Archive for the Ivory Coast Category

THE DEBATE CONTINUES OVER CHINA’S ROLE IN AFRICA – Leading African analyst say Beijing is doing good work on the continent [Libya 360°]

Posted in Africa, Assassination, China, Hillary Clinton, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Mao Zedong, Somalia, State Department, Sudan, USA, Zimbabwe on July 14, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Abayomi Azikiwe

July 2, 2012

A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times by Dambisa Moyo takes a firm position that the role of the People’s Republic of China in Africa is a positive one. This comes amid the growing U.S., U.K. and French military interventions on the continent which has resulted in the massive destruction of Libya, Somalia and Ivory Coast.

She notes in the Times that “Despite all the scaremongering, China’s motives for investing in Africa are actually quite pure. To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, leaders in Beijing need to keep economic growth rates high and continue to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” (NYT, June 27)

This same writer goes on to point out that “China needs arable land, oil and minerals. Pursuing imperial or colonial ambitions with masses of impoverished people at home would be wholly irrational and out of sync with China’s current strategic thinking.” Yet even though the U.S. and other NATO countries are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with high unemployment and rising poverty, the imperialist aims of the West are clearly guiding its foreign policy toward Africa.

This statement by Moyo comes a year after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Southern African nation of Zambia where she arrogantly told the government and people that “China’s foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance, and that it has not always utilized the talents of the African people in pursuing its business interests.” (Reuters, June 10, 2011)

This statement came at the same time that the U.S. along with its NATO allies were bombing Libya on a daily basis. Libya was prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi the prosperous and stable country on the continent.

Despite the objections by the African Union as spelled out in numerous resolutions and public statements calling for a negotiated settlement of the Libyan crisis, Washington and its NATO partners totally ignored the will of the governments and people of the continent and continued the war that resulted in regime-change and the assassination of Col. Muammar Gaddafi. These actions in Libya follow a historic pattern of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism as reflected in modern times through Washington’s opposition to all genuine national liberation movements and progressive governments in Africa.

Refuting Clinton’s assertion, Zambian President Rupiah Banda noted that “Our country has been in a close relationship with China since before independence (in 1964).” The president continued saying that China had assisted numerous African states in dealing with the global financial crisis which originated in the U.S.

Differences in Approach

China Daily took notice of one of Clinton’s statement that was made in neighboring Tanzania as well warning that a “new colonialism in Africa from foreign investors and governments interested only in extracting natural resources to enrich themselves” was underway. (China Daily, June 17, 2011) Although the top U.S. diplomat did not mention China by name, the implications were obvious.

According to China Daily, “The most ironic thing is that Hillary Clinton apparently does not know the significance of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in the history of China-Africa relations. It is the site where China built its first railway for Tanzania and Zambia” during the early 1970s under the leadership of Chairman Mao.

The China Daily continues saying that its “government invested in the project that has benefited the local people tremendously, and Chinese workers endured the extreme weather conditions and made huge sacrifices in completing this railway project in the most difficult terrain. That railway project sets China apart from Western nations that were involved in Africa earlier than China.”

Other scientific transfers of technology have the potential to address the agricultural crisis in Africa. The Desert Control Research Institute of Gansu has dispatched 10 scientists to Niger and Nigeria to implement a water resource preservation program sponsored by both the Chinese government and the United Nations. (Xinhua, July 2)

The Chinese scientists are doing research and training local personnel in Niamey, Dosso, Tahousa, Maradi and Zinder in south Niger as well as in Kano state in Nigeria. The project is designed to address the problem of scare water resources which impacts agricultural development and animal husbandry that are caused by drought and the expansion of the deserts.

In contrast the U.S. under the Clinton administration established what is known as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The U.S. Congress has been inconsistent in providing provisions for investments by corporations which have opened factories in several countries…

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The U.S. & Syria: Facts you should know [Workers World]

Posted in CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Egypt, El Salvador, EU, European Union, France, Haiti, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Libya, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, NATO, Obama, Pentagon, Qatar, Sanctions as weapon of war, Saudi Arabia, State Department, Syria, Turkey, U.K., US imperialism, USA on June 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Published Jun 27, 2012

The following timeline reviews the progression of U.S.-NATO intervention in Syria and counteracts the Big Lie in the corporate media aimed at preparing open imperialist military aggression against the Syrian people.

* Sanctions follow establishing opposition *

• Washington has funneled money to a right-wing Syrian opposition group since at least 2005. (Washington Post, April 16, 2011)

• The U.S. reopened its embassy in Damascus in January 2011 after six years . This was no thaw in relations. The new ambassador, Robert S. Ford, who served until October 2011, is a protégé of John Negroponte, who organized death squads in El Salvador in the 1970s and in Iraq while ambassador there in 2004-05. There terror squads killed tens of thousands. Ford served directly under Negroponte at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

• Ford “played a central role in laying the groundwork within Syria as well as establishing contacts with opposition groups.” Two months after he arrived in Damascus, the armed insurgency began. (Global Research, May 28)

• Armed opposition to Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011 in Daraa, a small town on the Jordanian border. Mass protest movements usually start in large population centers. Later, Saudi Arabia admitted sending weapons to the opposition via Jordan. (RT, March 13)

• The U. S. and its NATO allies used grassroots protests in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere as a cover to build support for right-wing insurgencies whose goal was not to help the Syrian people but to bring Syria into the pro-imperialist camp. Any excesses or mistakes by the Assad government were not the real issue.

• The Arab League, European Union and U.S. begin imposing economic sanctions, a form of warfare, against Syria in November 2011 on the pretext of stopping state-sanctioned violence against protesters. Stepped-up sanctions and freezing of Syrian assets caused the value of the Syrian pound to drop by 50 percent against the dollar, with the cost of necessities often tripling.

• Exiles who received U.S. funding became part of the Syrian National Council. SNC’s Burhan Ghalioun said he would open up Syria to the West, end Syria’s strategic relationship with Iran (and with the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance), and realign Syria with the reactionary Arab regimes in the Gulf. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2011)

– U.S. & NATO escalate involvement –

• Ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi admitted that the U.S. was involved in Syria and laid out the U.S. plan: “NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya.” (, Dec. 19, 2011)

• Giraldi continued: “Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to … the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers. … French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence. …

• “The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.”

• The “Free Syrian Army” has rear bases in Turkey, is funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and is made up of defecting Syrian soldiers. Spiegel Online sites a source in Beirut who reports seeing “‘hundreds of foreign fighters’ who have attached themselves to the FSA.” (Feb. 15)

• The U.N.-mandated commission of inquiry, in its February 2012 report, documented torture, taking of hostages, and executions by armed opposition members.

• The first heavy fighting in Syria’s capital, Damascus, started in March. Pipelines were blown up, and huge explosions ripped through intelligence and security buildings in Christian areas on March 16, killing at least 27 people. The Syrian government charged then that terrorist attacks supported from abroad have been responsible for eight car bomb attacks since December, killing 328 and wounding 657. This got little Western media attention.

• Human Rights Watch on March 20 accused armed Syrian opposition members of “Kidnappings, the use of torture and executions … of security force members, individuals identified as members of government-supported militias, and individuals identified as government allies and supporters.”

• In the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, the armed opposition has formed its own laws, courts and death squads, according to Spiegel Online. Abu Rami, an opposition commander in Baba Amir, interviewed by Spiegel, said in the city of Homs his group has executed between 200 and 250 people. (March 29)

– U.N. steps in –

• Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan went to Syria in March at the behest of the U.N. and Arab League to put together a peace proposal. But Annan and the U.N. are not impartial. Annan is an architect of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine, cited by former CIA agent Giraldi as the planned pretext for intervention in Syria. The U.N. endorsed this doctrine under Annan’s tenure.

• In 2004, Annan gave U.N. approval to the U.S., French and Canadian intervention that deposed Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Annan’s stated reasons were the same then as now in Syria: an alleged impending “humanitarian catastrophe.” Annan provided a similar U.N. cover for France to tighten its colonial grasp on the Ivory Coast in 2006. In Syria, Annan’s calls for a Syrian government ceasefire and for outside “humanitarian” aid are really calls for foreign intervention.

• Syria agreed to an Annan-brokered ceasefire March 27. The opposition refused. While the Western heads of state and the corporate media heaped blame on Assad for “not honoring” the ceasefire, the West kept arming the opposition.

• What the U.S. government really thought of the ceasefire was revealed by Robert Grenier, former director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center, who called upon those who would “help” Syria “to climb metaphorically into the ring and dirty themselves,” adding, “what the situation needs is not high-minded sentiments, but effective, lethal aid.” (Al Jazeera, March 29)

• As the imperialists “climbed into the ring,” they continued to blame Assad. Speaking at an anti-Assad “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul on April 1, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Assad had “defiled” the ceasefire. She called for Damascus to unilaterally stop fighting and withdraw from areas of heavy right-wing infiltration. She said the U.S had pledged at least $25 million in “nonlethal” aid to the Syrian opposition, which included satellite communication equipment.

• By May, the reactionaries “have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons … paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated … by the U.S.” (Washington Post, May 15) “The Syrian rebels have received their first ‘third generation’ anti-tank weapons . They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies following a secret message from President Barack Obama.” (, May 22)

– The Houla massacre –

• Right before a scheduled visit to Syria by Annan, news broke of a horrible massacre of 108 people in Houla on May 25, which included whole families and as many as 48 children. Headlines worldwide blamed the Syrian government, and all Western capitals called for increased sanctions and more international pressure on Assad.

• By May 27, the imperialists had coordinated their “international outrage” and expelled Syrian diplomats from the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Canada.

• The U.N. Security Council reacted to the massacre — with no investigation as to who was responsible — by unanimously condemning Syria for allegedly using tanks and artillery after agreeing to a ceasefire. Ignored were statements from the Assad government that it was not responsible. A closer look showed this was the case.

• Marat Musin, reporting for Russia’s ANNA News, was in Houla and interviewed witnesses right after the massacre. Musin determined that the massacre was committed by the so-called Free Syrian Army, not the Assad forces. His report concluded: “The attack was carried out by a unit of armed fighters from Rastan, in which more than 700 gunmen were involved. They brought the city under their control and began with a cleansing action against loyalist [pro-Assad] families, including elderly people, women and also children. The dead were presented to … the U.N. and the ‘international community’ as victims of the Syrian army.” (May 31) The conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, corroborated the ANNA report on June 7.

• Residents knew many of the killers by name and identified them as local criminal elements now working for the FSA. (Syria News, May 31) Anti-Assad forces then posed as villagers and invited the U.N. observers in. Some put on uniforms of the Syrian soldiers they had killed and said they were defectors.

• A widely shown photo of dozens of shrouded bodies, which the BBC first presented as the aftermath of Houla, was really taken by photographer Marco di Lauro in Iraq in March 2003.

• BBC world news editor Jon Williams admitted in his blog June 7 that there was no evidence whatsoever to identify either the Syrian Army or Alawite militias as the perpetrators of the May 25 massacre. United Kingdom’s Channel 4 senior reporter Alex Thomson said June 7 that the opposition led him into a line of fire and tried to get him killed by Syrian military forces so it would “look bad” for Assad.

• There has been no independent investigation of Houla to date, yet at a June 7 meeting, Annan and current U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon again made statements putting the responsibility for the Houla massacre on Assad.

• Major General Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, suspended patrols of the 300-member team on June 16, citing “spiraling violence in restive areas.” The suspension was right before the G-20 Summit in Mexico, providing another opportunity for imperialism to criticize Assad.

• In initial remarks, Annan called the Houla massacre the “tipping point.” The deaths at Houla have been used by the U.S. and NATO to more aggressively and openly organize for Assad’s overthrow. U.S. officials and Arab intelligence officers admit that the CIA is in southern Turkey funneling weapons to the FSA. It is also there to “make new sources and recruit people.” (New York Times, June 21)

• As a result, “The onetime ragtag militias of the Syrian opposition are developing into a more effective fighting force with the help of an increasingly sophisticated network of activists here in southern Turkey that is smuggling crucial supplies across the border including weapons, communication gear, field hospitals and even salaries for soldiers who defect. The network reflects an effort to forge an opposition movement … that together can not only defeat … Assad but also replace his government.” (New York Times, June 26)

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Beyond “Kony 2012”. What is Happening in Uganda? America’s “Invisible” Military Agenda []

Posted in Africa, China, France, Ivory Coast, Libya, Obama, Somalia, US imperialism, USA on May 26, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Daniele Scalia

March 21, 2012

Kony 2012 is the title of a campaign launched by the organization Invisible Children Inc., focused for now on the half hour video of the same name, which has had a viral diffusion on the internet reaching in a few days almost one hundred million views (it was published only on the 5th March). The campaign aims at supporting the arrest of Joseph Kony, an Ugandan guerrilla leader accused of “crimes against humanity” by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

The campaign’s stated purpose is to encourage international efforts to arrest Kony, by making his case as widely known as possible. Nothing original here, but it’s interesting that Invisible Children Inc. is trying to rally volunteers on the one hand to lobby dozens of famous people (politicians and show business personalities) to convince them to be spokespeople for the campaign, and on the other hand to buy a kit complete with posters, bracelets and other propaganda material.

In that sense something leaps immediately out. Kony’s story is told hastily and in a trenchant way as that of a brutal man without ideals and supporters, who kidnaps children to make them fight at his service. The reason why many people (who presumably would not have even been able to find Uganda on the map before having watched the video) should rally around the campaign occupies only a relatively short part of the video. A large part of it, on the contrary, is dedicated to extolling the potential of the internet and grassroots mobilization and to showing young photogenic activists spreading the cause and its gadgets, decorated with logos and symbols graphically very well crafted. The messages and images recall the happenings of the “Arabic Spring” and its interpretation – in my opinion strained as I’ve argued elsewhere – as the revolt of “Facebook and Twitter users”. And that of the so called “coloured revolts” orchestrated in different countries (Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine) during the last years by the widespread and professional network of US “NGOs”.

Another noteworthy element is that in Kony 2012 the sending of US troops by Obama to Uganda is supported. Indeed the continuation of military support to the Ugandan armed forces is the main goal of the whole campaign: a decision by Congress to disengage from the African country must be prevented. President Obama’s choice is portrayed as the result of grassroots pressure exerted by Invisible Children Inc. during the past years, and as a military mission decided upon “simply because it is the right thing to do”. This interpretation is simplistic just like the superficial and Manichean description of Ugandan situation. Before giving reason for these opinions, a digression on the inventors of Kony 2012 campaign must be made.

Invisible Children Inc. was founded in 2004 with the specific purpose of opposing Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army activity. Its founders, Jason Russel, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole, university students at that time, had been affected by what they had seen in Uganda during a journey in 2003. Today Invisible Children Inc. collects almost 14 million dollars a year, with a net profit of almost 5 millions. In 2011, 16.24% of expenditure went on “Management & General”. On the 30th June 2011 the organization declared assets amounting to a little less than 7 million dollars. Jason Russel, director and narrative voice of Kony 2012, receive a salary of 1% of all organization spending, that is 89,669 dollars a year. Similar wages are received also by the co-founder Laren Poole and the executive director Ben Kessey. But these numbers are meant to be outclassed this year. According to what Jason Russel has just declared, Invisible Children Inc. should have already sold 500,000 kits, each one costing $30, in only a week for a total income of 15 million dollars.

The organization, as it also boasts in the video, was one of the supporters of the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act signed by president Barack Obama in May 2010, with which one hundred US military advisers were sent to the African country to support the national army against LRA rebels. Nevertheless, the White House decision, as it’s easy to imagine and in contrast to what seems to be suggested in Kony 2012, was not solely or even principally dictated by humanitarian reasons…

…Even before the already mentioned order from Obama, the United States had sent soldiers and weapons to support [Ugandan President and alleged war criminal] Musenevi in AFRICOM operations, NATO’s Africa command instituted a few years ago as a reaction to the political and trading penetration of China in Africa. In 2008-2009 the United States supported the so called Garamba Offensive in Congo, made by Ugandan and Congolese government armies and the Sudanese SPLA against Kony’s LRA. The LRA seems, in fact, to have almost disappeared from Uganda. In recent years it showed signs of activity only in neighbouring countries…

…The United States has intervened in Uganda within the framework of increased militarization in its relationship with the continent, made necessary by the political and trading penetration of China in Africa. The sending of military advisers to Museveni, possibly a prelude to military escalation (maybe what the Kony 2012 viral campaign wants to achieve?), is to be taken in conjunction with drone bombardments in Somalia, intervention in Libya to overthrow Gaddafi, French intervention in Ivory Coast to depose Gbagbo. Julien Teil’s documentary The Humanitarian War has shown the role, not too clear, of NGOs in preparing the ground for NATO intervention in Libya.

Invisible Children emphasizes the need to send US troops to Uganda at a time when the LRA seems weakened and, according to many people, Kony hasn’t been in the country for years. At this point it does not seem rash to include also Kony 2012 in the arsenal of US soft power that should support the spread – not necessarily in a peaceful way – of Washington’s influence in Africa.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

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“BRICS poised to pick up the pieces from the rubble of America’s collapsed empire” by Wayne Madsen [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Brazil, BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Colombia, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Egypt, France, Germany, Honduras, Hu Jintao, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Japan, Libya, NATO, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, U.K., US drone strikes, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Yemen on May 19, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 18, 2011

The American empire is faltering from within and abroad. In an attempt to preserve its empire, the United States has adopted an aggressive military posture, starting a war in Libya and continuing its military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Washington’s military planners are stepping up drone attacks in Pakistan and using NATO forces to extend America’s hegemony over resource-rich Africa, not only in Libya but also in Cote d’Ivoire. U.S. Special Operations forces are engaged in military adventures from Colombia and Honduras to Yemen and the Philippines.

American military proconsuls, in the guise of regional combatant commands like Africa Command, Pacific Command, and Southern Command, are attempting to prop up American imperial borders at their periphery. But just as the Roman legions in the extremities of the Roman Empire discovered long ago, such attempts on behalf of a broken and corrupt society are doomed to failure.

Meanwhile, the United States has flooded the global economy with cheap dollars using a U.S. Federal Reserve Bank contrivance known as quantitative easing. The operation has resulted in high unemployment and inflation in nations around the world, resulting in draconian austerity measures and political and economic chaos.

Domestically, American states, counties, and cities are collapsing economically with massive demonstrations seen in state capitals and political discourse reduced to name-calling and extremist measures by Republican governors and state legislatures.

The alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, also known as BRICS, has been watching the death throes of the American empire and is reacting by creating the groundwork for a post-American global construct.

Following the recent BRICS summit on Hainan island in China, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega told the International Monetary Fund in Washington that the United States and other western countries were attempting to “export their way out of difficult economic situations” by printing money and driving down interest rates – which is the core principle of quantitative easing. It was clear that Mantega was speaking for the other BRICS nations in warning Washington that business as usual is approaching an end.

Mantega let U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Khan know that nations like Brazil would not be dictated to by those who brought about the worst economic collapse of the world economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Such rhetoric will become more commonplace as the BRICS nations assert their power and peel other countries away from Washington’s economic and political orbit.

South African Trade Minister Rod Davies weighed into the debate, cautioning the IMF that its destructive controls on national economies around the world are harmful to not only the BRICS bloc, but other nations as well. The collusion between the financial gnomes of Washington and Brussels has seen drastic measures being taken by governments from Greece and Spain to Portugal and Ireland and Egypt to Tunisia. The result has been general strikes, rebellions, and general hatred by large sectors of the populace of banks, bankers, and capitalism in general…

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Civilians massacred by Western-backed forces in Ivory Coast [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in Africa, EU, European Union, France, Hillary Clinton, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, U.K., UNSC on April 17, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Originally published prior to Gbagbo’s capture this week – Zuo Shou 左手

By Ann Talbot
4 April 2011

Up to 1,000 civilians have reportedly been massacred in the town of Duékoué in the West African country of Ivory Coast. This is the biggest loss of life in the former French colony since the disputed presidential election in November 2010.

There has been a standoff between the two rival presidential candidates since the election. The stalemate has now descended into civil war, as Alassane Ouattara, who is backed by France, the United States and international bodies, tries to oust the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

Ouattara’s forces have seized most of the country, including the political capital, Yamassoukro, and the main port, San Pedro.  They are now fighting to gain control of the commercial capital, Abidjan. Gbagbo retains the support of his 2,500-strong presidential guard, an unknown number of mercenaries and the Patriotic Youth movement.  Many elements in the army have shifted their allegiance to Ouattara, following a United Nations Security Council resolution on March 30.

France and Nigeria sponsored the resolution that called on all state officials to recognise Ouattara.  This was the signal for the beginning of Ouattara’s military assault on Gbagbo’s forces.

“In a sense, this resolution is maybe the last message that we wanted to send to Gbagbo which is very simple: Gbagbo must go,” France’s ambassador to the UN, Gerard Araud, said. “It is the only way to avoid a full-fledged civil war and maybe bloody violence in the streets of Abidjan,” he claimed.

The exact opposite has been the case.  The UN resolution has given the green light for a civil war with disastrous consequences for the civilian population.  One million people are thought to have fled the Ivory Coast in recent months.  The numbers have swelled in the last few days.  Many of them have crossed the border into neighbouring Liberia, which now faces a major humanitarian crisis in overcrowded refugee camps.  Abidjan residents are sheltering in their homes as heavy shelling continues around the presidential palace and armed youths roam the streets.  Shops and petrol stations have been looted.

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Africa under imperialist siege – Attacks escalate on Libya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Australia, Canada, DPR Korea, Egypt, EU, European Union, France, Gaza, George W. Bush, Greece, Hugo Chavez, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Ivory Coast, Libya, Mugabe, NATO, Obama, Portugal, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, U.K., US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Zimbabwe on April 17, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Published Apr 14, 2011

U.S., U.N. and NATO military forces have intensified the implementation of policies aimed at total economic domination and regime change for states that resist interference in their internal affairs.  As Africa becomes more of a major source for exploiting oil, strategic minerals and agricultural commodities, the continent will be under increasing pressure from Western capitalist countries.

Military attacks against African states are accelerating at a time when the capitalist governments in Western Europe and North America continue to assert that the recovery from the global recession is well underway.  Nonetheless, a recent International Monetary Fund forecast indicates that the imperialist states are still very concerned about the future stability of the world markets.

An IMF World Economic Outlook reports, “Among the challenges are rising oil prices, unrest in the Middle East, continued inflation in China and debt problems in Europe.  The recovery has solidified, but the unemployment remains high.” (BBC News, April 11)

The IMF cites fears related to the cutoff of oil supplies, unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, and the gloomy economic picture facing Portugal, Greece, Spain and the Irish Republic.  The African countries that have been targeted for destabilization and regime change are large-scale producers of oil and other valuable resources and commodities.

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Ignoring its imperial history licenses the west to repeat it [The 4th Media / Guardian]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Cameron, France, Gaza, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, NATO, Pakistan, Palestine, Sarkozy, Somalia, Sudan, U.K., West Bank, Yemen on April 14, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Seumas Milne

April 6, 2011

The reporters who heard David Cameron tell Pakistani students this week that Britain was responsible for "many of the world’s problems … in the first place" seemed to think he was joking. But it’s a measure of how far Britain is from facing up to its own imperial legacy that his remarks were greeted with bewildered outrage among his supporters at home.

The prime minister should not "run down his own country", declared the Daily Telegraph, the authentic voice of Tory England, warmly endorsing instead the insistence of his Labour predecessor, Gordon Brown, that "the days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over".  In reality, no such apology has ever been made.

Cameron was responding to a question about the Kashmir conflict – a product of Britain’s partition of India in 1947 – and was clearly anxious to avoid antagonising either Indian opinion or his Pakistani hosts. "I don’t want to try to insert Britain in some leading role", the prime minister explained, with a modesty that eluded him in the buildup to Nato’s intervention in Libya.

But his critics were having none of it. Cameron was being naive; he was playing to the gallery, they said; there was nothing to be guilty about – and, anyway, imperial history was all very complicated.  So the exposure of a 50-year British government cover-up of official documents detailing the systematic brutalisation, starvation, torture and castration of thousands of guerrilla suspects during the Mau Mau rebellion in colonial Kenya in the 1950s couldn’t be more timely.

This was a counter-insurgency war in which hundreds of thousands of Kikuyu were interned in concentration camps and tens of thousands killed.  Half a century later Cameron’s government is resolutely refusing to compensate survivors on the outrageous grounds that responsibility for any crimes by the colonial authorities passed to the new Kenyan government after independence.

But of course Kenya is only one of multiple grim British imperial legacies, a string of which are at the heart of the most inflammatory confrontations of the modern world.  It’s not just Kashmir and the Pakistan-Indian standoff.  The Israel-Palestine conflict is the direct result of British colonial policy, as is the infamous Durand line that divides Pashtuns between Afghanistan and Pakistan and fuels the "Af-Pak" war.  Then there’s the toxic colonial carve-up of the Arab world and Africa along arbitrary state boundaries, and the colonial divide-and-rule of ethnic or religious groups that continues to haunt the post-colonial world.

So it’s scarcely a coincidence that many of the world’s most intractable conflicts are in former British colonies or protectorates: from the West Bank and Gaza, Iraq, Kurdistan, Yemen and Somalia to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Sudan – with the reflex imperial resort to partition a recurrent theme. What Cameron said in Islamabad can’t seriously be disputed.

Of course, the colonial legacy is only one part of the story, and Britain’s is only one of the colonial empires whose baleful inheritance can be felt across the world.  But the failure in modern Britain to recognise the empire for what it was – an avowedly racist despotism, built on ethnic cleansing and ruthless exploitation, which undeveloped vast areas and oversaw famines that killed tens of millions – is a dangerous encouragement to ignore its lessons and repeat its crimes in a modern form.

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