Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Western Powers Go Full Retard on Africa: China vs. AFRICOM, a Resource War

The following is Part 1 of: “The future of Africa looks bleak, here is why” (Introduction, Part 2, Part 3).

In Africa, China has been securing access to resources through lucrative trade agreements while Western powers have decided to take the military option to secure their share of the pie.
“Across Africa, the red flag of China is flying. Lucrative deals are being struck to buy its commodities - oil, platinum, gold and minerals… From Nigeria in the north, to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Angola in the west, across Chad and Sudan in the east, and south through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, China has seized a vice-like grip on a continent which officials have decided is crucial to the superpower's long-term survival.”

China in Africa: New Imperialism?



Chinese world trade has increase over 20-fold in under 20 years and even though Africa represents a minor portion of that growth at present, it is vital for China’s long term security and prosperity. Africa not only contains a vast quantity of the world’s natural resources (more info), it is also the second largest continent with some of the most fertile farmlands (pdf) in the world. This has ushered in the age of the “African land grab”.
“Leading the rush are international agribusinesses, investment banks, hedge funds, commodity traders, sovereign wealth funds as well as UK pension funds, foundations and individuals attracted by some of the world's cheapest land. Together they are scouring Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Congo, Zambia, Uganda, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana and elsewhere. Ethiopia alone has approved 815 foreign-financed agricultural projects since 2007. Any land there, which investors have not been able to buy, is being leased for approximately $1 per year per hectare…

“Land to grow biofuel crops is also in demand. ‘European biofuel companies have acquired or requested about 3.9m hectares in Africa. This has led to displacement of people, lack of consultation and compensation, broken promises about wages and job opportunities,’ said Tim Rice, author of an ActionAid report which estimates that the EU needs to grow crops on 17.5m hectares, well over half the size of Italy, if it is to meet its 10% biofuel target by 2015…


Source - Art by Eddie Lampkin entitled "The Vilest Scramble for Loot", created at a TANA workshop.

“‘Farmland in sub-Saharan Africa is giving 25% returns a year and new technology can treble crop yields in short time frames,’ said Susan Payne, chief executive of Emergent Asset Management, a UK investment fund seeking to spend $50m on African land, which, she said, was attracting governments, corporations, multinationals and other investors…

“Water is also controversial. Local government officers in Ethiopia told the Observer that foreign companies that set up flower farms and other large intensive farms were not being charged for water. ‘We would like to, but the deal is made by central government,’ said one. In Awassa, the al-Amouni farm uses as much water a year as 100,000 Ethiopians.”

China, USA and the scramble for Africa (Third Angle Insight)



The most recent conflicts have also had a lot to do with obtaining access to Africa's oil:
“Although Africa has long been known to be rich in oil, extracting it hadn't seemed worth the effort and risk until recently. But with the price of Middle Eastern crude skyrocketing, and advancing technology making reserves easier to tap, the region has become the scene of a competition between major powers that recalls the 19th-century scramble for colonization. Already, the United States imports more of its oil from Africa than from Saudi Arabia, and China, too, looks to the continent for its energy security.”

AFRICOM Expands Mission In Africa



To achieve the task of securing resources, in October 2008 the United States government officially activated U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). Headquartered in Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany, AFRICOM is the most recent addition to the “unified combatant command with an area of responsibility (AOR) solely dedicated to the African continent”.
“In many ways, a context for the pending strategic role of AFRICOM can be gained from an understanding of the origins of CENTCOM and the role that it continues to provide in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the many ‘stans’ popping up after the implosion of the former U.S.S.R. That context is centered on strategic energy supplies and, explicitly, that of oil.”

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Even though African countries were united in rejecting US requests for a military headquarters on the continent, there were reports as early as 2007 that operations through AFRICOM had already begun:
From oil rich northern Angola up to Nigeria, from the Gulf of Guinea to Morocco and Algeria, from the Horn of Africa down to Kenya and Uganda, and over the pipeline routes from Chad to Cameroon in the west, and from Sudan to the Red Sea in the east, US admirals and generals [had] been landing and taking off, meeting with local officials. [They'd] conducted feasibility studies, concluded secret agreements, and spent billions from their secret budgets.”
In late 2012, it was officially acknowledged that the United States had been expanding its military efforts in Africa and plans to deploy troops to 35 African countries in 2013. This should be regarded as bad news for Africa.

Dr. Marimba Ani - AFRICOM



If you find the idea that Africa can become any bloodier than it is inaccessible, then consider this: Contrary to popular belief, the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa last decade was not Darfur, it was Somalia, and it all began in 2006 when the United States and Ethiopia started a war with Somalia, ending six months of the only peaceful period Somalis had known for years. The end result was the same as all other wars that the United States has started in the last century. Not only was Somalia devastated, it also destabilized the region.

Admin Aids French Bombing of Mali After U.S.-Trained Forces Join Rebels in Uranium-Rich Region



Finally, let’s set the stage. The following maps should help us appreciate the gargantuan game at play. So while Western Mainstream Media continues to feed us government sanctioned news, we should keep this information in mind as events unfold in the next few years. An interactive map with additional parameters available at WorldMap.


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continued in Part 2: France Has Forgotten the Battle of Algiers, Africa Never Will: “Ordinary Victories” by Manu Larcenet

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