Sunday, December 29, 2013

USA and UK economic monopolization of natural resources in South Sudan

Information about the conquest of South Sudan: [link]

"US and UK pursuing a ‘massive land grab’ in South Sudan" 
2013-12-24 from "Russia Today (RT)" [http://rt.com/op-edge/south-sudan-land-grab-742/]
Salva Kiir government in South Sudan is effectively “a terrorist government put in power by the West” to tap into country’s vast resources, war correspondent Keith Harmon Snow, told RT.
RT: How possible is another irrevocable split - this time of South Sudan? Or has that already happened in reality?
Keith Harmon Snow (KS): It is already happening in reality. The fighting since December 15 has led to the murder of about 5,000 people in the Juba area according to reports we are getting from South Sudan. Of course, none of this is in the international media at all; the international press is completely relying on the government of Salva Kiir for their facts and their information. And the government of Salva Kiir is effectively a terrorist government put in power by the West.
RT: What interests are the US and UK pursuing in South Sudan? Why they are involved there?
KS: Massive land grab! We are talking about agricultural resources that have not been tapped into that [huge] agribusiness want to take control of it. Sudan is home to massive properties that are producing, or have produced in the past, the main ingredient for soft drinks and ice cream, which is gum-arabic. The Darfur area in particular was [important] because the gum-arabic produced there [accounts for two-thirds] of the world’s supply, and it's the best gum-arabic in the world. South Sudan has mining reserves and it also has massive oil reserves. Those are the biggest interests: land, oil, mining and agricultural production.
RT: How is the conflict affecting the oil industry and what is the international community doing about it?
KS: The oil industry in Sudan has backed the terrorism that happened there and agents of power that have put in place the government of Salva Kiir. The agents that supported the South Sudan, Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), would be the government of Uganda and powerful factions from the United States, including cooperative executives from the oil companies.
The interests of the oil companies have been served by bringing the SPLA into power, which they did, and they succeeded in creating a separate independent state called South Sudan. In the process, the oil has continued to flow out of South Sudan. They have brought about this situation and every day there is killing inside South Sudan; it benefits the oil companies because if you remove the people you have greater control of the land.
RT: How strong are the government's forces now?
KS: The Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which would be the government forces, has been split into several factions, and in the fight that has occurred recently has been the faction that is the government in power: Salva Kiir, versus Riek Machar. Both of these guys, Riek Machar and Salva Kiir, were from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army previously.
[The] government [of] Salva Kiir has perpetrated massive atrocities against the Luo-Nuer since December 15, especially the Nuer people in the Juba area, where the reports are 5,000 killed; and that would be mostly women and children, non-combatants of any sort. I don't see any possibility of what we would call democracy in South Sudan.
RT: Tens of thousands of civilians have found shelter in UN compounds. How vulnerable are they at this point?
KS: You have to look at the UN occupation of South Sudan as a part of a complete occupation, domination and expropriation of the land of Sudan from the people of Sudan. The UN interests in Sudan serve the power structures, they don’t serve the people.
The fact that they have created a refugee camp is just another business opportunity for organizations like Save the children, or the Norwegian People’s Aid, which has [projected] itself as a humanitarian organization, and has actually shipped weapons into South Sudan. You have to look at this from this prospective: the UN, the African Union, the Ugandan troops, and there are 3,000 Ugandan troops currently in South Sudan backed by the Pentagon, backed by the African command of the Pentagon.
This is what’s going down in South Sudan. It’s not an internal tribal war, it’s a western corporate occupation and what we would call pacification of South Sudan strictly for the land grab and for the resource grab that’s going on. And the people that are suffering the atrocities committed by the government of Salva Kiir have started to fight back. [The] Nuer were unhappy with the Dinka government, which has now turned on the Nuer people, and that’s where the war comes from.
A guy at Smith college, Dr. Eric Reeves, has been a number one propagandist about South Sudan being the victims of atrocities for all these years, when in fact the government today, the Sudan people’s Liberation government, has been the power that has been committing those atrocities in South Sudan as well as in North Sudan.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

USA Military Marines deployed to South Sudan

Information about the conquest of South Sudan [link]

"U.S. Marines poised to enter South Sudan"
2013-12-24 by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Barbara Starr and Antonia Mortensen from "CNN" [http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/23/world/africa/south-sudan-violence]:
(CNN) -- About 150 U.S. Marines are poised to enter turbulent South Sudan to help evacuate Americans and provide security for the U.S. Embassy, if ordered to do so, two U.S. military officials said Monday.
The troops are moving from Moron, Spain, to the Navy's Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.
An estimated 100 U.S. citizens are believed to be in South Sudan, where steady violence is stoking fears of an all-out civil war in the world's newest country.
"By positioning these forces forward, we are able to more quickly respond to crisis in the region, if required," read a statement from U.S. Africa Command.
It cited the example of Benghazi, where an attack last year killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
"One of the lessons learned from the tragic events in Benghazi was that we needed to be better postured, in order to respond to developing or crisis situations, if needed. These precautionary movements will allow us to do just that," the statement read.
According to a senior administration official, 380 American citizens and about another 300 third-country nationals have been evacuated.
"Based on registration, there are American citizens in other towns and areas throughout South Sudan. We are trying to track down how many may still be there. Many may have gotten out on their own. We are trying to track that down," the official said.
On Sunday, all Americans who presented themselves at a U.N camp in the flashpoint town of Bor were evacuated safely, the State Department said.
A State Department official said about 15 Americans were flown out Sunday. U.S. personnel have been working to confirm that no other U.S. citizens remained in Bor in need of evacuation.
U.N. civilian staff were moved from a compound in Bor to Juba, the capital, on Saturday, the same day a U.S. mission to airlift Americans out was aborted when the aircraft came under fire.
Four U.S. troops were wounded in the attack in Bor and were to be moved to the U.S. military hospital at Landstuhl, Germany, a senior U.S. official told CNN on Sunday.
One of the injured "went through some pretty serious surgery" after being taken to Nairobi, Kenya, with wounds from gunshots fired at the aircraft. All four have been able to speak to their families.
"The United States and the United Nations, which has the lead for securing Bor airport in South Sudan, took steps to ensure fighting factions were aware these flights were a humanitarian mission," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
"The U.S. government is doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of United States citizens in South Sudan. We are working with our allies around the world to connect with and evacuate U.S. citizens as quickly and safely as possible."

Rebel seizure -
Earlier, government officials reported rebels have seized the capital of a key oil-producing state in South Sudan.
Military spokesman Phillip Aguer told CNN that Bentiu is no longer under government control after falling to troops loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, who was ousted from his post in the summer.
On its Twitter feed, the South Sudanese government wrote: "Bentiu is not currently in our hands. It is in the hands of a commander who has declared support for Machar."
Bentiu is the capital of Unity state, the source of oil -- crucial to impoverished South Sudan's economy -- that flows through pipelines north into Sudan for export.
Aguer said troops of the Sudan People's Liberation Army were on their way to retake rebel-held towns -- namely Bentiu and Bor, also north of Juba.
He said the army had not asked regional powers to assist, saying it was equipped to handle the situation. He would not specify the number of troops being sent in but estimated about 1,500 rebels were in both Bor and Bentiu.
President Salva Kiir, from South Sudan's Dinka ethnic group, has accused troops loyal to Machar, from the Nuer community, of trying to launch a coup. The two men have long been political rivals, and Kiir dismissed Machar, along with the Cabinet, in July.
The U.S. special envoy to South Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth, said Monday that Kiir told him he is ready to begin talks with Machar, without preconditions as soon his counterpart is willing, to try to stop the violence.
South Sudan formally split from Sudan in 2011 after a referendum following decades of conflict. Armed groups remain active in the oil-rich country.

Machar: 'There was no coup' -
The former vice president said Monday that he and his supporters have no intention of taking power through military means.
"There was no coup. It was a sheer lie, fabrication," Machar told CNN's Max Foster.
"There is an uprising in South Sudan, as you well know. The people are uprising. It is because of the security forces that are stamping down on the popular feeling of people. The people of South Sudan are fed up with what Salva Kiir has been doing all this time."
He said he was happy to start talks with the President, but only if Kiir first releases political detainees.
"These are the only people who can dialogue. The army releases them, then the dialogue can start soon, and hopefully we will get a peaceful settlement," Machar told CNN.

United Nations responds -
Up to 40,000 civilians have taken refuge in U.N. bases in the country, the world body says. It estimates some 62,000 people have been displaced, with violence affecting five of South Sudan's 10 states.
"The U.N. stood with you on your road to independence," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday in a message to the people of South Sudan. "We will stay with you now. I know that the current situation is causing great and growing fear. You are seeing people leave the country amid increasing chaos. The U.N. will stay with you."
He called for reinforcing the U.N. peacekeeping force, which currently has more than 6,800 troops and police in the landlocked country. In a letter, Ban asked the Security Council to boost the force by 5,500 personnel.
The United Nations has moved noncritical staff out of Juba across the border into Uganda. The violence, which began in the capital, has spread farther north in one week, killing hundreds of people and displacing tens of thousands.
According to the senior U.S. administration official, the United Nations is working up a list of requests for assistance.
"Washington is now in the process of looking at these requests and evaluating how we can be helpful and how we can do that as quickly as possible," the official said.

Doctors Without Borders 'deeply concerned' -
Medecins Sans Frontieres said it was "deeply concerned" for the safety of those caught up in the violence.
The group, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said fighting had broken out Sunday in Nasir in the Upper Nile state, and a hospital in the town had received 24 patients with gunshot wounds.
The group is also providing assistance in Bentiu and Juba.
"Yesterday while setting up the mobile clinic for the displaced in Juba, there was still a queue of people arriving carrying all their belongings, with their children in tow. With the ongoing conflict in the country, people are unsure of how the situation will evolve and are scared to return home," Forbes Sharp, the humanitarian group's emergency coordinator, said in a statement.
"The situation is evolving fast in South Sudan and we are reacting as best we can to the changing landscape of the violence."

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Central African Republic

USA sending $100 Million in military aid and equipment, 2013-12-19 [link]
USA Federal Diplomats sent to Central African Republic, 2013-12-19 [link]
USA Military aircraft sent into combat alongside France's Military in Central Africa Republic [link]

USA military deployed to South Sudan

New and info about the war in South Sudan [link]

"President Obama Orders US Troops to South Sudan Growing violence and talk of civil war in African nation"
2013-12-20 by Jon Queally from "Common Dreams" [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/12/20]:
President Obama on Thursday announced that he has sent a team of combat-ready soldiers to the country of South Sudan amid growing violence and increasing talk of "civil war" in the African nation.
The death of several UN peacekeeping soldiers this week and reports of large numbers of civilian casualties as fighting intensified between militias and government soldiers on opposite sides of a recent coup attempt have stirred international focus on the country, with Obama telling Congress in a written statement that the recently formed country is "at the precipice" and the UN Security Council scheduled to hold an emergency meeting in New York on Friday to address the worsening situation.
As South Sudan analyst James Copnall writes [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25454168], the politics of the country are complicated, but "just over two years after it became independent," with refugees fleeing the violence and over 500 people already reported killed this week, "South Sudan is living out some of its worst fears."
Though framed as a both a political and ethnic power struggle, one of the clear fault lines in the growing tensions is centered around control of the country's oil fields that are located in the north, as Reuters indicates [http://news.yahoo.com/workers-clash-south-sudan-oil-fields-16-dead-132119161.html]:
[begin extract]
China National Petroleum Corp, India's ONGC Videsh and Malaysia's Petronas are the main firms running the oilfields. Total has exploration acreage in country. South Sudan, a nation the size of France, has the third largest reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa after Angola and Nigeria, according to BP.
Oil production, which had been about 245,000 barrels per day, supplies the government with most of its revenues. [...]
South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in 2011. A persistent dispute with Sudan over their border, oil and security have added to the sense of crisis.
The row led to the shutting of oil production for about 15 months until earlier this year, slashing state revenues and undermining efforts to improve public services in a nation of 11 million people but with barely any tarmac roads.
[end extract]
Deutsche Welle reports [http://www.dw.de/un-peacekeepers-killed-in-south-sudan-as-fears-of-a-civil-war-grow/a-17312457]:
[begin extract]
After first asserting that it was in control of the situation, the South Sudanese government has now admitted that its forces have lost control of Bor, the capital of Jonglei.
"The situation in South Sudan can be best described as tense and fragile. If it is not contained, it could lead to ethnic cleansing," Choul Laam, a top official with the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement told an Associated Press reporter in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, several countries including Germany, the US, Britain and Italy have been evacuating their nationals.
Later on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both sides to engage in dialogue as a way of ending the bloodshed.
"The future of this young nation requires its current leadership to do everything possible to prevent South Sudan descending into the chaos that would be such a betrayal of the ideals behind its long struggle for independence," a statement released by his office said.
[end extract]
Offering additional background, the (London) Guardian reports:
[begin extract]
South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir, has accused his former deputy Riek Machar of attempting to launch a coup last Sunday. The pair, who have been rivals since the long civil war that ended in 2005 and split the country, had been in an uneasy power-sharing government since independence in 2011.
Kiir hails from the Dinka community, while Machar comes from the Nuer. The accusation that the former vice-president had attempted to seize power led to widespread reprisals against his supporters and fellow Nuer in the capital and surrounding areas. What began as a political power struggle has spilled over into open ethnic conflict in some areas.
In Unity State, which produces much of the oil that supports the economies of South Sudan and Sudan, fighting has led to oil workers fleeing the fields and reports suggest the government has lost control of the state capital, Bentiu.
In Jonglei a Nuer-led rebel militia, which claims its community is under attack by the government, has seized Bor, one of the country's most strategically important towns.
The militia made up of military mutineers from the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has been raised under the command of the defected general Peter Gadet. After the storming of the UN base, Gadet said he would intervene to prevent further killings.
"It's an important distinction that the Akobo attack was not carried out by the armed opposition but by local youths," said Casie Copeland, a South Sudan expert with the Brussels-based monitor the International Crisis Group.
[end extract]

South Sudan

Information about the conquest of South Sudan:
* South Sudan "leaders" are sell-outs to transnational capitalists, 2013-12-31 [link]
* USA and UK economic monopolization of natural resources in South Sudan, 2013-12-24 [link]
* USA Military Marines deployed to South Sudan, 2013-12-24 [link]
* USA Military aircraft fired upon by militias, 2013-12-21 [link]
* USA military deployed to South Sudan, 2013-12-20 [link]

"South Sudan's Most Vulnerable Face Hard Struggles In World's Youngest Country"
2013-12-25 by Brian McAfee [brimac6@hotmail.com], posted at [http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/2013/12/guest-blog-south-sudans-most-vulnerable.html]:
Latest reports now indicate that about 34,000 South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in United Nations missions in Juba and Bor. South Sudan, having only recently come into existence as an independent nation, July 9, 2011, has a population of 11,367,276 (worldpopulationreview.org). Since fighting broke out on December 15 about 500 thought to be killed and about 800 wounded. It began when former vice president Riek Machar, who had been fired from his position this past July, Machar's attacks against the South Sudan military and President Salva Kiir's responses appear to have primarily only resulted in tens of thousands of the civilian population left in desperate situations, many homeless with injuries and possibly thousands of orphans.
One of the more alarming attacks was the one that occurred on Dec. 20 in which 20 Dinka (a native ethnic group) were killed in an attack on a UN compound where the Dinka were being sheltered from just such attacks. Despite this singular case the UN and UN peacekeepers are and will be an indispensable element for a safe and secure South Sudan.
Some demographics, 82% of SS is Christian, 18 Islamic. Primary natural resources, copper, chromium ore, zinc, mica, silver, gold and diamonds. One problem area (in which South Sudan is definitely not alone) is access to drinkable water.
While it seems about half the population do have relatively easy access to water many, too many do not. This is a fundamental rights issue that people should bear in mind for everyone.
I urge and appreciate any cocideration of people donating- I of course suggest the UN, especially UNICEF and also OXFAM, they have been working in both Sudan and South Sudan (as long as SS has existed).
South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, "MINERAL OCCURRENCES AND EXPLORATION WORK DONE IN SOUTH SUDAN. • There are a vast number of metallic minerals spread all over the South Sudan: gold, copper, zinc, lead, manganese, iron, silver, tin, etc. • Also industrial minerals exist: marble, limestone, dolomite, kaolin, clay, asbestos, etc. • Apart from gold at Kapoeta and Luri; copper at Hofrat Ennahas, bauxite/iron ore at Wau area and marble at Kapoeta..."
Note: Here some additional articles for background information (ALM):
* [http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/12/south-sudan-erupts.html#slide_ss_0=1]
* [http://www.opic.gov/press-releases/2012/opic-open-business-south-sudan]
* [https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/international/africa/files/South%20Sudan%20Investment%20Climate%20Update.pdf]
* [http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/us-southsudan-business-idUSTRE7AT1BG20111130]
* [http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/15/fact-sheet-supporting-south-sudan-s-vision-future]



Maps of the South Sudan-Kenya oil pipeline and the South-Sudan-Ethiopia-Kenya railway, with both connecting with the port construction project at Lamu, Kenya. Comparing of the maps shows the Kenya excursion into southern Somalia creates a potential pacified buffer zone for its South Sudan-Kenya pipeline/railway projects.



USA Military aircraft fired upon by militias

News and info about the conquest of South Sudan [link]

"Evacuation operation aborted as U.S. planes come under fire in South Sudan"
2013-12-21 by Barbara Starr and Tom Watkins, CNN [http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/21/world/africa/south-sudan-violence/]:
Washington (CNN) -- A mission to evacuate Americans from South Sudan was aborted Saturday when an aircraft carrying U.S. military members was fired upon as it prepared to land in Bor, wounding four of them, the Pentagon said.
The most severely damaged aircraft was thought to have been hit in the fuel line, a military official speaking on condition of anonymity said.
All three aircraft -- CV-22 Ospreys -- were diverted to Entebbe, Uganda, which is not where their flights originated, the official said. Another aircraft then flew the wounded to Nairobi, Kenya, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.
The four service members were in stable condition after treatment, the statement said.
Pentagon officials were trying to determine how to mount another effort to evacuate the roughly three dozen Americans in South Sudan, where they have been working for the United Nations, a senior U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was "reviewing options," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said. "Whatever we do it will be in coordination with the State Department," he added.
The White House said U.S. President Barack Obama was briefed before dawn Saturday while aboard Air Force One after landing in Hawaii, then met with his national security team on the matter.
The fighting has displaced as many as 100,000 people, many of whom have crossed the Nile River, he said, adding that he feared a humanitarian disaster was unfolding.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir blamed soldiers loyal to his former vice president, Riek Machar, for starting this month's violence.
Tensions have been high in South Sudan since July, when Kiir dismissed Machar and the rest of the Cabinet. The move inflamed tensions between Kiir's Dinka community and Machar's Nuer community.
Casualties include soldiers and number in the hundreds, the government said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Kiir on Saturday and discussed ways to halt the violence. It was Kerry's second call to Kiir since Thursday night.
"Secretary Kerry emphasized that only through leadership and political dialogue will the challenges facing South Sudan be resolved," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The two men "discussed the need to prevent ethnic violence, their concern for the welfare of thousands of internally displaced persons fleeing the conflict, as well as for the safety of U.S. citizens in South Sudan, and they agreed to speak again soon," she said.
Meanwhile, the State Department issued an emergency message for U.S. citizens, calling on them to avoid the area around the airport in Bor. Limited flights were continuing from Juba International Airport.
On Friday, Kerry said he was sending a special envoy -- Ambassador Donald Booth -- to the country.
"Now is the time for South Sudan's leaders to rein in armed groups under their control, immediately cease attacks on civilians, and end the chain of retributive violence between different ethnic and political groups," Kerry said in a statement.
Saturday's violence wasn't the first this week to harm foreign troops in South Sudan. On Thursday, attackers killed two Indian army peacekeepers, wounded a third, and killed two to 20 of 30 civilians who were seeking refuge at the United Nations' Akobo base, the U.N. said.
In a news release, the African Union called for an immediate truce.
It said that the chairwoman of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was "profoundly dismayed at the recent turn of events" and condemned the killing of innocent civilians and U.N. peacekeepers in Bor as a war crime.
South Sudan became the world's newest country when it split from Sudan in July 2011. The split happened after a 2005 peace agreement ended years of civil war between the largely Animist and Christian south and the Muslim-dominated north.
The deal led to a January 2011 referendum in which people of the south voted to secede from Sudan.


"U.S. aircraft hit by gunfire in South Sudan as conflict worsens"
2013-12-21 by Carl Odera for "Reuters" newswire [http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/21/us-southsudan-unrest-aircraft-idUSBRE9BK07G20131221]:
JUBA - Three U.S. aircraft came under fire from unidentified forces on Saturday while trying to evacuate Americans from a spiraling conflict in South Sudan. The U.S. military said four of its members were wounded in the attacks.
Nearly a week of fighting in South Sudan threatens to drag the world's newest country into a Dinka-Nuer ethnic civil war just two years after it won independence from Sudan with strong support from successive U.S. administrations.
The U.S. aircraft came under fire while approaching the evacuation site, the military's Africa Command said in a statement. "The aircraft diverted to an airfield outside the country and aborted the mission," it added.
The statement said all of the three Osprey CV-22 aircraft involved in the mission had been damaged.
Consequently, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that any move to take power by military means would lead to an end of U.S. and international community support for South Sudan.
The United Nations mission in South Sudan said one of four U.N. helicopters sent to Youai, in Jonglei state, had come under small-arms fire on Friday. No crew or passengers were harmed.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting between Dinka loyalists of President Salva Kiir and Nuer supporters of former Vice-President Riek Machar, who was sacked in July and is accused by the government of trying to seize power.
Fighting has spread from the capital, Juba, to vital oilfields and the government said a senior army commander had defected to Machar in the oil-producing Unity State.
The German military said on Saturday it had evacuated 98 people, including Germans and other nationals, from South Sudan by air to neighboring Uganda. The German ambassador to South Sudan was among them, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said.
A separate plane took Lieutenant-General Hans-Werner Fritz, chief of Germany's Operations Command, along with his aides and five other Germans, to Berlin, the military said.
After meeting African mediators on Friday, Kiir's government said on its Twitter feed that it was willing to hold talks with any rebel group. The United States is sending an envoy to help find a negotiated solution.
South Sudan's foreign minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told Reuters the government had given African mediators the go-ahead to meet Kiir's rivals, including Machar and his allies.
Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom, who led an East African delegation of foreign ministers in Juba aimed at mediating between the feuding sides, said the team did not manage to meet Riek Machar face to face, neither did they make phone contact.
"We are trying to contact them. We are hopeful of having both sides on the negotiating table within the space of 10 days," Tedros told Reuters.
In their meeting with Kiir, Tedros said they were also aiming to get humanitarian aid to afflicted populations unhindered.

CEASEFIRE CALL -
Benjamin said Lieutenant-General Lazarus Sumbeiywo, sent to South Sudan by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, had stayed behind along with a Kenyan diplomat after the African mediators left on Saturday and would work on making contact with Machar.
Sumbeiywo was the chief mediator in the talks that led to the signing of the 2005 peace agreements with north Sudan.
"So on the side of the government ... we have established dialogue without any condition," Benjamin said. "All we say, we urge former Vice-President Riek Machar not to incite the people of South Sudan through ethnic configuration."
United Nations staff say hundreds of people have been killed across the country, which is the size of France, this week and that 35,000 civilians are sheltering at U.N. bases.
The United Nations said on Friday at least 11 Dinka civilians had been killed during an attack by about 2,000 armed youths from another ethnic group on a U.N. peacekeeping base in Jonglei state. Two Indian peacekeepers were also killed.
The African Union called on Saturday for a Christmas ceasefire, and its chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma described the killings of civilians and U.N. peacekeepers as a war crime.
Reuters television footage showed several hundred government troops leaving Juba to deploy in Jonglei state.
Toby Lanzer, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, said via Twitter that Bor, in Jonglei state, remained tense. "We've heard clashes & seen bodies in the streets. Civilians have left town to flee for their safety," he wrote.
Information Minister Michael Makuei told Reuters an army divisional commander in Unity State, John Koang, had defected and joined Machar, who had named him the governor of the state.
Jacob Dut, a political science lecturer at the University of Juba, said most army divisions had between 10,000 and 13,000 troops, although not all were fully manned.
"Division 4 (Koang's unit) is adjacent to the border with Sudan. That means there is more military hardware and that means that this defection is a big loss," Dut said.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

USA Federal Diplomats sent to Central African Republic

News and info about the imperialist conquest in the Central Africa Republic [link]

"Top U.S. Officials Fly to Central African Republic"
2013-12-19 by Chris Good [http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/12/top-u-s-officials-fly-to-central-african-republic/]:
Two top U.S. diplomatic officials are flying to the war-torn Central African Republic this morning, marking the highest-level U.S. visit there since the country devolved into chaos that has left hundreds dead in the past weeks.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield are slated to land in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital of Bangui at 3 a.m. ET, 9 a.m. local, Power told reporters on Tuesday, noting that the people of CAR “are in profound danger.”
The two will meet with government and religious leaders to press for peace and security as international troops confront an alarming situation, with Muslim and Christian militias engaged in widespread religious reprisal killings.
“President Obama, Secretary [of State John] Kerry and I have all been deeply disturbed by reports of ongoing brutality in the Central African Republic,” Power told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. Media outlets agreed not to publish her comments until her scheduled landing in the country.
“Mobs have been going door to door,” Power said. “Urgent action is required to save lives.”
Last week alone, over 600 people were killed across CAR and 159,000 driven from their homes in Bangui, the United Nations office of the high commissioner for human rights said on Friday.
“The situation in the Central African Republic is both desperate and extremely dynamic and volatile,” Power said. “My government is thankful to the French and the brave African troops for putting their lives at risk.”
Power spoke by phone with transitional president Michel Djotodia on Dec. 8. Djotodia has said he cannot control the rebels that helped usher him into power earlier this year.
In March, largely Muslim rebels known as the Seleka seized Bangui, and rebel leader Djotodia dissolved the constitution and became transitional president. Responding to religious violence perpetrated by ex-Seleka fighters, Christian communities formed “anti-balaka,” or “anti-machete,” militias, and religious reprisal killings ensued, with Christian and Muslim communities both driven into hiding by militias. Of CAR’s 4.6 million population–half of whom are children, according to the U.N. — about 10 percent have been displaced.
Human rights violations have been widespread. A Nov. 15 United Nations report cited “summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence, torture, illegal arrests and detentions, looting of property, illegal checkpoints and extortion.” Sexual violence against women and girls has gone on “with absolute impunity,” U.N. reported.
International troops are seeking to disarm rebels and restore order. This month, the United Nations Security Council authorized 1,500 French troops and 3,600 African Union troops to confront and disarm rebels. The African force will be expanded to 6,000, meaning a total of 7,500 international troops will be in CAR. The U.S. military has helped deploy African troops, flying C-130 transport planes to and from Burundi to move soldiers into CAR.
The U.S. has authorized $100 million to support the international forces with supplies and trucks. On Dec. 10, President Obama augmented an initial $40 million with $60 million in added Department of Defense funds. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has given a total of $24.6 million in humanitarian assistance.

USA sending $100 Million in military aid and equipment

News and info about the imperialist conquest in the Central Africa Republic [link]

"White House Announces $100+ Million in Largely Military Aid to Central African Republic"
2013-12-19 by Ed Krayewski [http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/19/white-house-announces-100-million-in-lar]:
The French-led intervention in the Central African Republic isn’t something the United States wants to be left out of. US military flights in support of the intervention began last week [http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/12/us-military-flights-to-assist-car-inter], and now the White House has pledged up to $116 million in mostly military aid to the country, in addition to the $24 million in aid the federal government was planning on spending there this year.
From USA Today: [begin extract]
The United States plans to provide more than $100 million in security and humanitarian assistance to the war-torn Central African Republic, the White House announced Thursday.
"The CAR faces extraordinary challenges to restore security and to ensure protection of the civilian population," the White House said in a statement.
It added: "We are actively working to help end the violence, protect civilians, prevent atrocities, provide humanitarian assistance, and help create an environment that allows constitutional and democratic governance to be restored." [end extract]
See the White House’s full statement and “fact sheet” here [http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/12/19/fact-sheet-us-assistance-central-african-republic]. Up to $60 million of the aid will be for “defense services” and “defense articles” for the French forces that arrived in the Central African Republic earlier this month as well as the African-led mission deployed in the country. Another $40 million will go to “Peacekeeping Operations funding” for the African-led portion of the intervention in the Central African Republic.
No word from the White House if it'll decide to spend money on the crisis in nearby South Sudan, too. President Obama has also deployed military personnel across the continent, from the Niger to Uganda, but today's announcement did not mention troops.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Somali soldiers to be trained on home turf in 2014: EU"

2013-12-17 from "AFP"
Brussels -
Training of Somali soldiers by the EU will be shifted from Uganda to Somalia early next year, with an improvement in the security climate there, the EU said in a statement Tuesday.
The EU Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia), launched in early 2010, has so far trained 3,600 Somali troops, mainly at a camp in Bihanga, 250 kilometres (155 miles) west of the Ugandan capital Kampala where the EUTM headquarters is located.
But, "in the first months of 2014, the mission is set to conduct all its advisory, mentoring and training activities in Mogadishu, Somalia," the EU statement said.
The training mission underpins the EU's strategy to see a stable Somalia established after decades of conflict.
It aims to transform what was essentially loosely linked militias into a cohesive armed force under the control of Somalia's transitional government which took power in August 2012, in the wake of the 2006 fall of an Islamist regime in the country.
The government, which has control only over the capital and some other regions in the country, is bolstered by African Union troops, particularly from Kenya, which are containing the Islamic militia Al-Shabaab, linked to Al-Qaeda.
The EU statement said an Italian officer, Brigadier General Massimo Mingiardi, was appointed to take over as the new EUTM commander from February 15, succeeding Irish Brigadier General Gerald Aherne who has run the mission since February this year.
The EU's Somalia mission was extended to March 31, 2015 at the start of the year.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Nigeria: Corrupt Capitalist Christian Dictatorship

"Nigeria's leader under fire over missing $50B in oil money"
2013-12-12 from "UPI" newswire:
Abuja, Nigeria -
President Goodluck Jonathan is under growing pressure from top-level corruption in Nigeria's oil industry, with the central bank asking what happened to $50 billion in missing oil revenues and his political mentor, former president Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo complaining about massive fraud in the industry.
Meantime, massive oil theft in the Niger Delta, the southern region where Nigeria's oil production is centered, is rising amid reports of growing politicization of militants who have been blamed for much of the theft in recent years.
They have threatened to bring oil production to a halt by 2015 unless the government and foreign oil companies compensate impoverished villagers for massive environmental damage in the region and introduce more equitable sharing of oil revenue.
The multifaceted oil issue is becoming a major problem for Jonathan, who hails from the Christian south himself, and is currently grappling with a mushrooming Islamist insurrection in the Muslim north.
He has been under growing public pressure for failing to take effective action against official corruption.
The West African state, whose 150 million people are roughly evenly split between Muslims and Christians, was once Africa's energy powerhouse.
But now it's losing an average of $5 billion a year in potential revenue because of sabotage and international criminal networks who are stealing around 150,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
The Royal Institute of International Affairs, a London think tank, reported in September this has reduced oil production to a four-year low of slightly less than 2 million barrels per day.
The massive theft costs the continent's second largest economy after South Africa as much as $1 billion a month.
Oil revenues provide around 80 percent of the state budget.
"Rampant corruption means little of this revenue actually makes its way back to the Niger Delta communities that host the industry, encouraging extortion and oil theft as alternative revenue streams," observed the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington think tank.
This is also incensing militants of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta who have been waging an insurgency since 2005 and are now resurgent after a 2009 government amnesty halted their operations for a time in the labyrinthine creeks and swamps of the delta where foreign oil companies operate.
The massive and systematic oil theft, bolstered by deep-rooted official corruption in the West African producer involving well-connected officials and security personnel is fueling instability in the south amid the carnage taking place in the north.
The complaints by the Central Bank of Nigeria and Obasanjo, who's also leader of the ruling People's Democratic Party, have battered Jonathan at a critical time, as he seeks re-election in early 2015.
Previous polls were preceded by sharp increases in spending and official largess as politicians sought to buy their way to power.
In October, Nigeria launched a campaign to pressure Lichtenstein to return $254.7 million stashed by former military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha, the most brutal of Nigeria's military rulers.
The funds are still stashed in the tiny European principality 14 years after recovery proceedings began following Abacha's death in 1998.
A leaked text of the central bank's letter to Jonathan says the state oil company has failed to account for nearly $50 billion in crude oil sold from January 2012 to July 2013 that should have been remitted to government coffers.
The Financial Times reported the shortfall added up to 76 percent of crude sold by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. and is nearly equal to federal budget expenditure for both years. The NNPC rejects the allegations.
Obasanjo said he felt compelled to confront Jonathan with his complaints -- which may have more to do with pre-election positioning than genuine outrage at the massive rip-off of state funds -- out of "serious concern" about the direction in which Africa's most populous nation is heading under the man he helped propel to high office.
He urged his former protege to stand down "before it is too late" -- read: save the party embarrassment at the polls -- in the interests of national unity.
In his 18-page letter, Obasanjo trotted out a litany of alleged fiscal abuses in government that included the sale of 430,000 barrels of oil he says were not remitted to federal coffers.

Monday, December 9, 2013

USA Military aircraft sent into combat alongside France's Military in Central Africa Republic

News and info about the imperialist conquest in the Central Africa Republic [link]

"U.S. military aircraft to aid Central African Republic mission"
2013-12-09 by CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr [http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/09/u-s-military-aircraft-to-aid-central-african-republic-mission/]:
American military aircraft will fly African and European peacekeepers to the Central African Republic, which is in the midst of a bloody internal conflict between various proclaimed Christian and Muslim militias and other rebel factions.
The decision announced the Pentagon was followed by a statement from President Barack Obama, who called on the country's citizens to reject violence and urged the transitional government to join "respected leaders" in Muslim and Christian communities in calling for "calm and peace."
"Individuals who are engaging in violence must be held accountable in accordance with the law. Meanwhile, as forces from other African countries and France work to restore security, the United States will support their efforts to protect civilians," Obama said.
Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog said "the United States is joining the international community" in aiding the peackeeping effort "because of our belief that immediate action is required to avert a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel responded after talking with his French counterpart, Yves Le Drian, on Sunday from Afghanistan, Woog said, adding that France asked for "limited assistance."
The request for near term help involves U.S. air support to enable the prompt deployment of African forces "to prevent the further spread of sectarian violence," Woog said.
Violence has raged in the former French colony east of Cameroon since a coalition of rebels deposed President Francois Bozize in March. It was the latest in a series of coups since the nation gained independence. Bozize fled the country after his ouster.
Left uncontrolled, militia groups are uniting along religious lines. Christian vigilante groups have formed to battle Seleka, the predominantly Muslim coalition behind the President's removal.
More than 400,000 people - nearly 10% of the population - have been internally displaced, according to the United Nations.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution last week authorizing military intervention by an African Union-led force backed by French troops to protect civilians, restore humanitarian access and stabilize the country.
As part of the effort, the United States will fly troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic capital of Bangui.
The Pentagon will provide security for its planes, but there is no indication about the number of troops involved. The operation is expected to be relatively small.
Violence on the ground, which has included machetes, knives, rifles and grenades, will be a "big factor" in any U.S. operation, a U.S. official told CNN.
"It's a concern," the official said.
French President Francois Hollande said in Paris over the weekend that the goal is to hold elections once security is restored.
Those displaced include people hiding in the bush without shelter, food, or drinking water, Doctors Without Borders has said.
In a statement on Monday, the international medical organization called for all parties to let the wounded and sick "safely obtain medical care," and for "an end to violence and threats against patients, civilians, and medical staff" nationwide.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

East African Community

USA AfriCom provides security for oil shipments, especially from Kenyan pipelines.

East African Community website [http://www.eac.int/index.php], "One People One Destiny!"




"AFRICOM Posture Statement: Ward reports annual testimony to Congress"  

2010-03-10 by "US Africa Command" [http://www.army.mil/article/35595/]:

NATURAL FIRE, Uganda -
 In October 2009, U.S. Africa Command, with U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) as the lead component, brought together more than 1,200 soldiers and civilians from six countries for Exercise NATURAL FIRE 10 in Uganda. The exercise improved inter-operability and helped build African partner capacity to respond to complex humanitarian emergencies. The region jointly exercised contingency plans designed to address a global health threat of pandemic influenza. Approximately 550 U.S. personnel and 650 soldiers from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda participated.

U.S. Naval Forces, Africa (NAVAF), is building on the success of the APS in West Africa by conducting similar activities in East Africa. APS-East will work to build our African partners' capabilities in small boat operations. Our partners include Kenya, Mozambique, the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Tanzania. The activities of the USS BRADLEY and the USS ARLEIGH BURKE in 2009 served as a pilot deployment for APS-East and made great inroads in South and East Africa. In addition, the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) established a maritime center of excellence in Mombasa, Kenya, to provide maritime training to African states. Both DOS and DOD approved a Section 1206 (Fiscal Year 06 National Defense Authorization Act, as amended) program to provide small boats, AIS, and surface search radars to Djibouti, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Comoros. The latter effort will establish a basic surveillance capability along the entire East African coast.

Building Capacity of Partner Enabling Forces -
 Enablers such as logistics, intelligence, communications, and de-mining capabilities play vital roles in the U.S. military, and facilitate our ability to sustain operations independently. Developing similar enablers or enabling capabilities among African countries can help reduce their dependence on foreign assistance when conducting military operations. Many of our capacity building activities in this area add tremendous value while requiring only a minimal commitment of U.S. personnel.

Counter-terrorism Efforts in East Africa -
In East Africa, U.S. Africa Command's CJTF-HOA conducts operations to counter violent extremists throughout the region to protect U.S. and coalition interests. In cooperation with other USG departments and agencies, CJTF-HOA focuses its operations on building regional security capacity to combat terrorism, deny safe havens, and reduce support to violent extremist organizations. It accomplishes these objectives through the use of Civil Affairs Teams, Seabee construction teams, military advisors, and by importing security courses of instruction.
U.S. Africa Command has focused the majority of its CT capacity building activities in East Africa on Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, which-aside from Somalia-are the countries directly threatened by terrorists. For example, in Kenya, the Command is assisting in establishing a Ranger Strike Force and a Special Boat Unit, which will become the country's primary CT and border security forces. SOCAFRICA completed training two companies of the Kenyan Ranger Strike Force, and our Special Operations Forces (SOF) maritime efforts have created a nascent Kenyan Special Boat Unit capability to enhance Kenyan maritime security. When completed, Kenya will have a significantly improved capacity to counter the terrorist threat emanating from Somalia.

The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) is one of the region's most professional militaries. It is a reliable partner in combating terrorism and, in collaboration with regional partners, is leading operations against the Lord's Resistance Army. Uganda's peacekeeping force in Somalia has played a critical role in providing the TFG an opportunity to establish itself. U.S. Africa Command and CJTF-HOA continue to work with the UPDF to enhance peacekeeping and CT capabilities through Africa Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA), IMET, and PKO funded training.


"East African Community"
from the Office of the United States Trade Representative of the Executive Office of the President [http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/africa/regional-economic-communities-rec/east-african-community]:
The EAC is one of the leading regional economic organizations in sub-Saharan Africa and has made great strides in recent years toward integrating the economies of its member states. It has established a free trade area and a customs union and is working toward a common market.
On July 16, 2008, the United States and the East African Community (EAC) signed a United States-EAC TIFA in Washington, DC. Trade ministers and other senior officials from the five EAC member states - Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda - witnessed the signing.
The purpose of the TIFA is to strengthen the United States-EAC trade and investment relationship, expand and diversify bilateral trade, and improve the climate for business between U.S. and East African firms. The United States-EAC TIFA establishes regular, high-level talks on the full spectrum of United States-EAC trade and investment topics, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the World Trade Organization's Doha Round, trade facilitation issues, and trade capacity building assistance.

U.S.-EAC Trade Facts -
The United States has $1.4 billion in total (two way) goods trade with the Eastern African Community (EAC) during 2009. Exports totaled $974 million; Imports totaled $384 billion; The U.S. goods trade surplus with the EAC was $590 million in 2009

Exports -
U.S. goods exports to the EAC in 2009 were $974 million, up 33.9% ($246 million) from 2009.
EAC countries combined would have been the United States' 74th largest goods export market in 2009.
The U.S. export markets in EAC for 2009 were: Kenya ($654 million), Tanzania ($158 million), Uganda ($119 million), Rwanda ($34 million), and Burundi ($9 million).
The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2009 were: Aircraft ($255 million), Machinery ($122 million), Fertilizers ($120 million), Cereals (corn) ($89 million), and Electrical Machinery ($46 million).
U.S. exports of agricultural products to EAC countries totaled $207 million in 2009. Leading categories include: coarse grains ($78 million), pulses ($29 million), and vegetable oils (excluding soybean oil) ($17 million).

Imports -
U.S. goods imports from the EAC countries totaled $384 million in 2009, down 18% ($85 million) from 2009.
EAC countries combined would have been the United States= 92nd largest goods import supplier in 2009.
The U.S. import suppliers from the EAC for 2009 were: Kenya ($281 million), Tanzania ($49 million), Uganda ($31 million), Rwanda ($19 million), and Burundi ($4 million).
The five largest import categories in 2009 were: Woven Apparel ($100 million), Spices, Coffee, and Tea (mostly coffee) ($98 million), Knit Apparel ($96 million), Edible Fruit and Nuts (cashews) ($11 million), and Special Other (returns) ($10 million).
U.S. imports of agricultural products from EAC countries totaled $136 million in 2009. Leading category include: coffee (unroasted) ($86 million).

Balance of Merchandise Trade -
The U.S. goods trade surplus with EAC was $ 590 million in 2009, a 128% increase ($331 million) over 2008.

Investment -
U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in EAC (stock) was $185 million in 2008 (latest data available), down 5.1% from 2007.


"East Africa Takes Step Toward Single Currency; Heads of State Reach Agreement for Monetary Union"
2013-11-30 by Nicholas Bariyo [http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303332904579230004056818752]:
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni (C) arrives at Munyonyo resort Hotel in Kampala on November 30, 2013 to attend the 15th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State (AFP, Isaac Kasamani)

KAMPALA, Uganda—Heads of state in East Africa on Saturday signed a monetary-union deal, setting the clock on a 10-year timeline for the establishment of a regional single currency.
The agreement, reached at the lakeside resort of Munyonyo in Kampala, came after nearly a decade of talks. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda will now try to establish institutions—including a regional central bank and a statistics body—to support the single currency.
The deal marks an important touchstone in the region's transition from a collection of conflict zones to one of the world's most promising destinations for investment.
"East African community is now fully embarked on enormous, ambitious and transformational initiatives for our people," said Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya's president and new head of the regional block. "The promise of prosperity and economic development hinges on soundness of our integration."
After establishing the Customs Union in 2005, and the Common Market in 2010, East African countries have reached the third stage toward a united political federation: the Monetary Union Protocol.
But experts have also voiced concerns. "There remain a number of uncertainties about whether these countries can fully put in place a monetary union," said Oswald Leo, an economist at the East African Development Bank.
With a total population of about 135 million people, East Africa is becoming an investment magnet following a flurry of natural-gas and oil discoveries. Uganda and Kenya have discovered huge amounts of oil, while Tanzania boasts of huge natural-gas reserves. International companies have already started exploiting these resources, and the region is poised to become the next major energy hub in Sub Saharan Africa.
Member states will also establish the East African Monetary Institute, which will take charge of all the monetary and exchange-rate policies, while the statistics body will produce regular inflation figures to guide price stabilization.
In October, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda signed a Single Customs Territory deal, allowing free movement of goods and services across their borders. They have also signed a number of infrastructure deals to put in place regional oil pipelines and a crossborder railway line, rattling Tanzania and Burundi. Early this week, Tanzania demanded that the deals be reviewed to be given a regional appeal.
"This separate coalition poses the risk to disintegrate the community rather than integrate it," said Samuel Sitta, Tanzania's minister in charge of the East African Cooperation.
Shem Bagaine, Uganda's minister in charge of the East African Community, said that all member states including Tanzania "have reaffirmed" their commitment to the integration following the heads-of-state summit in Kampala.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A war against China

Alongside the war against the People of Alkebulan (Africa), the "Trilateral Axis" composed of the USA, the British (Empire) Commonwealth, and Israel, is organizing to limit the influence of rivals over the United Nation Governments stewarding the resources contained in Africa, especially against the "Shanghei Axis" of China [link].



"Old Game, New Obsession, New Enemy: Now it's China"
2013-10-11 by John Pilger from "Truthout" [http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/19349-old-game-new-obsession-new-enemy-now-its-china]:
Countries are "pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world," wrote Lord Curzon, viceroy of India, in 1898. Nothing has changed. The shopping mall massacre in Nairobi was a bloody fa├žade behind which a full-scale invasion of Africa and a war in Asia are the great game.   
The al-Shabab shopping mall killers came from Somalia. If any country is an imperial metaphor, it is Somalia. Sharing a common language and religion, Somalis have been divided between the British, French, Italians and Ethiopians. Tens of thousands of people have been handed from one power to another. "When they are made to hate each other," wrote a British colonial official, "good governance is assured."   
Today, Somalia is a theme park of brutal, artificial divisions, long impoverished by World Bank and IMF "structural adjustment" programs and saturated with modern weapons, notably President Obama's personal favorite, the drone. The one stable Somali government, the Islamic Courts, was "well received by the people in the areas it controlled," reported the US Congressional Research Service, "[but] received negative press coverage, especially in the West." Obama crushed it. And in January, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, presented her man to the world. "Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States government," effused President Hassan Mohamud. "Thank you, America."   
The shopping mall atrocity was a response to this - just as the attack on the Twin Towers and the London bombings were explicit reactions to invasion and injustice. Once of little consequence, jihadism now marches in lockstep with the return of unfettered imperialism.   
Since NATO reduced modern Libya to a Hobbesian state in 2011, the last obstacles to Africa have fallen. "Scrambles for energy, minerals and fertile land are likely to occur with increasingly intensity," Ministry of Defence planners report. They predict "high numbers of civilian casualties"; therefore "perceptions of moral legitimacy will be important for success." Sensitive to the PR problem of invading a continent, the arms mammoth BAE Systems, together with Barclay Capital and BP, warn that "the government should define its international mission as managing risks on behalf of British citizens." The cynicism is lethal. British governments repeatedly are warned, not least by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, that foreign adventures beckon retaliation at home.   
With minimal media interest, the US African Command (Africom) has deployed troops to 35 African countries, establishing a familiar network of authoritarian supplicants eager for bribes and armaments. In war games, a "soldier to soldier" doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command, from general to warrant officer. The British did the same in India. It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black colonial elite whose "historic mission," warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the subjugation of their own people in the cause of "a capitalism rampant though camouflaged." The reference also fits the Son of Africa in the White House.   
For Obama, there is a more pressing cause - China. Africa is China's success story. Where the Americans bring drones, the Chinese build roads, bridges and dams. What the Chinese want is resources, especially fossel fuels. NATO's bombing of Libya drove out 30,000 Chinese oil industry workers. More than jihadism or Iran, China is now Washington's obsession in Africa and beyond. This is a "policy" known as the "pivot to Asia," whose threat of world war may be as great as any in the modern era.   
This week's meeting in Tokyo of US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, with their Japanese counterparts, accelerated the prospect of war with the new imperial rival. Sixty percent of US forces are to be based in Asia by 2020, aimed at China. Japan is re-arming rapidly under the right-wing government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who came to power in December with a pledge to build a "new, strong military" and circumvent the "peace constitution." A US-Japanese anti-ballistic-missile system near Kyoto is directed at China. Using long-range Global Hawk drones, the US has increased its provocations sharply in the East China and South China seas, where Japan and China dispute the ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Advanced vertical-takeoff aircraft are deployed in Japan; their purpose is blitzkrieg.   
On the Pacific island of Guam, from which B-52s attacked Vietnam, the biggest military buildup since the Indochina wars includes 9,000 US Marines. In Australia this week, an arms fair and military jamboree that diverted much of Sydney is in keeping with a government propaganda campaign to justify an unprecedented US military buildup from Perth to Darwin, aimed at China. The vast US base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs is, as Edward Snowden disclosed, a hub of US spying in the region and beyond; it also is critical to Obama's worldwide assassinations by drone.   
"We have to inform the British to keep them on side," McGeorge Bundy, an assistant US secretary of state, once said. "You in Australia are with us, come what may." Australian forces have long played a mercenary role for Washington. However, there is a hitch. China is Australia's biggest trading partner and is largely responsible for its evasion of the 2008 recession. Without China, there would be no minerals boom, no weekly mining return of up to $1 billion.   
The dangers this presents rarely are debated publicly in Australia, where Prime Minister Tony Abbott's patron, Rupert Murdoch, controls 70 percent of the press. Occasionally, anxiety is expressed over the "choice" that the US wants Australia to make. A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute warns that any US plan to strike at China would involve "blinding" Chinese surveillance, intelligence and command systems. This would "consequently increase the chances of Chinese nuclear pre-emption ... and a series of miscalculations on both sides if Beijing perceives conventional attacks on its homeland as an attempt to disarm its nuclear capability."   
In his address to the nation last month, Obama said, "What makes America different, what makes us exceptional is that we are dedicated to act."

Monday, October 7, 2013

British (Empire) Commonwealth in the Alkebulan


2013-10-07 "Africa's most biodiverse area endangered by UK oil firm: WWF"
from "AFP" newswire:
Paris -
Environmental campaigners WWF filed a complaint on Monday against a British oil company accused of intimidating the local population and endangering wildlife in the oldest nature reserve in Africa.
The wildlife charity claims that Soco International's oil exploration activities in and around Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo put "people, animals and habitats at risk" and violate international guidelines issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in a complaint to that organisation.
"The only way for Soco to come into compliance with the OECD guidelines is for the company to end all exploration in Virunga for good," said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of conservation at WWF International.
"We urge the company to stop its activities immediately," he said.
Organisations can refer to OECD guidelines on ethical corporate behaviour as a way of piling pressure on companies or even governments.
Soco dismissed the claims as "baseless" on its website, adding it had not yet begun any operational activity and would not do so until impact studies had been completed.
Virunga is one of the world's oldest UN World Heritage sites and is the most environmentally diverse area on the African continent, home to thousands of rhinos and 200 endangered mountain gorillas.
Soco's own assessment of its exploration of the park warns of potential pollution and damage to the fragile animal habitats in Virunga.
The WWF alleges that Soco has used state security to intimidate opponents to its business and says the organisation failed to disclose the true impact of development during consultations with local villagers.
Soco's contract with the Congolese government effectively exempts it from further regulation, the WWF says, calling on the company to also consider the health and livelihoods of 50,000 local residents.
The UK is a founding member of the OECD and the organisation's guidelines have previously been used to put political pressure on the British government.
Anthony Field, a campaigner at WWF-UK, told AFP: "OECD guidelines are the most well-respected standards of good practice for businesses, and are internationally recognised by 45 countries including the UK."
OECD complaints could be "incredibly effective", Field said, giving the example of a 2009 case when mining firm Vedanta Resources was condemned by London for failing to respect the rights of an indigenous group when planning a bauxite mine in the Indian state of Orissa.
Soco said its first environmental impact studies were conducted in "close collaboration" with the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, which manages the park.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The "Shanghai Axis"

Unlike the "Trilateral Axis" (composed of the alliance of the USA, the British "Empire" Commonwealth and Israel) and it's use of military methods to consolidate a monopolized economic hold against the People of Alkebulan, the "Shanghai Axis" is using government funded aid programs and not military conquest. While there are no "good guys" while the indigenous nations of Alkebulan are oppressed, it is a contrast to see the difference between the methods used by the competitors of the "Trilateral Axis" and the "Shanghai Axis", especially the Trilaterist war against China [link].
This page provides examples of how China, the core government of the "Shanghai Axis", conducts it's conquest of Alkebulan.

** China's diplomacy program for Africa is $2 billion over 10 years (2014-05) [link]
** Nigeria signs $1.3 bn power plant deal with China [link]
** China wins $2 billion oil deal in Uganda [link]

China's government is consolidating access to resources for the homeland, and indications show that the personalities guiding the government of China are desperate to keep "economic growth" stabilized and yielding profits. 
"China's GDP figures wrong by $610 billion: Report"
2013-10-30 from "AFP" [http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-10-30/news/43528904_1_gdp-growth-rate-yuan-economic-information-daily]:
BEIJING: China's economy would be at least 3.7 trillion yuan ($610 billion) bigger than Beijing thinks if the country's local government statistics were to be believed, state media reported Wednesday.
The Economic Information Daily tallied up gross domestic product (GDP) data from 28 of mainland China's 31 provincial-level authorities, totalling 42.4 trillion yuan for the first nine months of the year.
But the figure for the whole country, already announced by Beijing, is 3.7 trillion yuan lower.
 The discrepancy -- which has been in place for more than two decades -- has been widening rapidly in recent years, the Economic Information Daily said.
 The reliability of Chinese economic data has long been in doubt as local officials tend to massage the figures upwards in pursuit of promotion and the newspaper, which is run by the official Xinhua news agency, pointed to the same problem.
 "Some regions may have inflated the statistics due to their distorted perception of achievements given the fact that the performance assessment of local governments is often linked with GDP growth," the report quoted an unnamed National Bureau of Statistics official as saying.
 China's Premier Li Keqiang said in 2007, when he was the governor of Liaoning province, that some Chinese data was "man-made", according to a confidential memo released by the WikiLeaks website in 2010.
 He told US diplomats that he focused on only three figures -- electricity consumption, rail cargo volume, and the amount of loans issued -- to evaluate his region's economy, the leaked document showed.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in June that officials' performance evaluations must not be based "simply on GDP growth rate" but take into account factors such as the environment and improving people's well-being.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

USA AFRICOM clandestinely includes African allies who recruit child soldiers


"Obama Quietly Okays Military Aid to Countries That Use Child SoldiersOverrides law banning such aid; critics charge 'Obama becoming an expert at waiving human rights laws'"
2013-10-02 by Sarah Lazare from "Common Dreams" [www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/02-5]:
Amid the hoopla of the government shutdown, the White House quietly passed a bill Monday that overrides a law banning military aid to countries that use child soldiers.
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 prohibits the U.S. government from providing military assistance to countries that directly use, or support the use of, child soldiers. Built into the law is an option allowing the U.S. president to override the ban if he/she deems it necessary.
On Monday, President Obama issued complete waivers to Yemen, Chad, and South Sudan, opening up those countries to U.S. military aid despite their known use of child soldiers, declaring in a written memorandum it is "in the national interest of the United States" to override the ban.
Obama also granted partial waivers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia to allow "International Military Education and Training" and "nonlethal" defense for both countries and "provision of assistance under the Peacekeeping Operations authority for logistical support and troop stipends" in Somalia. According to Think Progress writer Hayes Brown [http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/10/01/2704611/child-soldier-waivers/], these waivers open the door for military aid for ongoing "peacekeeping" operations in both these countries.
"Obama is becoming an expert at waiving human rights laws," writes Ken Hanly in Digital Journal [http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/359480]. "He waived part of a law last month that banned the US from supplying lethal aid to terrorist groups so he could send aid to Syrian rebels. In the case of Egypt, Obama has refused to call the coup by the armed forces a coup and by doing so does not run afoul of a law that would ban aid to a country where there had been a military coup."
"Human rights are to be promoted but only insofar as they do not conflict with US national interest as understood by the president," he added.Meanwhile, the U.S. government has come under criticism for filling its own military ranks with hundreds of thousands of teenagers, including 17-year-olds who can enlist with parental consent [http://inthesetimes.com/article/3199/americas_child_soldier_problem].

Monday, September 30, 2013

Nigeria signs $1.3 bn power plant deal with China

2013-09-30 from "AFP" newswire [http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Nigeria_signs_13_bn_power_plant_deal_with_China_999.html]:
Abuja -
Nigeria has announced two major initiatives aimed at improving its woeful electricity supply, entering a $1.3 billion (960 million euros) power plant deal with China and on Monday handing over state power assets to private investors.
 The privatisation of most of state electricity firm PHCN has long been in the works in Africa's most populous nation, where blackouts occur multiple times daily despite the country's status as the continent's largest oil producer.
 Those taking over assets include Seoul-based Korea Electric Power Corporation as well as local investors.
 Separately, the deal with the Chinese government involves construction of a hydroelectric plant expected to add 700 megawatts to the national grid.
 A loan from China's Export-Import Bank will pay for 75 percent of the plant while the Nigerian government will cover 25 percent of the cost, a statement by the finance ministry said.
 It is not clear if the new plant will remain in state hands or if it too will be privatised.
 Hundreds of PHCN workers and retirees on Monday staged protests in several parts of the country against the take-over of the company when the government has not paid all of them their severance financial benefits.
 Some of them chanting slogans and carrying placards told AIT private television that they would not allow the investors to enter PHCN premises until the monies have been paid.
 "We are ready to be sleeping here until they pay us," one of the protesters, Ganiyu Adegboye, told the television.
 They locked up the entrances to PHCN's two main offices in Lagos, AIT footage showed.
 Nigeria has portrayed the privatisation of electricity generation and distribution as a reform capable of finally bringing steady power supplies to the country, where businesses are forced to rely on diesel generators to cope.
 President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday handed over operating licences to investors for most of the companies created from the splitting up of the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
 Jonathan, at a brief ceremony also attended by top government officials, ceded ownership of four of the six generation companies and 10 of the 11 distribution firms after raking in about $2.5 billion from their bids.
 A power generation firm not part of PHCN was also handed over, while various issues are yet to be resolved for the two other generation firms and one distribution firm.
 Nigeria will retain ownership of the national grid, but privatise its management. Canada's Manitoba Hydro International was named its manager for three years in 2012 "Today, therefore, not only concludes legal transactions, it is a day of hope, a day of promise and a new beginning for one of the most vital sectors of our national economy," Jonathan said.
 "We do not expect the sector to be revitalised overnight but we can all look forward to a better time very soon as we have seen in the telecommunications and banking sectors."
 Government said that only about 2,000 of the 47,000 PHCN workers were yet to be paid their terminal allowances.
 The privatisation of telecommunications in Nigeria is generally credited with bringing improved service and accessibility to the country.
 However, critics have expressed concerns that many of the bidders for power assets have been politically connected barons in Nigeria and questioned whether the assets will be properly managed.

Friday, September 27, 2013

China wins $2 billion oil deal in Uganda

2013-09-27 by Staff Writers (AFP) [http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/China_wins_2_billion_oil_deal_in_Uganda_999.html]:
Kampala -
China's state-owned CNOOC has secured a $2-billion deal to develop a petroleum field in Uganda and help propel the east African nation into the club of oil-producing countries, an official said Friday.   
"This is a major breakthrough as a country," Uganda's junior energy minister Peter Lokeris told AFP, confirming that a deal had been reached earlier this month with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.    
"It is a milestone towards making us self-sustaining as far as oil and gas production is concerned," he added.    
"The contractor among other responsibilities will be responsible for developing the Kingfisher oil field which should become operational in the next four years from now," the minister added.    
Uganda has oil reserves estimated at 3.5 billion barrels but the path to production has been a bumpy one since deposits were discovered in 2006 near its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.    
Such reserves have the potential to radically alter Uganda's economy and could eventually as much as double the national income.    
Lokeris said he expected the initial output of the new Chinese-run field to be modest.    
"We expect to produce about 40,000 barrels of oil per day once the Kingfisher well is fully developed and operational," he said.    
China has invested heavily in Africa's oil sector to feed its energy-hungry economy.

Monday, September 23, 2013

USA & Israel in Kenya targeting militants

The Alliance of the USA, the British (Empire) Commonwealth, and Israel created al-Qaeda during the 1970s, to be used against governments they didn't like, with funding and weapons going to al-Qaeda affiliated militias during the wars against Iraq and Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Russia during the 2000s, and Syria during 2013.
In the USA, the al-Qaeda threat is used by security companies and agencies to advocate for increased surveillance and harassment of ALL political dissidents, and for the increase in militerization funding for police.
In the following examples, a violent incident by an al-Qaeda affiliate at a shopping mall in eastern Alkebulan (Africa) is being used as an excuse for Israel and USA military attacks in the region, with increased surveillance and security at shopping malls worldwide.


"Israeli forces enter Nairobi mall: Kenyan security officials"
2013-09-22 from "Press TV" [http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/22/325379/israeli-forces-enter-nairobi-mall/]: A Kenyan security official says Israeli forces have entered a shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, where Somali militants have already killed dozens of people and an unknown number of hostages are still being held.      
Local security officials say the Israeli forces have joined Kenyans to end the deadly mall siege on Sunday. The Kenyan troops backed by Israeli forces are now battling against gunmen holding dozens of people hostage inside the shopping mall for the second day.    
"The Israelis have just entered and they are rescuing the hostages and the injured," media outlets quoted an unnamed senior Kenyan security source as saying.    
Kenyan military spokesman noted that a large number of well-equipped forces are fighting the assailants that attacked the mall, killing nearly 60 people and injuring some 200 more.    
"We are still battling with the attackers and our forces have managed to maroon the attackers on one of the floors," said Colonel Cyrus Oguna, adding, "We hope to bring this to an end today."   
There are reports of sporadic gunfire inside the mall as Kenyan forces try to kill or capture the remaining 10 to 15 gunmen who are holding about 70 people hostage.    
The carnage on Saturday started when gunmen stormed the Westgate Mall in an upscale neighborhood, throwing hand grenades and indiscriminately firing at people.    
Somalia’s al-Shabab fighters have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.    
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says he has lost family members in the deadly attack. He also vowed to bring perpetrators and attackers to justice for targeting innocent civilians    
"Let me make it clear. We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get them. We shall punish them for this heinous crime,” Kenyatta said in a televised address to the nation late Saturday.   
The attack was the worst in Nairobi since an al-Qaeda bombing at the US Embassy killed over 200 people in 1998.


"Report: US military to hit targets in Kenya, other African states"
2013-09-23 from "Press TV" [http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/22/325470/us-military-to-hit-targets-in-kenya/]: The United States is reportedly preparing a list of targets for possible military strikes in Kenya and some other African countries.      
Former US general Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said the strikes are aimed at targeting militants involved in Sunday's deadly attack on a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi.    
Somalia’s Al-Shabab fighters have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it is in retaliation for Kenya’s military actions inside Somalia.    
"They're developing targets . . . and refining target lists, trying to fill in any gaps that we possibly have," the former four-star general said during an interview with ABC's This Week on Sunday.    
"Intelligence has been gathered and will continue to be gathered to fill in any holes that we have about what happened in this particular attack and what could happen in the future," Gen. Chiarelli added.    
Chiarelli described the situation as “very chaotic” and added that US military officials are doing everything they can to gather information.    
He, however, refused to elaborate how and with what means the US forces or their allies will target the group’s hideouts in Kenya.    
This as Kenyan security sources in Nairobi revealed that Israel has sent its special forces to Kenya to fight with the militants at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, according to an AFP report.    
The report added that Israeli commandoes were airlifted to the east African country just after the start of the attack.


"Nairobi attack may trigger tighter security at malls worldwide"
2013-09-22 by Ilaina Jonas and Mark Hosenball from "Reuters" newswire [http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/22/us-kenya-attack-mallsecurity-analysis-idUSBRE98L0LP20130922]: The deadly attack on a high-end Nairobi shopping mall on Saturday put the safety of malls around the world into the spotlight and could trigger moves to improve security and make it more visible.   
"They're obviously going to ramp up security," said Malachy Kavanagh, a spokesman for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a U.S.-based trade group of mall and shopping center owners, adding that he expected the U.S. government's Department of Homeland Security to reach out to the heads of corporate security for all American malls following the events in Kenya.   
Some of the changes that may be made include bringing in off-duty police officers into the mall, putting more non-uniformed security officers into uniform, and more closely coordinating with local police departments.   
Islamist militants were holding hostages on Sunday at a shopping mall in Nairobi, where at least 68 people were killed and 175 wounded in an attack by Somalia's al Shabaab group. Those killed included Kenyans, Dutch, British and Chinese citizens and diplomats from Canada and Ghana. Some U.S. citizens were wounded, though the final toll is still far from clear.   
The Westgate mall has several Israeli-owned outlets and is frequented by prosperous Kenyans and foreigners.   
"Shopping centers and retailers will have to spend more money on security," Irwin Barkan, CEO of African mall developer BGI LLC, said in a phone interview from Ghana where he is based. BGI, based in the U.S., is developing properties in West Africa.   
"I hope it doesn't get to the point where it is like getting into an airport," Barkan said ahead of a trip to Nairobi for the African Hotel Investment Forum this week.   
Kavanagh said that U.S. shoppers have indicated they do not want to go through this type of security line with metal detectors and other security machines.   
Following the attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, the trade group surveyed mall shoppers about their views on such ideas. "Unless there was an immediate threat, by and large they said 'no'," he said.   

FEAR OF IMITATORS  -
U.S. counter-terrorism officials and experts have privately expressed worries for years - since even before the September 11, 2001 attacks - that U.S. shopping malls and other public spaces, including public transport systems, were vulnerable to attacks.   
Juan Zarate, a former White House counter-terrorism advisor and author of "Treasury's War", a new book on the subject, told Reuters that one of the major concerns for counter-terrorism officials is that there could be imitators of this type of "soft target" attack.   
"Like the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, terrorist cells are learning that they can have strategic impact with dramatic terror focused on soft targets having significant psychological and economic effects," Zarate said.    In November 2008, 10 gunmen went on a three-day killing spree in Mumbai, attacking two luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish center, among other places in the Indian city.   
In the United States, a source at one of the biggest mall owners said that the company is constantly focused on safety and security, not just after events such as the one in Kenya. The source said that shoppers can see some elements of security, while others are not visible.   
Dan Jasper, a spokesman for Mall of America, a large private mall in Bloomington, Minnesota, said in a statement that "We constantly monitor events and adjust plans accordingly. The safety and security of our guests remains a top priority."   
Westfield America declined comment, saying that it does not comment on security. Australia's Westfield Group owns nearly 100 shopping centers in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the United States. Simon Property Group, the largest owner of U.S. mall and outlet centers and owner of outlets in Canada, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Mexico, also declined to comment.

Monday, September 16, 2013

AfriCom and the kleptocratic governments of western Alkebulan (Africa)


"War on ‘terror’: Africom, the kleptocratic state and under-class militancy in West Africa-Nigeria"
by Caroline Ifeka, published in the CONCERNED AFRICA SCHOLARS BULLETIN N°85 - SPRING 2010 [concernedafricascholars.org/docs/bulletin85ifeka.pdf]:
Caroline Ifeka is an Honorary Research Fellow, Dept of Anthropology, University College London. She has lived in Nigeria and Cameroon since 1990, worked for NGOs, written many development reports for donors as well as community organisations, carried out and published numerous articles about her anthropological field research in Nigeria and Cameroon on ritual in identity and social construction, resource conflict, youth violence and the kleptocratic State.
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Following the article are the Acknowledgements, Acronyms, Notes, and References.
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"The aim is no longer to transform the world, but (as the heresies did in their day) to radicalise the world by sacrifice. Whereas the system aims to realize it by force." — Baudrillard (2002: 10)

Abstract -
The US, EU and Chinese compete to control strategic resources (oil, bauxite, uranium, subterranean water) in the Sahara, Sahel and proximate semi-arid zones as northern Nigeria, home of the young suicide bomber who failed to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 252 over Detroit in December 2009 (Note 1). US-NATO commands in Stuttgart and Brussels prosecute the ‘War on Terror’ to securitize ‘dangerous’ West African Muslim states (and quietly manoeuvre leases to exploit resources vital to US and EU capital accumulation).
The principal cause of growing youth militancy mobilising around ethnicity and Islamic reformism is the ruling class’s failure to ‘share’ the ‘dividends of democracy’ — e.g. rental incomes from ‘traditional’ community owned strategic resources as oil, gas, gold, bauxite, uranium, water — according to subaltern clients’ expectations. So the under-class experiences as ‘bad’ the ‘democratic’ West African State’s governance. Failed expectations are reflected in some radical elements’ readiness to sacrifice their lives in fighting the war machine — sheer force — of the repressive State [Note 2]. ‘Bad’ governance is the consequence not of corruption but of clientelism, that is informal political relations greased by money between patrons/‘big men’ and clients/‘small boys’; this largely illegal system of power and patronage generates venality and violence, but not as yet real terrorism (Obi 2006) [Note 3]. Ironically, Islamic militants (northern Nigeria) and ethnic sovereignty movements (southern Nigeria, northern Niger, northern Mali) drawing on subaltern discontent share with international donors the same objective of securing ‘good’ (i.e. just, efficient, clean) governance, though under-class devout Muslim youth define good governance not in donors’ secular terms but in regard to Quranic precepts. The US military command for Africa (AFRICOM) and international aid practitioners target corruption as the cause of ‘dangerous’ under-development; they strengthen security agencies and hand out anti-corruption funds that the ruling classes mis-appropriate. The militarization of ‘development’ will succeed only, as elsewhere (e.g., Afghanistan), in nourishing the growth of real terrorism among, for example, Nigeria’s estimated 40-60 million largely unemployed youth and ethnic minorities.
A more peaceful strategy than US reliance on resource control by force is ECOWAS community capacity building. Subaltern classes could be empowered to strengthen management of traditional resources and land in strategic locations developed as hubs of sustainable economic growth and justice reform at the magistrate, native court, and Shari‘a court levels [Note 4]. Improvements in the local economy, governance and justice delivery as part of planned institution building for socially inclusive growth with equity could diminish subaltern discontent and encourage currently disempowered majorities to challenge peacefully the kleptocratic State’s reliance on force to ‘resolve’ political conflicts with and among citizens.

Introduction -
West Africa was of secondary military-economic interest to the US in the mid-1990s, compared to North Africa (Libya) and the Horn of Africa, but continuing difficulties in Middle Eastern oil supplies encouraged the US to seek petroleum providers elsewhere — the Caucasus, the south Atlantic ocean, and West Africa’s oil rich Gulf of Guinea states, especially Nigeria. Twenty years ago China was just beginning to prospect in West Africa for business and construction contracts, and so was not viewed then as a serious contender for access to and control over important African resources as oil and gas (Obi 2008) [Note 5]. Today, nearly 750,000 Chinese are resident in Africa; 300 million emigrants to Africa may be planned (Michel and Beuret 2009: 4-5). The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001, opened US eyes to the strategic advantage of relatively ‘safer’ West and West-Central African, especially Nigerian, sources of high quality crude oil rapidly transportable across the Atlantic ocean to refineries in populous cities on the North American eastern industrial seaboard. This major shift in US policy regarding West Africa took place at a time when arms sales by the world’s top arms exporters — the US, Russia and Germany — rose by a further 22% between 2005-2010 (Norton-Taylor 2010).
Since 2001 renewed religious riots, outbursts of alleged ‘terrorism’ in the Sahara-Sahel and northern Nigeria, and militant threats to African oil exports have spurred the US to establish US African Command (AFRICOM) in collaboration with NATO’s Special Forces (Keenan 2009). From 2006 onwards the US has carried out military and naval exercises in selected African states, including the Cape Verde archipelago proximate to oil blocks off Senegal, targeted for leasing to US Multi-national Corporations (MNCs). AFRICOM was fully operational from 2008 (AFRICOM 2009; AFROL 2009a).
The Pentagon appears to be intensifying plans in 2010, partnering with selected West African states (e.g. Senegal, Cape Verde, Ghana, Cameroon, Sao Tome and Principe, Mali, Niger), for further military exercises, training programmes and sales at discounted prices of modern fighter aircraft, automatic machine guns, and possible robotic aerial vehicles (US AFRICOM 2010). AFRICOM has in view certain locations in northern (e.g. Kano, Bornu, Bauchi, Yobe, Jos, Kaduna states), and southern Nigeria, principally the Niger Delta core oil producing states (Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta) as well as Lagos, the country’s sprawling commercial capital — estimated population 15 million, headquarters of MNC oil corporations, banks, and major Nigerian companies as Dangote Ltd and new light industries in partnership with Chinese companies.
Militarisation is taking place in selected West African states whose pre-industrial economies are still geared, as in the colonial era, to export raw materials with little value added to the advantage of Western and Asian industrialised economies. For example, partial modernisation in Nigeria reflects the country’s status as a rentier state relying on oil revenues (Karl 1997). Its late emergence in the 1970s as West Africa’s potential industrial power was aborted by a military regime in the mid-1980s, following pressure by international financial and trade institutions (e.g. International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organisation) that West African states remove tariff barriers on consumer and light industrial goods. An emerging Nigerian working class largely lost its economic base in factories producing clothing, shoes, matches, iron and steel products, buses, lorries, etc, that fostered class identity and action.
Abortive economic modernisation in Nigeria, and Francophone Sahelian states as Niger and Mali, seems to have sustained perceived ‘traditional’, i.e. customary community values and identities. Until recently, when mobilising in political protest subalterns did so, by and large, through religious or ethnic, rather than class, identities (c.f. Laclau 1977: 155 ff). Many dissident youth movements based on ‘customary’ ethnic and/or religious identities have a long tradition in rural communities; they seek to reclaim land, water, resource management, rental incomes, and to purify ‘governance’ in favour of just land reform and resource distribution (Parker & Rathbone 2007: 91ff) Yet militant groups may also be referred to locally by globalising tags that suggest community familiarity with struggles elsewhere; for example, northern Nigerian communities nickname Islamic fundamentalists ‘Taliban’ or ‘al-Qaeda’, indicating (hearsay) knowledge of the US ‘War on Terrorism’. Equally, there are stories of politically alienated educated young males training in al-Qaeda camps, though the December 25, 2009, Nigerian (‘Detroit’) suicide bomber’s field training appears inadequate [Note 6].
When resisting repression youth coalesce around kin-based ethno-religious and clan identities that cohere around two dominant poles — ‘us, small people’ (clients) and ‘them, big men’ (patrons/godfathers) (Ifeka 2001b, 2006; Smith 2007). The ‘people’/’power’ opposition draws on a repertoire of customary representations and practices (e.g. initiation rituals, war gods, charms against bullets, juju ‘medicine’, language, religious texts, shrines) that authorise subaltern militant organisation. More recently, since the return to democracy in 1999, the growth of poverty and shared meanings of suffering, and on-going political violence between rulers and ruled, is contributing to a revival of representations of class identity and consciousness that elderly working men, peasant farmers, traders, teachers and petty clerks knew in the 1970s [Note 7].
Adopting a political economy approach, I disaggregate that over-used neo-liberal concept of ‘the people’ into social classes; that is, groups differentiated by their unequal relationship to the means of production (capital) and power as owners/workers, but who yet express their socio-political worlds through customary institutions of patron-clientship. For example, subalterns and rulers construct the social formation in terms of unequal relations of power expressed in terms of relations between client (subordinate) and patron (dominant)– almost everyone is a patron and/or a client to someone else. Clientelistic relations cross cut but do not erase economic class divisions: for instance, on one level ministers and senior civil servants in command of the state and its revenues are the top patrons or men of mega-power, those lacking such access are their clients, but on another level middle ranking civil servants, company administrators, junior army officers are themselves patrons to many lesser others. Thus, power relations between patrons and clients defined in terms of upward and downwards informal and illicit flows of money/services constitute the country’s ‘real’ political economy (Joseph 1987; Ifeka 2001a, 2006, 2009; c.f. Laclau 1977). Fundamentalist religious movements or ethnic nationalists may draw on a mix of ‘traditional’ cultural symbols as well as those of economic inequality (‘big’/‘small’ men) to express under-class frustration and a strong desire, backed by force, for cleaner, more just governance with improved ‘dividends of democracy’ for the masses.

The ‘Terrorist’ Threat -
‘Terrorism’ is a terrifying condition of existence, one that normalises violence and so destroys the every day trust that lives are safe and justice prevails. It is often linked to al-Qaeda or the Taliban. We need to ask if ‘terrorism’ in West Africa is a threat or reality.
Just before the terrorist bombings of the Pentagon and World Trade Centre, in 1999-2000 twelve northern Nigerian state governors (Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kano, Yobe, Jigawa, Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Bauchi, Adamawa and Gombe) declared their commitment to the full-blown establishment of Shari‘a law in their states. (There are thirty-six states in Nigeria.) Led by Zamfara state’s governor, they proclaimed the urgent need to sanitise state legal systems that did little or nothing to implement Quranic justice and governance; in two or three years, however, kleptocratic governance ensured that Shari‘a, too, became comatose so Islamist religious sect leaders began preaching again for governance reform and justice according to the Quran.
After twelve northern Nigerian states implemented Shari’a law, different views at home and in US-European metropoles began to be expressed regarding the likelihood of Nigerian ‘terrorism’ in addition to on-going militancy in the oil producing Niger Delta threatening Nigeria’s stability as a core US crude oil supplier. Nigeria holds the largest concentration of US capital in Africa, mainly the result of investment in the past thirty years by the world’s largest multi-national oil corporations, ExxonMobil and TexacoChevron. Together with the UK and Holland’s Royal Dutch Shell and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco are aiming to supply 25% of US oil needs, though this goal requires a sustainable resolution of the Niger Delta crisis (Peel 2009; Amanze-Nwachuku 2010) Militancy and perceived terrorism threaten US-EU strategic interests in sustaining MNC capital accumulation.
Opinions about ‘terrorism’ in Nigeria have changed. First, some writers in 2000-04 saw no evidence of al-Qaeda linked terrorist cell penetration of northern Nigeria, nor that terrorist and criminal syndicates trafficking guns, drugs, and people had linked up. Yet in 2003-04 informants in Cross River state, which abuts Rivers (a core Niger Delta state), hinted that some Niger Delta militant youth were in contact with groups elsewhere in Nigeria and beyond; by 2006, I believed that a few ‘restive’ youth in the Delta and the country’s northern regions were exchanging information. Using information technology (IT), militants were moving closer together; some were becoming more frustrated and angry at the ‘selfishness’ of plutocratic politicians, corporate chief executives, military, police and intelligence services in not distributing down the clientelist chain financial profits in stolen state funds and trafficked illegal goods; they were beginning to move beyond ethnic nationalism/religious fundamentalism into a shared sense of under-class alienation from lands, livelihoods and largesse (Ifeka 2006). Equally, information was seeping into northern Nigerian contexts about the plight of the Tuaregs, repressed by the Nigerien state — and probably covertly by the Algerian secret services (Keenan 2006, 2009) — for their aggressive posture in regard to their ethnicity’s claims to customary ownership of land, oasis, subterranean water and uranium resources.
Second, a few authors wrote about the perceived ‘terrorist’ threat posed by forms of Islamisation, including Shar’ia law, to West African security and the US’s need for sustainable energy flows from Nigeria (Volman 2003). Certain commentators began to understand that US policy could be more nuanced, less likely to cause unwanted ‘terrorist’ strikes in North America’s homeland, if the Pentagon took on board that Nigeria’s large Muslim population — in 1998 estimated numerically to be the fifth largest in the world at c. 78 million relative to Indonesia’s c. 196 million (Islamic Web 1998; ABC 2009)— does not exist in a social, cultural or economic and historical vacuum. Rather, Muslims, about 57% of c. 140 million Nigerians in the 2001 Population Census, largely Sunni congregations and brotherhoods leavened by a sprinkling of Sufi adherents, boast historic connections via the ancient trans-Saharan trade routes with the Middle East and North African Maghrib (Parker and Rathbone 2007: 7-8ff). Such historic connections and shared understandings suggest both the possibility of US/Maghribi diplomacy exercised for peace, as well as some radical Ummah states’ support for Islamist fundamentalist cells (dubbed ‘terrorist’ by AFRICOM-NATO) in Nigeria.
Third, other observers inclined to the view that the Federal Republic of Nigeria could split. In 2004 a defence analyst identified Nigeria as a ‘potent mix of communal tensions, radical Islamisation, and anti-Americanism’, in their view fertile grounds for militancy that threatens to tear Nigeria apart (Morrison 2004: 75-8). Late in 2009, another defence analyst advising the US Pentagon, addressed a forum sponsored by the Royal African Society at a University of London institution, and stated that Nigeria could fragment. The Niger Delta ‘crisis’ and the emergent Ijaw ethnic-nation state’s armed struggles against the Nigerian State for at least a 50% share, progressing over time to 100% resource control of their ethnic-nation’s oil and gas, may have been uppermost in his mind.
In my experience, having lived and worked in Nigeria for several decades, I now doubt that ethnic-nationalist or fundamentalist Islamist politicians of the twenty first century will emulate the Igbos in 1966, or Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra in the 1990s, and struggle for secession though this may have been a possibility in the early 2000s (Ifeka 2000a,b, 2001b, 2004). The Nigerian government’s 2009 amnesty with some Nigerian Delta militant organisations was preceded by much carpet crossing of Niger Delta activists; money, sometimes called ‘gratification’ in Nigeria’s clientelistic system, is all; it trumps party and militant loyalty. I also experienced personally in 2008-9 the depth of Nigeria’s ruling political and business class’s commitment to obtaining by any means the dollars with which to maintain vertical chains of ‘chopping’ and ‘sharing’ funds between patrons and clients. Shares must keep well ahead of inflation, so nowadays percentages deducted for ‘commissions’ can top 60% of a contract’s gross value.
‘Money shouts’: Nigerian history shows that at times of political conflict over resource allocation local, state and federal elites can ‘cry wolf’ and declare secession, but since the end of the Biafran civil war (1967-1970), as long as oil and gas flow, and criminal trafficking flourishes, senior level godfathers of whatever state and ethno-religious provenance will mostly shy away from overtly secessionist or ‘terrorist’ struggles. Currently, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is refreshing its call of the early to mid-2000s for total control of all oil and gas revenues, and airing the possibility of secession (Remy 2010). But such actions could weaken, or destroy, personal and sub-ethnic highly lucrative networks in the all-important ‘shadow’ Nigerian political economy of ‘chopping’ on the State’s oil wealth and capitalising on trafficking in illegal goods. Influential clients and patrons of potent families, clans and sub-ethnic groups convert funds of whatever legal/illegal provenance into the financial means with which offspring, younger relatives and trusted clansmen/women sustain emerging dynasties influential in ruling class party politics of accumulation and patrimonial distribution. Flows are ‘protected’ by secretive godfathers, and at times godmothers, closely connected to the State’s security agencies, politicians and criminal networks who rely on force — gunning down protesters and assassinating turncoats – to remove opposition.
Some financial benefits of reducing any perceived ‘terrorist’ threat, and staying on board the ‘chopping’ ship of the Nigerian State, can be quickly sketched. In 2006 the Bayelsa state government (a core oil producing state with an estimated population of over two million Ijaws and some smaller ethnic groups) received its monthly funds from the Federal oil derivation account reportedly to the annual value of $1.954 billion (Economic Confidential 2009). The-then state governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, is known to have racked up about $20 million in stolen assets deposited or invested in properties overseas; though this sum was probably just a tidbit, it was about 10,000 times the daily earnings of governor Alamsaieghya’s humble fisher folk constituents (Peel 2009: 109). To put Bayelsa state’s wealth in context: in 2009 the Northern Governors forum calculated that the three core Niger Delta oil producing states’ annual revenues could fund all nineteen northern states at their current rates of expenditure for one year. At the same time, using financial figures available on the Internet, I have calculated that if expended transparently, according to the national budget approved by the National House of Assembly and President, and not siphoned off, Nigeria’s 2008 annual budget could have funded in that year the approved budgets of over thirty sub-Saharan African states, excluding South Africa, Senegal and some others.
Regarded in terms of its huge oil and gas wealth — generating in 2008 the (under) reported sum of circa $30 billion (Peel 2009) — its rapidly expanding banking systems, populous home market and dominance (with Columbia) of global narco-trafficking, Nigeria is a-typical of other ECOWAS states. But in terms of its deep rooted patrimonial system, kleptocratic governance and shadow (criminal) political economy in narcotics, guns, minerals, fossil fuel resources and people trafficking is typical. Nigeria is an exemplar of the kleptocratic (not terrorist) State, first described by Stanislaw Andreski (1968), a pioneering sociologist of corruption and venal power’s impoverishing impact on under-classes: kleptocracy is a system of state power based on rule by theft and bribery — but I would add violence is equally necessary, because players operate in unregulated shadow trading systems relying on discipline through a mix of trust and force. Penetrated as it is by clientelist and criminal networks, committed to accumulation by any means, the Nigerian State is as yet some way from confronting real terrorism. Yet AFRICOM’s imposed securitization of ‘development’ in partnership with the nation-State is generating renewed militancy against the nation-State’s police, who retaliate with killing force (Abrahamsen 2005).
‘Dual’ political and economic institutions — the formal/legitimate and informal/illegitimate — surely pose a complex challenge to the militaristic mentality that dominates AFRICOM-NATO. Militarism, when prodded, may consider sustainable economic development as a strategic pathway to resolve issues of perceived West African ‘terrorism’ linked to ‘bad’ governance, corruption and violence. But, being of the military, these senior officers are trained to think primarily in terms of top down (undemocratic) solutions of force to what are actually dynamic and deep-rooted societal problems. These indubitably require bottom-up democratic solutions that are sensitive to differences in social institutions of power, production and religion in diverse ethnic-nations and yet capable of counteracting widening poverty, the bureaucratic nation-State’s reliance on total force, and under-class violent resistance (Ifeka 2005,2009; Duffield 2001, 2007).

Military Activities [Note 8]-
By 2009 the US had evolved its global command system into five regions (table 1):

AFRICOM was the fifth and latest of the Pentagon’s regional commands. The whole world is now more or less integrated, at least on paper, in one consolidated global military network (Rozoff 2010b). AFRICOM’s area of responsibility includes 53 African nations. Indeed, we should situate America and NATO’s military drive into Africa, all of Africa, within the context of US and NATO expansion and strengthening of, on paper, an increasingly integrated global command system with which to eradicate ‘terrorism’ and protect strategic resource flows to US-EU metropoles.
AFRICOM was authorised in 2007; the command was launched as an independent entity on 1 October 2008, with a forward base at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, in the highly strategic Horn of Africa, facing a volatile, fractured and ‘terrorist’ infiltrated Yemen. Two thousand AFRICOM troops are stationed at Camp Lemonier; the French army and navy also have a base with troops stationed in Djibouti (France 2008).
AFRICOM’s web site suggests that EUCOM/AFRICOM, Stuttgart, has developed a dynamic plan for improving relations all round between the US and selected African states, including those in strategic North and West Africa (Wikipedia 2010c). General William (‘Kip’) Ward, AFRICOM’s genial Commander, engages monthly on a hectic round of public relations and relationship building with friendly states via military-to-military events, training and conferences, strategic site visitations, supplies of modern military equipment, fostering partnering agreements between US-based National Guard units and selected African nations for military-military familiarisation and relationship building; for example, Nigeria is paired with the California state Home Guard, Tunisia with Wyoming’s. In 2009 US command donated to Mali modern military vehicles and communications equipment for improved intelligence and surveillance, especially of northern Mali, home to nomadic Tuareg (Rozoff 2010a).
Surveillance drones to patrol the vast empty spaces of the northern Sahara from ‘lily pad’ military platforms in Tamanrasset (southern Algeria) are also planned for southern Libya. A UK company is working, possibly in partnership with Italy, towards selling Libya up to fifty Evo Falco UAVs for surveillance work in restricted military airspace in the Sahara-Sahel (Coppinger 2010). Unarmed drones are launched from the US base in the Seychelles to monitor piracy, smuggling, military and ’terrorist’ activities in the Gulf of Suez and Indian Ocean. The latter on-going exercises link up with AFRICOM’s intelligence and monitoring operations by its 2,000 personnel based at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti (ibid).
Since 2006 AFRICOM has used its African Partnership Station (APS), the USS Fort McHenry, and carried out military and naval exercises in waters off Cape Verde, Guinea Conakry, Sao Tome and Principe, and Gabon (Wikipedia 2010c); it has simulated war games on Nigeria (Volman 2009; Samuelson 2009; Crossed Crocodiles 2008). AFRICOM’s air force planned thirty such events in 2009 and has 120 billed for 2010 (AFRICOM 2010). Seventeen event countries, some receiving development aid, include West Africa’s Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde (Powell 2009; Afrol 2009b).
Agreements with selected states providing ‘lily pads’ — forward operational locations or platforms for rapid response force detachments — are being expanded and consolidated; agreements are in the pipe line for Tamanrasset in the far south of Algeria, Bamako airport (Mali), Dakar airport (Senegal), also with Cape Verde regarding rapid response force use of its military base at Sao Vicente, off Senegal, and with Sao Tome and Principe (Gulf of Biafra). The latter states are upcoming US partners with oil fields to be exploited.

Clientelism -
Szeftel (2000 : 407ff) argued that Africa’s culturally rooted patrimonial political systems based on clientelism and patronage with (illegally) appropriated state funds obviously do not depend on development in the accepted sense. Rather, are these kleptocratic West African states threatened by it. Further repression by force may ensue. Therefore, development aid doled out on the current bilateral or multilateral basis, state to state, may be a waste of funds, siphoned as they usually are into the pockets of state officials, and if working together as is sometimes the case, laundered through the bank accounts of complicit NGOs, religious organisations, and business companies.
The principal cause of perceived ‘terrorist’ threats in West Africa to Western (oil, gas, mineral) interests is often said to be armed robbers, kidnappers, militants, religious fanatics and fundamentalists — and other alleged ‘saboteurs’ of the nation-State’s sovereignty and much vaunted stability including illegal traffickers, especially but not exclusively narcotic dealers with Nigerian connections.
However, a political economy analysis pinpoints, rather, the kleptocratic state’s internal de facto governance by clientelist relations within and between juridical, political and administrative institutions and security apparatuses. These relations are oiled by corruptly obtained money and evaluated in strictly financial terms — cui bono? Hardly surprising, all donors are desired including the Chinese, who in 2006 awarded wealthy Nigeria a $50 billion credit line that is still unused (Aderinokun 2008).
In sum, we can say that the informal ‘legal’ economy is indeed important in sustaining a hundred million and more families of waged and salaried workers, peasant-farmers, graziers, off-farm and pasture enterprises as cattle transporting, veterinary drugs buying and selling, hawkers of petty items, and small business folk including women street sellers of ‘hot food’ and other informal services. The illegal sector includes lucrative businesses in sex slave trafficking, based in Edo state as well as narcotics and gun trafficking orchestrated by Nigerian networks through West African remoter locations. This sector sustains clientelism linking dominant and dominated — ‘dirty’ money being recycled through multiple accounts until it emerges as ‘clean’ credit — though it also contributes to subaltern economic survival, as long as under-class madams in, for example, sex trafficking ventures survive by remaining ‘obedient’ and ‘trustworthy’ to men in command of their network (Agbroko 2009) [Note 9].
Clientelism and its vertical relations articulate power processes between patrons and clients through the distribution of ‘dash’/‘chop money’ between those at the heart of the kleptocratic State — the ruling political party, security forces, corporations and oligarchs of Nigeria’s venal ‘real’ political economy — and impoverished kinsfolk, clansmen and ethnic women of the under-classes who constitute ‘big’ men’s power base. Embedded patrimonial socio-political systems are cause and effect of a largely rural population growing at 3% per annum, relying for survival on networks of kin, clansfolk and ethnicity, and starved by patrons of the benefits of Nigeria’s huge oil revenues. Clientelism is therefore a major driver of the kleptocratic State’s corruption, violence and cruel use of killing force.
Access to and use of physical power strengthens patrons and senior clients’ hold on illegal pathways of accumulation and politically embedded State cultures of impunity; the latter protect government politicians, civil servants, police and army officers from serious investigation before the law and ensure brutal treatment by security agents of militants, vigilantes, and others (Bayart et al 1999; Chabal and Daloz 1999: ix-15) Thus, clientelism promotes violence at all levels of the ‘shadow’ or ‘real’ as well as formal (legal) political economies.
Yet the same all-powerful men also use ostensibly more peaceful methods to consolidate their formal command of the apparatuses of state including the all-powerful ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Oligarchs of leading dynasties seek to reproduce familial wealth and power in the predominantly Christian south, and largely Muslim north, by encouraging young kinsmen to become vigilantes to ‘police’ or protect their community and its natural resources from unwanted strangers. As well, they aim to marry off daughters to the sons or nephews of other notables of politics as state governors, senior administrators or banking CEOs. By and large daughters obey, but as a recent instance demonstrates there are limits to a client’s obedience, and when the client feels sufficiently secure with his patron he may decline to serve. In early 2009 the sole wife of a powerful northern state governor (a client of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) refused to agree to the First Lady of Nigeria’s demand that her husband marry the President’s daughter; the state governor’s first lady is still his only wife.

Vigilantism: Militancy -
Vigilantism, taking the law into the group’s own hands with the ostensible objective of protecting one’s neighbourhood/quarter or town, is an enduring aspect of settlement society and history among different ethnic groups in Nigeria (Conerly 2007, Pratten 2007) — and elsewhere [Note 10]. Youth organisations span the spectrum from purely recreational to credit associations and town unions to vigilante armed units with ordering functions and militant organisations whose mission is to achieve political goals by attacking the bourgeois State. Some are also active in the ‘shadow’ economy of trafficking illegal goods for pecuniary gain and prestige acquisition. Vigilantes’ primary role, however, is supposedly defensive — protection and ordering — rather than offensive as are militants’.
However, vigilante youth policing or ordering activities lack strong boundaries (Buur 2003): an energetic youth can be a vigilante in the conventional sense (above) but also participate in or initiate traditional style religious fundamentalism, become a trade union (class) strike leader or leave the vigilante zone and enter an ethnic-nationalist organisation in the Niger Delta or join a fundamentalist politico-religious sect. The latter may be modelled on a leader’s hearsay knowledge obtained from travellers or the Internet of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other radical Muslim organisations in the global Ummah. Equally, men employed as police don their Nigeria Police uniform by day, but at night may join a vigilante or ethnic/religious militant organisation or even a band of armed robbers and engage in ‘operations’ to obtain cash (Ifeka 2006, Walker 2009).
Youth organisations protecting the community may receive remuneration, usually a regular monthly fee and/or payments in kind that can flow into other less licit forms of money-getting activities; as noted, the latter merges into community policing. Increasing impoverishment is encouraging more security agents to participate in rackets in which armed robbers, fraudsters and other local ‘godfathers’, in partnership with client middle-ranking or junior police officers, arrange to obtain entry to the Nigeria Police and start work by day as police constables. Night time operations (e.g. robberies, attacks on rival mobs) then go much more smoothly, less likelihood of road blocks and interrogations at gun point.
Vigilante/militant culture and symbols of power (e.g. spiritual force as traditional juju, gods and powerful ‘medicines’, status as ulamma or pastor) are not only created by young men, and sometimes in mixed organisations by young women, drawing on known traditional cultural values of righteous authority and violence (e.g. secret societies with violent initiation rituals). Militant values are also influenced by community values and ‘traditional’ political practices of consensual decision making, respect for the elders, care for the young and vulnerable; also group culture is shaped by relations with, and criticism of, the dominant culture of mainstream society and the State, as experienced by youth when dealing with the State’s agencies and also as perceived through urban television.
Socially immature (e.g. unmarried, or married without financial means or capital assets) men often feel that godfathers are not living up to their (clients’) expectations: lack of ‘dash’ means they lack the cash to fuel a ‘high’ or ‘rich’ level of consumption (drinks, women, hotels, clothes, mobile phones); nor have they been given sufficient money that compensates for labour, at times dangerous, on behalf of godfathers’ shadowy accumulation. Unfulfilled expectations, and, since the return to democracy in 1999, politicians’ ready recourse to violence during elections to secure a majority vote certainly precipitates further growth of youth-led vigilante and other more militant organisations. The latter match with counter-force the physical power of a ‘selfish’ dominant class as well as launch ‘war’ on rival gangs or sects.
The Nigerian economy’s class divisions, both in the legitimate and shadow economies, are formative forces, though partly obscured by the pervasive familiarity of kin-based identities of ethnicity and religion that provides spiritual protection (charms) as well as potent prayers at shrines, in churches/mosques against witchcraft, magic, enemy bullets and poisoning. Free trade and market reforms in the context of an uncaring (‘selfish’) state have benefitted the few and disadvantaged the many (Bracking 2009): these trends have sharpened under-class perceptions. Youth with a post-secondary education, but often without regular paid employment, may come from families with a larger survival margin in the form of savings or capital assets (land, water, property rentals), such families are accorded more prestige and higher status positions in village/town governance. Class divisions in the wider society are reflected in the extent to which, everything else being more or less equal, competent and reasonably popular literate and educated youth are considered leaders rather than their illiterate or semi-literate counterparts. Though partly obscured, persons’ positions in relation to the means of production (e.g. land/farming/petty business/transport/trading) in the formal and ‘shadow’ (illegal) economies, as well as patrons ‘generosity’ to clients in patrimonial networks of accumulation, reflect deepening economic inequalities and class awareness shaping growing subaltern resistance through vigilantism/militancy in the remotest rural areas, villages and cities of Nigeria — and elsewhere in West Africa [Note 11].
Thus, contemporary vigilantism and fundamentalist ethnic/religious organisations constitute a generalised youth sub-culture that represents a level of (indigenous) thought and understanding of their position as largely unwanted surplus labour — young urban hawkers, waged labourers, office workers, farmers, graziers, peasants and petit bourgeois small business folk — sandwiched between and mediating elders’ (more traditional) knowledge and that of the modern State’s dominant political class values of pecuniary accumulation by any means, fair or foul (c.f. Stuart Hall 1975: 15; Ifeka 2001a, 2006).

Repression -
Patron-client networks protect police, soldiers and junior army officers most times from prosecution by injured citizens and unemployed under-class youth. But if young men and older male children picked up by the police in a raid against armed robbers, for example, lack a patron, they may well be executed without trial. Five young people including a boy of thirteen years were shot dead on sight by the police during one such ‘raid’ in 2009 in an Enugu suburb (Walker 2009). Nigerian police often execute without trial young men accused of armed robbery, theft, attacks on officers when being ‘arrested’. In the 1990s-mid-2000s, I observed how so-called ‘armed robbers’ may be tied to telegraph poles painted white over two metres high and shot dead in the early hours of the morning; others may be killed at night by fellow inmates of small cells packed tight with up to forty men. Few prisoners or their families dare to complain in public or to the police themselves. Distressed, fearful relatives ask themselves: what is the point of such complaints?
Citizens are reared in a culture that tends to condone ‘righteous’ physical violence in the family, the neighbourhood and markets against thieves, and are accustomed to enduring forceful treatment at the hands of the police, armed robbers and vigilantes. People are socialised into a culture of political violence, expecting when travelling to be forcefully defrauded of their petty cash by the State’s security agencies, petty government officials and customs officers patrolling the pot-holed highways and roads (Smith 2007). They experience daily the economic violence inflicted on their small earnings, salaries and wages by a collapsing economy and anticipated lack of compensating rewards were they to engage in more lucrative illegal activities; they feel almost daily the social violence miseries of young children chronically ill and dying, mothers and wives dying in childbirth.
Frustrated beyond endurance at the latest problem in their neighbourhood, on the roads, or at public bus stations, beset with economic anxieties, under-class men (and women) lash out against one another and, if in the vicinity, the much hated and despised police. Fighting in public places as the streets, water taps, and markets is very common.
Given such conditions of existence, it would be surprising if, after years of endurance, Nigerian youth did not seek to redress the political and economic balance between subalterns and a mega-rich political elite by grafting militancy onto their vigilante, armed robbery and other illegal trafficking activities. They have to survive — somehow — by acquiring the power with which to challenge security agents, especially the police, identified as tools of the dominant political-military-business class; in so doing, they reject their subordinate under-class status, the legitimacy of the State’s formal policing system and kleptocracy; they demand clean, just governance that would deliver to the masses equitable rental incomes (i.e. from oil/uranium) and implements customary or religious (Islamic/Christian) core precepts.
Revolts
In the past thirty years many Ijaw (Niger Delta) and Tuareg (Niger, Mali) youth and adult men in some communities have moved from defensive style peaceful protest and vigilante policing to the offensive. They now carry out planned, armed attacks against symbols of the repressive nation-state allied to multi-national oil, water and mining corporations to achieve a clearly articulated political goal represented in traditional, popular symbols of resource ownership, purer governance and employment for ‘our people’. A key event that pushed many Ijaw people towards accepting political violence by ‘our boys’ took place in 1999, when residents of a Niger Delta village called Odi killed twelve policemen who had abused residents; the newly elected Nigerian President (Obasanjo) ordered that the army be sent in to crush ‘rebellion’ and slaughtered over 3,000 residents including children; he showed no remorse, rather he blamed the people of Odi; they deserved their punishment.
Since 1999 the US and UK have tried to ‘civilise’ the Nigeria Police with several training and reorientation programmes (Dfid 2008). But the 260,000 rank and file, the 50,000 senior officers and Mobile Police (known as ‘MoPo’ ‘kill-and-go’) still see themselves as having the ‘right’ to lash out with weapons and even kill in retaliation for youth or community attacks on police buildings and personnel (Wikipedia 2008).
A summary of selected riots, disturbances and incidents is given in Table 2. It records some violent events as examples of different expressions of resistance to the State’s view of ‘law and order’, and of popular demands for a fair distribution between ethnicities according to Nigeria’s ‘federal character’ of locally valued assets (e.g. local government institutions). Tables 3 and 4 analyse similarities and differences in selected militant organisations.




Islamic fundamentalist organisations (Table 2), illustrate how Muslim youth and older members draw on a mix of traditional and class symbols for unity, internal discipline, and authority invested in recognised leaders. Of these we can mention the Islamist Maitatsine rebellion.
The Maitatsine reform movement sought, from the 1960s, to abolish corruption and substitute clean governance according to Quranic principles in the Nigerian State as well as among other (rival) Muslim congregations (e.g. Sufi orders, Yan Izala, the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood). Mohammed Marwa Maitatsine was renowned in Kano for his controversial preachings on the Quran and critical statements about the State. Though unpopular with state authorities for perceivably inflammatory, subversive and militaristic teaching, he began to be accepted by Islamic authorities in the 1970s (Wikepdia 2010a). His preaching attracted largely a following of subaltern Hausa youths, unemployed migrant young men, and those who felt that mainstream Muslim teachers were not doing enough for their client communities. Maitatsine claimed to be a prophet; he was killed by security forces in 1980 during the Kano insurrection which saw over 4,000 dead. Some contemporary Islamic reform groups as Boko Haram claim descent from Maitatsine.
Boko Haram (‘Western education is a sin’) seeks to impose Shari‘a law throughout Nigeria. The sect claims to be an offshoot of Maitatsine as does the Kalo-Kato group. Boko Haram was founded in 2002 in Maiduguri by Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, who was shot dead without due process by the police in the 2009 uprising. In 2004 the sect set up a congregation at Kanamma, Yobe state, known locally as ‘Afghanistan’ since members engaged periodically in what communities perceived to be ‘Taliban’ style attacks on police outposts, killing police officers. Their objective is to impose reform on corrupt (Muslim) elites who have adopted ‘bad’ Western values, and to establish Shari’a states throughout Nigeria. To that end, when preaching fails to persuade corrupt elements to reform, violence may be necessary.
Seventy members of the Boko Haram sect erupted, guns blazing, on 26 July 2009 in an attack on a police station at Zongo near Bauchi in retaliation for the arrest by police of branch leaders suspected of plotting extreme violence against the State’s security agencies, particularly the police. According to press reports sect youth were armed with grenades and guns including several AK-47s. Thirty-eight members were killed in the fighting along with a soldier (Gusau 2009). Soldiers launched reprisal attacks in Bauchi as well as Maiduguri where Yusuf had sought refuge close to the mosque used by followers. Several armed youth were reported to have ‘bombed’ police facilities with burning motor bicycles, during attacks on a Maiduguri police station during the July 2009 uprising. Some members of the sect reportedly came from Chad and spoke only Arabic; Chadians launched a fierce attack on Wudil Divisional Police Station, near Kano (Wikipedia 2009b; Muslim News 2009).
In Bornu, Boko Haram armed sect members targeted the Police armoury, the Maiduguri new Prison (whose inmates they released) and the life of the commander of the joint border patrol. As prison inmates fled, militants took hostage the correspondent of the Daily Trust newspaper, alleging that he had betrayed the sect by dressing and growing a beard like them, but had failed to protect their interests by fighting the Borno state government and its security agents. He had also failed to assist Boko Haram in waging jihad against the Izala sect and its mosques in Maiduguri. Of the some 154 people killed, over 11 5 were said to be sect members who had used swords, bows and arrows, sticks, petrol bombs and several guns in attacking police headquarters. A Nigerian army detachment surrounded Yusuf’s home on 28 July, killing followers — over 25 bodies of young men were photographed by press reporters, trussed up, face down, shot in the back of the head without trial; then police removed Yusuf to a police station where subsequently, without interview or trial, he was shot dead. On 30 July mobile police from Operation Flush II, and soldiers, killed over 100 sect members in fighting in Maiduguri; three police were also killed. Security forces entered the mosque occupied by militants and raked the inside with machine gun fire. Elsewhere soldiers and police engaged militants in house to house fighting. Violent clashes were also reported from Potiskum (southern Plateau state) and Wudil near Kano (Wikipedia 2010b). In all about 300 people were killed, including children, police and soldiers.
Boko Haram items displayed by police to the public as ‘evidence’ of the sect’s dangerous intentions and capabilities included knives, cutlasses, local charms and drugs apparently used by youth before launching their attacks. Modern weapons collected were gun powder using in making explosives, equipment for manufacturing local guns, pump action guns, revolvers, a few AK47s and an air rifle. Many of the sect were said by the police to be teenagers from Kano and Bornu states. Others, killed by the police, were children between the ages of eight and fifteen; the police admitted after serious press and human rights NGO questioning to having shot three, but journalists reported eight to twelve children shot dead by security agents in cold blood (Gusau 2009; Wikipedia 2010b).
In December 2009 an Islamist sect, Kalo-Kato — said by member to be related to Maitatsine and Boko Haram — struck in the Zango area near Bauchi city. Full violence commenced subsequently, when during morning prayers at the mosque, the Kalo-Kato sect leader started preaching that other Islamic sects (e.g. Yan Izala) were infidels; he condemned the state government for ordering the arrests of ‘fanatics’ and strongly denounced police and army reprisals against Boko Haram members as, according to him, ‘they were preaching the truth’; that is, ‘the reality in the country’ of ‘selfish’ governance and disobedience to the Quran and Shari’a law. Kalo-Kato sought the release of remaining Boko Haram leaders and members currently facing trial in the High Court, Bauchi. Six soldiers entered the mosque trying to stop the preaching, not knowing that the militants were well armed; the latter killed one soldier and absconded with his rifle. Allegedly five hundred adherents then attempted to embark on a procession of protest, but were obstructed by neighbours and Mobile Police from Operation Flush. Members went wild, attacking anyone in sight and burning houses; some reportedly wore ‘long white jumpers’ infected with powerful charms that the youth believed protected themselves against bullets, knives and arrows (Obateru 2009).
Thirty seven members, two policemen and two soldiers were killed along with four children, said to have been burnt to death when their house was torched by Kalo-Kato sect child members. Reportedly the latter were mainly children between ten to fifteen years of age, backed up by adults, were torching houses and attacking anyone standing in their way (Obateru 2009). Many of the dead were said by police to have ‘killed themselves’. Security reports blamed the violence on a quarrel between sect leaders and their followers. Human rights organisations are demanding prosecution of the security forces for extra-judicial ‘barbaric killings’ (HRW 2009a).

Comparisons -
Tables 3 and 4 comprise, respectively, a preliminary outline of some social features of militant organisations and analysis of organisational variables.


The organisations differ in that Islamists situate their marginalised, militant groups in relation to traditional Ummah institutions and sacred texts as the Quran, while Niger Delta groups articulate a common identity through worship of traditional gods, reliance on juju and community ‘mothers’, and on follower identification with rent-seeking through resource control. Again, Islamist sects reviewed here seek justice and governance in line with Quranic precepts, not resource control and rent-seeking; lacking much modern weaponry Islamist followers seem aware of their position as a subaltern under-class fighting its corner against powerful corrupt interests.
Donor governments and AFRICOM should consider, in the light of the Niger Delta’s militant struggle and its proven capacity to reduce oil output, whether militarization in partnership with kleptocratic ruling oligarchies will secure US-EU MNCs’ priority access to strategic natural resources to which communities have strong traditional claims. Or whether, as in the Niger Delta, the more force used by the State the more subaltern violence grows. An alternative fifteen year strategy for peace would, first, strengthen community land management, especially in settlements close to areas with strategic resources as uranium, oil, diamonds, gold and bauxite so as to build in these regional hubs the basis of a politics of growth and equitable accumulation as against ‘big’ men’s ‘selfish’ control of distribution and patronage. Second, it would improve community, NGO and West African government capacity to promote transparent competition between Asian and Western dominated MNCs. Such a strategy could sustain at the community and local government levels institutional capacity building for resource conflict resolution (UNDP 2009) that erases subaltern resistance currently used by the US-EU to justify the ‘War on Terror’; this would reduce US-EU defence costs [Note 12]. Still, a strategy of running an alternative community based capacity building programme alongside formal political structures (and all-important relatively invisible networks of illegal accumulation embedded in old institutions with the potential to penetrate new initiatives) would need considerable support from ECOWAS, the AU, MNCs, and major US-EU-Asian donors. That might be difficult to secure unless, in response to militarization, full-scale militancy in the Niger Delta, Niger/Mali blocks strategic resource flows to the West African State and overseas metropoles.

Conclusion -
As Bourdieu has argued, violence inbuilt into everyday life is linked to the emergence and growth of explicit political terror and state repression (Scheper-Hughes and Bourgeois 2004: 20) In challenging the kleptocratic State by seeking just governance, subaltern youth are rejecting their subordinate under-class status and the legitimacy of the State’s formal policing system. Some are prepared, and do, sacrifice their lives for their cause (HRW 2009). Advocacy activists in Nigeria, Guinea, Niger and Mali are calling for urgent reforms to end extra-judicial killings and the culture of impunity in West African police and the military to ensure prosecution of perpetrators of such violence against citizens.
I have argued that the primary cause of unending cycles of violence nourishing ‘terrorism’ is not the State’s security agencies, per se, but as Islamic militants as well as Western donors recognise, ‘bad’ governance. Clientelism, not corruption, is the primary cause of subaltern resistance and dominant class reliance on violent repression. Linked as cause and consequence of clientelism are: first, the West African-Nigerian ruling class’s insertion into profoundly lucrative networks of trade in illegal goods for capital accumulation that rely largely on pecuniary and physical methods of control; second, the patrimonial system’s failure to implement the customary ‘just’ redistribution of ‘dividends’. Godfathers and other ‘big men’ are more committed to securing a permanent position for themselves, and their extended families (dynasties), in the dominant political-military-commercial class than they are to upholding traditional clientelistic values of ‘sharing’.
Is it that the State’s repressive security agencies are implementing ‘war’ — against their own young people for allegedly committing ‘terrorism’ (Kapferer 2009)? In press reports following Islamic sects’ attacks in 2009, police declined to use the words ‘murder’ or ‘homicide’ to describe the killing force they had deployed; rather they preferred to speak euphemistically of ‘mopping up operations’ against ‘terrorists’, ‘rebels’. Clearly, Nigerian (and other repressive West African) regimes are so habituated to violence that the dominant class and subalterns live in a permanent ‘state of exception’ to democratic constitutions and the international law of human rights. Subaltern youth, adults and children lack rights and are treated as if they are beyond the law; they can be sacrificed, not killed (Agamben 2005: 7-11 ).
In conclusion, politically acceptable, realistic alternatives to Africa’s militarisation are vital to help halt prospects of potentially appalling conflict between, on the one hand, regionally based imperial confederations (Western, Asian and Middle Eastern) — equipped with nuclear arsenals and remotely operated unarmed and armed aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones (Singer 2009), their political and corporate bourgeoisies in fierce competition for control of Africa’s strategic but finite resources to sustain high rates of capital accumulation elsewhere — and on the other hand, dispersed radical movements, a mix of under-class and radicalised middle class elements surplus to capital accumulation, convinced there is nothing to lose but everything to gain in spiritual blessings, for do they not, in Baudrillard’s (2002) words, labour to radicalise the world by sacrifice?

Acknowledgements:
I wish to thank the Editor for constructive comments, Bruce Kapferer for encouragement and many subaltern friends for their support in the field.


Acronyms:
* APS: African Partnership Station
* AU: African Union
* ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States
* EU: European Union
* DfID: Department for International Development
* FGN: Federal Government of Nigeria
* HRW: Human Rights Watch
* IMF: International Monetary Fund
* IT: Information Technology
* LGA/LGC: Local Government Authority/Local Government Council
* MASSOB: Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra
* MEND: Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta
* MNC: Multi-national Corporation
* NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
* NDPVF: Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force
* NDV: Niger Delta Vigilantes
* PDP: People’s Democratic Party
* UAV: Unarmed Aerial Vehicle
* UN: United Nations
* USADF: United States African Development Foundation
* US AFRICOM: Africa Command
* WB: World Bank
* WTO: World Treaty Organisation


Notes:
1. Terrorism — the systematic use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes; the state of fear and submission produced by terrorization. Youth are males aged c.15-35 years.

2. Declining Nigerian life expectancy (c. 62-65 years in 1960 45-50 in 2009; one of the highest world rates of maternal mortality; one of the highest world death rates in children under 5 years (UN Development Report 2008).

3. Clientelism — asymmetrical political relations between followers and leaders; a patron protects and ‘looks after’ less powerful men and their families, his clients. Patrimonialism — ‘big men’ (patrons) coordinate networks of accumulation to constitute a patrimony, fund, capital for family and clan benefit; lesser patrons and clients expect ‘shares’.

4. Dfid, Security, Justice and Growth Programme 2003-2008.

5. In the early 1990s Taiwan was more interested in Nigeria than China.

6. Abdulmutalab may have been planted on the plane by someone other than a fellow radical Muslim — but by whom?

7. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the Nigerian working class based in city factory production in Lagos, Aba, Jos, Kano and Kaduna was growing rapidly in numbers, trade union organisation and consciousness. 30% of today’s subalterns live in cities almost devoid of factories, 70% live in rural areas where kin-based support networks render meaningful symbols and practices of ethnicity, religion and clientelism that habituate the marginalised majority to ‘accept’/’endure’/’do’ every day violence.

8. AFRICOM’s Equipment: In 2009 US Air Forces Africa (AFA AFRICA, 17 th Air Force) flew a new C-1303 Super Hercules tactical airlifter aircraft from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to pick up seventeen troops assisting with training Malian forces. By 2010, AFA AFRICA will be able to call on 14 such aircraft in support of their mission in Africa (Torres 2010). Is the US command setting up a new West African regional military force (Scavetta 2009)? Will the US use private security companies (e.g., CSS Global Inc) as in Somalia, to establish a small but flexible military presence in selected states (ibid)? Will UAVs be awarded to favoured West African states?
NATO: France has about 7,000 troops in different West African countries from Senegal to Gabon; about 2,900 French troops are also stationed in Djibouti where the US command has leased Fort Lemonier as an AFRICOM naval base. Africa is a testing ground for NATO’s Rapid Response Force and the US’s 1,000 ship Navy and Global Fleet Station projects (Wikipedia 2009a).

9. Narcotic trafficking networks are backed by godfathers’ command of (illegal) physical force and ‘money bags’. Networks are reportedly informal, segmentary and non-centralised with levels of players, for example, lowly (under-class) ‘mules’ and above them ‘fixers’ who may not know much about the network’s principal bosses (Ellis 2009:185-191).

10. An early reference in published form to town unions and youth associations is by Smythe and Smythe (1962). Vigilantes flourished in Igbo communities during the turbulent build up to the Biafran Civil War (1967-70), and as armed robbers extracting money and goods as well as protecting their own people, on highways at night, and in neighbourhoods. Vigilantes or ‘youth’ organisations with ‘protective’ functions were absorbed into the Biafran army during the civil war, and subsequently reappeared as civilian organisations. Some of these organisations have strong roots in male secret societies with initiation rituals (Pratten and Sen 2005; Ifeka 2006).

11. For example, Maradi, southern Niger (Duval-Smith 2001); the Casamance, Senegal (Diallo 2010; HRW 2009b).

12. Hubs for development with peace and transparency across the region, achievements in governance broadcast by the visual, print, party and electronic media, could provide models of cleaner more equitable governance. As in Pro-Natura Nigeria’s successful community development foundation programmes in the Niger Delta, elected leaders representing the working and middle classes — vigilante organisations, farmers and graziers associations, trade unions, religious confederations, professional associations of doctors, teachers and lawyers — might be mobilised to provide the infra-structure and social services that alone convince the majority that the way of peaceful development is best. Such leaderships could largely bypass a despised and unpopular oligarchic West African Bonapartist class, mediating on behalf of its own pecuniary and self-serving financial gain between ‘people’ and Western/Asian institutions and banks


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