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Authoritarian Regimes (Like the U.S. and Britain) Treat Reporters Like Terrorists Washington’s Blog

Authoritarian Regimes (Like the U.S. and Britain) Treat Reporters Like Terrorists Washington’s Blog.

The U.S. Government Condemns Authoritarian Regimes Which Use Anti-Terror Laws to Stifle Journalism

It is widely known that authoritarian regimes use “anti-terror” laws to crack down on journalism.

But this extreme tactic is becoming more and more common.  The Committee to Protect Journalistsreported a year ago that terrorism laws are being misused worldwide to crush journalism:

The number of journalists jailed worldwide hit 232 in 2012, 132 of whom were held on anti-terror or other national security charges. Both are records in the 22 years CPJ has documented imprisonments.

The American government has rightly condemned such abuses.  For example, the U.S. State Department noted last April:

Some governments are too weak or unwilling to protect journalists and media outlets. Many others exploit or create criminal libel or defamation or blasphemy laws in their favor. They misuse terrorism laws to prosecute and imprison journalists. They pressure media outlets to shut down by causing crippling financial damage. They buy or nationalize media outlets to suppress different viewpoints. They filter or shut down access to the Internet. They detain and harass – and worse.

The State Department condemned Burundi in 2012 for treating journalists as terrorists.

The 2012 State Department human rights report on Turkey criticized the country for imprisoning “scores of journalists…most charged under antiterror laws or for connections to an illegal organization.”

The State Department rightly announced in 2012:

We are deeply concerned about the Ethiopian government’s conviction of a number of journalists and opposition members under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. This practice raises serious questions and concerns about the intent of the law, and about the sanctity of Ethiopians’ constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

The arrest of journalists has a chilling effect on the media and on the right to freedom of expression. We have made clear in our ongoing human rights dialogue with the Ethiopian government that freedom of expression and freedom of the media are fundamental elements of a democratic society.

As Secretary Clinton has said, “When a free media is under attack anywhere, all human rights are under attack everywhere. That is why the United States joins its global partners in calling for the release of all imprisoned journalists in every country across the globe and for the end to intimidation.”

Last October – in response to respected Moroccan journalist Ali Anouzla being arrested under an anti-terror law for linking to a Youtube video – the State Department said:

We are concerned with the government of Morocco’s decision to charge Mr. Anouzla. We support freedom of expression and of the press, as we say all the time, universal rights that are an indispensable part of any society.

U.S. and U.K. Do the Exact Same Thing

Unfortunately, the American and British governments are doing the exact same thing.

The British High Court just ruled that Glenn Greenwald’s partner could be treated like a terrorist because he was trying to deliver leaked documents to reporters.

Amnesty International writes:

It is clearly deeply troubling if laws designed to combat terrorism can be used against those involved in reporting stories of fundamental public interest. There is no question the ruling will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the future.

Indeed, the British government considers the following activities to constitute terrorism:

The disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government [or] made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause.

The ACLU’s Ben Wizner satirically writes:

Relax, everyone. You’re not terrorists unless you try “to influence a government.” Just type what you’re told.

The U.S. government is targeting whistleblowers in order to keep its hypocrisy secret … so that it cankeep on doing the opposite of what it tells other countries to do.

As part of this effort to suppress information which would reveal the government’s hypocrisy, the American government – like the British government – is treating journalists as terrorists.

Journalism is not only being criminalized in America, but investigative reporting is actually treated liketerrorism.

Veteran reporters and journalists say that the Obama administration is the most “hostile to media” of any administration in history.

The government admits that journalists could be targeted with counter-terrorism laws (and here). For example, after Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing aboutbad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge

After the government’s spying on the Associated Press made it clear to everyone that the government is trying to put a chill journalism, the senior national-security correspondent for Newsweek tweeted:

Serious idea. Instead of calling it Obama’s war on whistleblowers, let’s just call it what it is: Obama’s war on journalism.

Moreover:

  • The Bush White House worked hard to smear CIA officersbloggers and anyone else who criticized the Iraq war
  • In an effort to protect Bank of America from the threatened Wikileaks expose of the bank’s wrongdoing, the Department of Justice told Bank of America to a hire a specific hardball-playing law firm to assemble a team to take down WikiLeaks (and see this)

And the American government has been instrumental in locking up journalists in America (and here),Yemen and elsewhere for the crime of embarrassing the U.S. government.

Ethiopia – Land for Sale – People & Power – Al Jazeera English

Ethiopia – Land for Sale – People & Power – Al Jazeera English.

Just a few decades ago, Ethiopia was a country defined by its famines, particularly between 1983-1985 when in excess of half a million people starved to death as a consequence of drought, crop failure and a brutal civil war.Against this backdrop, it is impressive that in recent years, Ethiopia has been experiencing stellar economic growth. The headline statistics are certainly remarkable: the country is creating millionaires faster than any other in Africa; output from farming, Ethiopia’s dominant industry, has tripled in a decade; the capital Addis Ababa is experiencing a massive construction boom; and the last six years have seen the nation’s GDP grow by a staggering 108 percent.

But it is not all positive news, because for all the good figures there are still plenty of bad ones.

Around 90 percent of the population of 87 million still suffers from numerous deprivations, ranging from insufficient access to education to inadequate health care; average incomes are still well below $1500 a year; and more than 30 million people still face chronic food shortages.

And while there are a number of positive and genuine reasons for the growth spurt – business and legislative reforms, more professional governance, the achievements of a thriving service sector – many critics say that the growth seen in agriculture, which accounts for almost half of Ethiopia’s economic activity and a great deal of its recent success, is actually being driven by an out of control ‘land grab’, as  multinational companies and private speculators vie to lease millions of acres of the country’s most fertile territory from the government at bargain basement prices.

At the ministry of agriculture in Addis Ababa, this land-lease programme is often described as a “win-win” because it brings in new technologies and employment and, supposedly, makes it easier to improve health care, education and other services in rural areas.

“Ethiopia needs to develop to fight poverty, increase food supplies and improve livelihoods and is doing so in a sustainable way,” said one official.

But according to a host of NGO’s and policy advocates, including Oxfam, Human Rights Watch and the Oakland Institute, the true consequences of the land grabs are almost all negative. They say that in order to make such huge areas available for foreign investors to grow foodstuffs and bio-fuels for export – and in direct contravention of Ethiopia’s obligations under international law – the authorities are displacing hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples, abusing their human rights, destroying their traditions, trashing the environment, and making them more dependent on food aid  than ever before.

“The benefits for the local populations are very little,” said renowned Ethiopian sociologist Dessalegn Rahmato. “They’ve taken away their land. They’ve taken away their natural resource, because these investors are clearing the land, destroying the forest, cutting down the trees. The government claims that one of the aims of this investment was to enable local areas to benefit by investing in infrastructure, social services … but these benefits are not included in the contract. It’s only left up to the magnanimity of the investor.”

And those investors, he continued, are simply not interested in anything other than serving their own needs: “They can grow any crop they want, when they want it, they can sell in any market they want, whether it’s a global market or a local market. In fact most of them are not interested in the local markets.”

He cited as an example a massive Saudi-owned plantation in the fertile Gambella region of south west Ethiopia, a prime target area for investors: “They have 10,000 hectares and they are producing rice. This rice is going to be exported to the Middle East, to Saudi Arabia and other places. The local people in that area don’t eat rice.”

But the most controversial element of the government’s programme is known as ‘villagisation’ – the displacement of people from land they have occupied for generations and their subsequent resettlement in artificial communities.

In Gambella, where two ethnic groups, the Anuaks and the Nuers, predominate, it has meant tens of thousands of people have been forced to abandon a traditional way of life. One such is Moot, an Anuak farmer who now lives in a government village far from his home.

“When investors showed up, we were told to pack up our things and to go to the village. If we had decided not to go, they would have destroyed our crops, our houses and our belongings. We couldn’t even claim compensation because the government decided that those lands belonged to the investors. We were scared … if you get upset and say that someone stole your land, you are put in prison. If you complain about being arrested, they will kill you. It’s not our land anymore; we have been deprived of our rights.”

Despite growing internal opposition and international criticism, the Ethiopian government shows no sign of scaling the programme back. According to the Oakland Institute, since 2008, an area the size of France has already been handed over to foreign corporations. Over the next few years an area twice that size is thought to be earmarked for leasing to investors.

So what does all this mean for the people on the ground? In Ethiopia – Land for Sale, filmmakers Veronique Mauduy and Romain Pelleray try and find out.

Herders fight farmers over Tanzania water – Features – Al Jazeera English

Herders fight farmers over Tanzania water – Features – Al Jazeera English.

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania – Tanzanian authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with ongoing conflicts between farmers and pastoralists as they fight over limited land and water resources in this East African nation.

From Tanzania’s Coast Region to Kilimanjaro, violent and sometimes deadly clashes have been raging for decades as farmers and pastoralists scramble for resources.

Most recently, on January 12, ten people were killed in Kiteto district in central Tanzania when Maasai pastoralists allegedly invaded villages in the disputed Embroi Murtangosi forest reserve and set homes ablaze. Local farmers accused district officials of colluding with the Maasai to intimidate farmers living on the reserve in an attempt to chase them off their land.

“It’s no secret, we are being harassed because there are certain people who are getting paid to evict us from this area,” said Kisioki Mesiaya, a farmer in Kiteto district.

Pastoralists, who are generally more affluent than farmers here, have been accused of influencing political decisions through bribery.

Tanzania has approximately 21 million head of cattle, the largest number in Africa after Ethiopia and Sudan. According to the ministry of livestock and fisheries development, livestock contributes to at least 30 percent of agricultural GDP.

Tanzania’s ministry for agriculture, food security and cooperatives says that small-scale farmers produce more than 90 percent of the country’s food. Of the country’s 94.5 million hectares, only half – 44 million hectares – is arable land.

The worst conflict between pastoralists and farmers here occurred in December 2000 in Kilosa district, in the Morogoro region, where 38 farmers were killed. Hostilities reignited in 2008 and eight people were killed, several houses set alight and livestock stolen.

Disputes ‘fuelled by officials’

Deputy national assembly speaker Job Ndugai accused government officials of siding with pastoral communities to intimidate farmers.

“Land disputes are fuelled by officials… who have been soliciting bribes in terms of money and livestock from pastoralists to evict farmers on the pretext that the land occupied by farmers is a reserved area,” Ndugai said in December from his constituency in Kongwa.

We have seen the influx of investors who take swathes of land to start commercial farming ranching or mining activities, in the process triggering conflicts with local people who are evicted from their land without due process

Yefred Myenzi, Land Rights Research and Resources Institute

Kiteto district commissioner Martha Umbulla, however, dismissed this as false. “There’s nothing like that, those allegations are not true,” she said.

Experts say that these resource-based conflicts are also fuelled by ethnic hatred, dwindling resources, poor land management and population growth.

Yefred Myenzi, a researcher from the Land Rights Research and Resources Institute known locally as HakiArdhi, said that most of the fighting over land was the indirect result of decisions and actions taken by the state through its various agencies.

He said that the struggle for land and water resulted from a lack of public awareness and knowledge of the country’s laws, inadequate participation of local people in policy and law formation, and violation of laws by district officials. Of Tanzania’s 42 million people, only 0.02 percent have traditional land ownership titles.

“We have seen the influx of investors who take swathes of land to start commercial farming ranching or mining activities, in the process triggering conflicts with local people who are evicted from their land without due process,” he added.

He blamed the existing land tenure system for sidelining pastoral communities, since no land has been set aside for them. “Although land laws require every village to have in place a land use plan, many villages are yet to implement this due to conflict,” he said.

Myenzi warned that, although a conflict resolution mechanism offered hope, disputes over land were likely to persist due to corruption and a weak system of reinforcement.

‘Growing social problem’

Henry Mahoo, professor of agricultural engineering at Tanzania’s Sokoine University of Agriculture, said that in order to resolve tensions between the two groups, a land use plan, which would clearly identify areas under pastoralists’ ownership and those controlled by farmers, should be drawn up.

“The problem [behind] these clashes is deeper than we think. All concerned parties must be involved in the negotiation process, and there must be a forum where farmers and pastoralists openly talk about their problems,” he said.

“I think these conflicts are a sign of a growing social problem. There are so many idle minds out there who can be incited to do anything,” he added.

Meshack Saidimu, a Maasai pastoralist in Mbalali, said that most of the disputes occurred because the government had not set aside areas for pastoralists.

“I think we are being made scapegoats for all these problems. The Maasai are disciplined people, they don’t just hurt somebody for the sake of it,” he said.

The disputes over land and water have also caused food insecurity among farmers, many of whom have been unable to harvest crops for fear of reprisals from enraged pastoralists.

“In analysing land conflicts we need to critically look at the issue. The farmers complain that pastoralists let their animals trample on their crops while searching for water and pasture but herders argue that there are paths that cattle use without causing damage to crops,” Myenzi said.

But he said a lasting solution could be found only if pastoralists and farmers respect and value each other.

A version of this article was first published by Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency.  

Guest Post: Africa – China And Japan’s Next Battleground? | Zero Hedge

Guest Post: Africa – China And Japan’s Next Battleground? | Zero Hedge.

We have long held that Africa is a crucial region of the world in the near future because there is no more incremental debt capacity at any level: sovereign, household, financial or corporate – in any other region. As we noted previously:

without the ability to create debt out of thin air, be it on a secured or unsecured basis, the ability to “create” growth, at least in the current Keynesian paradigm, goes away with it. Yet there is one place where there is untapped credit creation potential, if not on an unsecured (i.e., future cash flow discounting), then certainly on a secured (hard asset collateral) basis. The place is Africa, and according to some estimates the continent, Africa can create between $5 and $10 trillion in secured debt, using its extensive untapped resources as first-lien collateral.

 

Africa is precisely where the smart money (and those who quietly run the above mentioned “power echelons”), namely China and Goldman Sachs, have refocused all their attention in the past year precisely because they both realize that Africa is the last and only bastion of untapped credit growth and capacity.

Africa in geographical perspective…

 

So it is perhaps unsurprising that China’s current arch-enemy Japan – and its apparently bottomless well of printed money – are taking aim also…

Submitted by Shannon Tiezzi, via The Diplomat,

As tensions between China and Japan multiply, there is an increasing battle for influence in other states. For example, in his recent article in The Diplomat, Jin Kai noted China and Japan’s global media war. There has also been an upswing in more traditional diplomatic wrangling, with Japan seeking to increase its influence in ASEAN as an attempt to reduce China’s sway in the region. With both China and Japan seeking to assert their leadership over the Asia-Pacific, it makes sense that both countries would woo ASEAN. It’s a bit more surprisingly to see China-Japan diplomatic competition supposedly pop up in Africa.

Recently, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both visited the African continent. Abe left on January 9 for a week-long tour of the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, Wang was in Africa from January 7 to January 11, visiting Ethiopia, Djibouti, Ghana, and Senegal. Given the current chill in China-Japan relations (and the tendency for both countries to snipe at each other in the media), the two trips quickly morphed into a sign of ‘competition’ over Africa.

Both countries rejected the idea that they were competing. When Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was asked to comment on the idea that Wang Yi’s visit to Africa “is directed against Japan,” she responded that anyone harboring this idea “is not so acquainted with the past and present of China-Africa relations.” Indeed, as Hua pointed out, it’s traditional for Chinese Foreign Ministers to visit Africa as their first overseas trip of the new year. Hua praised China “sincere and selfless help” for Africa, and warned that trying to stir up a rivalry in Africa is “a wrong decision which is doomed to fail.” This comment was likely directed at Japan, but could just as easily apply to the United States and other countries seeking to increase their influence in Africa.

Japan also denied that Abe’s visit to Africa had anything to do with China. Hiroshige Seko, a deputy chief cabinet secretary, was quoted in an Associated Press article as saying that competing against China is “not our intention at all.” Seko added, “As far as the African nations are concerned, they are important regardless of China.” African countries are important to Japan for the same reason they are to China — a wealth of natural resources as well as ample opportunity for foreign investment. The New York Times pointed out that increasing ties with Africa is just one aspect of Abe’s diplomatic strategy, all of which is designed to support “Abenomics.”

In a speech in EthiopiaAbe reaffirmed Africa’s importance. “A considerable number of Japanese believe that Africa is the hope for Japan,” he said. His speech focused almost entirely on the potential for a positive relationship between Africans and Japanese companies — including how Japanese management strategies can benefit African people. “When Japanese companies that value each and every individual come to Africa, a win-win relationship in the truest sense can emerge,” Abe said. By contrast, his vision of the Japanese government’s role in Africa seemed like an afterthought. Abe did discuss his wish for more cooperation with the African Union, and offered to increase Japans’ assistance and loans to the continent, but he spent far less time on this point than on extolling the virtues of Japanese businesses.

Japan’s strategy, in other words, is economically focused. It’s clear that Abe’s pursuit of a relationship with Africa is closely connected with Japanese businesses. China, on the other hand, constantly emphasizes the “friendship” between its government and those of African nations. Though Chinese companies do big business in China, Beijing almost never alludes to this fact in its official remarks. When joint projects (such as roads or government buildings) are brought up, these projects are always a sign of China’s friendship towards Africa.

Accordingly, in his speeches Wang Yi focused on the government-to-government relationships between China and  African nationsIn Senegal, Wang called for both countries “to firmly support each other’s core interest[s] and major concerns.” In Ghana, he spoke about the need “to promote practical cooperation through strengthening traditional friendship.” China’s relationships with African countries are focused not just on business opportunities (although of course that’s an important aspect) but also on gaining African diplomatic support for China’s policies.

Whereas Abe seems content to have Japanese businesses make profits, China is actively pursuing soft power on the continent. This is nothing new for China. A 2013 study by Gustavo Flores-Macías and Sarah Kreps of Cornell University found that, since the mid-1990s, China has been quite successful at parlaying its trade relationships in Africa and Latin America into tangible foreign policy support. Japan doesn’t seem to be seeking this sort of influence (at least, not yet). Instead, Abe is more openly concerned with increasing economic interactions. While China and Japan may look like they’re competing in Africa, the two countries are actually playing different games.

Activist Post: The Plundering of South Sudan

Activist Post: The Plundering of South Sudan.

image source

Tony Cartalucci
Activist Post

RT’s report “Who is to blame for the crisis in South Sudan?” gave a succinct background on the warring factions inside the new “nation” of South Sudan and the Western genesis of the conflict. The report would state:

The SPLM has received support from the US and Israel throughout the duration of the civil war fought between southern rebels and Khartoum, which has historically had unfriendly relations with the West and has moved very closely to China in recent times to jointly develop the country’s oil wealth prior to the separation. Romantic notions for self-determination did not motivate the West to support southern secession; the objective was to partition Sudan and deprive Khartoum of economically relevant territory in the south where most of the oil fields lie. In exchange for the financial, material, political, and diplomatic support received from the West, the new government in Juba endorsed a ‘Faustian pact’ with its sponsors to open its economy to international finance capital and multinational interests. The government in Juba even applied for IMF membership before it had even officially gained independence from Sudan.

The piece would continue by laying out the current dilemma for the West:

Despite supporting the South’s independence with diplomatic muscle and military aid, the United States has been unable to gain a foothold in the country’s oil sector; Juba’s crippled economy remains dominated by Asian companies, primarily from China. South Sudan must rely on pipelines that run through Khartoum to export its oil, and the two countries produced around 115,000 barrels of oil per day in 2012, less than half the volume produced in the years before South Sudan’s independence. Both sides have nearly gone to war over disputed oil fields that straddle a poorly demarcated border. Judging from the poor economic performance of both countries since the partition and the dramatic loss of the life in the ongoing crisis, the experiment of South Sudanese independence is failing.

Image: Violence predictably is centered around currently Chinese-controlled oil infrastructure. The goal is to have violence drive the Chinese out just as was done by NATO in Libya.

The piece would go on to note that peace deals reached leaving Sudan intact could have avoided the deadly conflict now raging – and that of course is correct. However, peace is not and never was the goal of the West and its involvement in Africa – economic gain is.

Precisely because China still maintains extensive holdings in Sudan and South Sudan’s oil infrastructure, the conflict will be brought to a fever pitch – and unsurprisingly the conflict’s epicenter corresponds with South Sudan’s primary oil producing regions. If and when the Chinese are pushed out of South Sudan, the West will continue either across the border to establish routes for exporting their newly gained oil wealth from the landlocked country, or proceed through Kenya with or without the current government in Nairobi’s backing.

The BBC would report in their article, “China’s oil fears over South Sudan fighting,” that (emphasis added):

The stakes could not be higher for China, the largest investor in South Sudan’s oil sector, as fierce fighting continues between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those of his former deputy.

Some of the largest oil fields China operates are in areas controlled by fighters backing Riek Machar, the country’s vice-president until he was sacked in July.

Oil production has already dropped by 20% since the onset of the conflict three weeks ago and more than 300 Chinese workers have been evacuated. 

The spectre of their Libyan experience also weighs heavily on the Chinese minds – project after project now lies deserted because of heavy fighting during the Arab Spring uprising of 2011, inflicting huge losses on China.

Most telling of all is the BBC’s reference to Libya – another nation destroyed by Western military aggression that saw both Russian and Chinese interests crumble overnight and replaced by Western corporations. While South Sudan’s chaos is being orchestrated more covertly by the West, the final goal of pushing out the Chinese and taking over is the same.

Similar covert destabilization can be seen all across what the 2006 Strategic Studies Institute’s report “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral” calls China’s “String of Perals.” This includes US-backed militants attempting to carve off the province of Baluchistan from Pakistanwhere China has established a port at Gwadar and at another Chinese port in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar that has been the scene of brutal, genocidal violence carried out by “democracy icon” Aung San Suu Kyi’s “saffron monks” against Rohingya refugees.

Setting Up Shop in South Sudan

There is no doubt that the US and its accomplices Israel and Uganda have decided to stay in South Sudan. TheUS corporate foundation-funded “Enough Project” provided the rhetorical justification for an enduring presence in the war-torn African state in its Al Jazeera op-ed titled, “Al Jazeera America Op-ed: South Sudan’s Salva Kiir needs to put his black hat back on,” which stated:

To be sure, growing pains are common in societies working to secure their independence after years of marginalization and authoritarian rule. Building a cohesive national identity among South Sudan’s 81 ethnic groups will take generations. Still, the looming specters of mass intercommunal violence means we cannot afford to be complacent. The United States committed itself to the South Sudanese people’s long march toward independence decades ago. It would be a shame if America allowed a return to war when the South Sudanese are so close to securing their future.

With that humanitarian/freedom-promoting foot-in-the-door, the West has the pretext it needs to meddle for decades to come.

To begin with, Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) signed what it called a “water infrastructure and technology development” deal with South Sudan’s government in 2012. The deal allegedly covers desalination, irrigation, water transport and purification, but a visit to Israel Military Industries Ltd. website indicates they are military contractors and arms manufacturers, not engineers and certainly not specialists in water infrastructure. Other sources claim IMI will serve as a conduit for actual Israeli water firms – but in light of US, Israeli, Saudi, and Qatari joint operations elsewhere, IMI will most likely serve as a conduit for weapons, cash, and conflict as well (or instead).

Image: It is not entirely clear how a military contractor and weapons manufacturer like Israel’s IMI is going to develop South Sudan’s water infrastructure. Just like Qatar’s use of humanitarian aid groups to smuggle weapons into Syria, Israel is most likely using “development” as cover for perpetuating conflict both within South Sudan to drive out the Chinese, as well as across the border in Sudan to the north to finally topple the government in Khartoum.

In 2013, Israel and South Sudan would begin forging oil deals. In UPI’s report, “South Sudan signs oil deal with Israel,” it was stated:

South Sudan says it has signed an agreement with several Israeli oil companies, a potentially significant strategic move that will consolidate the Jewish state’s relations with the fledgling, oil-rich East African state.

UPI would continue, highlighting the glaring problem of actually exporting the oil to turn a profit:

South Sudan’s petroleum and mining minister, Dhieu Dau, announced the oil deal last week after he returned from a visit to Israel.

He said negotiations were ongoing with Israeli companies, which he did not identify, seeking to invest in South Sudan.

Dau indicated the southern government in Juba, ramshackle capital of the infant state, hoped to export oil to Israel, but observed that this could not happen before March.

He gave no indication how the landlocked south would achieve this, or what volume of crude would be involved. But it’s a move Khartoum would do everything possible to wreck.

Finally, the UPI report indicates the much larger implications of Israel’s (and the US’) involvement in South Sudan, using it as a springboard to topple neighboring Sudan in the north:

The prospect of Israel actually getting oil from South Sudan remains uncertain, given Juba’s difficulties with Khartoum.

There has been talk of building a 1,000-mile export pipeline from South Sudan across Kenya to the Indian Ocean that would free Juba from reliance on Khartoum’s pipelines.

But no definite plans for the project, expected to cost around $2 billion, have yet materialized.

It may be that Israeli companies are seeking to help out in that regard — if only to undermine the Islamic-oriented Khartoum regime and its alliance with Tehran, and to gain access to the Nile River, Egypt’s primary source of water and a strategic target.

During Sudan’s civil war, one of Africa’s longest conflicts in which some 2 million people died, Israel provided the southern rebels with arms, training and funding, as it has done in other parts of Africa seeking to weaken its Arab adversaries.

Clearly, the presence of Israeli arms dealers is not to develop South Sudan’s infrastructure but rather to flood the region with weapons to flush out the Chinese and eventually stab northward toward Sudan and its capital of Khartoum. UPI’s report would go on to admit that military aid was still undoubtedly flowing to South Sudan for this very purpose.

In addition to a proxy military confrontation with Sudan, the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have been attempting to overthrow the government in Khartoum from within – attempting an “Arab Spring-style” uprising in late 2013 that eventually fizzled.

Enter US AFRICOM and Uganda’s Museveni 

Infamous Western collaborator and Ugandan dictator-for-life Yoweri Museveni has been fighting the West’s proxy wars in Africa for decades. He has also done much within his borders to appease the West including selling large tracts of land to foreign developers right out from beneath the feet of his own people – many times killing landowners who refused eviction.

Image: Whatever pretext the West attempts to use to place Western troops inside of Africa while Fortune 500 corporations scoop up the continent’s vast resources, it is nothing more than modern recolonization. US troops placed in Uganda to fight “Kony” are now conveniently in place to aid in the despoiling of neighboring South Sudan – a state carved out of proper Sudan via Western-fueled civil war. 

In 2011 under the false pretext of fighting Joseph Kony’s “Lord’s Resistance Army” the US would begin deploying troops to Uganda. By 2013, these troops would still be there – when violence began to spread across nearby South Sudan, US troops conveniently still stationed in Uganda would be mobilized for the evacuation of US citizens. Stars and Stripes would report in their article, “Marines airlift US Embassy personnel out of South Sudan,” that:

Nonessential U.S. Embassy personnel were evacuated Friday from South Sudan aboard two KC-130 aircraft assigned to a Marine crisis response team positioned in nearby Uganda.

The article would also report:

Last week, the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response also was pre-positioned at Entebbe, Uganda, to provide additional support. The unit, from Moron, Spain, was formed less than a year ago to bolster AFRICOM’s crisis-response capabilities.

Uganda, like Sudan, has clearly been permanently brought into AFRICOM’s fold under an initial false “humanitarian” pretext that was then quietly shifted to the permanent occupation of African territory. And Uganda not only serves as a base for US AFRICOM, but is also using its soldiers to carry out AFRICOM’s objectives beyond Uganda’s borders.

The Guardian would report in its recent article, “South Sudan peace talks falter as Uganda sends in troops,” that:

The South Sudan peace talks being held in Ethiopia have stalled, officials say, as a rebel commander claims big victories against the South Sudanese government and Uganda sends in more troops and military hardware.

The report would also claim:

Uganda, he said, had sent 1,200 troops to secure installations such as the airport and state house, adding that Ugandan military aircraft had bombed several rebel-held positions.

Uganda says its deployment of more troops and military hardware to Juba this week came at the request of Kiir. Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda, a Ugandan military spokesman, said on Wednesday that reinforcements were dispatched on Monday and Tuesday “to plug security gaps”. He denied the Ugandans were actively involved in combat.

Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, is a strong ally of Kiir. The neighbouring countries have built a bond that goes back to South Sudan’s armed struggle for independence from Sudan and the Khartoum government. Museveni recently warned Machar that East African countries would unite to defeat him militarily if he does not agree to attend peace talks.

In essence, Uganda is providing the manpower on the ground while the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others provide the cash, weapons, and everything else. It is another proxy war, just like the ongoing conflict in Syria, albeit with Ugandan troops literally invading South Sudan to prop up the West’s proxy government in Juba.

Who is funding and arming rebel groups fighting the West’s proxy government is still unclear. Reports indicate it may be dissident factions of South Sudan’s own armed forces involved in a recent coup attempt. Other theories suggest that US, Uganda, and/or Israel may be funding and arming both sides hoping to carry the conflict onward to Khartoum. It is clear that Khartoum, Sudan, one way or another, is the US-Israeli-Saudi-Qatari goal – to complete the theft of Sudanese oil as well as the means to export it out of the broken, worn-torn, decimated country.

This is the current state of the Wall Street-London global order in Africa – and a tattered, exploited Africa in our future should this state persist.

Tony Cartalucci’s articles have appeared on many alternative media websites, including his own at 
Land Destroyer ReportAlternative Thai News Network and LocalOrg.

Read other contributed articles by Tony Cartalucci here.

South Sudan army recaptures oil hub – Africa – Al Jazeera English

South Sudan army recaptures oil hub – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Malcolm Webb reports from Uganda on flight of South Sudanese refugees into neighbouring countries
South Sudan’s army says it has regained control of the rebel-held town of Bentiu, handing the government control of Unity State’s oilfields where production had been halted.The army had earlier announced it was mobilising thousands of additional troops as it battled to recapture two rebel-held cities, including Bentiu, although regional mediators were still hopeful a ceasefire could be reached.

“It happened this afternoon at 2.30pm,” Philip Aguer, army spokesman, told Reuters news agency on Friday.

“When you control Bentiu, you control all the oil fields in Unity state.”

Forces in Bentiu loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar had been holding off the army of President Salva Kiir for several days, leaving it ransacked and emptied of its civilian population.

Machar confirmed rebel forces had lost control of the northern oil hub, but pledged his fighters would continue their battle against the government.

Follow our in-depth coverage of South Sudan

“We withdrew from Bentiu, but it was to avoid fighting in the streets and save civilian lives. We fight on, we will continue the battle,” Machar told AFP by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location in the country.

He said the rebel side would remain engaged in peace talks that are taking place in Addis Ababa in neighbouring Ethiopia.

“Yes, we are committed,” he said, without giving any indication if he was willing to agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, a rebel military spokesman described the loss of Bentiu as a “temporary setback”.

“Our forces made a tactical withdrawal to avoid civilian casualties,” Lul Ruai Koang said.

“The government does not have the capacity to defeat us militarily,” he added, accusing the South Sudanese government of “bringing in mercenaries” from neighbouring Uganda and the Darfur region of Sudan.

He also said rebels still controlled Unity State’s oil infrastructure outside Bentiu.

Troop mobilisation

Fierce battles have also continued around Bor, another rebel-held town in central South Sudan that has already changed hands three times since the conflict began nearly a month ago.

In the capital Juba, the government’s allies from several regions say they are in the process of calling up thousands of former soldiers to shore up the South Sudan army.

Infographic: Untangling South Sudan violence

“We have to mobilise all SPLA soldiers, all former soldiers who were in the Sudanese army,” Clement Wani Konga, governor of Central Equatoria State, said, adding 3,000 extra troops had been found in his region alone and a further 12,000 were expected to soon be armed and ready.

Nevertheless, in Addis Ababa, where the peace negotiations are being held under the aegis of the East African regional bloc IGAD, the chief mediator told AFP news agency he was still optimistic.

“If you ask me on the possibilities of signing, I am very optimistic … because we have now come a long way in establishing understanding between the parties,” Seyoum Mesfin said.

He said he expected a ceasefire in “the shortest possible time”.

Against this backdrop, the UN says it believes that “very substantially in excess” of 1,000 people have been killed in the South Sudan civil war.

It also says that nearly a quarter of a million people have fled their homes, many of them fleeing a wave of ethnic violence between Kiir’s majority Dinka tribe and Machar’s Nuer.

For its part, the US, which was instrumental in helping South Sudan win independence from Sudan in 2011, has said it fears implosion of the young country and is urging the two warring factions to immediately agree to a truce.

Egypt and Ethiopia agree to bridge dam divide – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Egypt and Ethiopia agree to bridge dam divide – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Egypt warns Ethiopia over Nile dam – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Egypt warns Ethiopia over Nile dam – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

 

Eritrea accuses Canada of ‘bullying’ – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Eritrea accuses Canada of ‘bullying’ – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

 

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