Tag Archive | E.U.

E.U. Imposes New Sanctions on Syrian Scientists and Officials*

E.U. Imposes New Sanctions on Syrian Scientists and Officials*

The E.U. is the biggest aid donor to the anti-government forces in Syria.

 

The foreign ministers of the European Union agreed Monday to impose sanctions on 16 people linked to the Syrian government who, according to them, are involved in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population in that country.

The E.U. Foreign Affairs Council said in a statement that eight of the people sanctioned are senior military officers, while the other eight are scientists connected to what it alleged is the proliferation of chemical weapons.

On March 4, the E.U. imposed restrictive measures on senior Syrian officials for the use of chemical weapons in the country. The sanctions issued by the organization now extend to 255 people who are prevented from traveling to E.U. territory and whose assets have been frozen, along with 67 companies linked to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

The E.U. is the biggest aid donor to the anti-government forces in Syria and has said it will not help rebuild Syria until a peace process involving a transition away from Assad’s government is underway.

The April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhoun, in which 58 people were killed by what experts consider to be exposure to sarin, led to the U.S. launch of 59 tomahawk missiles on the al-Shariat air base in Homs on April 6, blaming the Syrian government for the chemical attack — claims which Syria’s leader denies.

According to Assad, his government has asked for independent investigations into the chemical weapons allegations, which he says have been stalled by the U.S. government and its allies.

In an interview with teleSUR, Assad alleged that U.S. officials are lying about their claims regarding Syria having chemical weapons, saying that armed opposition groups and their sponsors are to blame and also recalled Secretary of State Colin Powell’s infamous testimony at the United Nations in 2003 where he said that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction, only to be revealed as a lie years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The E.U. also maintains an oil embargo on Syria, freezing the assets of the Syrian Central Bank in the E.U. and imposing restrictions on the export of equipment and technology that can be used for what it calls internal repression or control of the internet or telephone communications.

Washington issued sanctions in April, placing restrictions on hundreds of employees and scientists at a Syrian government agency which it claimed developed chemical weapons.

Source*

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Hundreds of U.S. Military Vehicles Enter Syria from Iraq*

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U.N. Confirmed Syrian Rebels, Not Assad, Were Using Sarin*

Syrians Report U.S. Use of Chemical Weapons on Town of 200K*

Samples Confirm ‘Moderate’ Terrorists Used Chemicals in Southwest Aleppo*

The U.S. Gov’t Killed More Civilians This Month than All ‘Terrorist’ Attacks in Europe over the Last 12 Years*

Father Daniel in Syria: “There Never Was a Popular Uprising in Syria”*

Rothschild’s Israel Pushes Russia and U.S. Towards Nuclear Confrontation Over Syria*

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Recolonalization: G20 Compact with Africa in Berlin: Implications for EU-Africa Relations*

Recolonalization: G20 Compact with Africa in Berlin: Implications for EU-Africa Relations*

By Marco Zoppi

The proposed formula contains appealing guidelines for initiating economic development in Africa, but it does not address long-term stability and protection from risks and global volatility. Risks are only understood as risks for the investors. Thus, this development strategy embraces the prevailing neoliberalism that re-enacts colonialism.

On June 12-13, Berlin hosted the latest initiative of the G20 Compact with Africa, an international conference that brought political leaders together under the promising title “Investing in a Common Future”. The Berlin meeting is part of a well-framed roadmap of high-profile international gatherings: finance ministers and country representatives have already sat around the same table in Washington and Durban earlier this year, and many of them will meet again for the European Union-African Union summit in November.

The Compact with Africa (CWA) aims at providing a framework to “significantly increase private and infrastructure investment in Africa”, relying for this purpose on the expertise and assistance of G20 member countries as well as international organizations, such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB). The latter trio has recently issued a concept paper that contains the instruments envisaged for boosting private investments.

Now that a number of African countries seem to have already committed to the set of measures promoted by the CWA (Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia), and more could do the same in the near future, a debate about the very nature of this partnership is gaining momentum. The leading question is, of course, whether the CWA should be read under the renowned rubric of “neocolonial” interventions in Africa, or as a brand new, concrete opportunity for economic growth. This short article attempts to address precisely that fine line between continuity and rupture with the past, integrating thus a historical perspective in the analysis of the matter. In doing so, I focus especially on the role of the European Union (E.U.), which beyond being a G20 member, is undoubtedly also the actor most interested in co-determining Africa’s future.

The context

Let us begin the analysis with two fundamental considerations: the E.U. needs both effective governments and solid markets in Africa, now more than ever. In fact, in the European order of things, the current pace of emigration from Africa has become unsustainable. The disastrous joint management of migration flows and quotas displayed by European governments fans the flames further, fuelling anti-Europe and anti-migrants sentiments throughout the continent, eventually corroding solidarity between member states. Against this backdrop, measures like the externalization of controls and asylum applications, or ad hoc deals with African governments do not have prospects of yielding lasting results. This has also implications in terms of security and the fight against terrorism, violent extremism and transnational organized crimes: the European Commission and E.U. foreign policy chief Mogherini stated that “never before have E.U. security interests been so intertwined with Africa”, as proved also by the numerous E.U. military training missions carried on in Africa.

The necessity to find viable solutions for the long-term introduces the second consideration, which regards Africa’s socio-economic outlook: we have learned that migration flows do not concern only asylum seekers, but have acquired the character of a complex and structural economic phenomenon that involves individuals relocating from the periphery to the perceived center of global wealth. This mass relocation could expand further, as the continent’s population is predicted to rise considerably in the next decades ahead. It has been estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa alone will need 18 million new jobs each year up to 2035 in order to absorb the new labour market entrants: in view of this, African states need to be able to develop internal and regional markets that can generate enough jobs. Currently only 3 million jobs are being created yearly. Not an easy task, considering that African economies remain vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices, which can significantly affect economic performances (as occurred in 2015-16).

For European governments, that discrepancy between demographic growth on the one hand, and job opportunities in African markets on the other, is clearly a source of preoccupation. At the same time, though, Europe sees in Africa also future opportunities for revitalizing its stagnant economy. Italy’s former president Giorgio Napolitano, who has often addressed Euro-African relations during his political career, commented after Berlin that the “general interest of Europe lies” also “in the prospect to satisfy future labour force needs within its own economies in a selective and regulated fashion, and to open new opportunities of joint development with the African continent”. African workforce stands out again at the horizon of possibilities, when it comes to filling specific gaps, finding solutions to counterbalance Europe’s ageing population, and developing new trades.

A continued partnership

The context in which the CWA talks took place appears to confirm that the concerned political actors perceive Europe and Africa to be close partners. The idea of joint African and European development, and the ultimate relevance of this partnership for European integration itself, is not new. As a matter of fact, it represents a file rouge that has connected the history of the two continents for decades, ever since the 1950 foundational Schuman Declaration, which mentioned “the development of the African continent” as one of Europe’s “essential tasks”.

“In this way”, the documents continued, “there will be realised simply and speedily that fusion of interest which is indispensable to the establishment of a common economic system”.

Sixty years after that historic document, there is evidently still “a lot to do” in order to “ensure that trade flows between Europe and African countries really benefit everyone”, as German Chancellor Merkel commented in the opening speech of the Berlin conference. The element of novelty is that Europe now is far more exposed to the socio-economic consequences of unequal trade, and to the shortcomings of the reforms promoted by international organizations.

Resorting to old ideas and instruments?

Continuity and rupture with the past emerge also in the pronounced preference for private and market solutions enshrined in the CWA. As highlighted in one analysis of the initiative:

“the G20’s Compact does not have the right balance between public and private financing but is heavily prone towards the private side, with all the implications for predatory-financing abuse that are well understood”.

In effect, the trio’s report accords priority to the private sector and the market for what concerns “commercial” infrastructures (such as transport, energy or water sector projects), whose gap deters investment. African governments are mainly in charge of reducing risks and creating a favorable business environment, concurring to form an “integrated approach to create the conditions for a surge in private investment, including by removing constraints that currently hamper capital flows from some industrialized countries”. This, in turn, will favour also the improvement of “non-commercial” infrastructures (urban road networks, basic education and health infrastructure). The over-emphasis placed on sending “a strong signal to private investors” comes with limitations: for example, the discouraging omission of recommendations for sustainable and ecologically-friendly development in the CWA. Jann Lay (Acting Director of the GIGA Institute of African Affairs in Hamburg) speaks about four omitted items: investment in education; G20’s responsibility in creating an uncertain trade and investment policy environment; the social and environmental risks associated with private investment; and the commitment to a sustainable development agenda, as implied by the 2030 Agenda.

The most delicate issue with CWA approach is arguably that of privatization itself, as it is closely connected with the legacy of the neoliberal agenda and of the loan-schemes known as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) initiated by IMF and WB, that is, the same international organizations now spurring the CWA. SAPs are deemed by many as culpable for Africa’s “lost decades” in the 1980s and 1990s (for recent critical approaches to neoliberalism in Africa, see Soludo and Mkandawire 1999; Mensah 2008; Muiu and Martin 2009). According to many scholars and analysts, problems of unemployment, poor governance performances and deteriorating terms of trade in Africa were all derived from, or made worse, by SAP packages, which prescribed indeed liberalization, privatization, currency devaluation, cuts in public expenditure and salaries among other things. Quite interestingly, the austerity programs so criticized in Europe in the aftermath of the 2007-08 financial crisis contained very similar measures to those seen with SAPs. And the fact that recently the IMF has (partly) apologized for the effects of the policies it had promoted under the flag of the free market ideology has surely not helped selling the CWA arguments to the skeptics out there.

Privatization has certainly matured a negative connotation in Africa. For Prempeh, it has opened the way for “accumulation by dispossession”, namely “the defining hallmark of the continent’s incorporation into the capitalist system”. Yet, the state does not fare well either in terms of reputation as agent for development. It has been argued that incompetent, corrupted governments, and too much “statism” in general, have prevented or delayed in Africa the formation of domestic entrepreneurship and capital groups that could outdo foreign enterprises. On the other hand, even comparatively more efficient nation-state machineries are not saving Europe either, from reckless financial manoeuvres and tax avoidance by multinational companies.

CWA: Development for whom, and by whom?

We could discuss state and market forever. I believe, though, that the interpretative key for CWA consists, first of all, in seeing the “global market”, in all its components (doctrines and financial dynamics), as the outcome of a competition that has grown unequal over time and not as a sort of neutral ground of exchange. This inequality is visible in the legacy of colonialism, which at the time of independence left several African economies relying on exportation of (few) primary commodities, with scarce levels of diversification, industrialization, and with an almost absent domestic capitalist class. Inequality has grown further through the ill-functioning of Western-like states, which have been too often ruled by shortsighted leaderships, revealing themselves to be exceedingly vulnerable to neo-patrimonialism. Inequality continues with illegal deprivation of resources.

Once we have refreshed our minds on the historical roots of inequality, we can argue that the crucial criteria to assess the CWA at the policy level are thus linked to its concrete capacity to interrupt the aforementioned trends. The CWA should promote an alternative development model that is not based on primary production, but looks instead at boosting secondary or tertiary products. An effective and path-breaking cooperation should interrupt the cycle that makes of Africa a continent for cheap and unskilled labor that is primarily oriented at producing raw products for Western industries and markets. Understood in this sense, the kernel of the matter is not about the balance between states or the free market: one has to ponder who the private investors in Africa will be, considering that the continent presents, also for the reasons above, lower numbers of entrepreneurs and corporate groups, as well as of educated, skilled, people to cover key positions.

In this discourse, it is quite surprising to see not a single mention of African diaspora in the CWA. Surely, diaspora can be subsumed in the category of private investors, as it indeed is, yet I believe that it is quite outmoded imagining development without referring explicitly to diaspora and their local knowledge, as privileged development partners.

In these circumstances, one may wonder about the real risks involved in exposing service provision in African states to further vulnerability on the global markets, and about what are the instruments put in place to protect African consumers. Here, the CWA should have been more accurate in indicating how it intends to secure that services will not be provided only by foreign enterprises; that there will be opportunities for high-skill acquisition by Africans; that Africa’s wealth will not massively flow outside the continent; finally, that African states will have the instruments to deal with the social costs of global capitalism (tax evasion; environmental risks; social security). In other words, in order to translate CWA in a long-standing development, liberalization should come with a modicum of strategies (e.g. special agreements; protection; subsidies to local firms) to reduce dependence on foreign companies. These points should be central in a growth strategy that aims at marking a break with the past.

Besides the intricate workings of neoliberalism, we should not overlook the influence of ideology and knowledge for policymaking. Mensah has rightly maintained:

“Arguably, more than the production and consumption of material goods, it is in the creation of knowledge that the West seeks to sustain its hegemonic grip on the ‘Third World’ under a purportedly value-neutral development discourse”.

Eventually, we are back to an issue that is old as time, which concerns the understanding of what “development” means per se. Prominent Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney underlined this problematic aspect already in the early 1970s, when he remarked that the notion of development is “tied in with the state of the society as a whole”. Development is never only an economic phenomenon, but involves far deeper socio-political matters, not least the way people control and give sense to their lives, as well as the kind of values and aspirations cherished by each and every society. Nevertheless, as Mkandawire and Soludo have recently noted, “[n]o other region of the world has been so dominated by external ideas and models” as Africa. Think of the influential Chinese economic development model in Africa. Think also about the essentialization of development in terms of variations in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which one retrieves also in the key CWA documents. GDP is not just a number, free from ideology: giving prominence to GPD means embracing the idea of perpetual growth, and more broadly, believing in the expansion of production as solution to socio-economic problems (see Lepenies 2016). Development, intended as modernization and super-consumerism, may not be a generalized ambition— therefore, the poorest countries do not represent “simply the rich North before its take-off” (Kalb, Pansters, and Siebers 2004).

Even worse, while reliable GDP indexes and other indicators require thorough data collecting, researchers show that economic as well as statistical estimates in Africa have to be taken with a grain of salt, because we are often in front of “poor numbers” (Jerven 2013) and “guestimates” (Bevan 2008, 208) in reason of their low accuracy.

However, this theme exposes another essential aspect of the issue: Africans are not great fans of their indigenous economic models, and often we are not even aware of the loci of African knowledge production and diffusion. While this state of things is set to change, as initiatives of indigenous knowledge valorization and deconstruction of Eurocentrism in school curricula are on the rise, a more intense circulation of ideas and intra-continental exchange of experiences is definitely needed, especially among political elites, and will be beneficial for future policymaking. Ruptures with current understandings of development will pass also through these processes.

Conclusion

The general impression is that while CWA’s economic formula contains appealing guidelines for initiating economic development (infrastructures; investments; service delivering), it does not address with the same adequacy long-term stability and protection from risks (from the environment to debt management) and global volatility. Risks are only understood as risks for the investors. The development strategy discussed in Berlin, thus, embraces for most part the still prevailing economic credo— the self-regulating market, and subsequently re-proposes similar measures seen already in the recent past, at least in the general framework of action presented so far.

Hence, the analysis provided in this article has helped putting in the right perspective Shizha’ and Abdi’s assertion that “neo-liberal globalization and development paradigms”, de facto, “re-enact colonialism”, in tragic continuity with the past. Yet, even if we put aside the ghosts of (neo-)colonialism, elements of criticism persist in policy formulation. Since privatization tends to divert development in the direction of profit maximization, we should think in advance about who will manage the balance “lucrative vs. socially-needed” services, for example.

Also, since the market is volatile by definition, a thorough discussion should clarify how do we ensure that skills and capital will remain in place, when corporations and international funds will move towards greener pastures. Otherwise, development will be short-lived. The E.U., which perceives itself as a stakeholder in the future of Africa, could play a more significant role in relation to these issues, becoming the main promoter of a model that insures also African citizens from rapacious private interests. For the moment, however, the E.U. has not matured yet the position of “a truly responsible and capable global actor” (Mayer 2012, 457). This position is no longer sustainable, especially since Europe and Africa are integrated within an increasingly connected system in which socio-economic effects of development and global trade are felt on both sides.

Source*

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The U.S. and the Wars in the Sahel*

The U.S. and the Wars in the Sahel*

By Gary K. Busch

Washington has been at war in Africa for years.  But in French-speaking parts of the continent it is Paris that is fully in control. Who becomes president and how national affairs are conducted is a matter determined by the French for their own interest under the colonial-era doctrine of Françafrique. And American tax-payers foot much of the bill for this neo-colonialism.

At the end of his first week in office, newly elected President Emmanuel Macron visited French troops in the West African country of Mali. Macron flew into Gao, a city in Mali’s north, where political unrest and ethnic strife have raged for more than five years. He met some of the 1,600 French soldiers stationed there, at the largest French military base outside of France. The French had intervened in its former colony in January 2013 in an effort to drive out al-Qaeda-linked groups which had taken advantage of the unrest and conflict created by a rebellion of the ethnic Tuaregs in 2012 to try to take control of the central government in Bamako, Mali’s capital. This rebellion spread throughout the Sahel; an ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south covering more than 3.053 million km².

Before one can explain the role played by the U.S. in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel it is important to understand the continuing role of the French Government and army in the region. France established military bases in Africa during the colonial period and maintained a military presence in Africa after the ‘flag independence’ of its former colonies in the 1960s. The independence struggle of French Africa resulted, with the exception of Guinea, in the notional independence of the African states, each with a flag, a national anthem, a football team, and a continuing dependence on France under the terms of a Colonial Pact. The terms of this pact were agreed at the time of independence as a condition of the de-colonialization of the African states.

The Colonial Pact Agreement enshrined a number of special preferences for France in the political, commercial and defence processes in the African countries. On defence, it agreed two types of continuing contact. The first was the agreement on military co-operation or Technical Military Aid (AMT) agreements. These covered education, training of soldiers and officers of African security forces. The second type, secret and binding, were defence agreements supervised and implemented by the French Ministry of Defence, which served as a legal basis for French interventions within the African states by French military forces. These agreements allowed France to have pre-deployed troops and police in bases across Africa; in other words, French army and gendarme units present permanently and by rotation in bases and military facilities in Africa, run entirely by the French. The Colonial Pact was much more than an agreement to station soldiers across Africa. It bound the economies of Africa to the control of France. It made the CFA franc the national currency in both former colonial regions of Africa and created a continuing, and enforceable, dependency on France.

In summary, the colonial pact maintained the French control over the economies of the African states:

  • it took possession of their foreign currency reserves;
  • it controlled the strategic raw materials of the country;
  • it stationed troops in the country with the right of free passage;
  • it demanded that all military equipment be acquired from France;
  • it took over the training of the police and army;
  • it required that French businesses be allowed to maintain monopoly enterprises in key areas (water, electricity, ports, transport, energy, etc.).
  • it required that in the award of government contracts in the African countries, French companies should be considered first; only after that could Africans look elsewhere. It didn’t matter if Africans could obtain better value for money elsewhere, French companies came first, and most often got the contracts.
  • The African states must make a contribution to France each year for the infrastructure created by the French colonial system and left behind when independence was granted.
  • France not only set limits on the imports of a range of items from outside the franc zone but also set minimum quantities of imports from France. These treaties are still in force and operational.

The system is known as Françafrique. These policies of Françafrique were not concocted by the French National Assembly or the result of any democratic process. They were the result of policies conducted by a small group of people in the French President’s office, the ‘African Cell’, starting with Charles DeGaulle and his African specialist, Jacques Foccart. For the past half-century, the secretive and powerful “African Cell” has overseen France’s strategic interests in Africa, holding sway over a wide swath of former French colonies. Acting as a general command, the Cell uses France’s military as a hammer to install leaders it deems friendly to French interests and to remove those who pose a danger to the continuation of the system. Sidestepping traditional diplomatic channels, the Cell reports only to one person: the president.

Under Chirac, African policy was run by the president himself. He worked with the “Cellule Africaine” composed of African Advisor Michel De Bonnecorse, Aliot-Marie (the Defence Minister) and DGSE chief Pierre Brochand. They were aided by a web of French agents assigned to work undercover in Africa, embedded in French companies like Bouygues, Delmas, Total, and other multinationals; pretending to be expatriate employees.

Under Sarkozy the “Cellule Africaine” was run by the president and included Bruno Joubert and an informal adviser and Sarkozy envoy, Robert Bourgi. Claude Guéant, secretary general of the presidency and later interior minister, played an influential role. Hollande’s “Cellule Africaine” was composed of his trusted friends: Jean-Yves Le Drian (Minister of Defence); the chief of his personal military staff, General Benoît Puga; the African Advisor Hélène Le Gal, and a number of lower-level specialists from the ministries of foreign affairs and the treasury. It isn’t clear yet who will make up Macron’s African Cell.

What is important about the effects of Françafrique on African states is that the French resisted any locally-engendered change in the rules and had troops and gendarmes available in Africa to put down any leader with different ambitions. During the last 50 years, a total of 67 coups happened in 26 countries in Africa; 61% of the coups happened in Francophone Africa. The French began the ‘discipline’ of African leaders by ordering the assassination of Sylvanus Olympio in Togo in 1963 when he wanted his own currency instead of the CFA franc.

  • In June 1962, the first president of Mali, Modiba Keita, decreed that Mali was leaving the CFA zone and abandoning the Colonial Pact. As in Togo the French paid an African ex-Legionnaire to kill the president. In November 1968 Lieutenant Moussa Traore made a coup, killed Modiba Keita, and became President of Mali.
  • The French use of African ex-Legionnaires to remove presidents who rebelled against the Colonial Pact, the CFA or Françafrique became commonplace. On 1 January, 1966, Jean-Bédel Bokassa, an ex-French foreign legionnaire, carried out a coup against David Dacko, the first President of the Central African Republic.
  • On 3 January 1966, Maurice Yaméogo, the first President of the Republic of Upper Volta, now called Burkina Faso, was victim of a coup carried out by Aboubacar Sangoulé Lamizana
  • On 26 October 1972, Mathieu Kérékou who was a security guard to President Hubert Maga, the first President of the Republic of Benin, carried out a coup against the president.
  • There were several other assassinations managed by the French which took place without the use of Legionnaires. These included:
  • Marien Ngouabi, President of the Republic of the Congo, assassinated in 1977.
  • In Cameroon, Felix Moumie, who was the successor to previously-assassinated Reuben Um Nyobe, was murdered by thallium poisoning in Geneva on 15 October 1960. His killer was a French agent, William Bechtel, who posed as a journalist to meet Moumie in a restaurant and poisoned his drink.
  • François Tombalbaye, President of Chad, was assassinated by soldiers commanded by French Army officers in 1975. Then, in December 1989 the French overthrew the government of Hissan Habre in Chad and installed Idriss Deby as President because Habre wanted to sell Chadian oil to U.S. oil companies.
  • Perhaps the most tragic was the assassination of Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso in 1987. Sankara seized power in a popular coup in 1983 in an attempt to break the country’s ties to its French colonial power. He was overthrown and assassinated in a coup led by his best friend and childhood companion Blaise Compaoré on French orders.
  • In March 2003 French and Chadian troops overthrew the elected government of President Ange-Felix Patasse and installed General François Bozize as President when Patasse announced that he wanted French troops out of the Central African Republic. A few years later the French deposed Bosize as well.
  • In 2009, the French supported a coup in Madagascar by Andry Rajoelina against the elected government of Marc Ravalomanana who wanted to open the country to investments by international companies in mining and petroleum and refused to allow Total to unilaterally raise its contracted price for oil by 75%.
  • The French used its troops in the Ivory Coast to provoke an attempted overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Gbagbo. When the rebellion to oust Gbagbo failed, the French troops divided the country into two areas and continued to plan coups against Gbagbo. When Gbagbo won the election in 2010, despite French interference, the French troops (and the UN ‘peacekeepers’) used helicopter gunships to attack the Ivorian citizenry and took over the country in 2011.

Burkino Faso

French military involvement in Africa

The current problem for France is that it maintains wide engagement of its military in operations outside of metropolitan France. These are very expensive. There are currently 36,000 French troops deployed in foreign territories-such operations are known as “OPEX” for Opérations Extérieures (“External Operations”).

Since colonial days France has stationed its troops across Africa in permanent bases. These participate in controlling the internal politics of the African nations of Franćafrique as well as their borders.

These included:

  • Côte d’Ivoire, where the French troops in Operation Licorne and its helicopters recently overthrew the government of Gbagbo and supervised the killing of numerous Ivoirian citizens in collaboration with UN “peacekeepers”.
  • Chad, with the Epervier Mission. Established in 1986 to help re-establish peace and maintain Chad’s territorial integrity, and establish and protect the government of Deby
  • France has been present in Mali since January 2013 in support of the Malian authorities in the fight against terrorist groups. 2,900 men were deployed with the Serval operation.
  • Since December 2013, France also has operated in the Central African Republic in support of the MISCA, the African Union peacekeeping operation. 1,600 men are deployed with the Sangaris operation.

France also supports the participation of African soldiers in peacekeeping operations through the Reinforcement of African Peacekeeping Capabilities (RECAMP) program.

Recently the French have concentrated their troop deployments in West Africa to fight the rising threat of Islamic fundamentalism. Around 3,000 soldiers remain in the expansive Sahel area of Africa to check Islamist violence and arms trafficking, with no specified exit date. French forces are organised around four base camps, each with its own focus, and with headquarters based in the Chadian capital of Ndjamena. Their primary aim is not entirely the suppression of fundamentalist forces; their primary aim is to safeguard the French Areva uranium mines in Niger which provide France with it supply of fuel for its nuclear power programs.

This operation is known as Operation Barkhane (the name refers to a sickle-shaped sand dune). It is an effort to streamline French military activity in the region and to retain the military power but reduce the costs of duplication of tasks. Following diplomatic agreements with Chad, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania (the “Sahel G-5”), over 3,000 French troops are involved in securing the Sahel-Sahara region in cooperative operations involving G-5 troops. Other assets deployed in the operation include 20 helicopters, 200 armoured vehicles, 200 trucks, six fighter-jets, ten transport aircraft and three drones

The initiation of Operation Barkhane brought to an end four existing French operations in Africa; Licorne (Côte d’Ivoire, 2002-2017), Épervier (Chad, 1986-2014), Sabre (Burkina Faso, 2012-2014) and Serval (Mali, 2013-2014). Licorne is coming to an end in June 2017 (though 450 French troops will remain in Abidjan as part of a logistical base for French operations) while the other operations were folded into Operation Barkhane. Operation Sangaris (Central African Republic, 2013-present) is classified as a humanitarian rather than counter-terrorism mission and the deployment of some 2,000 French troops will be reduced to 1,200 French soldiers who will remain in northern Mali. Existing French military deployments in Djibouti, Dakar (Senegal) and Libreville (Gabon) are expected to be scaled back significantly.

France military bases

France’s problem in maintaining its military presence in Africa is that it has run out of money. It cannot afford to maintain such a strong military posture in Africa. It has been able to get the assistance of its European Union partners in a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in programs like EURFOR in Chad which notionally confronts the terrorist organisations with European troops, but the funds needed to provide a real challenge to the terrorists are wanting.

The notion of intrinsic forces is important in the evaluation of warfare in the Sahel. These terrorists are not, for the most part, invading foreigners coming to seek domination, power or advantage. They are locals who have taken up the Salafist ideology to further their joint aims of setting up an Islamic State and in preserving the smuggling routes across the Sahel. The ancient salt caravans across the Sahel from Mali making their way to Europe and the Middle East have evolved into caravans of drugs, diamonds and gold from Mali to Europe and the Middle East. The large revenues earned from this smuggling have helped fund the AQIM, the MNLA, MUJAO and other bands and have generated financial and political support from the Wahhabi extremists of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. The collapse of Libya under Kaddafi left these smugglers without a protector so the radical extremists who supplanted Kaddafi offered the smugglers of the Sahel the same protection as before and lots of weapons.

The Sahel is still a major centre of illicit trafficking in goods. The tribes of Northern Mali are emboldened and protected by terrorist organisations in the barren wastes of Northern Mali and live, symbiotically, with the terrorist forces. Their paths are overlapping. While the tribes continue their smuggling Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) engages in illegal taxation in its areas of control, ISIS in Libya is active in human and narcotics trafficking, and Boko Haram generates significant revenues from trade in cocaine and heroin.

Illicit trafficking and threat networks

The trafficking overlaps the terrorist threats. It is matched by a large influx of weapons. Conflict Armament Research, a U.K. organization that monitors armaments transfers and supply chains, published an important report in late 2016, “Investigating Cross-Border Weapon Transfers in the Sahel.”  The report confirms that a flow of weapons from Libyan dictator Qaddafi’s stockpiles after his fall played a major role in the Tuareg and Islamist insurgencies in Mali in 2012. That same stockpile supplied weapons systems that included man-portable air defence systems to insurgents throughout the Sahel region. But, the report documents that weapons flows since 2011 are no longer predominantly from Libya. Instead, the weapons now come from African countries with weak control of their own weapons stockpiles, notably the Central African Republic and Ivory Coast. Sudan has also been an important source since 2015 of weapons used by insurgents in the Sahel. The report posits that the jihadist attacks in 2015 and 2016 on hotels and government installations specifically in Mali, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast also included weapons from a common source in the Middle East; Iraqi assault rifles and Chinese-manufactured weapons are also used by the Islamic State.[i]

The logistical challenge in opposing the terrorist threat

The terrain of the Sahel does not lend itself to conventional warfare. There are broad expanses of sand and dunes, broken up by small villages and, occasionally, a town or city. There are no petrol stations, wells, repair shops, water stores, food stocks or fuel reserves in most of the region. Trucks and buses, as well as conventional armour, are difficult to transport in such a terrain. Air bases are usually suited only to small aircraft and lack the scissor-tables, cranes, fork-lifts and loading equipment which allow the free flow of cargo.

On the positive side, in the war in the Sahel the lack of ground cover and a tree canopy in the region enables a strategy of using the most modern weapons, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) which can seek out, observe and destroy small and mobile enemy forces. This has meant that the logistical demands of the war in the Sahel have generated a strategy of the use of high-tech weaponry deployed by Western forces combined with African troops on the ground as garrison forces for towns and cities.

Warfare, in general, in Africa requires a policy of expeditionary war. This is a polite way of saying that massed troop formations have no real use as there are few opposing forces of equal size to fight. African insurgents are bands and groups of often irregular soldiers. Across most of Africa troops must pass through jungles, deserts, mangrove swamps and hostile terrain to get to the enemy, often under heavy fire from the bush. The enemy of the peacekeepers is rarely an army battalion of any strength. Large-scale troop concentrations can sit in a city or town and maintain order, but they rarely can take the battle to the enemy. African armies have virtually no equipment which will allow them to fight an expeditionary war. This is a war of helicopters – in and out movement of troops to desert encampments or remote landing zones or the shooting up of ground formations by helicopter gunships when the enemy can be located.

This is how African wars are fought. Except for rented MI-8 and MI-24 helicopters leased from the Ukraine and Russia, most of Africa is bereft of air mobile equipment. They are certainly bereft of African pilots (other than South Africans and a small band of Angolans and Nigerians). There are very few African military aircraft capable of fighting or sustaining either air-to-air combat or performing logistics missions. Either they don’t exist or they are in such a state of disrepair that African combat pilots are unwitting kamikazes. There are very few airbases in the bush which allow cargo planes to land safely when a war is on given that every rebel group has its share of rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and mortars. There are no fuel reserves at the airports outside most African capitals, and there are no repair facilities. There is no air-to-air refuelling, except that provided by foreign militaries. Indeed, except for Denel in South Africa and the main airbase in Ethiopia there are no places on the continent which perform sophisticated aircraft or weapons maintenance. Indeed most Western European armies themselves don’t have sufficient helicopters or heavy-lift capacities. The Africans have less. This lack of transport is critical to moving out the wounded. This takes its toll on the soldiers. This is mirrored in the lack of effective battlefield communications. In Africa the phone system doesn’t work in peacetime; why should it work in a period of war? Sending orders and receiving information between the central staff and outlying units is a ‘sometimes’ process. It sometimes takes days to contact units operating far from command headquarters.

The Europeans are not really ready to assist in the Sahel, despite the E.U. plans. In 2015 when Angela Merkel made the grand gesture of sending weapons to Kurdish rebels fighting Isil, she learned that her cargo planes couldn’t get off the ground. At the time, the German military confessed that just half of its Transall transport aircraft were fit to fly. Of its 190 helicopters, just 41 were ready to be deployed. Of its 406 Marder tanks, 280 were out of use. In 2016 it emerged that fewer than half of Germany’s 66 Tornado aircraft were airworthy. The French Transall fleet is out of date and few are being replaced.

This matches the debacle of the European military effort to conduct warfare on its own, starting in Kosovo. The Europeans wanted to show they had some independent military capability.  The amount of bombs, missiles and other tactical devices used in the first two weeks of the Kosovo campaign exceeded the total arsenal storage of the totality of the European Community. The amount spent per day on the bombing of Kosovo, including indirect costs, amounted to over $12.5 million. It would have been far cheaper to buy Serbia than to bomb it. NATO could have offered each Serb $5,000 a head plus moving costs and still saved money. Under NATO rules the US was obliged to pay two-thirds of these costs.

This was just as true in Libya. The Europeans (calling themselves NATO) quickly ran out of ammunition, bombs and money. The U.S. spent almost $1.5 billion in the first wave of attacks by the French and British. As Secretary of Defence Gates said in his speech, “Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform – not counting the U.S. military – NATO has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops — not just in boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters; transport aircraft; maintenance; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and much more.” He went on:

“We have the spectacle of an air operations centre designed to handle more than 300 sorties a day struggling to launch about 150. Furthermore, the mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country – yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference.”

That is the key point in analysing the struggle against terrorism in the Sahel. Despite the good wishes of the French and the other Europeans, success relies on an active U.S. participation and engagement.  The French have requested the support of the U.S. military (through NATO) in its ambition to retain control of its former African colonial empire.

There is an ironic side to French requiring assistance from NATO to support its neo-colonial policies. France withdrew from being a full member of NATO in 1966, and remained separated for decades. The reason for French withdrawal was that France believed that NATO was not militarily supportive enough.  France’s effort to develop its own non-NATO defence capability, including the development of its own nuclear arsenal in the 1960s, was to ensure that the French military could operate its own colonial and post-colonial conflicts more freely. Under de Gaulle, France had attempted to draw NATO into France’s colonial conflicts (on France’s side). De Gaulle claimed that Algeria was part of France and thus was part of NATO. Therefore, NATO was required to intervene to assist France in putting down Algerian independence movements. After the British and Americans refused to assist with French colonialism, de Gaulle expelled NATO troops from France and set up a more independent French military. Now that France is back in NATO it is making the same request of its partners as De Gaulle.

The Germans lead the EUTM Mali which trains Mali’s armed forces and EUCAP Sahel Mali which is training and advising the country’s police, gendarmerie and National Guard. The Eucap Sahel Mission, under the command of the German diplomat Albrecht Conze, is coordinating European aid to the region.  Gunther Nooke, Angela Merkel’s representative to Africa, a Commissioner for Africa at the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, has proposed a “German Marshall Plan” for Africa to relieve a continent struggling with terrorist bands in the region coupled with a drought which is causing mass famine. However, no money is yet attached to such a plan.

The U.S. has its own strategic interests in fighting the Islamic terrorists in the Sahel because they pose a major danger to U.S business interests in the area; a threat to political stability in Africa as a whole which has produced a human tide of refugees; and, most importantly, this terrorism in the Sahel produces a major source of revenue to the international terrorist structures of Al-Qaeda, Daesh and the myriad sub-groups of these in the Middle East as well as Africa.

The U.S. has agreed to support the French and European efforts to fight terrorism in the Sahel but has been unwilling to commit U.S. regular forces to fighting on the ground. It has offered training, equipment and Special Forces participation in military programs in the Sahel and frequently arranges mass exercises to make sure the trained remain so.

The U.S. military presence in Africa

The U.S. is at war in Africa and has been so for many years. The U.S. has had practical experience in African wars. America has been fighting wars in Africa since the 1950s – in Angola, the DRC, Somalia, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Morocco, Libya, Djibouti to name but a few counties. In some countries they used U.S. troops, but in most cases the U.S. financed, armed and supervised the support of indigenous forces. In its support of the anti- MPLA forces in Angola it sent arms and equipment to the UNITA opposition. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Larry Devlin of the CIA was an unofficial minister of Mobutu’s government; the U.S. ran its own air force in the Congo at WIGMO. US airmen supported the South African forces in Kwando, Fort Doppies and Encana bases in the Caprivi from WIGMO. At these bases one could also find soldiers from Southern Rhodesia (in their DC3s) and German, French, Portuguese and other NATO troops.

One of the largest of these bases was at Wheelus Field, in Libya. Wheelus Air Base was located on the Mediterranean coast, just east of Tripoli, Libya. With its 4,600 Americans, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya once called it “a Little America.” During the Korean War, Wheelus was used by the US Strategic Air Command, later becoming a primary training ground for NATO forces. Strategic Air Command bomber deployments to Wheelus began on 16 November 1950. SAC bombers conducted 45-day rotational deployments in these staging areas for strikes against the Soviet Union. Wheelus became a vital link in SAC war plans for use as a bomber, tanker refuelling and recon-fighter base. The US left in 1970.

Another giant U.S. base was Kagnew Field in Asmara. The base was established in 1943 as an Army radio station, home to the U.S. Army’s 4th Detachment of the Second Signal Service Battalion. Kagnew Station became home for over 5,000 American citizens at a time during its peak years of operation during the 1960s. Kagnew Station operated until April 29, 1977, when the last Americans left.

However, with the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has found itself fighting a much more difficult and insidious war: the war with Al Qaeda. This is much less of a war that involves military might and prowess. It is a war against the spread of drug dealing, illicit diamonds, illicit gold, human trafficking and the sheltering of Salafists (Islamic militants) who use these methods to acquire cash which has sustained the Al Qaida organisation and now Daesh throughout the world. It is a conflict between organised international crime and states seeking to maintain their legitimacy.

There are now several ‘narco-states’ in Africa. The first to fall was Guinea-Bissau where scores of Colombian Cartel leaders moved in to virtually take over the state. Every day an estimated one tonne of pure Colombian cocaine was thought to be transiting through the mainland’s mangrove swamps and the chain of islands that make up Guinea-Bissau, most of it en route to Europe. This was equally true of Guinea under President Lansana Conte whose wife (and her brother) was shown to be a kingpin in the Guinean drug trade. Many in the National Army were compromised and active participants. This drug trade has spread to Senegal, Togo, Ghana and Nigeria. There are very few jails anywhere in the world which are not home to West African ‘drug mules’ tried or awaiting trial or execution. This drug trade is spreading like wildfire in West Africa, offering rich remuneration to African leaders, generals or warlords well in excess of anything these Africans could hope to earn in normal commerce.

According to a U.S. Congressional Research Service Study published in November 2010, Washington has dispatched anywhere between hundreds and several thousand combat troops, dozens of fighter planes and warships to buttress client dictatorships or to unseat adversarial regimes in dozens of countries, almost on a yearly basis. The record shows the U.S. armed forces intervened in Africa forty-seven times prior to the now-concluded LRA endeavour. The countries receiving one or more U.S. military intervention include both Congos, Libya, Chad, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Between the mid-1950’s to the end of the 1970’s, only four overt military operations were recorded, though large scale proxy and clandestine military operations were pervasive. Under Reagan-Bush Sr. (1980-1991) military intervention accelerated, rising to eight, not counting the large scale clandestine ‘special forces’ and proxy wars in Southern Africa. Under the Clinton regime, US militarized intervention in Africa took off. Between 1992 and 2000, seventeen armed incursions took place, including a large-scale invasion of Somalia and military backing for the Rwandan Kagame regime. Clinton intervened in Liberia, Gabon, Congo and Sierra Leone to prop up long-standing troubled regimes. He bombed the Sudan and dispatched military personnel to Kenya and Ethiopia to back proxy clients assaulting Somalia. Under Bush Jr. fifteen US military interventions took place, mainly in Central and East Africa.

Most of the U.S.’s African outreach is disproportionally built on military links to client military chiefs. The Pentagon has military ties with fifty-three African countries. The Bush Administration announced in 2002 that Africa was a “strategic priority in fighting terrorism”. Henceforth, U.S. foreign policy strategists, with the backing of both liberal and neoconservative congress people, moved to centralize and coordinate a military policy on a continent-wide basis forming the African Command (AFRICOM) and Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA). These organise African armies, euphemistically called “co-operative partnerships,” to support anti-terrorist activities in the continent. U.S. special operations teams are now deployed to 23 African countries and the U.S. operates bases across the continent.

In his 2015 article for TomDispatch.com, Nick Turse, disclosed that there are dozens of U.S. military installations in Africa, besides Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti (Main Operating Base). These numerous cooperative security locations (CSLs), forward operating locations (FOLs) and other outposts have been built by the US in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda. According to Turse, the US military also had access to locations in Algeria, Botswana, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Zambia and other countries.

Gen. Charles F. Wald divided these into three types:

  • Main Operating Base (MOB) is an overseas, permanently manned, well protected base, used to support permanently deployed forces, and with robust sea and/or air access.
  • Forward Operating Site (FOS) is a scalable, “warm” facility that can support sustained operations, but with only a small permanent presence of support or contractor personnel. A FOS will host occasional rotational forces and many contain pre-positioned equipment.
  • Cooperative Security Location (CSL) is a host-nation facility with little or no permanent U.S. personnel presence, which may contain pre-positioned equipment and/or logistical arrangements and serve both for security cooperation activities and contingency access.

There are a large number of UAV bases as well.

AFRICOM’s two forward operating sites are Djibouti’s Camp Lemonnier and a base on the United Kingdom’s Ascension Island off the west coast of Africa.  Described as “enduring locations” with a sustained troop presence and “U.S.-owned real property,” they serve as hubs for staging missions across the continent and for supplying the growing network of outposts there. [ii]

One of the most important of these bases is in Niamey, the capital of Niger, and nearby at Agadez, into which the U.S. has just spent $100 million on improvements.  N’Djamena, in Chad, has been heavily used in the battle against Boko Haram.

AFRICOM’s programs

The main thrust of AFRICOM programs involves the training and equipping of local forces. It engages in regular exercises with African armies and conducts JCET training programs. Most of these involve working alongside and mentoring local allies.  SOCAFRICA’s showcase effort, for instance, is Flintlock, an annual training exercise in Northwest Africa involving elite American, European, and African forces, which provides the command with a plethora of publicity. More than 1,700 military personnel from 30-plus nations took part in Flintlock 2016. There are a wide range of programs in addition to the U.S. participation in various UN programs like AMISOM in Somalia.

Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative/Partnership (formerly Pan Sahel Initiative) (TSCTI) Targeting threats to US oil/natural gas operations in the Sahara region Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Libya.

Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance Program (ACOTA) (formerly African Crisis Response Initiative) (ACRI)) Part of “Global Peace” Operations Initiative (GPOI) Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.

International Military Training and Education (IMET) program Brings African military officers to US military academies and schools for indoctrination Top countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa.

Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) (formerly Africa Center for Security Studies) Part of National Defence University, Washington. Provides indoctrination for “next generation” African military officers. This is the “School of the Americas” for Africa. All of Africa is covered.

Foreign Military Sales Program sells U.S. military equipment to African nations via Defence Security Cooperation Agency Top recipients: Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe.

African Coastal and Border Security Program Provides fast patrol boats, vehicles, electronic surveillance equipment, night vision equipment to littoral states.

Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Military command based at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti. Aimed at putting down rebellions in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Somaliland and targets Eritrea. Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti.

Joint Task Force Aztec Silence (JTFAS) Targets terrorism in West and North Africa. Joint effort of EUCOM and Commander Sixth Fleet (Mediterranean) Based in Sigonella, Sicily and Tamanrasset air base in southern Algeria Gulf of Guinea Initiative, US Navy Maritime Partnership Program Trains African militaries in port and off-shore oil platform security Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Togo.

Tripartite Plus Intelligence Fusion Cell Based in Kisangani, DRC, to oversee “regional security,” i.e. ensuring U.S. and Israeli access to Congo’s gold, diamonds, uranium, platinum, and coltan. Congo-Kinshasa, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, United States.

Base access for Cooperative Security Locations (CSLs) and Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) U.S. access to airbases and other facilities Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Namibia, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia, Algeria.

Africa Command (AFRICOM) Headquarters for all U.S. military operations in Africa in Stuttgart.

Africa Regional Peacekeeping (ARP) Liaison with African “peacekeeping” military commands East Africa Regional Integration Team: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania. North Africa Regional Integration Team: Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya. Central Africa Regional Integration Team: Congo (Kinshasa), Congo (Brazzaville), Chad.

Regional Integration Teams: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola. West Africa Regional Integration Team: Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Western Sahara.

Africa Partnership Station (APS) Port visits by USS Fort McHenry and High Speed Vessel (HSV) Swift. Part of US Navy’s Global Fleet Station Initiative. Training and liaison with local military personnel to ensure oil production security Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe.

AFRICOM’s view based on U.S. interests

The U.S. taxpayer is paying for French neo-colonialism

The U.S. military is engaged in over 34 nations in Africa in the fight against terrorism and the growth of the various Al-Qaeda and ISIL affiliates in the region. One of the key problems in conducting this on-going battle is that the political situation in each Francophone country is determined by the needs of Françafrique to keep their chosen president in power; not necessarily what the Africans want. A good example is Mali, where the French intervened militarily in January 2013 to stop an uprising of various militant groups in the north.

As the price for this assistance, France signed a new defence agreement with Mali, which would allow it to maintain a considerable military presence in the country. The agreement’s eleven pages of mostly general statements say that French military troops and civil servants will be allowed to stay in Mali, build military bases, operate, if needed, with Malian troops, etc., for the next five years. The five years’ term, as written in the document, is renewable.

This was a great triumph for France. Ever since the inauguration of the first President of Mali, Modibo Keïta, Mali had resisted the military aspects of the Colonial Pact. The last French soldier departed Mali in 1961. Keita refused to sign the defence protocols. Keita didn’t allow French military bases or troops on Malian soil. Even after the French had him assassinated by Lt. Moussa Traore, the Malians continued to refuse the defence pact. Traore’s successors Alpha Oumar Konare and Amadou Toumany Toure also refused, despite huge diplomatic and economic pressure. The most France could get in Mali was a 1985 military cooperation accord which allowed France to give military training and technical assistance to Malian troops.

Now, after engaging French troops to fight the Islamic forces in the North, France took over military control of Mali. After having defeated the invaders, and chasing them out of Timbuktu and other northern cities, and disarming factions of the rebellions, the French military banned the Malian army from Kidal, the central city of the northern Azawad region. The territory is claimed by different rebel groups, but it is under the de facto control of the mainly Tuareg MNLA (National Movement for Liberation of the Azawad). France allowed the rebels to occupy the area, reorganise and later gain a place at the post-war negotiations table.

France has openly supported the MNLA for a long time and insisted that they be a party to the negotiations with the Malian government who did not want to negotiate with the Tuareg rebels. Then the French put on the agenda the division of Mali into two parts, despite the Malian refusal. There was a short interval of peace and hostilities started again. The French realised that they could no longer afford the military costs of the Malian war and persuaded the UN to send peacekeepers to Mali.  In December 2013 France announced 60% reduction in its troops deployed in Mali to 1,000 by March 2014. Interim peace deals were agreed but were quickly broken. By August 2016 there continued to be attacks on foreign forces. More than 100 peacekeepers have died since the U.N. mission’s deployment in Mali in 2013, making it one of the deadliest places to serve for the U.N.

The French were satisfied that the bulk of the expenses for the capturing of Mali in the web of Françafrique were being paid for by the “international community” (the UN, the US, and ECOWAS). In 2015, the European Union also joined to promote France’s ambitions. France got its military pact with Mali and control of the country. This seemed such a good idea the French then expanded its ambitions to pursue the military options of Operation Barkhane based in Chad to cover Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger and make sure that the costs of this expansion of the reach of Françafrique were being passed on to the ‘international community’; the large part of which is the U.S. taxpayer (directly and indirectly).

The same situation emerged in Niger and the Central African Republic. The French intervened militarily in domestic disputes which they created and took over de facto control of the countries. Claiming that this was a battle against “terrorism” the French were able to pass on the costs of their reoccupation of their former colonies using European, UN and, mainly, U.S. taxpayer money. Both African countries remain at war with domestic enemies in conflicts created by France and perpetuated by French policies towards reinstalling the rigours of Françafrique; all in the name of counter-terrorism. The U.N., the E.U. and the U.S. don’t get a chance to decide who is the enemy in francophone Africa; this is decided by France. They only get to pay for it and use their military to train the soldiers who keep Françafrique in place.

Perhaps the current NATO meeting in Brussels will make it clear to the new Macron Government that the U.S. is capable of choosing its own enemies and, as in the time of de Gaulle, the U.S. is not in the business of preserving French neo-colonial rule on the continent.

Source*

Related Topics:

Should a Country Like France Be Indicting African Leaders?

Stop E.U. from Hijacking Africa’s Clean Energy Future*

At the World Economic Forum-Africa Germany Pitched a Dubious New G20 Corporate Strategy*

French Draft Resolution on Syria Reflects its Longing for its Colonial History in Africa*

French Terrorists Dispatched to Sub-Saharan Africa*

E.U. Bullies its Way through an Reciprocal Trade Access in Africa*

Hiding Africa’s Looted Funds and the Silence of Western Media*

African Court Sentences Former Chadian Military Dictator to Life in Prison for Crimes against Humanity*

France is Broke, but Still Reaping from the Colonial Tax!*

Colonial France out for Niger’s Uranium*

In Madagascar, One of the Deadliest French Colonial Wars in History is Remembered*

The Rise of the French Right and the CFA Franc

Czech’s REJECT Eurozone Entry*

Czech’s REJECT Eurozone Entry*

THE Czech people have rejected joining the struggling euro with even the country’s president recognising that the people do not want to adopt the currency.

By Jon Rogers

While financial experts say they country could sign up as the general conditions are right, leader Milos Zeman has said that the people are against the move.

He said: “We have been fulfilling the Maastricht criteria, but there is a mental barrier to its adoption. A mere 30 per cent of Czechs are in favour of entering the eurozone.”

The governor of the Czech Republic’s central bank, Jiri Rusnok, has also said that the country is ready to adopt but added that it might be better to wait until wages and prices approached those of the bloc’s core members.

Czech Republic’s Milos Zeman with Boris Johnson (R)

 

According to Mr Rusnok, the Czech Republic is ready to give up the koruna but many believe it will not happen for at least five to 10 years.

He added while wage rises in some of the leading European economies are almost zero, the average salary increase in the Czech Republic is currently around five per cent.

Currently the nominal rate of wages rises in the country was 5.3 per cent in the first half of the year with average wages equivalent to €10 an hour.

Across the European Union countries though the figure is around €25 with this rising to €30 in some eurozone countries.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said:

“For us to remain at the core of the European Union, sooner or later we will have to respond to the question of not whether, but when the Czech Republic is capable of adopting the single European currency.”

The move comes after the latest economic data indicates while the eurozone countries are showing some signs of life they are continuing to struggle.

IHS Markit’s latest monthly health check across the countries have indicated, while the private sector has recorded signs of improvement, the rate of growth has slowed.

A statement from the company said:

“Although the rate of growth waned to a five-month low, high order book inflows and elevated levels of business confidence meant job creation remained one of the strongest recorded over the past decade as firms continued to expand capacity to meet rising demand.

“Price pressures eased, however, largely reflecting lower global commodity prices.”

Shoppers on the streets of the Czech capital Prague

 

JP Morgan took a more positive approach to the eurozone stating:

“The macroeconomic momentum appears to have eased somewhat in June, in particular in the Services sector.

“In light of the sharp improvement we have witnessed in the past nine months, this pause is not really a surprise and, in our opinion, should not be interpreted as an indication that the economy is about to roll over.

“Activity in the Eurozone remains at very healthy levels and consumer confidence is at its highest level in 16 years. In addition, despite the recent drop in commodity prices, inflation dynamics remain supported by a large backlog and supplier delivery delays worsening to the greatest extent for just over six years.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Eurozone Grinding to a Halt*

Eurozone Funding Shortfall Rises to Over $4 Trillion

Goldman Sachs Controls Eurozone!*

The Foundation of the West is Finally Shaking, Its Future Unсertain*

How Greece Became a Guinea Pig for a Cashless and Controlled Society*

E.U. Court Rules in Favour of Vaccine Injury Based on Evidence*

E.U. Court Rules in Favour of Vaccine Injury Based on Evidence*

By Brian Shilhavy

Our U.K. correspondent Christina England brings us this report regarding a vaccine injury case recently ruled on by a European Union court.

The ruling is significant, because the court looked at the evidence of the particular case, and ruled that the evidence showed that the hepatitis B vaccine caused multiple sclerosis.

This greatly upset pro-vaccine extremists who boldly declare that the “science is settled” on vaccines, and that there is no scientific proof that they cause injuries like this.

The court was not swayed by this position, however, and ruled on the evidence presented in the case, not “scientific” opinion.

On Wednesday, the E.U.’s top court said that despite the lack of scientific consensus on the issue, a vaccine could be considered defective if there is “specific and consistent evidence,” including the time between a vaccine’s administration, the individual’s previous state of health, the lack of any family history of the disease and a significant number of reported cases of the disease occurring following vaccination.

The corporate sponsored mainstream media spun the story from the vaccine extremist position, of course, with headlines such as:

“E.U. court: Vaccines can be blamed for illnesses without proof.” (CBS News) They define “proof” according to their own standards, declaring that anyone who disagrees with them has no “proof.”

“Scientific proof” is, of course, almost a contradiction in terms, since science cannot technically “prove” anything. Scientific studies and their outcomes are only as good as the data examined, and as new data becomes available, scientific theories are revised.

For more information on this topic, see the excellent article:

The Limitations of Science and the Medical Paradigm

The other problem with relying on “science” is that most scientific studies today are heavily biased, producing the outcomes desired regardless of the data. Corruption and conflict of interest are common, as one CDC whistle-blower has revealed regarding data withheld from CDC studies supposedly proving vaccines do not cause autism.

Throughout the history of jurisprudence, truth was always determined based on the preponderance of evidence, and not simply on the testimony of “experts” who claim they have “science” on their side over-writing all other types of evidence.

By Christina England

Every day, we hear stories about vaccine injuries. However, courts generally have failed to recognize the fact that vaccines can have adverse reactions due to the testimony of medical professionals and government officials that claim there is no medical science showing vaccines cause harm.

For this reason it has been virtually impossible to win a case without being able to produce medical evidence. In the U.S., it is illegal to sue pharmaceutical companies for vaccine injuries, and one must take their case to a special government run “vaccine court,” and that court has ruled that certain injuries (such as autism) are not allowed because the “medical science” has reportedly proven that vaccines do not cause these injuries.

This struggle could be about to change, however, because on June 21, 2017, the highest court in Europe, the European Union, ruled that courts can now consider whether a vaccination has led to someone developing an illness, even when there is no medical scientific proof.

CBS News reported on the court’s landmark decision, stating that the decision was issued in relation to a French man named Mr. J.W. who developed multiple sclerosis after receiving the hepatitis B vaccine in late 1998-99.

They stated:

“In 2006, he and his family sued vaccine-maker Sanofi Pasteur in an attempt to be compensated for the damage they claim he suffered due to the vaccine. Mr. J.W. died in 2011.”

At the time, the case was dismissed because the French Court of Appeals ruled that there was no causal link between the hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis, in spite of testimony of medical evidence to the contrary. (See: New Study: Hepatitis B Vaccination in France Sparked a Wave of New Cases of MS)

The case then went to the French Court of Cassation, who referred the case to the European Union.

The European Union Court document on the ruling stated that:

“In the light of all the foregoing considerations, the answer to the second question is that Article 4 of Directive 85/374 must be interpreted as precluding evidentiary rules based on presumptions according to which, where medical research neither establishes nor rules out the existence of a link between the administering of the vaccine and the occurrence of the victim’s disease, the existence of a causal link between the defect attributed to the vaccine and the damage suffered by the victim will always be considered to be established when certain predetermined causation-related factual evidence is presented. (emphasis added)”

Their landmark decision has given hope to thousands of families worldwide, families like the Marchant family, whose daughter Jodie was permanently brain damaged after she received a mystery combination vaccine in 1993.

After hearing of the European Union’s decision, Mr. Marchant, Jodie’s father, stated:

“This decision could well be the key for vaccine-injured children and adults to obtain justice.

This could also affect the decisions where compulsory vaccinations are being forced on unwilling victims, as compensation would have to be paid.”

This is an important point, especially as the Italian government has recently proposed new legislation to increase the number of their mandatory vaccinations to 12, resulting in mass protests.

Mr. Marchant told Health Impact News that he believes that the court’s decision will make Jodie’s case easier to settle, and he has great faith in their present legal representatives to obtain justice for his daughter.

We asked U.K. lawyer, Juliette Scarfe, for her professional opinion on the ruling. She told us that:

“This case that came before the E.U. Court concerned the liability of a vaccine manufacturer for damage to a customer, due to the alleged defect in the product. In other words it concerned manufacturer liability for defective products.

The Court was asked for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of the EEC Directive 83/374. Under Article 1 producers are held liable for damage caused by a defect in their product. Article 4 further clarifies that the injured person has to prove damage, the defect in the product and the causal relationship between the defect and the damage.

This is a high bar of proof, as the burden of proof is wholly on the claimant.

The issue the Court considered is that there is no legal definition in the legislation as to what “causal relationship” constitutes. Therefore, it is unclear as to what evidence and proof is sufficient to discharge the burden in respect of the connection between the defect in the product and the damage caused to the consumer.

How does a national member court decide that the proof has been made out to the requisite legal standard? Has the claimant discharged the burden of proof under Article 4 of 83/374? In other words is the administration of the vaccine the most plausible explanation for the occurrence of disease and damage and therefore the vaccine does not offer the safety that the consumer under E.U. law is entitled to expect.

The Court concluded that if causal related factual evidence is presented at a National Court level in the member state, that is sufficient to discharge the burden of proof Under Article 4, and prima facie the claimant suffered damage by the product for which they can seek redress. There is no need for medical research to be adduced that proves a causal link in the affirmative or negative. The claimant can stand as proof and prima facie evidence themselves.

This is common sense, surely. If I develop a debilitating illness shortly after receiving a vaccine, I should be the medical evidence in chief. It should not matter whether the medical community accepts or rejects that there exists a causal link between the disease and the vaccine in order to consider my defective product claim.

I should be able to rely on the safety of that product and make a claim if I have suffered harm, by adducing specific evidence in my member state court of that harm. I am not precluded from exercising those rights by the existence of scientific research that there is no causal link between the product and the damage. This is what the Court agreed, when interpreting the above E.U. Directive.

We shall see how the member state courts apply this interpretation and use legal precedent via case law to actually define the meaning of “causal relationship,” although I would caution against the definition becoming too rigid in terms of the framing of evidence that they will accept.  – Juliette Scarfe Partner

Ms. Scarfe raises some interesting points. If a perfectly healthy person goes into a doctor’s care and receives a vaccine and then shortly after develops a debilitating illness, it is as Ms. Scarfe points out, common sense that there is a casual link between the disease and the vaccine.

Medical Experts Cannot Prove Whether or Not a Child has Been Vaccine-Injured

Medical experts can only ever base their evidence on medical opinion, because it is virtually impossible for any medical expert to prove categorically that a vaccine has or has not caused a specific injury.

However, it is equally impossible for science to prove that vaccines are completely safe, because every person is different. To rely on scientific evidence alone would be futile, as to date, no scientific evidence has been able to prove categorically that all vaccinations are 100% safe.

As a consequence, lawyers, the justice system and medical professionals have refused point blank to examine vaccine cases in their entirety.

Their blanket refusal to examine all of the facts relating to vaccine cases has infuriated parents and professionals for many years and left many vulnerable children unable to get the justice they deserve.

CBS News turned to the corporate sponsored mainstream media’s favorite pro-vaccine spokesperson for comment, Dr. Paul Offit:

“Dr. Paul Offit, a paediatrician and vaccines expert at the University of Pennsylvania, said the criteria used by the court made no sense and are similar to those used by vaccine injury compensation programs in the United States. ‘Using those criteria, you could reasonably make the case that someone should be compensated for developing leukemia after eating a peanut butter sandwich,’ he said.

Offit said the courts shouldn’t be trusted to make rulings about scientific evidence.

Dr. Offit, of course, has a conflict of interest since he holds a patent on a childhood vaccine included in the U.S. CDC vaccine schedule. His extreme views on vaccines hardly represent the entire medical profession, and he has stated publicly outrageous comments, suggesting even that journalists who do not report the extremist views on vaccines should go to “journalist jail.”

Here is an older CBS report exposing the bias and conflict of interest of Dr. Offit:

Independent psychologist Lisa Blakemore-Brown’s 2001 online response to a Finnish study claiming that the science behind the MMR vaccine proved it was safe, was published in the British Medical Journal and put things into perspective. She wrote:

“If a group of people collapse after eating, say, Lemon Sole, in a particular restaurant, it would be ludicrous for those responsible to wave a hand over the problem saying that millions of people eat Lemon Sole every day and there are no problems. Health and Safety officials will get straight to the point of the issue and look at the fish in the restaurant, look at the individuals, test findings in the lab.

As hundreds of parents have found their children to react to vaccine, in some cases leading to the ‘new variant autism’ of loss of communication skills, motor impairments and bowel problems, is it not these cases the government should be looking at for answers?

The incidence of this particular tapestry of autism is indisputable. This is not related to increased recognition of autism, the TYPE is unusual and baffling to education and health professionals. In one of my cases of very obvious and indisputable reaction to pertussis vaccine the child in question has been found to have Kawasaki disease, her own immune system attacking itself. She presents as Asperger. There is no autism in the family but the baby had allergies prior to the vaccine. It is scientific examination of cases like this which will enable us to ultimately put measures in place to reassure the public.

Blanket refusal to look at the real issues and prevention of individuals exercising choice seems a dangerous policy…”

Today, years later, the “common sense approach” that Ms. Blakemore-Brown described, was exactly the same approach that was used by the European Union Court to base their ruling on.

Source*

Related Topics:

Whopping Vaccine Injury Payouts for US Fiscal Year 2017 Released*

Vaccine Injury Claims Expected to Increase in 2016*

California Officials Increase Mercury-laced Vaccines for Children and Pregnant Women*

Triplets Regress into Autism Following Flu Vaccine*

DTP Vaccine Associated With 212% Increased Infant Mortality Risk*

Vaccines and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome*

CDC Commits New Vaccine-Autism Crime*

13 Year-Old Boy Permanently Disabled from Chicken Pox Vaccine Wins his Case in Vaccine Court*

400% Spike in Vaccine Injuries, Flu Shot Wins Top Honors for Biggest Payout*

Congress Fast Track Bill on Experimental Vaccines to the Public*

Russia and Islam*

Russia and Islam*

Putin with Chechyna leader Ramzan Kadyrov in 2015

 

Russia has often been in the news over the past years, mostly as the demonized “Empire of Mordor” responsible for all the bad things on the planet, especially Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, the Russian intervention in Syria and, of course, the “imminent” Russian invasion of the Baltics, Poland or even all of Western Europe. I won’t even dignify all this puerile nonsense with any attention, but instead I will focus on what I think are important developments which are either misunderstood or completely ignored in the West.

First, a few key dots:

1) The Russian intervention in Syria

There are so many aspects of the Russian military intervention in Syria which ought to be carefully studied that I am confident that many PhD theses will be written on this topic in the future. While I have mostly focused my work on the purely military aspects of this campaign, it is important to look at the bigger picture. To do that, I will make the admittedly risky assumption that the civil war in Syria is pretty much over. That is not my conclusion only, but also an opinion voiced by an increasing number of analysts including a Russian general during an official briefing. With the fall of Aleppo and now the latest Syrian-Hezbollah-Russian move to cut off the US controlled forces from their planned move to the Iraqi border, things do indeed looks pretty bleak for the terrorists, both the “good ones” and the “bad ones”. In the Syrian-Russian-Hezbollah controlled areas, normal life is gradually returning and the Russians are pouring huge amounts of aid (food, medical supplies, de-mining, engineering, etc.) into the liberated areas. When Aleppo was under Takfiri control it was the centre of attention of the western media, now that this city has been liberated, nobody wants to hear about it lest anybody become aware of what is a huge Russian success.

Even more impressive is the nature of the Russian forces in Tartus and, especially, in Khmeinim. The Russian military TV Channel “Red Star” has recently aired two long documentaries about the Russian facilities in Syria and two things are clear: first, the Russians are going to stay for a very long time and, second, they have now completed an advanced resupply and augmentation infrastructure which can accommodate not only small and mid-size aircraft and ships, but even the immense An-124. The Russian have dug in, very, very deep, and they will fight very hard if attacked. Most importantly, they now have the means of bringing in more forces, including heavy equipment, in a very short time.

Again, this might be a premature conclusion, but barring any (always possible) surprises, the Russians are in, Assad stays in power, the Takfiris are out and the civil war is over.

Conversely this means that: the U.S. lost the war, as did the KSA, Qatar, Israel, France, the U.K. and all the other so-called “friends of Syria”. The Iranians, Hezbollah and the Russians have won.

So what does all this really mean?

The most radical consequence of this process is that Russia is back in the Middle-East. But even that is not the full story. Not only is Russia back, but she is back in force. Even though Iran has actually made a bigger effort to save Syria, the Russian intervention, which was much smaller than the Iranian one, was far more visible and it sure looked like “Russia saved Assad”. In reality, “Russia saved Assad” is a gross over-simplification, it should be “the Syrian people, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia saved Syria”, but that is how most people will see it, for better or for worse. Of course, there is more than a kernel of truth in that view as without the Russian intervention Damascus would have probably fallen to the Daesh crazies and all the other Christian or Muslim denominations would have been more or less wiped out. Still, the perception is that Russia single-handedly changed what appeared as an inevitable outcome.

The Russian success was especially amazing when compared to the apparently endless series of defeats for the United States: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and now the latest mess with the Saudi blockade against Qatar – the Americans just don’t see to be able to get anything done. Just the contrast between the way the U.S. betrayed Hosni Mubarak with how the Russians stood by Assad is a powerful message to all the regional leaders: better to have the Russians on your side than the Americans.

2) How Russia transformed Turkey from an enemy to a potential ally

To say that Turkey is a crucial ally of the U.S. and a vital member of NATO is an understatement. For one thing, Turkey has the 2nd largest army in NATO (the U.S. being the biggest one, of course). Turkey also holds the keys to the Mediterranean, NATO’s southern flank and the northern Middle-East. Turkey has a common border with Iran and a maritime boundary with Russia (over the Black Sea). When Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 bomber (with U.S. complicity) the situation became so tense that many observers feared that a full-scale war would break out between the two countries and, possibly, the NATO alliance. Initially, nothing happened, the Turks took a hard stance, but following the coup against Erdogan (also with U.S. complicity), the Turks suddenly did an amazing 180 and turned to Russia for help. The Russians were only glad too help, of course.

We will never really know what role the Russians really played in saving Erdogan, but it is pretty clear, even by his own words, that Putin did something absolutely crucial. What is indisputable is that Erdogan suddenly moved away from the U.S., NATO and the E.U. and turned to the Russians who immediately used Turkey’s ties with the Takfiris to get them out of Aleppo. Then they invited Turkey and Iran to negotiate a three way deal to end the civil war. As for the Americans, were not even consulted.

The example of Turkey is the perfect illustration of how the Russians turn “enemies into neutrals, neutrals into friends and friends into allies”. Oh sure, Erdogan is an unpredictable and, frankly, unstable character, the Americans and NATO are still in Turkey, and the Russians will never forget the Turkish support for the Takfiris in Chechnia, Crimea and Syria or, for that matter, the Turkish treacherous attack on their SU-24. But neither will they show any external signs of that. Just like with Israel, there is no love fest between Russia and Turkey, but all the parties are supremely pragmatic and so everybody is all smiles.

Why does this matter?

Because it shows how sophisticated the Russians are, how instead of using military force to avenge their SU-24, which is what the Americans would have done, they quietly but with great resolve and effort did what had to be done to “de-fuse” Turkey and “turn” it. The day following the Turkish attack Putin warned that Turkey would not “get away with just some tomatoes” (referring to the Russians sanctions against Turkish imports). Less than a year later, the Turkish military and security services got almost completely de-fanged in the purges following the coup against Erdogan and Erdogan himself flew to Moscow to ask to be accepted by the Kremlin as a friend and ally. Pretty darn impressive, if you ask me.

3) Russia and the “Chechen model” as a unique case in the Muslim world

Many observers have commented in awe at the miracle Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov pulled-off in Chechnia: after the region was absolutely devastated by two vicious and brutal wars and after being a “black hole” for assorted terrorists and common thugs, Chechnya turned into one of the most peaceful and safe parts of Russia (even while neighboring Dagestan is still suffering from violence and corruption). I won’t revisit it all and describe all the dramatic changes in Chechnya, but I will focus on a often ignored aspect of the “Chechen model”: Chechnya has become an extremely strict and traditional Sunni Muslim region. Not only that, but it is also one which has basically comprehensively defeated not only the Wahabis themselves but also their Wahabi ideology. In other words, Chechnya today is unique in that this is a Sunni Muslim culture which is strictly Islamic but with no risk whatsoever of being re-infected by the Wahabi virus. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this unique feature.

In the 1990s most of the Muslim world supported the Wahabi insurgency in Chechnya in a completely knee-jerk reaction I call “wrong or right – my Ummah”. This is largely the result of the very sophisticated AngloZionist propaganda aimed at the Muslim world which completely distorted the truth about the conflict taking place there (the same happened in Bosnia, by the way). Nowadays, however, the “Chechen example” is attracting a great deal of attention in the Muslim world and the personality of Ramzan Kadyrov is slowly becoming somewhat of a hero. Even the Saudis who financed a great deal of the Chechen insurgency and who threatened Russia with terrorist attack during the Sochi Olympics, now have to be very courteous and “brotherly” with Ramzan Kadyrov. The truth is that the Saudis are directly threatened by the “Chechen model” because it proves something the Saudis want to categorically deny: the traditional and strict Islam does NOT have to be Wahabi or, even less so, Takfiri.

Think of it: the biggest threat to the Saudis is, of course, Iran because it is a powerful, successful and dynamic Islamic Republic. But at least Iran is Shia and that, in the minds of some Sunnis, is a grievous heresy and almost a form of apostasy. But the Chechens are potentially much more dangerous to the Saudi ideology – they are anti-Wahabi (they call them “shaitans” or, literally, “devils”) and they are willing to fight anywhere in the Muslim world to counter the “good terrorists” supported by the CIA and the House of Saud. Time and time again, Ramzan Kadyrov, and many other Chechen leaders and commanders, have repeated that they are willing to fight for Russia “anywhere on the planet”. They have already been deployed in Georgia, Lebanon, Novorussia and now they are fighting in Syria. Each time with devastating effectiveness. They are true Muslim heroes, recognized as such even by the non-Muslim Russians, and they want absolutely nothing to do with the Wahabis whom they hate with a passion. As a result, more and more people in the Muslim world are expressing their admiration for the Chechen model.

The Chechen model also is noticed and hotly debated inside Russia. Russian liberals absolutely hate it and, just like their western curators, they accuse Kadyrov all sorts of unspeakable crimes. Their latest invention is that homosexuals are jailed and tortured by Chechen security service. This kind of stories might be taken seriously in San Francisco or Key West, but they get zero traction with the Russian public.

Chechnia is ideally located to influence not only the Caucasus but also other Muslim regions of Russia and even Central Asia. The large number of Chechens in the Russian special operation forces also makes them very visible in the Russian media. All this contributes to the high-visibility and popularity of a viable traditional Sunni model which is the exact opposite of what is happening the E.U. Let’s compare the image of Muslims in the E.U. with Russia.

A couple of important caveats first. First, the picture was not always quite as rosy, especially not in the 1990s when Chechens were seen as thugs, brutes, crooks and vicious terrorists. Some Russians have neither forgotten nor forgiven (and, of course, some Chechens still hate Russians for what they did to Chechnya during the two wars). Second, this table compares what I call “ethnic Muslims” in Europe, meaning people coming from Muslim countries or families but who are not necessarily true, pious, Muslims at all. In fact, most of them are not. This is why I put “Muslims” in quotation marks. When I speak of Chechens, I refer to those conservative Chechens who support Kadyrov and his strict adherence to Islamic values. So, in a way, I will be comparing apples and oranges, but I do so because I want to show the greatest contrast possible and I believe that these apples and oranges play a crucial role in the development of the societies they live in now.

Muslims” in the EU Kadyrov Chechens” in Russia
Seen as alien/immigrants/”others” Seen as neighbors/locals
Seen as disruptive of the local culture Seen as representing a conservative/traditionalist strand in the Russian society
Seen as potential terrorists Seen as the prime victims of, and allies against, terrorism
Seen has disloyal to the native people Seen as the most loyal defenders of the Motherland
Seen as criminals and hooligans Seen as “law and order” types
Seen as lazy welfare leeches Seen as hard-working and skilled businessmen

 

Again, these are not scientific findings, they are not backed by careful opinion polling and they do compare apples and oranges. So take them with a big bag of salt. And yet, I think that what this table shows what are deep and contrasting trends inside the EU and Russian societies: the EU is on a collision course with the Islamic world while Russia is not. In fact, Russia represents a model of how a (nominally) Christian society can coexist with a large Muslim minority to the benefit of both communities. Russia also represents a unique example of how two very different religions can contribute to the development of a joint civilizational model.

Now an attempt at discerning the future

So let’s connect the dots above: First, Russia is arguably the single most important actor in the Middle-East, far eclipsing the United States. Second, Russia has successfully built an informal, but crucial, alliance with Iran and Turkey and these three countries will decide of the outcome of the war in Syria. Third, Russia is the only country on earth where Sunni Islam is truly safe from the Wahabi virus and where a traditionalist Sunni society exists without any Saudi interference. Combine these three and I see an immense potential for Russia to become the force which will most effectively oppose the power and influence of the Saudis in the Muslim world. This also means that Russia is now the undisputed leader in the struggle to defeat international Takfiri terrorism (what Trump – mistakenly – calls “Islamic fundamentalism”).

The AngloZionist rulers of the Empire have been very clever, if also very short-sighted: First they created al-Qaeda, then unleashed it against their enemies, then they used al-Qaeda/ISIS/Daesh to wreak havoc on a number of secular regimes just to “re-shape” a “new Middle-East” and now they are finally using al-Qaeda/ISIS/Daesh to set the West on a direct collision course with the entire Muslim world (1.8 billion people!) which will prevent their imperial slaves, that is all of us, the common folks living the E.U. and U.S., from ever looking at the real cause of our problems or, even less so, overthrow our rulers.

Thus we see the disgraceful and, frankly, stupid propaganda against Muslims and Islam as if somehow there was a real Muslim or Islamic threat. The reality, of course, is that all those Muslims who do represent a real threat for the people in the West are invariably associated with western security services and that since 9/11 the vast majority of terror attacks have been false flags. True, there were some apparently “real” (that is: undirected by western special services) attacks, but the number of victims in such, frankly, amateurish attack was minuscule and blown out of proportion.

Just like the “thug life” musical propaganda in the U.S. resulted in large numbers of U.S. Blacks being killed, mostly by shooting each other, so the “Islamic terrorist” hysteria in the media will result in a few genuine terrorist attacks. But if you add up all the numbers you quickly realize that this paranoid hysteria is completely out of proportion with the real danger.

Somebody wants us all the be afraid, really afraid.

Sadly, this hysteria has affected many, not only in the official Ziomedia, but also in the so-called ‘alternative’ media. The result? Just as the rulers of the Empire need it, the West and the Islamic world are now on a collision course. Who is your money on in this clash? Just take a look at the clowns we have for leaders and tell me that the West will win this one!

The West will, of course, lose this war too, but the consequences of this defeat are not the topic of this article. What I am trying to illustrate here is that the West and Russia have taken two radically different approaches to the challenges of an increasingly more influential Islamic world. I would compare Russia and the West to two swimmers caught in a powerful riptide: the West is determined to swim directly against it while Russia uses this riptide to get where she wants. Again, who do you think will fare better?

But this is not just about the West anymore, this is about the multi-polar world which will replace the current AngloZionist hegemony. In this context, one of the most interesting processes taking place is that Russia is becoming a major player in the Muslim world.

Only 10 to 15% of Russians are Muslim, that amounts to about 10 million people. Most Muslim countries are way bigger. And since 85 to 90% of Russians are not Muslims, the influence of Russia in the Muslim world cannot be measured by such relatively modest numbers. However, when we consider the central role Russian Muslims play in the Russian policies towards the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle-East, when we take into account that Russian Muslims are mostly Sunni and very well protected against the virus of Wahabism and when we recall that traditional Sunni Islam has the full backing of the Russian state we can truly get a sense of the unique combination of factors which will give the Russian Muslims an influence far in excess of their relatively modest numbers.

Furthermore, the Russians are now closely collaborating with Shia Iran and with (mostly) Hanafi Turkey. Most Chechens belong to the Sha’afi Sunni tradition and about half are adherents to Sufism. It might be because Russia is not a majority Muslim country that she is the ideal place to re-create a non-denominational form of Islam, an Islam which would be content to be Islam and with no need to subdivide itself into competing, sometimes even hostile, subgroups.

Russia only has an observer status in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) due to the fact that she is not a majority Muslim country. Russia is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which brings together China, Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Russia , Tajikistan , Uzbekistan , India and Pakistan. Let’s look at the approximate number of Muslims in the SCO countries: China 40,000,000 , Kazakhstan 9,000,000, Kyrgyzstan 5,000,000, Russia 10,000,000, Tajikistan 6,000,000 , Uzbekistan 26,000,000, India 180,000,000, Pakistan 195,000,000. That’s a grand total of 471 million Muslims. Add to this figure the 75’000’000 Iranians which will join the SCO in the near future (bringing the grand total to 546’000’000) and you will see this stunning contrast: while the West has more or less declared war in 1.8 billion Muslims, Russia has quietly forged an alliance with just over half a billion Muslims!

Russian nationalists (as opposed to Russian patriots) did try their best to infect Russia with her own brand of Islamophobia, but that movement was defeated by an absolutely uncompromising stance by Vladimir Putin himself who went as far as stating that:

“I need to say that, as I have repeated many times before, from its beginning Russia had formed as a multi-confessional and multi-ethnic state. You are aware that we practice Eastern Christianity called Orthodoxy. And some theorists of religion say that Orthodoxy is in many ways closer to Islam than to Catholicism. I don’t want to evaluate how true this statement is, but in general the coexistence of these main religions was carried out in Russia for many centuries. Over the centuries we have developed a specific culture of interaction, that might be somewhat forgotten in the last few decades. We should now recall those our national roots.”

Clearly, as long as Putin and those who support him remain in power, Islamophobia will have no future whatsoever in Russia.

[Sidebar: while this is never mentioned anywhere in the western literature, there are real political prisoners in Russia and there is one group of people which the Kremlin has truly persecuted on political grounds: the Russian nationalists. This topic would deserve an article on its own, but here I will just say that since Russia is a state where the rule of law is official policy, the Kremlin has to resort to some creative tricks to jail these nationalists including accusing them of “attempting to overthrow the state by using crossbows” (I kid you not!). Nationalists are often persecuted on charges of violating laws against hate speech, for distributing extremist literature, etc. Basically the authorities harass them and try to disrupt their activities. Again, the western champions of civil rights and various Putin-haters never speak about these very real political persecutions in Russia. Apparently western human rights organizations live by the motto of the “Angel of Death” of the French Revolution’s infamous “terror” period, Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, who famously declared “pas de liberté pour les ennemis de la liberté” (no freedom for the enemies of freedom). It is clear that as soon as Putin came to power he immediately realized the potential danger to the Russian society posed by these nationalists and he decided to clamp down on them every bit as hard as he did on the Wahabi recruiters and neo-Nazis propagandists in Russia.]

Furthermore, Russia has now become the most influential member of the SCO which represents the strategic interests of over half a billion Muslims worldwide. In the Middle-East, Russia has made an amazing comeback – from a quasi-total departure in the 1990s to becoming the single most influential player in the region. Russia has successfully convinced two very powerful potential competitors (Iran and Turkey) to work together and now this informal alliance is in a very strong position to influence the events in the Caucasus and Central Asia. At this point it is already clear that what we are seeing is a long term process and long term strategic goal of Russia: to become directly involved in the struggle for the future of Islam.

The struggle for the future of Islam

The Islamic world is facing an immense challenge which is threatening its very identity and future: the Wahabi-Takfiri ideology. That ideology, by its very nature, represents a mortal threat to any other form of Islam and a moral threat, literally, to every non-Takfiri Muslim living on the planet. The Takfiri ideology also represents a real existential threat to all of mankind, very much including Russia and Russia cannot simply sit back and wait to see whether the AngloZionist West or the wannabe Caliphate of Daesh will prevail, especially since the two are also locked in a weird symbiotic relationship between the western deep state and special services and the Takfiri leaders. Furthermore, assuming the West is willing to seriously fight terrorism ( and so far there is no sign of that whatsoever) it is also obvious that Europe is useless in this struggle (due to an acute lack of brain, spine and other body parts) and that the U.S., being protected by large oceans, are not facing the same threat as the states of the Eurasian landmass. Russia therefore has to act on her own, and very forcibly.

This is not a struggle which will be determined by military means. Yes, being willing and capable of killing Takfiris is important, and Russia can do that, but at the end of the day it is the Takfiri ideology which must be defeated and this is where the Russian Muslims will play an absolutely crucial role in the struggle for the future of Islam. Their status as a minority in Russia actually serves to protect Russian Muslims simply because there is absolutely no possibility whatsoever for any type of Wahabi Islam to gain enough traction in Russia to threaten the state. If anything, the two wars in Chechnia are the best proof that even in the worst possible conditions Russians will always hit back and very hard at any attempt to create a Wahabi state inside, or next to, Russia. President Putin often says that Russia has to sent her forces to fight in Syria not only to save Syria, but also to kill the many thousands of Russian citizens who are currently in the ranks of Daesh before they come back home: better to fight them there than to fight them here. True. But that also means that Russia will have to take the ideological fight to the rest of the Islamic world and use her influence to support the anti-Takfiri forces currently struggling against Daesh & Co worldwide.

The future of Russia and the Muslim world are now deeply intertwined which, considering the current disastrous dynamic between the West and the Muslim world, this is a good thing for everybody. While the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire are using both Russia and the Muslim world as bogeymen to scare their subjects into submission to the international plutocracy, Russia will have to become the place where the Islamophobic myths will debunked and a different, truly multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic civilizational model offered as an alternative to the monolithic Hegemony dominating the world today.

Modern secularist ideologies have given mankind nothing except violence, oppression, wars and even genocides. It is high time to kick them into the trash heaps of history where they belong and return to a truly tolerant, sustainable and humane civilizational model centered around spiritual, not materialistic, values. Yes, I know, for the media-brainwashed zombies out there religion is not exactly associated with the ideas of tolerance and compassion, but that is just the inevitable consequence of being exposed to particularly nasty and hypocritical forms of religion. That, and a basic lack of education. These things can be remedied, not so much by debating them ad nauseam, but simply by creating a different civilizational model. But for that Russia and the Islamic world will need to look inside themselves and focus on healing their own (still numerous) pathologies and dysfunctions (especially spiritual ones) in order to create such a spirituality-centred alternative to the Almighty Dollar. In the words of Saint Seraphim of Sarov, “acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved”. I think that this is a future worthy of fighting for.

Source*

Related Topics:

How Russia, China Brought Washington’s Plan to Destabilize Eurasia to a Halt*

Russia, Iran, Turkey Reach Consensus on De-escalation Zones in Syria*

How a United Iran, Russia and China are Changing the World – For the Better*

Putin: Illuminati Plans to Use Islam To Spark World War III*

Syria Starts Exporting Fruits to Russia*

From Russia with Love: How Much Territory ISIS lost in 2015*

Captured Israeli Officer Details Israeli-ISIS Plan to Wipe-out all Islamic and Muslim Culture and Prevent Religions Coming Together*

Hamas Asks Russia to Help Stop Israeli ‘Aggression’*

Iran and Russia Officially Ditch the Dollar*

Russia Says No to One-World Government*

Erdogan Comes Face to Face with U.S., Russia in Syria*

Russia and UNESCO Push for ‘generation without racial, ethnic, religious prejudice’*

Islam and Politics

Putin Foils the Rothschild Zionists in Syria*

The War Between Competing Western Establishments*

A Flemish Priest in Syria, “Putin and Assad saved my life”*

Putin Opens Moscow Grand Mosque*

The CIA, Saudia and Bin Laden Were Behind the Chechen Wars*

Takfirism a Saudi and CIA Creation*

Wahhabism, Saudis and the Divided Ummah*

Wahhabism as a Tool of Colonialism*

In One Year the U.K.’s Data Protection Act Will Cease To Be*

In One Year the U.K.’s Data Protection Act Will Cease To Be*

 

On May 25th 2018 the biggest change to our data protection law in 20 years will kick in.  The General Data Protection Regulation, better known by its acronym GDPR will be its replacement.

The GDPR will expand and extend the current data protection requirements for anyone processing personal data and will give you, the data subject, a raft of rights to put you a little more in control of when, how and why your data should be used.

The GDPR will apply to every E.U. Member State, every E.U. citizen and any organisation which provides a service or goods to an E.U. citizen.

Regardless of Brexit, the U.K. will be formally enacting and applying GDPR next May. It is anticipated that in the post Brexit landscape it will find itself a part of the Great Repeal Bill, any changes which were to be made to the Regulation at that point would have to ensure the U.K.s adequacy in terms of data protection. But that is some way off. For now, simply learning what the GDPR is will be a good start.

Whilst most of the detail in the Regulation is for business to address, there are key rights which will benefit the individual, these come in the form of 8 specific data protection rights:

  • The right to be informed
  • The right to access
  • The right to rectification
  • The right to erasure
  • The right to restrict processing
  • The right to data portability
  • The right to object
  • Rights relating to automated decision making and profiling

These rights will enable us to have more control over how our data is used.  They will give us the right to request that inaccurate personal data about us is amended or removed.  We will get the opportunity to specifically say no to targeted marketing, to our data being used to profile us and to question how automated decisions based on our data have been made-  imagine this as a challenge to the “computer says no” process so many people find frustrating and worrying.

Companies will have to specifically seek our consent to access, keep and share our personal data and if they want to use it for a new purpose they will have to come back and ask our permission all over again.  Not only that, but organisations will have to produce impact assessments outlining transparently how they intend to use our data.

These are just some of the opportunities and benefits in the GDPR.   Importantly, for the GDPR to work and for organisations to adhere to the new rules people will have to begin to take greater care of their data, challenge who they share it with and question whether an organisation is going to treat their data properly.  If an organisation doesn’t fulfil these requirements, citizens must feel brave enough to say no and look elsewhere.

The age of trusting everyone with our data is long over.  This has been acknowledged by the GDPR.   Whilst the new Regulations are far from perfect they are a good starting point.  The GDPR will educate every one of us that we have an individual and collective responsibility towards protecting personal data.

Over coming weeks Big Brother Watch will be publishing a series of GDPR Factsheets designed to explain simply what the GDPR is, how it will work and what your rights will be.  We will announce them on our website, Twitter and Facebook page. In the meantime if you have any queries about the GDPR we would recommend you visit the Information Commissioner Office www.ico.org.uk where you will find an overview of the new laws.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.K. just Passed the Most Invasive Surveillance Law in the Democratic World*

Spy Agencies Illegally Collected Personal Data on British Citizens for 10 Years*

 U.K. Bill Hands vast Surveillance Powers to Police and Intelligence Agencies*

U.K. GPs to Gather Info on Sick Patients for the State*

European Court of Justice rules Facebook-U.S. Spy Web Data Agreement Invalid*

Genetic Testing or U.K. Population Surveillance*