|Africa News Digest
Sudan Is Target of EU/French Military Force
July 27 (EIRNS)The European Union, pushed mainly by France, has taken the first steps towards sending a military force into eastern Chad and the Central African Republic, separate from the UN operation, ostensibly to protect refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan, according to the London Economist) July 25. The move will strengthen the position of the anti-Sudan rebels.
U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has strongly endorsed the efforts of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. On July 22, the first summit between the two leaders took place in Paris, and they put the issue of Darfur on the top of the agenda. They castigated the Sudan government for its caution, based on its concern to protect its sovereignty, about implementing the hybrid peacekeeping force that Sudan had agreed to in June. Brown stated that "Unless action is taken, we will be prepared to consider as individual countries a toughening up of sanctions that will put pressure on the regime to make the changes that are necessary."
The two leaders called for a Security Council resolution giving a mandate to the hybrid force, by the end of July, ensuring its financing by the UN, and determining what it is to accomplish. They also called on the main anti-Sudan rebel leaders to participate in the Arusha, Nigeria meeting on Aug. 3-5, as agreed upon in talks in Tripoli, Libya on July 15-16. They also called for a solution to the regional aspects of the problem in Chad and Central African Republic.
On June 25, the same day that the Sarkozy government, after barely a month in office, had an organizing meeting in Paris to exert more pressure against the Sudan government, another anti-Sudan meeting took called for a fund to be set up, into which Sudan oil proceeds would be funneled, which could not be used for anything that could be construed as related to military use. This group included Jan Pronk, chief of mission of the UN at Sudan (2004-2006); Romeo Dallaire, commander of the UN force in Rwanda (1994); Kenneth Roth director of Human Rights Watch; James Smith, director of Aegis Trust; and Jody Williams, head of mission at Darfur, advisor to the UN on Human Rights.
French Defense Publication: Bandar Finances Rebels
PARIS, July 28 (EIRNS)According to a June 3 article by Richard Labevière, editor in chief of Defense, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan went to Sudan in April to meet with his friend Mahamat Nouri, the head of the UFDD, the main opposition organization against Chad President Idriss Déby, as well as other rebel leaders involved in the Darfur region of Sudan. Defense is the publication of the UNION-IHEDN, the grouping of 39 associations whose members received training at the Institute of Advanced National Defense Studies (IHEDN).
According to Defense, Prince Bandar is trying to constitute a "united Arab front, a Sunni front in this part of Africa," states an Egyptian diplomat based in Khartoum, quoted by Labevière. Bandar gave 80 all-terrain vehicles, and more than $1 million to the UFDD head. The transactions were apparently facilitated by the subsidiary of a large Saudi bank, with significant presence in Khartoum.
In this context, continued Labevière, Saudi NGOs have just created two important subsidiaries in Khartoum, with the official aim of "opening Koranic schools, building mosques, and health clinics in the border areas of western Sudan, all these being covert organizations for military assistance to the various armed organizations of Darfur."
The effects of this intervention on the Chad government, which had been trying to collaborate with Khartoum to reduce the violence in the area where the two countries share a border (eastern Chad and Darfur in Sudan) are shown by a statement by Chadian President Idriss Déby this week. He said talks with the Chadian opposition are deadlocked because Sudan is backing the rebels in their position. "The Sudanese authorities are preventing us from reaching a compromise to solve the crisis." Déby told the Paris based Africa No 1 radio.
Noting that Bandar is coordinating with the Bush-Cheney Administration, Labevière says that this entire policy will not only "add deadly confusion to the situation in Central Africa, but could extend to the whole of the Sahel, and also spring up in Maghreb, where last April 10-11, murderous attacks bloodied Casablanca and Algiers."
Brits Move To Buy Up Zimbabwe at Pence on the Pound
July 25 (EIRNS)Lonrho, formerly known as the London and Rhodesia Company, announced July 20 that it has raised $66 million from shareholders to form a new subsidiary, Lonzim, to buy up assets in Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia, with a "significant opportunity for future growth"the word "future" meaning, when President Mugabe is gone, according to the Financial Times online of the same date. David Lenigas, executive chairman of Lonrho, said he plans to raise a total of $200 million for the Lonzim subsidiary through a share offering soon to be launched in London.
Lonrho is effectively an arm of the British monarchy, as reported in Tiny RowlandThe Ugly Face of Neocolonialism in Africa, by an EIR investigative team (1993). Thus, having collapsed Zimbabwe's economy through economic sanctions, the monarchy now proposes to buy it up for pence on the pound, regaining the control denied it by President Robert Mugabe.
But it may not be so simple. The Financial Times reports, "At a Bulawayo business forum this week, many members seemed determined to batten down the hatches and not to sell." Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second-largest city. An even stronger obstacle may be "the Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill, which the government has promised to pass into law within a month. This would authorize the authorities to seize 51% of the shareholding of foreign firms in order to 'empower' black Zimbabweans," according to the Financial Times.