|Africa News Digest
U.S. Idiocy in the Horn of Africa Creates Chaos in Somalia
Sept. 8 (EIRNS)The British have had a stunning success in getting U.S. Vice President Cheney and his neo-con crowd to implement their policy in the Horn of Africa. According to Somalia expert Ken Menkhaus, chaos and fighting are on the rise, and people in the region are blaming the United States, which supports the transitional government and the Ethiopian intervention (an intervention U.S. forces were also directly involved in).
Speaking at a U.S. policy forum in Washington, D.C. Sept. 6, Menkhaus (who gave an interview to EIR on May 11) said he saw no improvement, in the short term, in Somalia, as long as the present policies are maintained. He compared the situation to the chaotic period after the UN force was driven out of Somalia in the early 1990s. Since the April attack on Somali opponents by the Ethiopian military, in support of the transitional government (TFG), 300,000 out of a population of 1.3 million have been driven out of Mogadishu. He noted that the TFG would collapse immediately if Ethiopian troops pulled out, and that fiefdoms and warlordism, some of it protected by Ethiopia, is on the rise. Meant to be a transitional government, the TFG grouping just wants to hold on to power for themselves.
Some in the Bush-Cheney Administration want to declare that Eritrea, which backs the opposition in Somalia, is a state which sponsors terrorism. Menkhaus said this would only make the situation worse. The fallback position for the Administration, is to let Somalia become ungovernable, "ruled" by militias and warlords. The solution advanced by Menkhaus, is a large African Union (AU) peacekeeping force, so that the Ethiopian troops can be gotten out. But the Darfur initiative by the AU is taking such a large number of troops, that nothing else is possible in the region.
No Genocide in Darfur, Says Former U.S. Official
Sept. 8 (EIRNS)A former high-level U.S. official reported in a discussion with LaRouche PAC this week that there is no genocide going on in Darfur, and there may never have been. What is going on, is 15-20 groups fighting each other, some of which are anti-government.
The source reported that the peace agreement between North and South Sudan is in danger. He noted that if the South elects to secede from the country in a scheduled referendum, the central government would go to war, since the oil now being exploited, is primarily in the South.
22 killed and 107 wounded in a suicide attack against Algerian President Bouteflika
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)President Bouteflika of Algeria barely escaped a murder attempt in the city of Batna, in eastern Algeria, on Thursday, September 6. A suicide bomber present in the crowd blew up its explosive belt in the midst of a crowd waiting for the president, leaving 22 dead and 107 wounded.
In statements to the press, President Bouteflika accused the terrorists of acting on behalf of foreign capitals and foreign leaders, and Interior Minister, Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni, indicated that the comeback of Algeria into the international scene has obviously irritated certain foreign interests.
While the attack has yet to be claimed, it follows a series of escalating terrorist attacks carried out by the so-called al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly known as GSPC (Algerian Salafist group for predication and combat) before it announced its fusion with al-Qaeda on September 11, 2006. On April 11, 2007, two suicide bombings targeted the government palace in Algiers and the head-quarters of the eastern division of the Police at Bab Ezzouar, leaving 30 dead and more than 200 wounded.
One look into what M. Zerhouni calls Algeria's return into the international scene, reveals that starting in 2006, there has been a strong rapprochement of the Algerian group around Bouteflika, with Russia and Iran, around the idea of creating some form of new Gas OPEC. Relations between Russia and Algeria were considerably upgraded in January 2007, with very large weapons contracts and vast cooperation on hydrocarbons being signed between both countries. Also one should note the fact that following a visit by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to Algeria in May 2006, Bouteflika decided to cancel a law just adopted in April that same year, not only privatizing the oil fields, but actually granting concessions to the international oil companies.
The increase of al-Qaeda terrorism coincides precisely with Algeria's moving in this direction, and media such as Al Watan suggest a link between these terrorist acts, and the attempts of the Bush/Cheney Administration to maintain their control over the country in order to use the fight against terror in the entire Maghreb region, as a pretext to deploy military bases in those countries. This would occur through establishing bases for the new U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), something with the Algerian authorities have refused.
The Bouteflika government has also launched a broad attack against Cheney's group by dismantling Brown, Root and Condor (BRC), a joint company created by a previous government in 1994 between the state oil company, Sonatrach, and KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root), the subsidiary of Cheney's Halliburton, dealing in oil and armament contracts.
Commentators would tend to jump too rapidly to the conclusion there is a power struggle between the U.S. and Russia, over the raw materials of Algeria. However, the anglophile Cheney, whose wife, Lynne, is controlled by British financial interests, does not represent the real interests of the United States, but those of the British empire who is promoting, quite the contrary, a new cold war between Russia and the U.S. Only a close collaboration between the US and Russia could bring peace once again to that region, stated Lyndon LaRouche on September 7.