|Africa News Digest
China Begins $3.5 Billion Project in Angola
Sept. 2 (EIRNS)A Chinese firm has begun building a satellite town for the Angolan capital of Luanda that will house more than 200,000 people, in the largest project of its kind that China has ever contracted abroad, according to Xinhua. The groundbreaking ceremony, in what is now a rural area, took place Aug. 31. According to Chang Zhenming, general manager of the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC), the project will offer more than 10,000 jobs to local labor. Angola has an unemployment rate of 65%.
When the project is complete in 2011, the town will have 20,000 apartments, 24 kindergartens, and 17 primary and middle schools, as well as power transformer stations, water supply stations, sewerage treatment plants, and related infrastructure.
U.S. Blasted for Failed Policies in Somalia
Sept. 5 (EIRNS)Speaking before an overflow audience in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 3, Ken Menkhaus, the most knowledgeable American specialist on Somalia, presented a blunt assessment of the crisis there today, which has quantitatively worsened since the U.S.- and British-sponsored Ethiopian invasion in December 2006. He made it clear that Western policies have completely failed in Somalia, especially U.S. "counter-terrorism" deployments, and support for the discredited Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which has created conditions in Somalia that "exceed the worst-case scenario." While he called U.S. policy dysfunctional, insisting that we cannot "stay the course," Menkhaus did not portray the disintegration of Somalia as an intended result of British policy, with implications for the whole of Africa, as has EIRNS since the Ethiopian-spearheaded invasion at the end of 2006.
In his introduction to his written report: "SomaliaA Country in Peril, a Policy Nightmare," which was distributed at the event, he wrote:
"So Somalia is in flames againwhat's new?
"The answer is that much is new this time, and it would be a dangerous error of judgment to brush off Somalia's current crisis as more of the same. It would be equally dangerous to call for the same tired formulas for U.N. peacekeeping, state building, and counter-terrorism operations that have achieved little since 1990. Seismic political, social, and security changes are occurring in the country, and none bode well for the people of Somalia or the international community."
Menkhaus notes that Somalia's humanitarian disaster is worsening because food prices are skyrocketing and food aid agencies are unable to deliver assistance to the 2 million Somalians in need, which could increase to 3.5 million by the end of the year.
He also pointed out that Ethiopian occupation has made Somalia more dangerous, has increased Islamic radicalization, and has increased anti-U.S. sentiments, because Somalians are convinced that the United States is behind the occupation.
He said the TFG doesn't exist as a functioning political entity, since all security forcesthe Army, national police, and the Mogadishu policeact autonomously.
He said that Somalia has no civil service; its ministers live abroad, and it has failed to govern in the interests of the people of Somalia in four of the five years it was to serve as a transitional government, before its scheduled termination. "Most of the 400 or more militia-controlled roadblocks which are extorting as much as $500 per truck carrying food for the population are manned by police and Army linked to the TFG government people."
He also noted that the U.S. declaration that the [radical Islamic] al-Shabaab is a terrorist group, along with U.S. missile attacks directed against them, has worked to strengthen hardliners and isolate moderates, leading to the conclusion that the so-called U.S. counter-terrorism effort is helping to make Somalia ungovernable.
Menkhaus concluded that the U.S. counter-terrorism policy in Somalia has not made the U.S., Somalia, or Ethiopia safer, but less safe.
EIRNS had stated, at the time of the invasion by Ethiopia, that this outcome was the effect desired by London-based financial circles, with their Cheney-Blair "war on terrorism."