|Africa News Digest
Obama Administration Recognizes Libyan Rebels
July 15 (EIRNS)The Obama Administration today recognized the anti-government rebels in Libya as the legitimate representatives of the people of that country. At the same time, media reports continued to surface today, of high-technology missiles getting into the hands of terrorist al-Qaeda affiliates, after the Libyan rebels took control of areas of Libya, with the help of NATO air strikes.
Since the current assault on Libya began, there have not been any official statements from the Obama Administration indicating that vital American strategic interests were at stake in Libya. And the war is, of course, being waged unconstitutionally, and in violation of the War Powers Resolution.
However, according to WikiLeaks, on Feb. 15, 2008, long before the present civil war, the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli reported, via a secret cable to Washington, entitled "Extremism in Eastern Libya," that the area is a hotbed of anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment. The report was corroborated by captured al-Qaeda personnel documents that came into American hands in 2007 and were analyzed by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
While the al-Qaeda arm of the British financial empire did not start, and is not running the NATO attack on Libya, former U.S. intelligence figures have pointed out that the British-Saudi-run network supports the uprising, and will be well-positioned to take advantage of the vacuum that will result if Qaddafi is eliminated, especially among the base of the rebels, the numerous Islamist pro-jihad elements of Eastern Libya. Towns in this region had the highest per capita percentage of foreign fighters who went to Iraq to fight the U.S.-led forces there.
Obama's Illegal War in Libya Unleashes Rebel Looting
July 12 (EIRNS)NATO has consistently claimed that its bombing campaign in Libya is aimed at protecting the civilian population against the brutality of the Qaddafi regime. Implicit in that is that the rebels are fighting a war of liberation against an oppressive regime. However, a disturbing eyewitness account of the behavior of the rebels in one village they captured in Western Libya, published in the New York Times yesterday, throws a monkey wrench into the NATO narrative.
According to reporter C.J. Chivers' account, for two days after capturing the tiny village of Qawalish, in the western mountains of Libya, rebel troops looted shops and homes, leaving a deserted town with stolen goods by the truckload. Rebels at checkpoints at the town's edge did nothing to stop any of this. But the looting didn't appear to be entirely random. Chivers reports of indications that property and homes of individuals belonging to a particular tribe, one believed to be largely loyal to the government, were being targeted by the looters, making this war look more like a tribal conflict than a fight for liberation.
French General: 'Qaddafi's Strategy Could Win'
July 11 (EIRNS)Retired French Gen. Vincent Desportes said in an interview with the Journal de Dimanche published yesterday, that "it is the time for a compromise with the Libyan authorities." He described the coalition as being at the end of its capabilities: "We are now in Libya in a difficult situation and in a position of escalation of the conflict; we have destroyed practically everything that had to be destroyed, then we involved our helicopters, then delivered weapons to the rebels. Unfortunately, parachuting in weapons is not training an army capable of taking Tripoli. He called for "a compromise with Qaddafi."
Desportes, who headed the war college between 2008 and 2010, was punished by the Defense Ministry for having publicly attacked the Afghanistan war. Recently, the entire staff of Defense, a magazine published by the public Institute of Higher National Defense Studies (IHEDN), was fired following their decision to publish another interview with Desportes who, like all retired generals, is still on "active duty."
Attack on Libya Makes Algeria Border Insecure
July 11 (EIRNS)The Algeria-Libya border, which is constantly exposed to the dangers of drugs-and-arms trafficking, has become insecure, according to the Algerian news daily, El-Khabar today. Algeria has recently deployed a large number of troops along the border and has begun airborne surveillance to prevent arms-carrying terrorists moving into the country.
L'Expression, an Algerian newspaper which is reportedly close to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, recently quoted Adm. James Stavridis, NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, as saying that al-Qaeda could "take advantage of any chaos following the departure of Qaddafi to extend its influence to the Mediterranean coast." Stavridis added that "the Algerians are very, very worried."
Niger President Warns that Libya Could Come Under Control of Fundamentalists
July 17 (EIRNS)Yesterday, the day after the Obama Administration joined the U.K., France, and other NATO members in recognizing the ragtag rebel band in Libya as the legitimate representative of the people, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou warned on a Niger TV broadcast that Niger, which borders Libya, is concerned that the crisis in Libya will lead to fundamentalists taking power there, turning Libya into another Somalia. The Benghazi area rebel-held region is a stronghold of radical jihadists.
The danger represented by the reported spillage of sophisticated arms from areas of Libya under control of the rebels, is behind the concern of Issoufou about Libya becoming a source of destabilization of the western African region. The fear is that this arms spillage will end up in the hands of groups of smugglers and organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking, hostage-taking of foreign workers on government-arranged projects, as well as clashes with armed forces in the region.
Famine Threatens Somalia and the Horn of Africa
July 11 (EIRNS)"As unfortunate as it may be, we do expect the situation in Somalia to continue to decline. Famine conditions are possible in the worse-affected areas, depending on the evolution of food prices, conflict, and humanitarian response." These are the words of Nancy Lindborg of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on July 7, 2011.
Lindborg raises the alarm of an approaching Somali famine in a region which includes large areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya that are presently considered "extremely food insecure." She said that it is expected for "the perilous situation in the Horn of Africa to worsen through the end of the year. Given limited labor opportunities, the dwindling food stocks, and sky-high cereal prices, many households cannot put food on the table right now."
The tragic highlights of Lindborg's testimony include the following:
* During the six months from January 2011 to the present, the number of people in Somalia in need of life-saving assistance increased 19% from 2.4 million to 2.85 million.
* The Dadaab refuge camp in Kenya, which was constructed 20 years ago for 90,000 people, today is home for 370,000 refugees of whom 95% are from Somalia, with 66,000 arriving in Dadaab this year. The number of Somalis finding refuge in Kenya and Ethiopia is estimated at 750,000.
* Somalis are arriving in Dadaab with global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates of 30-40%, which is more than double the World Health Organization's emergency threshold of 15%. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rates of 23%, that is seven times higher than the 2-3% which is considered alarming, are also evident.
* Most alarming are reports that more children have died in the first three months of 2011 in feeding centers in Dadaab than died in all of 2010, because the children are so severely malnourished that there is nothing that can be done to save them.
* At the Boqolmayo refugee camp in Ethiopia, arrivals from Somalia have a 47% (GAM) rate213% higher than emergency thresholds, and a 23% (SAM) rate1,100% higher "than the levels that cause the humanitarian community to sound alarm bells."
These conditions are not the result of objective circumstances, such as droughts, but are due to the lack of human intervention to build the physical economies of these African nations to enable them to provide the sustenance of life of their people.
Merkel's Green-ness Clashes with Civilization in Kenya
July 13 (EIRNS)In the joint press conference with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Nairobi yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel proffered German help that would obviate the need for nuclear power. Instead, she proposed renewables for Kenya.
But Odinga made clear that, for him, the preferable assistance which Germany can give to Kenya is infrastructure development, such as improving catchment areas for rainwater. Odinga otherwise said that although Kenya is aware of Germany's exit from nuclear, Kenya has been preparing its entry to the nuclear era for several years and will stick to it.
At the same press conference, Odinga also said that Kenya works with the Chinese, because they give what the Europeans and the World Bank are denying: they build infrastructure which Kenya has wanted to build since its independence from European colonialism almost 50 years agorailroads, ports, pipelines, roads.