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Lessons from Libya’s Destruction

Tortilla Con Sal | July 9, 2015

Later this month the outcome is expected of the completely unjust and incompetent show trials held in Libya over the last year or so of around 200 former officials of the Libyan Jamahiriya. If that outcome is reported at all in North American and European media, its real meaning will be completely hidden in self-serving apologetics for NATO’s destruction of Libya in 2011.

The same psy-warfare framework that justified NATO’s campaign of terrorist aggression will falsely present the show trials’ outcome as rough justice dealt out to individuals who deserve no better.

That outcome should put on high alert anyone defending the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas against very similar psychological warfare and terrorist subversion supported by NATO governments of the US and its allies. Not for nothing did Hugo Chávez and Daniel Ortega speak out in defense of Muammar al Gaddhafi and Libya against NATO’s terrorist war. They had already learned long ago the very same lessons to have emerged more recently from the utterly depressing human, moral and political catastrophe of Libya’s destruction.

In 2013, a study by a distinguished Harvard University academic acknowledged that the failure in Libya of the US government’s ostensible avowed policy in Libya and in North and West Africa was based on serial falsehoods. That fact-based, acerbic policy criticism from a source generally supportive of US government foreign policy should give much pause for thought. Along with support for Libya from outstanding revolutionary leaders like Ortega, Chavez and Nelson Mandela it amounts to a categorical indictment of received Western opinion about Libya which, across virtually the entire Western political spectrum, sided either openly or indirectly with NATO’s 2011 war.

No one genuinely concerned to defend progress towards an equitable, peaceful multi-polar world based on mutual respect between sovereign, autonomous nations and peoples should underestimate or forget the horror of what NATO did to Libya. Tens of thousands were killed and wounded in attacks by the bombers and helicopters of many NATO countries. Millions were displaced or forced into exile. Cities like Sirte and Bani Walid were devastated. Schools, universities, hospitals, factories producing food products and other essential civilian infrastructure were targeted and severely damaged or destroyed.

The destruction of Libya marked the categorical abandonment of whatever vestigial moral authority may still have remained to the European Union and its member governments.

It demonstrated in the most humiliating way the impotence and irrelevance of the African Union.

It put hard questions about the anti-imperialism of the Iranian and Syrian governments as well as highlighting the race supremacism of the governments of the Arab League and the already damaged integrity of the Palestinian authorities.

Almost all of them quickly recognized the overtly racist renegade Libyan CNT junta. For their part, the then governments of Russia and China weakly accepted NATO country assurances about the defensive nature of the air exclusion zone.

The only governments to emerge with any real credit from the destruction of Libya were the governments of the ALBA countries and a few African governments like Zimbabwe.

Countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador have all been victims of comprehensive disinformation campaigns of demonization and caricature, although perhaps not so extreme as the final campaign against Libya’s Jamahiriya and Muammar al Gaddhafi.

It is worth considering the basic component of that disinformation war against Libya. What is sometimes called 4th generation warfare is as old as warfare itself. Like Athens versus Sparta, or Rome versus Carthage the fundamental objective of NATO governments and their allies is to make their chosen target seem Other, creating a despised, outcast doppelganger anti-image of the West’s own phony self-image.

So Libya’s Jamahiriya was tagged as undemocratic by hypocritical Western governments, most of whom came to power with around just 20% to 25% of the vote of their electorates, thanks overwhelmingly to elite corporate funding. Libya’s democratic process was one that recognized its society’s contradictions and attempted continual self-renewal.

By contrast, the Western corporate oligarchies offer virtually meaningless periodic elections obfuscated by public relations and organized on a yes-or-yes basis to favor politicians groomed and bankrolled by their countries’ anti-democratic elites. Muammar al Ghaddafi was labeled a dictator even though his policy initiatives were not infrequently rejected within Libya’s system of popular congresses.

In 2009, during a policy conflict between Muammar al Gaddhafi and pro-Western so-called reformers, these could not get their way in Libya’s popular assemblies so they chose staging a violent putsch to achieve the regime change their Western government backers wanted. Venezuela’s experience has been almost identical, although, to date, the country has avoided the kind of coup d’état and subsequent NATO driven war that destroyed Libya Libya was portrayed as a systematic human rights violator.

But Libya’s response to the constant terrorist attacks and subversion it suffered from the very start of its Revolution in 1969 was no different to that of any Western government faced with a similar threat. The British government tortured and murdered alleged subversives all through the Irish war, colluding with sectarian paramilitary death squads. The same pattern of torture and extrajudicial murder also consistently marked the Spanish authorities’ campaign against Basque separatists. Guantanamo’s torture camp symbolizes the brutality and illegality of the US government’s response to terrorist threats.

Libya’s Jamahiriya probably conformed as closely to international human rights norms in relation to fighting terrorism as the three Western governments that led NATO’s war of destruction. Human rights protection in Libya was certainly superior to Western allies like Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar or the other quasi-feudal Gulf State tyrannies.

All the pretexts for the Western assault on Libya’s legitimate government were completely bogus. In any case, as Gerald Perreira points out, the fundamental objective achieved by the destruction of Libya was to shut down the decisive impetus towards African integration led by Muammar al Gaddhafi.

CNT leaders like Mustafa Abdul Jalil were Arab supremacists who fiercely resisted the Pan-African policies advocated by Muammar al Gaddhafi. Arab supremacism, phony neoliberal reformism and the treachery of repressive human rights abusers like Mahmoud Jibril made a lethal reactionary cocktail perfectly suited to ruthless NATO government manipulation. On cue, Western corporate and alternative media presented the corrupt political project of these viciously reactionary elements as a “revolution”, part of the absurdly hyped “Arab Spring”. As if NATO country governments, dedicated to the service of their countries’ corporate elites, have ever promoted genuine democracy or comprehensive human rights around the world.

From Ukraine and Greece, to Yemen and Syria, to Haiti and Honduras, what the Western powers and their allies want is access to natural resources, control of strategically important territories and decisive advantages for their trade and finance. Destroying Libya effectively removed a real threat to Western control and domination in Africa.

Currently, the NATO country elites’ political sales staff, for the moment President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel, are battering Greece into submission. But those leaders and their allies are using economic and psychological warfare to attack many other targets, not just Greece. They do so against Venezuela and other stubbornly independent countries around the world.

That is why the leaders of Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela very publicly welcomed the No vote in the Greek referendum. Unlike Libya, in their different regions Syria and Venezuela are part of regional alliances backed at long last by firm leaders in Russia and China, strong enough to face down any likely economic or military threat from the United States and its allies.

But it would be a mistake to forget Libya. Defending the people of Libya represents an important self-defense measure against Western predators in their global psychological warfare assault on the free, anti-imperialist world.

As a leading force in that free world, ALBA country governments should urgently consider challenging the governments of North America and Europe to protect the thousands of political prisoners in Libya who have been tortured and denied due process.

The ALBA country governments and their allies have infinitely more moral and political authority than Western leaders to speak out in defense of fundamental human rights. They should make outspoken use of that authority now to expose the sadism and hypocrisy of Western governments in Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

In Libya, they may perhaps yet help to save the lives of as many as 200 former officials of the Libyan Jamahiriya at risk from quasi-judicial murder by the West’s corrupt terrorist proxies in a country they have devastated with merciless cynicism.

July 9, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Desmond Tutu is Wrong: The AU Should Quit the International Criminal Court

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | October 16, 2013

The African Union is on a collision course with the International Criminal Court, a tribunal that has indicted only Africans since its founding in 2002. In an extraordinary meeting of the African Union at it headquarters in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, the AU took the position that no sitting head of state should be prosecuted by the ICC while still in office. In the immediate term, the AU calls for the postponement of the trial of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, scheduled to begin in the The Hague, next month. Kenyatta and his deputy president are charged with crimes against humanity stemming from election violence in 2007. Last weekend, President Kenyatta told the African Union that the International Criminal Court “stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining imperial powers” – a clear reference to the United States and Britain.

And that is the heart of the matter. It is a travesty of justice that the ICC only indicts Africans, but even more importantly, the International Criminal Court also only indicts those politicians that get on the wrong side of the United States and the former colonial powers in Africa. The ICC is a tool of U.S. foreign policy, an instrument of neocolonialism.

Among the apologists for the ICC is South African former archbishop Desmond Tutu, who says African leaders are “effectively looking for a license to kill, maim and oppress their own people without consequence.” Tutu says it all boils down to a question of “who should represent the interests of the victims?” However, in the real world of imperial power, Desmond Tutu’s reasoning is specious, shallow. He might just as well argue for the return of colonial rule, which established its own kind of law and order in Africa. The question is, whose law and whose order? The ICC represents U.S. foreign policy masquerading as law.

Tutu maintains that, without the deterrence of the ICC, African “countries could and would attack their neighbors, or minorities in their own countries, with impunity.” Well, that is, in fact, the case right now in Africa, and it has occurred with the complicity of the ICC, which has sanctioned and morally assisted mass murder and outright genocide by American allies on the continent.

And here lies the great irony. The very nations that most strongly oppose the ICC – Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia – have the blood of millions on their hands. Rwanda and Uganda are principally responsible for the death of six million Congolese over the past 17 years, an ongoing genocide armed and financed by the United States and Britain. The Ethiopian regime’s brutality toward its Somali and Omoro ethnic groups has also been described as genocidal. But, because the United States is also deeply complicit in these crimes, there is no threat of prosecution by the International Criminal Court. The court is only deployed against those countries and leaders targeted by the United States.

So, why are Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda worried? Clearly, they understand that, if the United States can give impunity, it can also take it away. They remember that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein used to be a U.S. ally, and that Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad cooperated with the U.S. war on terror – until the U.S. turned against them. The worst purveyor of crimes against humanity in Africa and the world is U.S. imperialism. The ICC is a cog in the imperial machinery, which recognizes no law, but only its own interests. You can’t fight U.S. Empire and its crimes and, at the same time, defend the International Criminal Court. They are one and the same.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nigeria, AU criticised for hosting Sudan’s Bashir at summit

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle | Sudan Tribune | July 18, 2013

ADDIS ABABA – European Union lawmakers on Wednesday criticised the African Union (AU) and Nigeria for allowing Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir to attend a special summit on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria held in Abuja.

The EU delegation held talks with AU and Ethiopian officials on a number of national and continental concerns, as part of an official visit to Ethiopia.

Barbara Lochbihler, who led the delegation, said the AU’s position towards the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the failure of Nigeria to arrest Bashir undermines the work of the ICC and victims’ fight for justice.

The 54-member continental bloc has called on member states not to cooperate with the ICC arrest warrant for Bashir.

The Sudanese president left for Nigeria on Sunday, but cut short his visit the following day after calls for his arrest intensified.

Nigeria has also come under fire after the government refused to arrest Bashir and surrender him to the ICC.

However, Nigerian officials dismissed criticism, saying the Sudanese president was in Nigeria at the invitation of the AU and not as a guest of the federal government.

“President al-Bashir was in Nigeria under the auspices of the AU, based on the assembly’s decision to convene the special summit in Abuja to deal with three diseases that together constitute a heavy burden on member states”, a statement by the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The ICC issued two arrest warrants against Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur.

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Mali: Target of UN’s Sovereignty-stealing “Responsibility to Protect” Doctrine

By  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D. | The New American | October 13, 2012

In a recent article, The New American’s foreign correspondent Alex Newman reported on the United Nations’ plot to invade the West African nation of Mali. Wrote Newman:

After having recently left thousands dead from overthrowing the governments ruling Libya and the Ivory Coast, the United Nations is already plotting its next invasion to deal with the fallout. This time, Mali is in the UN’s crosshairs.

Mali attracted UN attention when the northern part of the country was taken over by Islamists and nomadic rebels amid a military coup d’état that ousted the government in the South. The UN Security Council is currently considering two resolutions related to the country, a former colony of France. The first one calls for negotiations between armed rebels in the North and the supposed “interim” government operating in the capital. That measure is expected to be approved soon, according to officials involved in the negotiations.

The second resolution would purport to authorize international military intervention, a move being sought by the coalition of regimes making up the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the struggling “interim” government in Southern Mali. The French government is circulating a draft of the resolution this week.

Supporting Newman’s report is the “crisis alert” issued by the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP). The notice says: “The humanitarian situation in northern Mali has worsened considerably since a coup in late March, with reports of human rights violations including murder, rape, robbery and forced displacement.”

After rehearsing the calls for intervention made by various human rights groups and other “civil society organizations,” ICRtoP closes its memo with a demand that the UN’s Responsibility to Protect doctrine be applied to the “rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Mali.

A key to understanding the cause of the crescendo of clamors for international intervention in Mali is a familiarity with the Right to Protect doctrine as defined by the United Nations.

In an address given in September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed the commitment of the global shadow government’s ultimate goal of eradicating national sovereignty. The preferred weapon in this war on self-determination is the principle known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

Agreed to by the UN General Assembly at a summit of world leaders in 2005, R2P purports to grant the global government power to decide whether individual nations are properly exercising their sovereignty.

UN literature describes R2P as the concept that holds “States responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.”

That is to say, if the UN determines that a national government is not voluntarily conforming to the UN’s idea of safety, then the “international community” will impose its will by force, all for the protection of that nation’s citizens.

Lest anyone believe that the globalists at the UN are simply pacifists whose desire is to meekly encourage regimes to treat their people kindly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took a more forceful posture at the conference held at the UN headquarters in New York.

“We all agree that sovereignty must not be a shield behind which States commit grave crimes against their people. But achieving prevention and protection can be difficult,” said Ban. “In recent years, we have shown how good offices, preventive diplomacy, mediation, commissions of inquiry and other peaceful means can help pull countries back from the brink of mass violence.”

“However, when non-coercive measures fail or are considered inadequate, enforcement under Chapter VII will need to be considered by the appropriate intergovernmental bodies,” he added. “This includes carefully crafted sanctions and, in extreme circumstances, the use of force.”

Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizes the Security Council to use force in the face of a threat to peace or aggression, taking “such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.” As there is currently no UN military, all such interventions are carried out by the national armed forces of member nations.

Faithfully, the United States, as the chief financial engine of the international body, has not only signed on to promote the Responsibility to Protect scheme, but President Obama has created a federal agency to ensure that it is executed effectively.

The bureau is called the White House Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) and it will be headed by President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Samantha Power.

Exercising the powers he created for himself in Executive Order 13606, President Barack Obama demonstrated his support for the R2P program when he established the Atrocities Prevention Board.

The stated goal of the APB is to first formally recognize that genocide and other mass atrocities committed by foreign powers are a “core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”

Apart from the unconstitutionality of this use of the executive order, there is something sinister in the selection of Samantha Power to spearhead the search for atrocities.

One source claims that the very existence of the APB is due to Power’s own persistence in convincing the White House that discovering atrocities should be a “core national-security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.” The statement released at the time of the signing of the executive order demonstrates Power’s remarkable power of persuasion.

Samantha Power rose to prominence in government circles as part of her campaign to promote the Responsibility to Protect scheme.

Responsibility to Protect is predicated on the proposition that sovereignty is a privilege not a right and that if any regime in any nation violates the UN-approved code of conduct, then the international community is morally obligated to revoke that nation’s sovereignty and assume command and control of the offending country.

The three pillars of this UN sovereignty grab explain the provenance of this presumed prerogative:

1. A state has a responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities

2. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state if it is unable to protect its population on its own, and

3. If the state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.

It is the habitual recourse to this purported “last resort” that has cost countless American lives and has propelled our Republic closer to becoming a mere regional administrative unit of the global government of the United Nations. As Alex Newman wrote in his article on the situation in Mali:

As history shows, armed UN intervention often leads to mass slaughter and complete chaos that is later used to justify more international military intervention — Libya and the Ivory Coast being just two recent examples among many. There is little reason to suspect that invading Mali would turn out any better.

Indeed it won’t. But using history as a guide, Americans know that the pseudo-pacifists running the United Nations believe that if the social contract fails, there’s always the option of deploying blue-helmeted soldiers to impose “peace” at the point of a gun.

To that end, the newly appointed Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, recommended delegates work in their individual governments to contribute to an armed UN force under the command of the global government. Reciting the third point of R2P, Dieng pushed for more powerful tools to carry out the third pillar.

“It is our collective responsibility to study the implications of the use of each of them, and to understand the conditions under which the potential of each tool can be maximized,” Dieng said. “It is also our responsibility to establish and strengthen the structures that will make third-pillar tools actionable and effective.”

No matter the frequency or ferocity of the moral outrage spewed by internationalists, the government of the United States does not have a constitutional responsibility to protect the citizens of the world from atrocities.

And nowhere in the Constitution is the president or Congress authorized to place the armed forces of the United States under the command of international bodies, regardless of treaty obligations or sovereignty-stealing “responsibilities” to the contrary.

Related article:

UN Plotting Invasion of Northern Mali

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Congressmen urge America’s UN Ambassador to act for sanctions on Sudan

Sudan Tribune | September 22, 2012

KHARTOUM — A bipartisan group of 38 Congressmen urged United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to work for imposing sanctions against the Sudanese government because of its failure to allow humanitarian access to the Two Areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

On 4 August the mediation announced that Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) have reached an agreement to provide civilians in the rebel held areas with humanitarian assistance.

However until now the operation has not begun as the Sudanese government and tripartite committee, of UN agencies, Arab League and African Union, continue to hold meetings over its implementation.

The rebel SPLM-N called for an international operation from South Sudan or Ethiopia but the demand is rejected by Khartoum. Senior members of the SPLM-N rebels were recently in Washington and urged Congressmen to act on Sudan’s humanitarian crisis.

In their letter of 21 September, the lawmakers said they were concerned by the humanitarian crisis in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan reminding them that some 650,000 people have already been displaced or severely affected by the conflict in these border states.

After praising Resolution 2046 and the threat to impose sanctions if its dispositions are not met, the Congressmen state that “the Security Council’s principled position must be enforced in order to be credible. Accountability is key when lives hang in the balance.”

The UN Security Council is to meet next week to assess the whole process including the talks between Khartoum government and rebels.

In a statement issued on 21 September, the 15 member council said it was gravely concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in the states.

“The members of the Council once again stressed the urgency of immediately delivering humanitarian relief supplies to the affected civilian populations, so as to avoid any further suffering or loss of life,” the statement said.

They further urged the two parties to “begin direct talks, urgently agree to and implement a cessation of hostilities, and create a conducive environment for further progress on political and security issues.”

In Khartoum the Sudanese humanitarian commissioner Suleiman Abdel-Rahman told the official SUNA that they had reports that an aircraft belonging to a foreign aid group landed in the rebel-held town of Kauda without permission from the Sudanese government.

He also said that humanitarian assistance was recently delivered to the rebel-held areas through an unspecified neighbouring state or air drop operations.

September 23, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sudan, South Sudan agree on oil deal

Al Akhbar | August 4, 2012

Sudan and South Sudan have hammered out a deal on how to share their oil wealth, one of a series of disputes that brought the rivals to the brink of all-out war earlier this year, it was announced on Saturday.

“The parties have agreed on all of the financial arrangements regarding oil, so that’s done,” African Union (AU) mediator Thabo Mbeki said early on Saturday after talks in the Ethiopian capital.

The two countries had faced an August 2 deadline set by the United Nations to resolve their differences on oil and borders, and Mbeki said they would meet next month to try to find a compromise on the disputed region of Abyei, whose status was the most sensitive issue left unresolved before South Sudan’s independence.

The former South African leader said a timetable would now be drawn up for the resumption of oil production and exports, which are vital to the economies of both deeply impoverished countries.

“What will remain, given that there is an agreement, is to then discuss the next steps as to when the oil companies should be asked to prepare for resumption of production and export,” he said.

The AU has been mediating long-running talks to try to resolve a series of disputes that have flared since South Sudan became independent in July 2011 following a 2005 peace deal that ended one of Africa’s longest civil wars.

Landlocked South Sudan took with it three-quarters of the oil held by the previously united nation, but the pipelines and processing facilities remained in Sudan.

And the two sides were unable to agree on how much Juba should pay to export its crude through a northern pipeline and port, leading the South to shut down production in January after Khartoum began seizing the oil in lieu of payment.

Oil generates about 98 percent of South Sudan’s revenue and the move crippled the economies of both countries.

Ahead of the agreement announced by Mbeki, Sudan had lowered its demand for oil fees from South Sudan. Sudan had been seeking up to $36 a barrel in fees, but in a position paper released on Thursday said it was proposing $22.20 a barrel, compared with $7.61 offered by South Sudan.

Despite the oil agreement, South Sudan’s chief negotiator Pagan Amum accused Khartoum of violating a peace plan drawn up by the African Union in April urging both sides to reach a comprehensive deal on all outstanding issues.

“The government of Sudan continues to violate the road map and continues to bomb South Sudan,” Amum told reporters.

“The (AU) peace and security council in its road map and resolution decided that they would impose sanctions on Sudan if they fail to comply, Sudan has failed to comply,” he said.

Mbeki’s announcement came hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the two Sudans to strike an urgent compromise on outstanding issues such as oil revenue sharing, security, citizenship and border demarcation, saying the countries “remain inextricably linked”.

Clinton’s comments came after a meeting with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in Juba as part of her tour of Africa.

Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting insurgents on its territory, a charge that analysts believe despite denials by Juba, which in turn accuses Khartoum of backing rebels south of the border.

The two countries fought along their undemarcated frontier in March and April, sparking fears of wider war and leading to a UN Security Council resolution that ordered a ceasefire.

Mbeki said an agreement had also been reached between Sudan, the United Nations, the AU and the Arab League to allow for humanitarian access in the conflict-wracked Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Prolonged clashes between Sudanese forces and rebel groups in the two disputed territories have left thousands in a “desperate state” and in need of emergency aid, according to the United Nations.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

August 4, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US army prepares for war against al-Shabab in Somalia: Report

Press TV – July 30, 2012
US Army Maj. Gen. David Hogg (C) inspects Sierra Leone troops in Freetown during a deployment ceremony this year. (File photo)
US Army Maj. Gen. David Hogg (C) inspects Sierra Leone troops in Freetown during a deployment ceremony this year. (File photo)

A new report has unveiled that the US Army is “quietly equipping and training” thousands of African troops to prepare them for a war against al-Shabab fighters in Somalia.

“Officially, the troops are under the auspices of the African Union (AU). But in truth, according to interviews by US and African officials and senior military officers and budget documents, the 15,000-strong force pulled from five African countries is largely a creation of the State Department and Pentagon, trained and supplied by the US government,” Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.

The report added that the American officers along with dozens of retired foreign military personnel, hired through private contractors, are guiding the African soldiers.

“Nearly 20 years after US Army Rangers suffered a bloody defeat in Somalia, losing 18 soldiers and two Black Hawk helicopters, Washington is once again heavily engaged in the chaotic country. Only this time, African troops are doing the fighting and dying,” the report said.

Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital is one of the bases the US army uses to train African soldiers, it said.

Through deploying African troops to Somalia, “the Obama administration is trying to achieve US military goals with minimal risk of American deaths and scant public debate,” the report added.

“The US can underwrite the war in Somalia for a relative pittance — the cost over four years has been less than USD 700 million, a tenth of what the military spends in Afghanistan in a month — but the price tag is growing. More than a third of the US assistance has been spent since early 2011,” the American newspaper said.

African forces are supplied “with surveillance drones, ammunition, small arms, armored personnel carriers, night-vision goggles, communications gear, medical equipment and other sophisticated aid and training,” the report added.

“The US government has done extremely well in providing for us and we are grateful for that, but they can do more,” said Brig. Gen Komba Mondeh, Sierra Leone’s chief of operations and plans.

“This is real war, and we expect to see the body bags coming back home,” he said.

The report came as the US has recently stepped up its assassination drone operations in the famine-stricken Somalia.

The weak Western-backed transitional government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab for the past five years and is propped up by a strong AU force from Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti.

The country has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Mali – one more victim of the Western “peace crusade” ?

By Dmitry Babich | The Voice of Russia | July 18, 2012

The situation in Mali, the country most closely located to the “zone of stability and security” purportedly created by NATO in Libya, is far from being stable or secure. The international news agencies and world press are reporting horror stories about the rule of terror, established by the jihadist movements in the north-east of this country, previously dominated by the local Tuaregs.

There are two interesting conclusions that the world’s politicians and experts draw from the developments in Mali. First, it is recognized that destabilization of Mali was one of the results of the military intervention of NATO in Libya (the Tuaregs, who in fact unleashed the military action, were armed by weapons from colonel Qaddafi’s ransacked arsenals). Second, the proposed solution to the crisis, heavily lobbied by France, is… another military intervention, this time in Mali. Obviously, the “zone of stability and security” has for some reason got a unique ability to spawn new conflicts.

The only “political heavyweight” on the world stage who predicted undesirable developments in Mali in the immediate aftermath of the Libyan coup was the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. In April this year, during a visit to Azerbaijan, he sketched the negative scenario which unfortunately proved to be true: “The Libyan story is far from over. We see how the statehood of Mali is being destroyed under our very eyes. What is the reason for that? Besides the unending skirmishes in Libya itself, instability is flowing into neighboring states via arms smuggling, infiltration of fighters. What we see in Mali is just the result of these processes.”

What is indeed astounding is the fact that the NATO countries continue to trumpet their operation in Libya as a great success. State secretary Hillary Clinton, for example, praised the victory of “secular liberals” at recently held elections in Libya (which would indeed be great, if “secularists” had not had a discussion on an innocent point – whether sharia should be the main law of the country or, even better, the only law). In her comments, Mrs. Clinton carefully avoids making a link between the destruction of Qaddafi’s regime and the sudden replenishment of the arsenals of AQMI (the French abbreviation for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and Ansar Dine, the two most violent groups of the jihadist movement in Northern Africa, which ultimately took control of north-eastern Mali.

“During Qaddafi’s rule, we did not know about these groups,” says from Mali’s capital Bamako Caroline Tuina-Ouanre, a journalist from neighboring Burkina Fasso, specializing on covering the developments in Sahel, a region in Africa where both Mali and Burkina Fasso belong. “Obviously, they did not get their arms from nowhere. They got them profiting from the collapse of the Libyan regime, which in itself was a result of the Western intervention. It made AQMI much stronger, this is a proven fact, long reported by the French-language press of Africa, from Morocco to Burkina.”

France, the country that actually engineered the Western intervention in Libya, is now the primary supporter of an intervention in Mali. However, the French president Francois Hollande said that “for obvious reasons” (meaning, obviously, the history of French colonialism in the region) France was unwilling to intervene on its own. “The intervention should take place in the framework of the African Union and under the auspices of the United Nations.” Hollande said.

The irony of the situation is that the African Union was resolutely opposed to the Western intervention in Libya in 2011, saying that such an intervention would undermine regional security. The South African leader Jacob Zuma, a key figure in the AU, and the Algerian president Abdelaziz Buteflica were among the most vocal opponents of the physical destruction of colonel Qaddafi. And now France wants Buteflica’s Algeria to spearhead the eventual intervention in Mali. In 2011, both U.S. and the EU ignored the African Union’s protests, trumpeting the removal of Qaddafi as a 100 percent positive development, a “victory for democracy.” So, now France is asking the African Union to make up for its misdeeds in the area – misdeeds that the AU never approved.

July 19, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sudanese poor not part of ‘uprising’

Al Akhbar | July 19, 2012

Sudan’s millions of poor have yet to surge into the streets to back scattered Arab uprising-style protests as government austerity measures try to stem soaring prices and a falling currency.

Inflation reached 37 percent year-on-year in June and jumped almost 10 points in May but the demonstrations, sparked by high food prices, have been largely youth driven.

“So far the movement is concentrated with students and protest activists,” one veteran activist said, adding it could take time for the “oppressed” poor to rise up.

Sudanese history shows that “usually the poor join late,” following the professional classes, said University of Khartoum economist Mohammed Eljack Ahmed.

But more than a month after protests began at the University of Khartoum there has been no mass support from professionals, although lawyers have demonstrated.

“So far they are so limited,” Ahmed said of the protests.

Demonstrations spread to include a cross-section of people, but often only in groups of 100 or 200. Protests have lately focused on Fridays at a mosque linked to the opposition Umma party in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.

Rallies have not attracted the tens of thousands of students, engineers, lawyers and trade unionists who toppled Sudanese military regimes in 1964 and 1985.

Sudan, with more than 30 million people, has a poverty rate of 46.5 percent, the United Nations says.

In its latest report on Sudan the World Bank described as “alarming” the 28.6 percent annual inflation rate reached in April, with prices having gone even higher since.

The bank said food prices were mainly behind the inflation, which was “partly due to the rising import cost of basic goods as a result of weakening local currency value.”

Sudan’s pound has tumbled on the black market from about four pounds per one dollar in September to around six now. Some say it could drop to 10 or more if inflation is not contained.

The pound has been under pressure since South Sudan separated in July 2011, taking with it about 75 percent of Sudanese oil production that is worth billions of dollars and was the country’s largest source of hard currency.

Loss of oil revenue has led to “serious external and internal deficits, inflation and economic hardship”, the World Bank said.

Failure to agree with South Sudan on oil fees cost the Sudanese economy another 6.5 billion pounds ($1.48 billion), Finance Minister Ali Mahmud al-Rasul has said.

The fees, which South Sudan would pay for exporting its oil through Sudan’s pipeline and port, are a major issue to be negotiated at African Union-led talks being held in Addis Ababa.

Trying to address the fiscal imbalance, Sudan announced measures in June that Rasul said would save $1.5 billion.

The government devalued the pound from 2.70 per dollar to 4.40, while sanctioning a trading band that lets the price range to 5.30, closer to the unofficial rate.

An international economist said the “very significant” depreciation should lead to a balance of payments adjustment, boosting exports and curbing imports after the loss of oil revenues.

But foreign reserves, needed to pay for imports, remain “very, very low” despite a “sizeable amount” that apparently arrived from offshore, said the economist, asking for anonymity.

The government also said taxes on bank profits will rise along with value-added tax.

It also cut five of 31 cabinet posts, trimmed ministers’ salaries and laid off presidential advisers.

Another move led to a rise of about 50 percent in the pump price of petrol under a phasing out of fuel subsidies which had been set at 2.2 billion pounds this year.

Despite the cut in subsidies there was a rise in social safety net spending, said Paul Jenkins, resident representative of the International Monetary Fund. On the revenue side the government measures were “quite solid,” he added.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

July 19, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Malawi gives up AU summit over pressure to host Sudan’s President

Sudan Tribune | June 8, 2012

KHARTOUM – Malawi has been forced to cancel hosting of an African Union (AU) summit next month after the continental body insisted that the South African nation allows Sudan’s President Omer Al-Bashir to attend.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide he allegedly masterminded in his country’s western region of Darfur.

Malawi, which is a member state of the Hague-based tribunal, asked the AU in May not to invite Al-Bashir to the summit, citing fears of economic consequences after the country was denied $350 million in US aid money over reasons including its decision to host the Sudanese leader at a regional summit in the capital Lilongwe last year.

Kachali Khumbo, Malawi’s Vice-President, said on Friday that his country had received a letter from the AU saying that it had no right to dictate who can attend the summit.

According to Khumbo, the letter stated that the summit would be moved to the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa if Lilongwe insists on barring Al-Bashir.

As a result, “the [Malawian] cabinet has decided not to host the summit” he declared.

Khumbo contended that “much as Malawi has obligations to the AU, it has also other obligations.”

Sudan has already protested Malawi’s refusal to host Al-Bashir and on Thursday demanded that the summit be moved to Addis Ababa.

The AU has issued several resolutions ordering its members not to cooperate with the ICC regarding Bashir’s warrant.

Already countries such as Malawi, Kenya, Chad and Djibouti have allowed Bashir to visit without arresting him though the first two later refused to receive him again.

June 9, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

US congressional committee votes to cut aid from states hosting Sudanese president

Sudan Tribune | May 17, 2012

WASHINGTON – A congressional committee in the United States House of Representatives voted to cut off aid to any state that hosts Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in Darfur war crimes.

The amendment to the fiscal year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill was pushed for by Frank Wolf who is one of Bashir’s most vocal critics.

“Women are being abused and killed for the color of their skin,” Wolf shouted according to ’The Hill’ website.

“This is a moral issue,” he added and threatened to send gruesome videos of violence in Sudan to any committee member who voted down the amendment.

“One lady she pinched her skin and said, ’I’m black. Get Bashir!’ ” the US Republican lawmaker said.

Wolf’s office released his prepared remarks in support of this provision which he said is necessary to further American interests.

“In a time when the foreign affairs budget is being squeezed, I believe our assistance should be a direct reflection of American values and priorities,” he said.

“Surely we can all agree that bringing a war criminal to justice is in our national interest. Leveraging our foreign assistance in this way sends a powerful message,” Wolf added.

The approval of the amendment does not guarantee that it will be included in the final appropriations bill especially as the Democrat-controlled Senate will produce its own version which will later have to be reconciled with the House version and voted on.

The issue has already drawn concern by some of Wolf’s peers in light of its implications on US foreign policy.

“We all agree that the situation in Sudan is deplorable, that President Bashir must be held accountable for his crimes,” Democratic Representative Nita Lowey said.

She noted that Bashir has visited many countries including Ethiopia, China, Egypt, Chad, Malawi, Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

“My colleague’s amendment would cut off US funding to all of these countries, some of them strategic allies,” had it already been in effect when the visits were made, Lowey said.

Last March, the US announced that it is suspending $350 million allocated to Malawi through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) citing reasons which included receiving Bashir last year.

This month Malawi’s new president Joyce Banda asked the African Union (AU) not to invite Bashir to this year’s summit hosted by her country for fear of its implications on aid Malawi receives.

The Sudanese president denies the ICC charges and refuses to recognise the jurisdiction of the court which he denigrates as a tool of neo-colonialism by the West.

May 18, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sudan says UNSC resolution contains positive elements

Sudan Tribune | May 2, 2012

WASHINGTON – The Sudanese government reacted with caution to the resolution adopted unanimously today by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) saying it contains positive elements but vowed to review it carefully in order to determine its negotiating strategy with South Sudan.

Today’s decision directs Khartoum and Juba to inform the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and UNSC president in writing of their intention to commit to a cessation of hostilities including aerial bombardments within 48 hours.

The two sides must immediately withdraw their forces inside their respective borders without conditions and within a week activate the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) and the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ).

Also, withdrawal from the disputed border region of Abyei must be completed in two weeks in accordance with the June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Security and Administrative Arrangements for Abyei.

Furthermore, the two countries will return to the negotiating table in two weeks time to settle issues including oil, citizenship, border demarcation and Abyei. A four-month window was given to conclude the talks.

Talks on these contentious items is mediated by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) led by Thabo Mbeki but there was little success in achieving any breakthrough.

The panel managed to schedule a meeting between Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and his southern counterpart Salva Kiir for April 3rd to seal framework agreements on borders and citizenship. However, clashes that erupted between the two countries in late March over the oil-rich region of Heglig inside South Kordofan led to the suspension of the summit.

Relations deeply deteriorated in early April after South Sudan army (SPLA) managed to occupy Heglig for 10 days before Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) reclaimed the area. Juba insists that it withdrew voluntarily and dismissed Khartoum assertions that they were expelled by force.

South Sudan claimed that Heglig is part of Unity state that was annexed to north Sudan several decades ago through an administrative decision. Heglig, which produces half of Sudan’s oil, saw its facilities severely damaged which Khartoum blamed on SPLA and vowed to sue it internationally.

The UNSC resolution passed today called for a fact finding effort to assess the losses including economic and humanitarian damage to oil facilities and other key infrastructure in and around Heglig.

Despite reservations expressed by China and Russia, the resolution maintained the threat of non-military measures against any side that fails to comply with council’s demands that were in essence part of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) roadmap endorsed last month.

“We are always very cautious about the use and threat of sanctions,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong told the council.

“China has all along maintained that African issues should be settled by the Africans in African ways” Baodong added.

The Russian envoy expressed the same sentiment.

“The arsenal of political and diplomatic instruments for normalizing the situation has nowhere been exhausted,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council.

“We consider sanctions as an extreme measure” he said

In Beijing, the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised China for backing the resolution.

“I’m pleased that China and the United States joined with a unified international community just hours ago to support a strong UN Security [Council] resolution that provides unambiguous support to the African Union roadmap,” Clinton said.

The Sudanese government criticized the AUPSC for requesting the blessings of the UNSC and warned against the attempt to override the African role by involving the UNSC. It said that the intervention by the world body will make political considerations and pre-established positions prevail over the requirements of peaceful settlements.

Last Sunday, the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti sent a letter to the AU declaring his country’s “preliminary” agreement with the roadmap while expressing several reservations that were not specified.

Karti traveled to Moscow this week to press Russia on Sudan’s point of view regarding the draft resolution. However, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov signaled his backing to the resolution despite expressing discomfort with including Article 41 of the UN charter.

Article 41 states that the UNSC may decide what measures – not involving the use of armed force – are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call on the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures.

These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Al-Obeid Marwih said that elements of the UNSC resolution related to condemning Heglig occupation and calling for assessing damage to oil facilities are positive.

Marwih noted that Sudan has no “fundamental objection” on the resolution as long as it is made on the basis of the AUPSC roadmap.

But the head of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) parliamentary bloc Ghazi Salah al-Deen slammed the AUPSC communiqué saying that it equated between the victim and the villain.

“We cannot endorse any international decision denying the right of the Sudanese people,” Al-Deen told the legislative assembly.

Al-Deen, who also serves as Bashir’s adviser, said the labeling of Heglig as a disputed area is “malicious”.

Sudan’s ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Osman expressed disappointment with the resolution.

“It is notable that the resolution has disregarded the continuous aggression by South Sudan against Sudan,” Osman told the council.

“Peace … will only be achieved through halting all forms of support and sheltering of proxy rebel and armed groups espoused by the South Sudan,” he added.

But South Sudan’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor Kuol who attended the vote told the council that his government would comply with the resolution.

“It is my privilege to reaffirm to you that, in compliance with the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council, the UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement, and in the spirit of our commitment to peace, my government ordered the withdrawal of our police force from Abyei Area on 28 April 2012. We expect the international community to exert efforts to ensure the immediate and complete withdrawal of Sudan Armed Forces from Abyei Area,” Alor told the council.

As acknowledged formally by the African Union, my government is already committed to the cessation of hostilities and the resumption of negotiations under the auspices of the African Union High Implementation Panel. We welcome the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council, and the commitment of the UN Security Council to the enhancement of the AUHIP led negotiations process through the active participation of the UN, the Chairman of IGAD and other international partners.”

“We appeal to the United Nations and its member states to urgently mobilize humanitarian assistance for the population affected by Sudan’s continuous aerial bombardment and ground incursions in northern states of South Sudan,” he said.

Alor told reporters that his country did not abandon claims to Heglig and stressed that the move on the region was in response to Khartoum’s aerial bombardments and ground incursions. He said the ownership of Heglig would be on the negotiating table.

The U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice hailed the vote saying that it enforces a time frame to achieve results after years of talks.

“With this vote, the Council has clearly imposed tight deadlines for concrete action, in line with the African Union decision. This Council, especially those members with particular influence, including my own, must continue to press both parties to implement the African Union Roadmap by ending hostilities, ceasing cross-border attacks and movements, halting aerial bombardments, withdrawing all their forces from the border areas including Abyei, activating the necessary border security mechanisms, and ending support to rebel groups working against the other state,” she said.

“It is also essential that both parties return at once to the negotiating table under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel to reach agreement on critical outstanding issues. We support the plans of the African Union to travel to Khartoum and Juba in the coming days to begin the process. This is ultimately the only way that further conflict can be avoided” Rice added.

She warned that the UNSC is willing to impose punitive measures if there is lack of progress.

“If the parties fail to take these steps promptly, this Council is united in its determination to hold both sides accountable. We stand ready to impose Chapter VII sanctions on either or both parties, as necessary,” the U.S. diplomat said.

But the Russian ambassador said that sanctions should not be used in relation to conflicts in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where fighting has been raging since last year between Sudan’s army and rebels from Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) who want to topple to Khartoum government.

The resolution orders Khartoum and SPLM-N to cooperate with the mediation and use a June 2011 framework agreement as a basis for talks. The deal was signed by presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie only to be scrapped by Bashir himself later.

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment