[Marxism] Chad, What's That Got to do With Sudan and Darfur and Uncle Sam?
gojack10 at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 29 05:50:11 MDT 2004
Lou wrote about my comments regarding ZNet on the Sudan...
<<That is the problem, (Tony). You are just talking. Talk is cheap. Why
try to add to our knowledge about Sudan. This is not academia we are
talking about. We need to understand the country better as serious
Marxist thinkers. This is not International Relations 101. We need to
understand the ethnic divisions in the South better. We need to
understand the class composition and the history of the ruling circles
better. If you could somehow improve your posts so that there is 20
percent hard information against 80 percent empty opinionizing--rather
than the .1 to 99.9 ratio that exists right now, you would be adding a
lot more value to the list. If you asked yourself the question before
you post to the list: "What will Marxmail learn by this", we'd all be
ANSWER- There is all sorts of material, if one just loses the myopia of the
moment, case-by-case mind set that fliberalism has on the issue of Darfur
and the Sudan and other similar political regions under attack by US
imperialism. I could flood the list with background stuff worth reading.
The article from ZNet that I criticized had some very good analysis before
it came to its pitiful conclusions, too, Lou. But we have to move beyond
this attitude of just educating people about Kosovo, Darfur, or some other
rinconcito around the US Global Empire. We lose by approaching antiwar work
in this way. Why?
Well, we lose simply because knowledge about local weather patterns is not
what socialist internationalism is all about. There are plenty more American
soldiers and their families that think they are specialists on Korea,
Bosnia, Sudan, Turkey, the Kurds etc. than US Leftist 'experts' on these
countries and their peoples. They've been there, Lou, and our education is
just commie talk to these military 'ambassadors for freedom'. Our job is
not merely to give people background to the most recent attacks the US
government is making elsewhere, but to strategize how to defend against
these atacks before they even begin to occur. But so many socialists are
resistent to doing precisely just that. They'd rather just insert some
update on the new region under attack into their little noggins, and then
keep prioritizing election work and labor union stuff in their day to day
See below for material regarding Chad and how it relates to Darfur look on a
map. Darfur straddles Chad and Sudan.
Chad Says: Oil for the People!
By Nancy Palus
Posted Monday, Oct. 13, 2003
Chad, landlocked in the middle of Africa and one of the poorest countries on
the planet, is making headlines. It isn't a coup d'état or a famine that's
attracting ink; Chad has oil.
The country officially joined Africa's group of oil producers Friday when
African leaders, World Bank officials, and hundreds of other invitees
attended the formal inauguration of the 650-mile pipeline from southern Chad
to a port in neighboring Cameroon. The World Bank-backed project takes a
novel approach, incorporating strict anti-corruption measures to ensure that
oil wealth be used not to enrich an elite few but to improve the lives of
average citizens. Britain's Daily Telegraph said, "Stung by the examples of
Nigeria and Angola, where the benefits of oil wealth were denied to the
people, the Chad scheme marked a serious attempt at change."
A story in Canada's National Post pointed to the United States' growing
stake in African oil. "Washington is quite happy to reduce its dependence on
the Middle East.
Africa, which needs the money and isn't nearly as
troublesome, offers a welcome alternative." According to the National Post,
roughly one-fifth of the United States' oil currently comes from West
Africaabout the same as from Saudi Arabia. With the United States' interest
in African oil increasing, "so may its presence" on the continent, the paper
said, pointing to the likely expansion of U.S. military bases in the region.
The Chad-Cameroon pipeline, which has been in development for years, has
already begun to produce, with an initial 950,000 barrels already moving
into the market. Papers report that at full production, the pipeline is
expected to pump about 225,000 barrels per day for shipment across the
Atlantic. Esso, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp., leads the multinational
consortium running the project, with Chevron Texaco and the Malaysian
company Petronas. (Britain's Guardian reported Monday that Exxon Mobil has
been holding "secret" meetings with environmental and human rights groups in
an effort to shed its image as an environmental villain. Esso has long been
the target of an international boycott by groups charging in part that the
company undermines efforts to curb global warming.)
Oil is expected to bring in more than $80 million per year to Chad, which
currently ranks 165th of 175 countries in the U.N. human development index
and where corruption is said to be rampant. Cheer at the inauguration
ceremony was accompanied by anxiety, according to France's Le Figaro, which
quoted an aid worker saying that Chad's record of corruption and human
rights abuses "doesn't give the image of a regime capable of managing its
petrodollars." Environmental and aid organizations dubbed Friday a "national
day of mourning," arguing that widespread oppression and insecurity in Chad
will only be exacerbated by the oil project. Le Figaro said, "It is true
that to date, 'black gold' in Africa, which represents 7 percent of the
world's reserves, has more often been a synonym for poverty, conflict, and
corruption than development."
This legacy is what the World Bank apparently wants to reverse with its
innovative scheme to place Chad's oil revenues under tight scrutiny, the
bulk of the wealth going toward the country's infrastructure. The National
Post reported that the money will be put into an escrow account in London,
"where the bank will take 5% to pay back loans before the rest is earmarked
for good works under the watchful eyes of an independent monitoring panel."
According to the paper, under the World Bank plan, the money for Chad is to
be divided among an account for future generations (10 percent), development
of the Doba basin region that houses the main oilfields (5 percent), and
national projects in health, education, roads, and water supply (80
percent). France's Libération reported that Chad has established a panel to
ensure that funds are allocated according to these parameters. But, the
paper said, an environmentalist activist protested that the group is
dominated by people close to the Chadian president.
The Telegraph depicted the pipeline scheme as "already in trouble." The
paper reported that the Chadian government spent about $4 million of an
initial $25 million payment on arms, apparently to counter an ongoing armed
rebellion in the north of the country. "Supporters of the scheme hoped it
was a temporary glitch, but it is not clear whether the government of Chad,
the most corrupt nation in Africa according to a survey by the World
Economic Forum, is serious about financial probity."
Britain's Guardian characterized the World Bank's scheme for Chad as a
gamble, counting on the country "bucking the trend" established by oil-rich
Nigeria, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea"showcases of how oil can breed
kleptocratic elites and fuel corruption, conflict and poverty." Chad's
president, Idriss Deby, said at the opening ceremony: "The coming oil income
should not divert us from our usual economic activities. We must build a
modern and working Chad together." With all the complications that could
come with her newfound wealth, the National Post story concluded, "Chad will
be happy to take the money, and worry about the rest later."
Nancy Palus is a freelance journalist currently based in Detroit.
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