Mission creep in darkest Africa

•November 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

https://orientalreview.org/2017/11/08/mission-creep-in-darkest-africa/

The British Empire, which at the end of the 19th century ruled one quarter of the earth’s land surface, is long gone. But its robust successor and heir, the United States, has set about enlarging it.

As I sought to explain in my last book ‘American Raj – How the US Rules the Muslim World,’ the US imperium exerts its power by controlling tame, compliant regimes around the world and their economies. They are called ‘allies’ but, in fact, should be more accurately termed satrapies or vassal states. Many states are happy to be prosperous US vassals, others less so.

The US power system has successfully dominated much of the world, except of course for great powers China, Russia and India. Germany and much of Western Europe remains in thrall to post WWII US power. The same applies to Canada, Latin America, Australia, and parts of SE Asia.

There is one part of the globe that has remained free from heavy US influence since 1945, sub-Saharan Africa. But this fact is clearly changing as the US military expands its operations the width and breadth of the Dark Continent.

We are seeing a rerun of the fine old 1930’s film, ‘Beau Geste’ which was taken from a cracking good 1924 Victorian novel by C. Percival Wren. Set in French North Africa, Wren’s dashing French Legionnaires end up defending a remote fort against masses of hostile Arab and Berber tribesman.

The novel and film negatively shaped western attitudes to the Arab world and its peoples but glorified the French Foreign Legion. Wren claimed to have been a member of the Legion which was the primary enforcement arm of France’s African colonial empire.

The famed Legion, which fought from Mexico to Indochina, has now shrunken to a pitiful 8,000 men. France’s thread-bare finances proved a deadlier enemy than Saharan horsemen.

Even so, the Legion is still used by Paris for sudden shock interventions across West Africa to support client French regimes and punish those who challenge the status quo. I’ve lifted  a glass with many Legionnaires. They are an amazingly tough bunch: you never know whether they are going to kill you or buy you drinks.

US troops have now stepped into the boots of ‘La Legion.’ Almost unnoticed, US Special Forces – our version of the Legion – have been slipping into Africa, the newest and most exciting market for the Pentagon.

Creation of the new US Africa Command in 2007, with headquarters in Germany, was discreet but it signaled active US military and geopolitical interest in resource-rich Africa, a key target of Chinese interest. No one in Washington seems to know how many US troops operate in Africa, but it’s at least 12,000 not counting mercenary contractors and CIA units. There was consternation in Congress when these facts emerged last week.

The key US base in Africa is at Djibouti, a poxy, fly-blown French colony on the Red Sea that is also shared by the Legion and, curiously, a Chinese naval station. US forces in Djibouti operate into Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Central Africa. US forces in West Africa operate in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda, and anywhere that pro-US regimes are under pressure. Mali and Chad, where nomadic tribes battle the central government, are key operating regions. Both are under nasty dictatorial regimes backed by Washington.

As in the British Empire, the ‘natives’ are kept under control by small numbers of skilled Western troops. There’s no need for big battalions of regulars. The key is western air power and intelligence. Particularly so in often barren sub-Saharan West Africa where French and US warplanes patrol the skies. `We have the Maxim gun (machine gun) and they have not’ wrote a Victorian poet. Nothing much has changed.

France’s previous president, Francois Hollande, charged into a local tribal squabble in Mali, a key uranium supplier, between black town dwellers and nomadic Tuareg and assorted Islamists. Unable to afford the spreading war, France asked for US help and got it. The bitterly anti-Muslim Trump administration could not miss a chance to attack Muslims in West Africa under the banner of ‘anti-terrorism.’

A ‘terrorist’ in this case is anyone who challenges the western-dominated political order, from Malian nomads to Central African Republic rebels. In the brutal dictatorial regimes of former French West Africa the only effective opposition comes from groups calling themselves Islamic. This pulls the chain of the Trump administration and its Christian fundamentalist allies at home who seek to uproot fast-spreading Islam from Africa. So off the US military charges into Africa, with little understanding of the region and even less strategic planning. It’s Vietnam-style ‘mission creep’ all over again.

Washington is still trying to figure out what happened to Herzegovina in the Balkans while it plunges into darkest West Africa. That’s why Trump and French president Emmanuel Macron are so chummy these days.

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always creeping around africa..the last bastion of cheap labour..

There is one part of the globe that has remained free from heavy US influence since 1945, sub-Saharan Africa. But this fact is clearly changing as the US military expands its operations the width and breadth of the Dark Continent.”

chian v usa..

The key US base in Africa is at Djibouti, a poxy, fly-blown French colony on the Red Sea that is also shared by the Legion and, curiously, a Chinese naval station.”

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Cambodia dissolves opposition party

•November 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

http://www.smh.com.au/world/descending-into-outright-dictatorship-cambodia-dissolves-opposition-party-20171116-gzn4k2.html

Cambodia’s Supreme Court has dissolved the country’s main opposition party, denying millions of Cambodians the opportunity to vote for their elected representatives in elections next year.

The verdict follows a sweeping crackdown on democracy and political freedoms in the country where Australia has an agreement to send refugees from Nauru and Manus Island.

More than half of the leaders of the National Rescue Party (CNRP), which Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government asked the court to dissolve, are already in jail or have fled the country.

The court also ordered a five-year ban on political activity for 118 members of the party, which had emerged as a threat to Mr Hun Sen’s three decade-rule.

The government has accused the party of plotting to overthrow the government with help from the United States, which strongly Washington denies.

Party leader Kem Sokha was jailed in a raid on his home by more than 200 police on September 3.

Human rights group slammed the verdict in the country, where they say the courts are politicised, and called on other countries to press Mr Hun Sen to reverse it.

“It shows that Hun Sen will never stop if no one is stopping him,” said Kem Monovithya, the daughter of Kem Sokha and also a party official.

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this is how you win elections..dissolve the opposition.

“Cambodia’s Supreme Court has dissolved the country’s main opposition party, denying millions of Cambodians the opportunity to vote for their elected representatives in elections next year.”

dictatorship?

“The government has accused the party of plotting to overthrow the government with help from the United States, which strongly Washington denies.”

usa!..you mean the ones complaining about russia interference all over the world??

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Egypt is getting a new capital..courtesy of China

•November 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

http://edition.cnn.com/style/article/egypt-new-capital/index.html
Egypt’s new capital city moved a step closer to reality with the announcement that Chinese developers will largely fund the megaproject.

The China Fortune Land Development Company (CFLD) agreed to provide $20 billion for the currently unnamed city, after a meeting between heads of the firm and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

This follows a previous commitment of $15 billion from another Chinese state-owned company, bringing the project close to its $45 billion budget requirements for phase I.

Plans for the new capital were first announced in March 2015. Government officials described the development as a solution to crowding, pollution and rising house prices in Cairo.

“Cairo Capital is a momentous endeavor to build national spirit, foster consensus, provide for long-term sustainable growth,” said the project website. “(The) new city will create more places to live, work and visit.”

The 700 square kilometer city to be constructed in the desert to the East of Cairo would become the new seat of government, and it is presented as a far grander vision than the current capital.
Proposals for the city include housing for five million people, over 1,000 mosques, smart villages, industrial zones, a 5,000-seat conference center, and the world’s largest park.

Interest in the project has been brisk. An Indian company is reportedly planning a vast medical center and university, while a Saudi firm intends to build a 12.6 hectare mosque and Islamic museum.

Construction is already under way. According to Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper, engineers have begun work on infrastructure including bridges and 210 kilometers of roads.
The first phase of the project will see government ministries and residential blocks rise from the sand. This phase could be complete within five years, with the first residents moving in.

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thanks to adirondack for the link..

this is big..

“The China Fortune Land Development Company (CFLD) agreed to provide $20 billion for the currently unnamed city, after a meeting between heads of the firm and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.”

the new capital for the new world..and its china again..

“The 700 square kilometer city to be constructed in the desert to the East of Cairo would become the new seat of government, and it is presented as a far grander vision than the current capital.”

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Myanmar security forces targeting Rohingya children in ethnic purge

•November 20, 2017 • 2 Comments

http://www.smh.com.au/world/myanmar-security-forces-targeting-rohingya-children-in-ethnic-purge-report-20171116-gzn5b2.html

A soldier poured gasoline over a heavily pregnant woman and set her alight.

Another ripped a baby from his mother’s arms and threw him into the fire.

“He was not even one year old…I will never forget their screams,” a 24 year-old woman told investigators from Save the Children, which has just released a report revealing shocking atrocities against Rohingya Muslim children in Myanmar.

A 12 year-old boy fled his village for Bangladesh after the military started hacking people with machetes before entering an abandoned village, hoping to find some food or water, and eventually came across a reservoir, the report said.

“When I got closer I saw at least 50 dead bodies floating in it,” the boy told investigators.

“I can’t forget the smell of the burning houses, or the sight of the bloated bodies…these are horrors I will never forget,” he said.

Save the Children Australia director of policy and international programs Matt Tinkler, who has returned from visiting Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, said “almost every child we’ve spoken to has seen and experienced things that no child ever should.”

“They have told us of massacres, multiple rapes and seeing family members burnt alive,” Mr Tinkler said.

“With more than half of all refugees under the age of 18, this is a children’s emergency,” he said.

“Many of these children are deeply traumatised by what they have been through, and are now living somewhere that is no place for a child.”

The release of the report comes ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers from Australia, Europe, Asia and New Zealand in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw on Monday and Tuesday to discuss to discuss Asia’s worst humanitarian crisis in decades.

“Nothing should be off the table; they must use all financial and diplomatic avenues available to end the crisis and protect children,” Mr Tinkler said, adding that international relief agencies should also be granted immediate access to Rakhine State, where the atrocities have taken place.

Multiple reports by United Nations’ agencies and human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have revealed Myanmar security forces are using widespread and systematic violence to drive 1.1 million Rohingya from Rakhine, where they have lived for generations.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August.

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like yemen..

like somalia..

myanmar is genocide..in the 21st century..in real time..in front of us..and the UN’s golden girl is just making out it isnt happening..shame..

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War between Iran & Saudi Arabia could send oil to $300 per barrel

•November 20, 2017 • 1 Comment

https://www.rt.com/business/409905-saudi-arabia-iran-war-oil/

An armed conflict between Riyadh and Tehran would have a major impact on oil markets and the global economy. RT asked experts what a war between the two Middle East superpowers would mean for crude prices.

If a conflict happens, oil prices could increase 500 percent.

“Energy prices will seriously depend on the severity of the conflict. Let’s remember the unrecognized Iraqi Kurdistan, which in a state of continuous war exported about 550,000 barrels per day through Turkey. In this connection, we can expect a panic rise in oil price to $150-$200 on the first day of the conflict… If Saudis and Iran attack each other’s oil facilities, crude prices can skyrocket to $300,” Mikhail Mashchenko, an analyst at the eToro social network for investors told RT.

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go long oil?

shia v sunni..as usual..

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Isabel Dos Santos sacked from Angola state oil firm

•November 20, 2017 • 1 Comment

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-42003016

The president of Angola, Joao Lourenco, has fired the daughter of his predecessor as head of the country’s state oil company Sonangol.

Isabel Dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, is Africa’s richest woman.

Mr Dos Santos was Africa’s second longest-serving leader until he stepped down in September after 37 years.

President Lourenco, known as JLo, has promised to tackle corruption

Correspondents say he wants to weaken the influence of the Dos Santos family.

The president of Angola, Joao Lourenco, has fired the daughter of his predecessor as head of the country’s state oil company Sonangol.

Isabel Dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, is Africa’s richest woman.

Mr Dos Santos was Africa’s second longest-serving leader until he stepped down in September after 37 years.

President Lourenco, known as JLo, has promised to tackle corruption

Correspondents say he wants to weaken the influence of the Dos Santos family.

“The key reason for my appointment is because I come from the business sector and I’ve had a track record of building business,” she told BBC Focus on Africa radio.

Earlier this month, she was the only African woman named in Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabel_dos_Santos

Isabel dos Santos was born in BakuAzerbaijan SSR, the oldest daughter of Angola’s former President José Eduardo dos Santos and his first wife, the Russian-born Tatiana Kukanova, whom he met while studying in the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. Her father’s parents came from São Tomé and PríncipeShe studied electrical engineering at King’s College in London. There she met her husband from Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), Sindika Dokolo, a son of a millionaire from Kinshasa and his Danish wife.

***

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41906123

An entrepreneur charged with managing the oil wealth of the struggling African state of Angola was paid more than $41m in just 20 months, leaked documents reveal.

The payments were made via a complex web of companies set up in the offshore jurisdiction of Mauritius.

Jean-Claude Bastos also used his position to help set up large investment deals he stands to further profit from, the Paradise Papers show.

All sides deny any wrongdoing.

Like many oil rich countries, Angola set up a sovereign wealth fund to invest the proceeds of its natural resource wealth. Similar schemes have been used by other countries to help ensure a steady income for future generations.

Angola is wracked by corruption, suffers extreme poverty and has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world.

The fund, Fundo Soberano De Angola (FSDEA), which began with $5bn (£3.75bn) in 2011, was mired in controversy from the start, after the then Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos’ son, 39-year-old Jose Filomeno, was appointed to head it up.

Jean-Claude Bastos, sometimes also known as Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, a Swiss-Angolan and close friend of the then president’s son, was chosen as the fund’s asset manager.

Typically, a fund of this size would spread the risk of investment among several asset managers, along with the fees it pays, said one expert.

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“Isabel Dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, is Africa’s richest woman.”

who is she?

find out..

azerbaijan..money..africa..

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Images 19/11/17

•November 19, 2017 • 8 Comments

the latest from snoop dogg..er..lion..erm..dogg again..

yep..

a mosaic from a synagogue..

more star trek..

i sense a theme but im a conspiracy theorist..so that discounts my opinion.. 🙂

i have read it folded up into the size of a suitcase..yep..

inconvenient truth..

life comes at you very fast..

how to sell a good watch..

a still from under the skin..a new movie from scarlett johansson..

i love the internet..under the right circumstances these people play for same sides..its a game of influence..

401

 
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