|Africa News Digest
U.K., France, Desperate for Aid for Anti-Libya Campaign
July 20 (EIRNS)Britain and France have come begging to Washington for money to continue the NATO operation against Libya, but they are coming up empty, because the coffers are bare, and the opposition in the U.S. Congress to another war has put a stop to more involvement. In addition, Russia is becoming more vocal in its opposition to the NATO war against Libya.
Britain's Defence Secretary Liam Fox had asked Washington's new Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, for more help, but failed to get a commitment, according to the July 18 London Financial Times.
As a result, both France and the United States have engaged in talks with Qaddafi loyalists, seeking some way out of the quagmire. Yesterday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said that France was open to some kind of settlement to allow Qaddafi to remain in Libya, as long as he would not remain involved in politics.
For its part, three high-level officials of the U.S.A., on July 17, two days after it recognized the rebels as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, held a three-hour meeting in Tunisia with representatives of the Qaddafi government. The group was composed of Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, and National Security Staff senior director for strategic planning Derek Chollet. A U.S. official claimed that the U.S.A. was not setting up a separate negotiating channel, saying that they were only delivering a message that Qaddafi had to go. But the meeting did go on for three hours.
Opposition to the anti-Libya campaign is being fed in the U.S.A. by the realization of the ragtag make-up of the anti-Qaddafi rebels, who have looted the areas they have "liberated," and by the fear of the leading role in the rebel movement being played by the British-steered radical Islamic movement in eastern Libya, where the rebellion started. There have been numerous reports of spillage of sophisticated armsincluding portable air-defence missiles (MANPADS)that have been seized by the rebels. It is feared that these weapons will end up in the hands of al-Qaeda affiliates elsewhere in Africa, and also could be used by terrorists to shoot down civilian planes.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said yesterday that Russia was opposed to picking sides in the conflict, and charged that NATO is overstepping the mandate of the UN agreement. "We must continue the search for opportunities for a peaceful solution," he said yesterday.
Without Food Price Controls Millions Will Die in East Africa
July 19 (EIRNS)The most severe food crisis in the world today, in the eastern part of Africa, is worsening, according to reports from multiple agencies. An estimated 12 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti are in need of humanitarian assistance, and there is no likelihood of improvement until 2012.
Food price controls are an urgent and immediate necessity, as Lyndon LaRouche has called for. The killer profits resulting from speculation in food shortages, fueled in particular by ETFsExchange Traded Fundsin agriculture have seen the biggest inflow of hot money since the beginning of the year, compared with all other types of "soft" commodities. A recent ETF Securities report documented this bloodsucking. Such ETFs as PowerShares DB Agriculture (DBA) pools money to put into a mix of companies and futures speculation in cattle, cocoa, coffee, corn, cotton, hogs, soybeans, sugar, and wheat.
In the Horn of Africa, hundreds of thousands of people are dislocated. In the refugee camps of Daadab in northern Kenya, where almost 367,000 refugees have sought shelter, the situation is particularly grave. Thousands of Somalis walk for weeks to reach the camp, most of them arriving acutely malnourished and dehydrated, with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
The camps are already overcrowded. Some 60 babies are dying each day in one camp. Every 24 hours, more than 3,000 malnourished people arrive at camps already too crowded to accommodate them. The lives of half a million children are at imminent risk. And, in total, no fewer than 12 million people are fighting for their very survival.
In Kenya, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has asked teachers not to send home students for inability to pay school fees. Kalonzo said famine is the major problem facing the country, adding that the government has already declared it a national disaster. He said that the majority of parents are not able to pay school fees, due to prolonged drought, but that the students should not be deprived of at least a meal they get at the school.
Also, another East African nation, Tanzania, is battling an extreme level of drought that has sent food prices skyrocketing. Dependent largely on drought-affected hydroelectric power, the drought has increased electricity tariffs by 18%, starting last January, as well as increasing prices of domestically produced food items, following poor, short rains in the second quarter of both 2010 and 2011.