|Africa News Digest
Clinton Brings Anti-AIDS Fight to Lesotho
Former President Bill Clinton has taken his fight against HIV-AIDS to Lesotho (a tiny nation within the geographical borders of South Africa), where an AIDS holocaust is occurring. The Clinton Foundation just opened a pediatric clinic in Maseru. One-third of Lesotho's approximately 2 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS; 22,000 are children. Of all those infected, only 11% receive anti-retroviral drugs to combat the disease. In 1995, the average lifespan in Lesotho was 62 years. Today, ten years later, it is 37. As Clinton pointed out, this is totally unnecessary, since although there is not yet a cure, treatment exist for HIV/AIDS, which can significantly extend life expectancy. This treatment has been withheld from the people of Africa, by the Anglo-Dutch imperial policy of genocide, which aims at depopulating the continent in the interest of raw-materials looting.
Rice Moots U.S. Ambassador to Sudan; Mrs. Greenspan Provokes Incident
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Dakar, Senegal, on her way to Sudan July 21, "held out the possibility of sending an ambassador to Sudan for the first time since 1997, in a sign of improving relations after the installation of a new government," according to Reuters. She told reporters it would depend on Khartoum ending the Darfur conflict, and in that regard, "We have gotten some help from the Sudanese government, but by no means enough."
Then, in Khartoum later in the day, at the meeting between Rice and President Bashir, despite an apparent agreement that U.S. press would be allowed into the meeting, Sudanese security initially denied them entry, in a tense situation in which there was already some minor pushing and shoving. Finally, U.S. press were admitted on condition that they ask no questionsphoto opportunity only. According to her own testimony, the no-questions policy inspired Andrea Mitchell of NBC (wife of Fed chairman Alan Greenspan) to provoke the Sudanese in this charged atmosphere. AP reports:
"'Can you tell us why the violence [in Darfur] is continuing?' Mitchell asked, as a Sudanese official said, 'no, no, no, please.'
"'Can you tell us why the government is supporting the militias?' she asked.
"After getting no reply from el-Bashir, she asked, 'Why should Americans believe your promises?'"
Guards wrenched her arm behind her and forced her out of the room at that point, as State Department official Jim Wilkinson shouted, "Get your hands off her."
Sudan's Foreign Minister, Mustafa Osman Isma'il, later telephoned Rice to apologize while she was in the air en route to Darfur. Rice had demanded an apology.
The London Guardian on July 22 claimed that, "The scuffles, though minor, were a diplomatic disaster for the Sudanese government."
EIR notes that Washington is split between those who wish to make Sudan into an obedient client and those who want to overthrow the government and break up the country. Rice and the CIA leadership are among the former. Mr. Greenspan may be among the latter, who rule the roost in Congress.
Sudan's New Cabinet To Include Southern Leaders
The Sudanese Council of Ministers held its final meeting July 17 in Khartoum, AFP reported July 17. An interim constitution had been signed July 9 that provided for dissolving the government. John Garang, head of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement, was sworn in as First Vice President on that occasion. The new government including Southern leaders is to be formed by Aug. 9 at latest.
Garang met with Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi for two hours July 19 to discuss "means of developing the memorandum of understanding signed between them in 2001 which led to Turabi's imprisonment" by President Bashir, according to ArabicNews.com July 21. ArabicNews continues, "Following the meeting ... the two leaders stressed 'support for the Sudanese peace agreement without any hesitation,' despite the reservation of [Turabi's] People's Congress on the main items of this agreement."
Garang received U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Republican Palace July 21, according to the Sudan News Agency SUNA. SUNA reported that "First Vice President John Garang de Mabior has called on U.S. to make available the aid it pledged in Oslo donors conference and support efforts for finding a solution for Darfur problem."
Garang announced July 20 that he would leave Khartoum for Rumbek in the South on July 22, to take up his duties as President of Southern Sudan. He said, "we have had good ties in the Presidency institution [in Khartoum] and we will go on creating further relations."
Garang To Spend $1.5 Billion on Infrastructure Annually
John Garang's Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) plans to spend $1.5 billion on infrastructure annually, thanks to the oil-revenue-sharing agreement that is part of the North-South peace accord, Los Angeles Times reporter Edmund Sanders, wrote from the new southern capital of Rumbek July 21. Sanders says, "The giant development plan ... is drawing an army of would-be investors, speculators, and contractors ... to Rumbek." Sanders adds, "international donors are preparing to pump more than $2 billion into southern Sudan" in addition, but that is a lump-sum figure, not an annual one.
Sanders quotes a "Western diplomat with years of experience in southern Sudan," who said, "It's turning into a world of cowboy contractors looking to make a quick buck." And Sanders quotes SPLM executive committee member Costello Garang Ring Lual saying, "The interest is bigger than the readiness."
But Obede Kudu, an SPLM information officer, said that investors and contractors will be required to submit written five-year proposals, including proof of financial backing, to a board that will review bids.
Concerning oil, Chevron, Royal Dutch/Shell, China National Petroleum, Petronas (Malaysia), and Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (India) have all had preliminary talks with SPLM officials.
Garang Proposed Water Policy in 1981 Doctoral Dissertation
While the water policy in the cited "giant development plan" for southern Sudan is not yet known, John Garang made a crucial water-policy proposal in his 1981 doctoral dissertation, written at Iowa State University. "If the Sudan plans to realize the objective of becoming the 'Breadbasket of the Middle East,'" Garange wrote, "then clearly modern agricultural development must be introduced into the Southern Clay Plains," the greater part of southern Sudan. "The Jonglei Canal ... provides necessary conditions for drainage and irrigation without which modern commercial agriculture cannot be viable in the area," he added.
His argument was that, while irrigation is necessary in the Southern Clay Plains, much less irrigation water per hectare is needed there than in the existing commercial agricultural areas in the North, because there is more rainfall in the South.
Average annual rainfall in the Southern Clay Plans ranges from 800 mm to 1,000 mm. By comparison, the Gezira commercial agricultural district in the North (a triangle with apex at Khartoum, whose sides are the White and Blue Nile), has an average annual rainfall gradient running from only 200 mm at Khartoum to 600 mm further south.
Any increase or decrease in available Nile water must be shared equally between Sudan and Egypt, he said, in accord with the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement.
Zimbabwe Seeking Loans To Prevent Further Collapse
A Zimbabwean team led by its Foreign Minister was in South Africa July 18, reportedly seeking a $1 billion loan to buy gasoline, seeds, fertilizers, agricultural infrastructure, and food, but also to stave off expulsion from the IMF. The team met with South Africa's Finance Minister and central bank governor.
Zimbabwe owes the IMF $2 billion, and $290 million had to be paid by July 20 to avert expulsion. Expulsion would have profoundly negative consequences, according to a high-ranking South African official who spoke to City Press (Johannesburg), News24 reported July 17. In a foolish world, expulsion could indeed have negative consequences for an individual country that has been deliberately isolated. (Meanwhile, 80% of Rwanda's budget comes from foreign sources; the figure for Uganda is 52%, and for Zambia, 40%.)
George Charamba, spokesman for Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, told the South African Broadcasting Corp. July 20 that Zimbabwe was also seeking lines of credit from Malaysia and China.
One of South Africa's conditions is that the Zimbabwe government stop the demolition of squatters' shacks, under the rubric of "urban renewal," that have been home to hundreds of thousands. A temporary end to the demolitions has now been announced.
In Zimbabwe, gasoline has again become unavailable, and most retail outlets no longer have salt and soap.