Crimson Mist”, the most obscene terminal mind control experiment ever mounted by the United States of America against a sovereign nation. That “Crimson Mist” has been used again recently on a smaller scale in Iraq, is now beyond doubt.

As Habyarimana and his colleagues made their death dive, a small group of American men and women lounged around in a large hut at the edge of a discreet gravel airstrip a few miles from the Rwandan capital Kigali, temporary home for their three unmarked C-130 Hercules transport planes. All crewmembers carried forged credentials showing them as “atmospheric researchers” employed by an authentic civilian American agency, but these were only for emergency identification if one of the aircraft was forced to make an unscheduled landing on unfriendly territory. For all practical security purposes, neither they nor their three large aircraft were even in Africa.

When news of the presidential crash came in over the VHF radio, one of the
Hercules planes was swiftly preparedfor take off. The flight engineer checked the attachment of the RATO [Rocket Assisted Takeoff] packs, while the scientists made final adjustments to a large microwave dish mounted on the rear loading ramp of the aircraft. It was this strange and esoteric piece of equipment alone that would directly contribute to the deaths of more than one million African civilians during the hundred days that followed. Though completely silent in operation, the single microwave dish had more killing potential than a whole squadron of AC-130 Spectre gunships armed with fifty Gatling cannons.

Willing to Commit Mass Murder
Though officially tagged an “experiment”, none of those present had any doubt that this was merely a cosmetic cover for the gruesome operational work ahead. Each member had been carefully vetted and then vetted again by US Intelligence to ensure they had the “right stuff”, and were philosophically committed to two objectives.

First was the evolving need to control or eliminate political dissent by remote means in the run up to the 21st Century, and second was the need to stem or reverse massive population increases across the world, which threatened to overwhelm existing natural resources, especially water and food. Intrinsically this required a willingness to commit mass murder, and everyone present had passed this critical test with flying colors.

As the Hercules’ engines started with a roar, American agents in Kigali were
working alongside local civil servants and members of the Rwandan security service, ramping up public suspicion about foul play in the presidential air crash. Urged on by corrupt officialdom, Hutu tribesmen started marching on Tutsi tribesmen and threw a few rocks at them. Innocent enough at the outset, although with a few nasty machete cuts here and there. But then the C-130 Hercules made a carefully-calculated pass directly over the advancing Hutu, and they suddenly went berserk. Eyes glazed, the mood of the Hutu crowd went from simple anger to uncontrollable rage, and within minutes, hundreds of assorted Tutsi body parts were flying through the air.

Creating Electronic Rage
What the Hercules crew had just achieved has been an open secret since the late fifties, when researchers accidentally discovered that there is a precise “control” brain wave for literally everything we do, and for everything we feel. The problem back then was that each of these control brain waves [rage, fear, panic, lethargy, vomiting and so on] had to be transmitted with an accuracy taken out to three decimal places, or they simply did not work at all. But as the years rolled by, and with the advent of transistors and microprocessors, the operational application of precise control brain waves became practical reality.

It is important to note here that the lethal trick repeated hundreds of times by the C-130 Hercules in Rwanda during April – July 1994, was not “classic mind control” in the ultimate conspiratorial meaning of the term, i.e. where people claim to hear complicated messages inside their heads, or where it is feared that the NSA [or similar] intend to turn everyone into helpless Zombies by implanting electronic chips in their arms or necks. What the C-130 crew were actually engaged in was “electromagnetically augmenting” a pre-existing state. Remember that the agents and security service personnel first had to point the Hutu tribesmen in the direction of the Tutsi, induce reasonable anger, and make sure they were appropriately armed. Only then could the C-130 go to work with the precise control brain wave of “rage”, augmenting and thus upgrading crowd behavior from that of angry demonstrators to uncontrollable genocidal maniacs. Although not “classic”, this was and is unquestionably mind control, for the simple reason that external means were being used to force an irresistible change in behavior.

For those who really want to know how governments or agencies change public behavior on a whim, the explanation is not too complicated, though obtaining details of the classified control brain frequencies is all but impossible. Various academics have actually demonstrated some of these effects quasi-publicly over the years, which provides hard reality for skeptics.

One of the leading lights in this field is Dr. Elizabeth Rauscher-Bise, who was a nuclear scientist and researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and at Stanford Research Institute, Professor of Physics at John F. Kennedy University of California, research consultant to NASA and the U.S. Navy, and a member of IEEE, APS, AAAS, MAA, ANA, AAMI. Elizabeth Rauscher-Bise identified specific frequency effects to induce nausea, happiness and many other behavioral states decades ago. Clearly, Dr. Rauscher-Bise is an enthusiast: “Give me the money and three months”, she boasts, “and I’ll be able to affect the behavior of 80 per cent of the people in this town without their knowing it. Make them happy – or at least they’ll think they’re happy. Or aggressive.”

Unlike many researchers in this field, Elizabeth Rauscher-Bise tends to be open about her work, has demonstrated the effects many times in quasi-public forums, and claims to experiment only on fully informed people. Many years ago during one memorable demonstration in California, she turned a specific brain wave on all students in the left-side of her auditorium, whereupon their teeth started chattering collectively and uncontrollably. When the unaffected students on the right-side of the auditorium suggested this might be some sort of trick, Elizabeth Rauscher-Bise calmly turned the specific brain wave on them instead. The right-side now suffered exactly the same fate, watched by the stunned, but no longer affected students on the left-side.

Extra Low Frequencies (ELF)
The main problem lies in the delivery of the these brain waves to the target, because they all lie in the extremely low spectrum, between 0.1 and 25 Hertz [Cycles], with all control brain waves in an even narrower central band between 0.6 and 10.2 Hertz. These are effectively the same as “earth” frequencies, meaning that they are very hard to direct via conventional radio transmission. Remember that in order to be effective in selective crowd behavior augmentation, you must be able to restrict delivery to clearly defined crowds in clearly defined areas. This is achieved by using an extremely high frequency microwave beam, which is then amplitude modulated at exactly the same rate as the desired control brain wave. This is much easier to explain with pictures, so take a good look at the diagram below.

Microwaves in the 1.0 to 3.0 Gigahertz range travel in perfectly straight lines, like light, making them easy to control in terms of direction, regardless of power output. In most cases microwaves are transmitted by a dish aerial of the sort you frequently see located low down on a tall television transmitter mast. These are designed to transfer high volume electronic data between the television studio and transmitter, and vice versa.

Where the American “Mind Controllers” score with their airborne and truck mounted equipment is by using microwave aerials that can be adjusted, in exactly the same way as you would adjust the focus on a variable beam flashlight. How this is done is shown in the second diagram to the right.

In the Rwandan Hutu tribesmen example shown near the start of this report, the crew of the C-130 Hercules only needed to know the width of the target crowd on the ground, and the width of their own microwave beam at any given true altitude in feet [as read directly from the radar altimeter]. With those two values available, it is then a simple matter to adjust beam width to accurately bracket the target crowd from any altitude chosen.

Baghdad ‘Looting
But this equipment is not just deployed in large lumbering Hercules transport planes. During recent weeks, European security experts have concluded that smaller versions of Crimson Mist were recently deployed on the street of Baghdad, designed in part to augment the media propaganda line that Iraqi citizens are dangerous savages, all badly in need of direct supervision by “democratic” American authorities. One classic example of this was the “looting” of the Baghdad Museum, apparently by a crowd of undisciplined rabble, but video footage tells a very different story. To pull off this stunt the American authorities needed to assemble a crowd, managed quite easily with a promise of free food. Then they needed to place the crowd outside the museum, which again was easy because they located the free food outside the museum itself. Next up, the attention of the crowd had to be drawn to the museum itself, which was achieved in spectacular fashion by firing two 120-mm shells from an Abrams tank gun straight through the main doors.

Fine so far, but how to get them inside? The video shows two soldiers gesticulating to the crowd, urging them to go in and help themselves, thereby clearly identifying the target “Rwanda-style”. Then it starts to get really interesting! The two soldiers rapidly withdraw, leaving the Iraqis standing leaderless outside the open doors, and then CLICK, just like flicking a light switch, the entire crowd goes nuts absolutely simultaneously, which never happens in real life. In the real world there is always a leader visibly stirring up the crowd and preparing them for action, but not outside the Baghdad Museum. One second these folk are dull hungry Iraqis, next second they are instant uncontrollable maniacs streaming in though the museum doors.

It is also suspected that the same equipment was used to augment the “looting attacks” on various hospitals around central Baghdad, though this claim seems to be based as much on logic as it is on video footage. These so-called “looters” are Iraqi citizens who received essentially free health care in the hospitals under Saddam Hussein. Not only that, but their wives and children are being bombed and shot by Americans, meaning that their free hospitals are absolutely essential to them, and thus the very places they would normally defend in the first instance. Bearing this logic in mind, it seems likely that the European security experts are also correct in this claim.

Homeland ‘Security
While there is unlikely to be very much concern in America, Britain, and Australia for the plight of Iraqis on the streets of Baghdad, it may be time to examine what is likely to happen in our own “democratic” countries if things get more out of control than they are at present. Remember that the 2.2-million-strong demonstration in London just before the illegal invasion of Iraq, had little if anything to do with English folk liking Saddam Hussein. Iraq was merely an excuse for this unprecedented mass of human beings to migrate to London waving banners that mostly read “Not in Our Name” at corrupt politicians.

The bottom line is that the next time 2.2 million British citizens descend on the capital to have a go at the politicians [their real targets], they might be carrying something far more dangerous than banners. Every policeman and military man knows very well that a 2.2 million strong mass with hostile intent, simply cannot be stopped by standard riot control techniques, and they cannot be stopped by bullets fired by soldiers on the streets. Even if British soldiers could be persuaded to open fire on their own neighbors [most unlikely], the entire Army would be powerless to act. So what then?

Across the Atlantic in America, and in Australia, things are really no better. As I write, the American dollar is heading straight for basement levels, which in turn will lead to a depression and increased anger on the part of all Americans, aimed largely at corrupt politicians on Capitol Hill. Naturally the politicians will try to put the people down as usual, but what if this time it is a step too far. What if a few hundred or few thousand of the 260 million private weapons in American hands are brought into play, what then?

The chances are that in all affected western countries, politicians and their real masters will try to invoke the use of highly unconventional weapons in order to try and save their own worthless hides. How successful they might be when that day comes, as it surely will, is largely up to you.

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African challenges to African development

Africa Leadership

Development capacitation through local resource exploitation, mass industrial production and domestic prosperity-generation is what Africa requires to become the self-actuated mover of its own development  that does not depend on the vagaries of external demand for primary commodities. But sometimes even such initiatives are resisted by anti-African development leaderships.

The parlous story of African economic and social development since independence best expressed in the failure to achieve the autonomous capacity for self-actuated development and in particular to create conditions of national and continental modern mass production and prosperity is well known and need not be repeated. It is enough to re-state that Africa’s development failure was because of the leaderships’ choice to retain, maintain and expand the inherited exocentric colonial system of development incapacitation, primary commodity export, import dependency and poverty generation.

The progressive efforts of some African states and leaders to change the system and create self-reliant economies were stymied by the leaderships’ ideological inadequacies and dependency, the balance of payment crises of the late 1970s and 1980s and the subsequent economic crises and decline. This provided the avenue for Western multilateral imperialist agencies the World Bank and the IMF to successfully infiltrate Africa, re-colonize African states and convert them into neo-colonial out-posts of the so-called neo-liberal consensus. This framework embodied in the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) with its destructives conditionalities: currency devaluation, trade liberalization, subsidy removal, deregulation and privatization, re-directed the African states to focus on expanded raw materials production and exports and to abandon industrialization and development capacitation.

The application of these anti-development SAP dogmas in the 1980s and 1990s ushered in two decades of deepening indebtedness, serious economic crises, de-industrialization, socio-economic decline, deepening impoverishment and political repression. On the other hand, the period also saw the upsurge of popular democratisation struggles, civil rights campaigns, the restoration of democracy, and the establishment of electoral democracy and the decline of military interventions in African politics. In the economic sphere, there were innovative dependency-reducing responses. This was because among businesses there was an increased re-orientation toward local sourcing of well-known agricultural and mineral endowments to expand production. This led to the emergence of new economic sectors and especially the expansion of cottage, small and medium scale consumer goods industries which were operationally autonomous due to the increased utilization of local resources for production and self-development.

In addition there was relative political stability and policy and institutional support for businesses through the creation of enabling environments for attracting investments.

It was partly because of these new domestic conditions and the economic self-activation, and the partly because of return of better commodity prices in the first decade of the 21st century, that the Western media fabricated and propagated the new view of “Africa Rising”. This became a very popular and re-assuring slogan among some African leaders, politicians and intelligentsia.

However, it was an insecure condition because a “Rising Africa” whose upsurge is generated by increased external demand for primary commodities is essentially insecure. It does not represent genuine African development that is based on expansive domestic production and prosperity generation. It merely reinforces African dependency on primary commodity export and its dependence on the importation of manufactured goods. It is evaporating with the speed with which it was proclaimed.

But there was a more consequential development story of this period that ushered in what this author describes as the Affirmative African Narrative phase of development. This is the progressive assumption by African businesses of the leadership role in promoting national and pan-African development. This new trend of African self-development is captured by the new concept of “Africans Investing in Africa”. This is the process by which African industrial, service, and commercial enterprises began to make large-scale investments in many different African countries. The investments involve for example the expansion of banks, telecommunication companies, trading companies and so on. Examples of these include Nigerian bank like UBA, Zenith, Access, First Bank; South African banks like Standard Bank and Moroccan banks; telecommunication companies such as MTN of South Africa, ECONET of Zimbabwe and GLOBACOM of Nigeria. Others are Shoprite, Coca cola and South African Breweries.

While Africans investing in Africa is becoming common and commendable, it is important to emphasize that NOT ALL African investments in Africa are of equal economic importance or strategic development value. For example, African investments like Shoprite and similar companies which merely establish commercial or trading enterprises that do not add value to African economies are no different from traditional non-African FDI companies that are established to create captive markets for products from their home countries and thereby maximally exploit Africa.

On the other hand, African companies that make investments that are decisive and transformational are those that deliberately promote and advance African development capacitation, through local resource exploitation, mass industrialization, large scale industrial, agricultural and mineral production, and beneficiation for internal use.

In terms of investment for development capacitation through local resource utilization and valorization, the vanguard African company is the Dangote Group. In order to ensure that Africa achieves self-sufficiency in the critically important infrastructure development requirement – cement – Dangote embarked on a pan-African investment strategy to establish integrated plants, or grinding plants or cement terminals in African countries according to their resource endowments. The Group’s ultimate objective is to become the ascendant cement manufacturing company in Africa. There is no question that the Dangotean strategy of development capacitation through local resource exploitation, mass industrial production and domestic prosperity-generation is what Africa requires to become the self-actuated mover of its own development and to create a secure development upsurge and continental prosperity that does not depend on the vagaries of external demand for primary commodities.

This Dangotean transformational mission and project is now being threatened by what seems like the unwillingness of African countries to respect and maintain carefully crafted legal investment agreements as sacrosanct documents and binding commitments. Within the past year the Group has faced major challenges as a result of the failure of some African states to keep their sides of the bargain or agreements concluded with Dangote Group. This happened late last year in Tanzania when the government seemed to renege on some elements within the agreements reached with the Dangote Group to give it concessions and incentives for the massive investments of over $500 million that the Group made in the construction of the monumental cement plant in Mtwara, Tanzania. This Dangote Cement Plant with its 3 million metric tonnes per annum capacity is the largest cement plant in Eastern Africa. In addition to the cement plant, other associated Dangote development projects include the construction of a coal power plant and a jetty. While these are primarily beneficial to the Group’s business, they also represent important investments and permanent additions to Tanzania’s power and sea transport sectors.

Together these projects have generated significant direct employment opportunities and as they mature and attain full production capacity the multiplier effects in various sub-sectors would be expansive and extensive, thereby creating prosperity and income in the community as well as revenues for the local, regional and national the governments. But due to the problems, Dangote had to temporarily shut down the plant; and after negotiations and assurances that restored the original terms, the plant resumed production. This Dangotean Tanzanian experience of government infidelity to the sanctity of agreements can only create profound doubts among business people on the readiness of African states and leaders to move Africa forward.

But the Group’s challenges in Africa are not over. Just recently, in Ethiopia, the regional government of Oromo Regional State where Dangote’s new over $400 million, 2.5 million metric tonnes per annum cement plant is located came up with new conditions that are bound to disrupt the operations of the Dangote plant. In what it claimed is an attempt to provide employment for jobless Oromo youth it decided to withdraw all mining licences and agreements already concluded with Dangote and similar other companies with mining concessions. In its place the regional government claimed that it would create youth owned companies that would now supply the minerals required by the cement and other plants.

This action of the Oromo regional government in illegally annulling legally approved mining agreements with the Dangote Group and other companies raise major questions on the genuine preparedness of African states, politicians, and bureaucrats to foster Africa’s self-development through Africans investing in Africa. Without question the action of these governments represents major challenges to Africans’ assumption of responsibility for their development and the emergent Affirmative Africa Narrative. In fact at its core, these anti-investment actions are a repudiation of the long-standing aspirations of Pan-Africanism and its advocates, and the practical commitment of the continental organizations like the former Organization of African Union (OAU) and the current African Union (AU) to promote African-led development through investments, intra-African trade and exchange, as instruments for creating secure African development and domestic prosperity-generation.

This is a good example of how some African leaderships’ represent serious obstacles to African development. Quite clearly any aspiration for Africa’s take off through self-actuated development as represented by the transformational efforts of Dangote and similar committed pan-African economic revolutionaries is weakened by such leadership unfaithfulness, irresponsibility and lack of serious commitments to African investors.

Despite these set-backs, it is important for African states and the continental and regional economic groups to reaffirm their commitment to African-led transformational industrial development as the basis for Africa’s capacitation for self-actuated development. In this light, it is imperative for the AU and its various economic agencies to design Continental Investment Protection Agreements that would commit African states to respect and uphold already approved agreements and avoid arbitrary nullifications of legally binding instruments. An additional guarantor is for each African state to negotiate investment protection treaties with each other. In fact this is especially indicated for countries such as Nigeria where investors are increasingly embarking on Pan-African development investments.

Finally, pan-African transformational investors like Dangote should remain committed and not be discouraged by these clearly disruptive actions of hapless, backward and anti-African development leaders. The Dangotes’ of Africa as continental transformational vanguards should remain firmly committed to their chosen paths of legal profit making and simultaneous contribution to Africa’s transformation, economic development, prosperity-generation, psychological liberation, and the restoration of Africans dignity and equality with others in the world. These are worthwhile and enduring ideals and challenges that transformational revolutionaries and societal game-changers are bound to encounter and overcome so as to create new worlds.

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Africa’s name, knowledge and dynamics

antoinespeaks.co.uk

It is wrong history to teach that Africa was named by Greeks or Romans when these colonialists illegally occupied this unique continent through aggression and invasion. This was in 332 B.C. until the Roman invasion in 30 B.C. Africa got its name from Africans.

It is estimated that there are six thousand languages in the world. 3,000 of them are in Africa. If languages that have faded away are counted Africa had more than the present number.

One of the oldest names of Africa is Alkebu-Lan. This name has been interpreted as meaning “Mother of Nations” or “Mother of Mankind.” Africa is also one of the oldest names of this continent. Many theories about who named Africa have been thrown about:

  1. That the name came from a Roman soldier called Skippio Africanus.
  2. That the name is from Arabic Afriqiyah.
  3. That the name for Africa came from Leo Africanus. (1495-1554 A.D.). This date is too late for him. The Romans and the Greeks were long gone. This African scholar was a youth who was taken to slavery and later made a gift to Pope Leo X. This Pope realising this young man’s brilliant mind released him from slavery.
  4.  During his life Leo Africanus is said to have travelled in Timbuktu in Mali and Songhai in present Nigeria. He patriotically associated his name with the great continent of his ancestors –Afrika. The forces of European imperialism had begun to inflict the continent through the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.

It does not make sense to attribute the naming of Africa to Leo Africanus. The Greeks occupied Africa in 332 B.C. They were followed by the Romans in 30 B.C. These imperialists had long left when this brilliant scholar was born. Mizraim/Kemet (ancient Egypt) became occupied by Arabs only in 461 A.D. The people of Kemet/Kmt/Chemi/Khemi called themselves Kemmiu. This means Black people.

Greeks had earlier called Africa Aphrike as they could not pronounce the existing name Af-Rui-Ka.  The Greeks had already failed to call Mizraim/Kemet by one of its names Hu- Ka-Ptah. They corrupted this name into Aigyptos, while the Romans followed with their Aegyptus in their Latin language.

The Greek and Roman name for Mizraim/Kemet/Hu-Ka-Ptah translates into Egypt in English. The indigenous African name, Hu-Ka-Ptah, broke the jaws of the Greeks and the Romans. They could not pronounce this Mizraim/Kemet name; hence the name Egypt today. In fact, Egyptology and Egyptologist should be called Kemetology and Kemetologist respectively. Kemet/kmt was one of the correct names for “Hu-Ka-Ptah.”

Anyway let us go back to Africa’s name again. The Romans merely described Africa as “land of Afri” or “Afer terra” which meant “land of Afri” (black people). The names Afer and Afar are Phoencian. Phoenicians were descendants of Canaan son of Ham.  They also spoke of “Afri tribes.” This was long way back in the B.C. period when Africa was far advanced than Europe.

The Bible refers to Africa and its ancient extension in the Near East as the Land Of Ham, many times (Genesis 9:1; 10:6:20; Psalm 78:51; 105:23; 105:27; 10:6-22; 1 Chronicles 1:8) This includes Ham and his descendants.

These Phoenician names also mean “land of dust.” It is not clear whether they meant ordinary dust or the dust from which God created humanity according to many religions. Anyway, Phoenicians called themselves Kena’ anu or Kena’ ani, a Canaanite language. They called a book Byblos.

This section of Black people/ ancient Africans traded in paper which was called Papyrus, from which books were made. Papyrus was grown in Kemet/Kmt. Byblos (Biblyus) is the Canaanite/Phoenician word from which the name of the Bible is derived. Other words so derived are bibliography, bibliotheque, biblioteca and bibliotheke.

Concerning this originally Canaanite word, Byblos, a historian has commented: “This is highly ironic considering the very negative treatment that Canaanites receive in the [Eurocentric misinterpreted] Old Testament [about ‘The Curse of Ham.’”]

Other indigenous people of Africa used the name “Afri” or “Ifran.” The ancient language of Mizraim/Kemet (ancient Egypt): Kemetic called Africa, Af-Rui- Ka. It means the opening of Ka. Ka means soul or spirit. It also means the “place of birth.” Most African languages seem to have all agreed on the “root” “af,” “ifran,” “Afer,” “afar.” etc.

In Azania (South Africa) there is a common root “ntu”/ “tho” for African languages demonstrating that they come from a common stock. Here is an example. Ancient Africans called their countries after their skin colour or language collectively. Kush, Mizraim/Kemet, Nubia, Numidia, Khart-Haddas, Azania meant black man’s country.

In Africa, especially in Southern-Central Eastern Africa any human being was umntu, motho, muntu. This is in Xhosa, Sesotho and Zulu languages. Their common philosophy is Ubuntu/ Botho. When it came to land it could be according to the language of the people e.g. Venda, Swazi, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, Shona, Sindebele etc.

But when it came to the whole country, it was described as “Land of Black People” or “Blackman’s Country”- Izwe labantu abantsundu or abamnyama, Naha ya batho ba batsho, Shango la vhathu va tswu, Tiko ra vanhu va mtima, Vana vevhu! This is collectively in Sesotho, Nguni, Venda, Tsonga and Shona respectively. In Sesotho all Africans are called Bana ba thari e ntsho (children of the black mother).

There seems to have been this commonality when the ancestors of Africans named Africa. This was long before the Greeks and Romans knew anything about this unique continent whose people have never coveted the land and riches of other people and stolen them at gunpoint.

The name Africa is consistent with the other oldest name of the continent – Alkebu-Lan -“Mother of Nations.” Kemetologist/Egyptologist Gerald Massey was a very learned English man about Africa. He has endorsed the etymology of the word African as meaning origin. He has pointed out that “Africa was the prime source of the world’s people, language, myths, symbols and religions.”

The name Africa has indeed come from the heart of Africans with their then over 3000 languages. Africa became known to Europe through the Greeks and the Romans, but these Europeans had heard this name from Africans.

Greeks and Romans were drawn to the glory and riches of pre-slavery and pre-colonial Africa. Those were days when Julius Caesar, in adoration and admiration of the “Mother of Nations” – Alkebu-Lan – Afrika; could without fear of contradicting himself, say: “Ex Africa semper aliquid novi!”- “Out of Africa always comes something new.”

The distinguished Roman scholar Pliny the Elder had already   proclaimed, “Semper aliquid novi Africam adferre.” “There is always something new coming out of Africa.”

The view that the name Africa came from Africans and not from Greeks and Romans or Arabs has been endorsed by well informed researchers and writers. Some of them are Prof. Ivan Van Sertima, author of Blacks In Science.

Gerald Massey, an accomplished English Egyptologist, went to the extent of saying that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was incomplete without spiritualism from Africa.

Dr. Yosef A. ben-Jochannan simply titled his book, Africa: Mother Of Western Civilisation. The celebrated African Kemetologist/Egyptologist, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, has pointed out that “During antiquity, scholars considered Ethiopians, Egyptians and Colchians as Black people. Nobody can cite a denial of this fact in the ancient text.” Indeed, “the father of European history,” Herodotus wrote about this way back in the B.C. era.

What the Ancients said about Africa

Before Africa and her people suffered the holocaust of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, colonial stealing of their countries and riches by Western Europe that dehumanised Africa’s people through racism, this is what the ancients said about Africa and Africans:

1. Ibn Hisham, the biographer or editor of Prophet Mohammed, has recorded that this Prophet of Islam so trusted the people of Africa that he instructed those who were persecuted in Mecca for their religion to go to Kush/ Ethiopia [Africa]. “You will find a king under whom none are persecuted. It is a land of righteousness where God will give you relief from what you are suffering.”

2. Lucian was a Greek satirist (a “free thinker”) of the olden days. He is recorded as saying, “The [Greek] gods on certain occasions do not hear the prayers of the mortals [in Europe] because they are away across the oceans among the Ethiopians [Africans] with whom they dine frequently on their invitation.”

3. Diodurus Siculus was a veteran ancient Greek historian. What did he write about the pre-slave and pre-colonial Africa? “The Ethiopians [Africans] were the first to honour the gods and hold sacrifices and festivals and processions and the rites by which men honour the deity and that in consequence their piety has been published abroad among all men…the sacrifices practised among the Ethiopians are those that are the most pleasing to heaven.”

4. In his lengthy two-volume treaties, Ancalypsis, pages 137-138, Sir Godfrey Higgins has written, “The Infant in the arms of his mother, his eyes and drapery white, is himself perfectly black.

If any reader doubts my word, he must go to the cathedral at Moulins – to the famous chapel of the virgin at Loretto – to the church of Saint Lazaro, or the church of Stephen at Genoa…to the cathedral at Augsburg, where are a black virgin and child as large as life…to Panthem – a small chapel of Saint Peter on the right hand side….”

Sir Higgins adds, “There is scarcely an old church in Italy where some remains of the worship of BLACK VIRGIN AND BLACK CHILD are not to be met with.”

He, however, observed that lately, “Very often the black figures have given way to white ones and instead of the black ones as being held sacred, they were put into retired places of the churches, but were not destroyed.”

This is how racism has been used against Africa and her people by the architects of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and colonialism for which there has been no reparation or and meaningful apology. History must be written as it happened. A mutilated and manipulated history is a perfidious lie that must be destroyed.

What the Bible says about Africans

What does the Bible say about Africans whom it calls Kushites, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Nubians and by many other names? Through his Prophet Amos in chapter 9:7 God asked this question:

“Are not you Israelites the same as the Kushites? Declare the LORD. “Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt?” (New International Version of the Bible)

“Are you not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith, the LORD .Have I not brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt?” (King James Version of the Bible)

Also through the Bible in Psalm 68:31, God shows great interest in Africans: “Princes shall come out of Egypt; and Ethiopia [Africa] shall soon stretch out her hands to God.”

The New International Version of the Bible reads: “Envoys will come from Egypt; Kush will submit herself to God. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth. Sing to the Lord, to him who rides the ancient skies above, who thunders with might.”

“Princes shall come out of Egypt [Africa]; Ethiopia [Africa] shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.” (The Amplified Version of the Bible).

See what happened about 74 A.D. in Acts 8:26-40. Consider also the fact that the earliest martyrs of the Christian faith were Africans.

In Deuteronomy 23:7-8 God had a command for ancient Jews who had been preserved in Africa.“….Do not abhor an Egyptian (African), because you lived as an alien in his country. The third generation of children born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.”

The Amplified Bible reads,“ …You shall not abhor an Egyptian [African] because you were a stranger and temporary  resident in his land. Their children may enter into the congregation of the Lord in their third generation.”

On the matter of making Jesus “White”

On another matter of history affecting Christian theology a prominent first century historian Flavius Josephus who lived in Galilee at the time of Jesus has described Jesus as “Man of plain looks, extremely learned and full of vigour with a dark skin.”

If Jesus is divine an image of him defiles and corrupts God’s glory. Not even Black people, who have a reason to claim the skin colour of Jesus while in human form here on earth, may make an image of Jesus.

He Himself taught that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in truth and in spirit” (John 4:24). He told the doubters, “Blessed are they that have not seen but they have believed” (John 20:29)

That renowned religious reformer, John Calvin, was right when he wrote, “A true image of God is not found in all the world; hence God’s glory is defiled and His truth corrupted by the lie, whenever He is set before our eyes in a visible form….Therefore, to devise any image of God is itself impious; because by this corruption His majesty is adulterated. And He is figured to be other than He is.”

Scientists have failed to find a “White” Jesus

Richard Neave in Britain, a retired medical artist from the University of Manchester, constructed a face [of Jesus] using forensic physical anthropology. The face that the learned man constructed revealed that Jesus could not have a broad face and large nose. This would differ markedly “from the traditional depictions of Jesus in [European] renaissance.”

Adam Clark in his Commentary of the Whole Bible (1832) referred to his understanding of the description in Lamentations: 4:7-8 by Prophet Jeremiah. It reads,” Her Nazarites were purer than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies …. Their visage (face) is blacker than coal….”

The Simplified Version of the Bible verse 8 reads:  “[Prolonged famine has made] them look blacker than soot and darkness …”

Incidentally, it was Ebedmelech, a black official of a King, who rescued Jeremiah from death (Jeremiah 38: 7 ). At some point Prophet Jeremiah fled to Kemet (ancient Egypt) in Africa where he later died. (Jeremiah 43)

Anyway, back to Clark. He points out that, Jews/Israelites as a group or in whole or part were originally black. He concluded that, “Jesus, broadly Caucasian,” would not fit in the Western World.

Mark Goodcare of the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham tried to find the skin colour of Jesus as “white.” He used the third century images from the synagogues. His experiment led in a different direction. He found that Jesus’ colour “would have been darker and swarthier.”

A “White” Jesus is bad history

A writer has remarked, “Insisting that Jesus was white is bad history.” He points out that the myth of a ‘white’ Jesus “is deeply rooted in the Western European Renaissance where Western artists depicted Jesus as ‘white.’ But the scholarly consensus is that Jesus was like the most first Jews, “a dark-skinned person.”

Of course, there is no “white Jesus” in the Bible. Matthew describes Jesus as descending from David (Matthew 1:5; 22:43-45: Rev. 22:16).  Salmon’s wife was Rahab (a Canaanite, a descendant of Ham) (Matthew 1:5, Joshua 2:2-4.) David begot Solomon with Bathsheba whose first husband was Uriah (Matthew 1:7; 2 Samuel: 11:3). She gave birth to Solomon (2 Samuel12:24). Solomon himself married a daughter of an African King (1 Kings 3:1).The earthly genealogy or family tree of Jesus Christ is clearly recorded in the Bible e.g. Matthew 1:2-16.

Referring to His human form while here on earth, Jesus Himself declared, “I am the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Rev. 22:16)

In reality and truth, there are no “white” people on this planet earth, if the simile “as white as snow” or as “white as milk” are not wrong English. Or have a different meaning from that of African languages.

Disciples of Jesus never preached a “White” Jesus

None of the disciples/apostles of Jesus Christ ever preached a “white” Jesus who is a European. Paul, the most prolific of them, proclaimed:

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellence of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know  anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified….That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2; 7 )

Emphasising this point beyond reasonable doubt to another group of people, Paul warned: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, Let him be accursed.

“As we said before, so say I again, if any man preach any other gospel to you than that which you have received, let him be accursed. For, do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brothers [and sisters], that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.” (Galatians 1:8-11)

Back to Africa

Dr. Pixley ka Isaka Seme, that great Pan Africanist scholar and visionary, was right when on April 1906 told American students at Columbia University:

“Africa in her ruins is like a golden sun, that having set beneath the western horizon still speaks to the world she sustained and enlightened. Africa is truly the history of a people whose inward tide has often been full of tears. But her bondage shall never quench the fire of former years until her destroyed glory returns.”

God bless Afrika, Her sons and daughters!

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Something is rotten in the state of Somaliland

Wiki

Despite widespread vociferous opposition by citizens, the government of Somaliland has granted a military base to Abu Dhabi. There is no credible justification for this decision in terms of Somaliland’s national security or economic needs. The decision is one more example of the culture of impunity, entitlement and mendacity of the Kulmiye government.

In Act I of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Marcellus, one of the sentries at Elsinore Castle, utters the immortal line “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, meaning that there exists in Denmark (the setting of the play) a deep malaise that is having a profoundly negative effect upon the country and its collective psyche (an alternative understanding of the line is that the reference to “Denmark” is to the King himself and the “rottenness” or malaise is in his soul) – either explanation serves the purpose of this article.  The genius of the bard, and indeed of all great dramatists, lies, at least partly, in their talent for encapsulating complex and often inexpressible thoughts and ideas in concise and simple language.  This is the essence and beauty of great poetry.

We can say today, with both confidence and sadness, that there is something truly rotten in the state of Somaliland, and that something is, without doubt, rotten in the current Kulmiye Government.  The fiasco in Parliament on 12 February 2017 wherein at a joint session of the two houses, Wakiilada & Guurtida (Representatives and Elders), the decision to grant a military base at Berbera to the Government of Abu Dhabi was supposedly ratified, is but the latest in a long line of government actions that directly sacrifice the public interest in favour of the personal gain of government insiders and the ruling elite. The use of public office and executive authority for personal enrichment has a long tradition and is common in many countries, including many so-called advanced countries that often have the shameless temerity to lecture their less developed counterparts on the evils of corruption and the imperatives of clean governance and transparency in civic affairs. However, it is fair to say that the Kulmiye Government has elevated executive corruption, public mendacity and the open manipulation of public office for personal gain to a level unseen in the history of Somaliland.  We have now reached the rarefied heights of the Afweyne dictatorship with respect to the open and shameless theft of public funds and assets by government officials from the highest levels to the lowest clerical cadres.

Government ministers are blatantly shameless in misappropriating public funds for their personal use and in stealing public assets and property (i.e. land, buildings, vehicles etc.) by transferring legal title to themselves or their family members. Another recent example of the breach of executive privilege was the spectacle of a coterie of ministers accompanying the Kulmiye presidential candidate, Muse Bihi, on a campaign tour of the eastern provinces of Sool and Sanag. These officials saw no conflict between their responsibilities as public servants sworn to work for the people and uphold the constitution and openly campaigning for a candidate of one of the three national parties; or if they did see the inherent conflict of interest in their actions, they simply did not care – indeed it is normal for government officials to refer to the Kulmiye candidate as “Mr. President” – even though the election is many months away.  This culture of impunity, entitlement and mendacity has been a feature of the Kulmiye government for many years now, and it has become more entrenched with each passing day.

The issue of granting a military base in Berbera to Abu Dhabi merits close study for many reasons, most importantly because authorizing the presence of armed, foreign military forces on one’s soil is an extremely sensitive matter that has fundamental implications for national sovereignty, foreign relations and national development.  Traditionally, nations permit foreign countries to base military personnel and equipment on their soil for reasons connected with the national security of the host country.  For example, after World War II, Germany and Britain granted the US military bases in their countries under the auspices of the NATO alliance in support of their own national security against the threat of the USSR. In response, under the auspices of the Warsaw Pact, the countries of Eastern Europe granted the Soviet Union military bases in their countries. In Asia, South Korea and Japan permitted US military bases in their countries to protect themselves against the perceived threats from North Korea/China and the USSR respectively.  The states of Bahrain and Qatar have granted the US military bases in their countries as a bulwark against the perceived threat to their own national security from Iran.

In the Horn of Africa, Djibouti has granted military bases to several foreign countries, namely France (due to the historic, colonial relationship), the US (which is withdrawing this year due to the base recently granted to China), China and (as recently reported) Saudi Arabia.  However, the case of Djibouti is somewhat different from the examples in Europe and Asia mentioned above. Djibouti is a city-state with no mineral or other natural resources with which it can support itself economically.  Historically, its only significant asset which can be converted into economic value has been its geo-strategic location – after all this was the principal reason that France sought control over the city and its environs during the colonial ‘Scramble for Africa’ during the 19th century.  Thus, for Djibouti, granting military bases to foreign powers has a primarily economic motivation which has worked to its benefit to date.

With respect to Berbera and Somaliland, it is instructive to analyse the various motivations that may lie behind the decision by the Kulmiye government to grant such a base to Abu Dhabi against widespread, popular opposition. First, Somaliland has no immediate and obvious threat to its national security and sovereignty against which the presence of foreign military forces could be a credible deterrent. Ethiopia, the country’s huge neighbour to the west, is also its closest friend in Africa as well as Somaliland’s greatest potential economic and security partner. It is difficult to see Somaliland’s economic, political and security development without Ethiopia as a close and collaborative partner and ally; equally, it is clear that the future of Ethiopia’s economic, trade and security development and growth is closely linked to free and unfettered access to Somaliland’s ports and the entrepreneurial acumen of its vibrant private sector.  Somaliland’s other two neighbours, Djibouti to the north and Somalia to the east and south, do not pose a serious, existential threat to the country’s national security at present and are unlikely to do so in the future. Thus, it is clear that fear of immediate, external threats to its national survival does not comprise a credible motivation for Somaliland to grant a military base to a foreign power.

Second, let us examine the economic motivation which has been widely and loudly touted by the Kulmiye government and its spokespeople.  According to the government, the military base will provide many well-paid jobs which are badly needed and which will contribute to the local economy. The fact is that the foreign military bases in Djibouti do not provide many such jobs to its people, despite the fact that Djibouti, as a recognised member of the international community of nations which has full access to the international monetary, financial and trading systems, has a much greater opportunity to maximise the potential economic benefits of such installations. The simple truth is that the relatively few jobs provided to the host communities by many of these bases are in the janitorial and cleaning sectors. Further, the local purchasing of most of these facilities is very limited since they tend to source most of their goods and materials from their home countries. The limited capacity for sourcing the required goods and materials within Somaliland due to the lack of a local banking sector that is connected to the international financial system, will militate in favour of this trend.

Finally, the experience of Japan and the Philippines suggests that many of the economic and social consequences of hosting large foreign, military installations are often negative for local communities, rather than positive.  In short, despite the glowing and rosy projections of the government regarding the economic benefits of such a base, experience suggests that the socio-economic consequences are uncertain at best, and unambiguously negative at worst.

Unlike Djibouti, Somaliland has ample mineral, pastoral, agricultural and other natural resources upon which to base the economic development of its small population of some 4-5 million. Thus, renting out parts of the land and coast of the country in order to capitalise upon its geo-strategic location is neither the only option available to secure economic benefit, nor is it a particularly rational one. This rentier model of economic development may be sensible for a small city-state with a population of half a million people (grosso modo), but it is laughable as a viable economic strategy for a nation comprising approximately 138,000km2, including 700km of coastline, with significant agricultural, mineral, marine and pastoral resources that could be relatively easily developed to yield economic benefits that would transform the lives of its people beyond recognition.  Thus, the economic rationale for granting the base as advanced by the government is a blatant fallacy.

Since there is no credible motivation with respect to its own national security and the economic benefits of the proposed base are uncertain and limited at best, the motivation of the Kulmiye government in pushing through with granting the base against widespread and vociferous local opposition needs to be scrutinised closely. Is there some critical threat to Somaliland’s security that has been hidden from public view against which the proposed base will be a defence?  Is there some as yet undisclosed benefit that will accrue to the country and its people that has been agreed upon with Abu Dhabi, but which will emerge in the near future?  Based upon the government’s track record with respect to openness and transparency, its history of mendacity and duplicity with respect to foreign policy (principally in its relations and supposed dialogue with the discredited and now defunct Dum-al-Jadid government of Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud), the fact that it is now a ‘lame duck’ administration with just six months remaining of its tenure, not to mention its well-documented elevation of kleptocracy to a method of governance as briefly outlined above, it is difficult, if not impossible, to but conclude that the true motivation lies in the personal gain of key government insiders.

Having established that the rationale and motivation for the proposed base in Berbera do not fall within the parameters applicable in many other countries that host bases for foreign powers, we can turn to the potential disadvantages that granting such a base will bring to Somaliland.  The first issue that needs to be addressed is the proposed tenant of the base and the purpose for which they propose to use it. The lessee is the Government of Abu Dhabi and the stated purpose for its use is the execution of the air campaign against the Houthi rebels in the Yemen War mounted by Arab allies of the government led by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.  In this context, it is important to note that Abu Dhabi has also secured a base in Asab in Eritrea which it has developed significantly since 2015 when the base was granted.  Of course, Eritrea is closer to Yemen and thus better suited as a base of operations against the Houthi rebels, while southern Saudi Arabia is contiguous with Yemen and is the present base of operations for the Arab allies in the Yemen war.

In view of the above, and bearing in mind that Abu Dhabi has a close military alliance with Egypt which has extended to mounting joint air strikes against targets in Libya, many observers see a hidden Egyptian hand in the request for the base in Berbera. This is a very serious issue for Somaliland in view of the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Nile waters and Ethiopia’s plans to construct hydroelectric dams on the headwaters of the Nile in its northern mountains, in order to power its ambitious industrial development plans.  It has been widely reported that Ethiopia is greatly concerned regarding the granting of the base in Berbera to Abu Dhabi, and it has made its concerns known to the Kulmiye government on several occasions.  The fact is that the ramifications of the proposed Berbera base for regional politics are very complex and unclear.

For example, as mentioned above, the principal player in the Arab alliance supporting the Hadi government in Yemen, namely Saudi Arabia, has recently secured a military base in Djibouti, while simultaneously signalling its displeasure with Egypt by supporting Ethiopia’s policy to develop its power generation capacity through construction of dams on the Nile headwaters in its northern waters.  In December 2016, Saudi Arabia sent several delegations to Addis Ababa, one of which visited the Renaissance Dam, and signed economic cooperation agreements with Ethiopia, including joint investment in hydroelectric power projects.  Further, as the new administration in the US signals retrenchment in its global military footprint, and conversely China indicates expansion of its global military footprint (witness their game of musical chairs with respect to bases in Djibouti), regional powers will seek to enhance their projection of military power in the region in support of their respective interests.  In this context, it is also important to bear in mind Russia’s determination to maintain their naval base in Tartus in Syria as evidenced by Russia’s substantial and decisive military support for the Assad regime in the Syrian war.  In January of this year, this Russian policy bore fruit as the two countries signed an agreement to expand and upgrade the base, while making Russia’s use of it permanent.

With respect to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, these regional powers comprise Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and India, while the superpowers also jostle for advantage as US strategic imperatives under the new administration become clearer.  The immediate future, therefore, for regional politics and strategic alliances presents a period of increased competition and regional turmoil as these regional powers jostle for advantage and position in the shadow of superpower realignment, expansion and entrenchment. It is into this witches brew of turmoil, localised wars and intensified regional competition, that the Kulmiye government has waded with nary a thought except for its own immediate and petty, material gain.

The people of Somaliland are much wiser than their rulers and understand the dangers and shifting alliances of their neighbourhood, and for this reason have opposed the proposed base by a wide majority.  It is clear that the story with respect to granting of the base is by no means concluded, and it is very likely that the incoming government of Somaliland will reverse the decision of the Kulmiye government after the elections scheduled for September this year. In the meantime, those elements of the Kulmiye government that have been pushing for approval of granting of the base will have secured their ‘thirty pieces of silver’ at the cost of the interests of their nation and people.  However, this is but what we have come to expect from this morally bankrupt and lame duck government.

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