From Volume 8, Issue 22 of EIR Online, Published June 2, 2009
Africa News Digest

Will Brutish-Run Terrorists Control the Horn of Africa?

May 30 (EIRNS)—Somali President Sharif Ahmed charged May 25 that radical Islamic jihadist terrorists and their trainers have been deployed into Somalia at an accelerating rate over the last few weeks, to bolster the al-Shabab jihadist militia in its plans to overthrow the moderate Islamic government. The jihadists are operating according to a British imperialist scenario that would turn Somalia into a platform for the destabilization of other African countries.

Ahmed charged that jihadists from Afghanistan and Pakistan have come to Somalia, as well as other countries. Jihadists from Saudi Arabia have also been reported.

Regional press in Somalia reported yesterday that 2,000 jihadists in Somalia will have soon finished their training, and will be under command of al-Shabab leaders. Nearly 300 training camps and bases were established by al-Shabab in late 2008, as it became clear that the Ethiopian military was going to leave Somalia. The training involved instruction in how to use IED bombs triggered by cell phones, and suicide car bombs.

A suicide car bomb exploded at a military camp in Mogadishu on May 24, which Somalis take as a signal that foreign support is coming to al-Shabab. The group's supporters vow that soon al-Shabab will not only soon control all of southern Somalia, but the whole Horn of Africa. Since the car bomb, and an attack on the Presidential palace, thousands more Mogadishu residents are fleeing the city into near-desert conditions in the countryside, where food supplies are non-existent.

Al-Shabab began its offensive May 8. The provisional government cannot break out of the pockets it controls—a few streets, the Presidential palace, the port, and the airport, in Mogadishu. And al-Shabab cannot dislodge them, because the government is supported by the African Union peacekeepers. President Ahmed was joined in his call for aid to shut down the foreign input to the jihadists by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional grouping, by the African Union, and by the UN representative to Somalia. Last week, the UN Security Council also agreed to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Somalia until the end of the year.

How Will South Africa Deal with Global Financial Blowout?

June 1 (EIRNS)—Africa's economic powerhouse, South Africa, is being hit hard by the bankruptcy of the globalized monetary system. South Africa is in recession for the first time since 1992, according to the London Financial Times May 27, when it was still under apartheid rule. The Financial Times reported that the first three months of this year showed a larger than expected 6.4% decline in gross national product. This follows a 1.8% decline in the previous quarter.

Despite the global collapse, South Africa's recently appointed Trade and Industry Minister, Dr. Rob Davies, said that he is determined to move industrialization forward. "I would regard any further significant de-industrialization under my watch, even if it is not of our own causing, as indicating that we have not succeeded," he said in a interview published in May 29.

Davies was named to his position by President Jacob Zuma May 10, the day after Zuma was sworn in as President. Zuma was elected in April, with the support of the South African Communist Party-allied Cosatu trade union. Zuma is under considerable pressure from this political base to alleviate poverty. Davies is a South African Communist Party member who was in the African National Congress (ANC) during the anti-apartheid struggle, and which now rules South Africa.

Davies has indicated he may use tariffs to protect industry and jobs, "when there is evidence that it could help." He added: "So, if, on an evidence-based approach, we reach the conclusion that we need to raise some tariffs, we must have the courage to do that." He also said he would fight for a much higher component of local production as part of South African infrastructure-building plans, and that he is very interested in promoting South-South cooperation with other developing countries.

Because of the global collapse, South Africa is working against big odds. the South African Revenue Service said May 29 that the country's trade widened to R1.465 billion in April, from R512 million in March. For April, exports fell 21.76%, mainly due to reduced precious metals exports.

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