[Marxism] Iraq still poised to explode

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 29 07:23:10 MDT 2008

Today Iraq, Tomorrow Africa

With Washington’s phony demonstration of humanitarianism 
toward the African continent, Bush hides his longings for the region’s oil
By: Jorge Luis Rodríguez González

Email: jorgeluis at jrebelde.cip.cu
2008-07-28 | 15:33:19 EST

Do people remember when, just more than four months ago, Bush made
his journey to five African countries (Liberia, Rwanda, Benin,
Tanzania and Ghana) promising American dollars in the fight against
AIDS, malaria and poverty? His promises of gifts were always
accompanied by soothing words, ensuring that his tour had nothing to
do with the intentions of the White House to find on the continent a
base for its sixth military command operations, which temporarily
reside in Stuttgart, Germany. He noted, however, “This doesn’t mean
that we won’t set up some type of office some where in Africa.”

“We still haven’t made a decision. It’s a new concept,” he lied in

Bush made an effort at showing his best poker face with regard to
foreign policy. It had nothing to do with this same “warlord” that
has sent more than 4,000 of his own countrymen to die in Iraq.

Since the idea arose of creating AFRICOM, this agency has been
presented more as a humanitarian agency, like the so many others that
exist on the continent, as well as a mechanism to guarantee regional
security. A great deal of persuading has been done by Vince Crawley,
editor of the Washington News Service —an instrument of the
International Office of Information Programs of the US Department of
State— which echoes the “big fish” of the State Department and the
Defense Department in their attempt to spin the interventionist
essence of the military plan.

In an underhanded way, and without “firing a shot” —although they
were well aimed— the Pentagon has been trying to offer greater
security to transnationals operating in Africa through the
realization of this new(?) concept. Nonetheless, the American
military forces are still the gendarmes that guard the looting by the
corporations, to ensure that this occurs with the greatest possible

Beginning in October of 2007, AFRICOM began carrying out joint
military operations, to build facilities across the continent and
prepare its teams for the responsibility of establishing military
relations with their counterparts in the 53 African countries.

Little by little, the Pentagon has increased its presence on the
continent, through the construction of schools, the distribution of
foods and school equipment no longer serving non-military
organizations based in Africa, etc. These maneuvers serve to broaden
the spectrum of masks with which the Pentagon justifies its presence
beyond its national borders.

When presenting the strategic mission of AFRICOM to the US Congress,
its commander, General William “Kip” Ward, explained that the
military initiative was born to combat terrorism and transnational
threats to security. He asserted that it was against the threat of
weapons of mass destruction and the illegal trafficking of weapons
and narcotics, to mitigate violent conflicts, and to promote
stability, security and reconstruction efforts. Don’t these words
sound familiar? Aren’t these the same basic reasons that the US
military gave to attack Iraq five years ago?

Petroleum + terrorism = the Bush formula

Africa, like the Middle East, has a lot of oil. As could be expected,
the continent heads the black list of Bush as they supposedly seek
out terrorists. Their bombs have already fallen on Somalia –
classified by the Pentagon as the second front of Al-Qaeda. That
action was a fatal precedent to the announcement of the new “office,”
made by Bush and his secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, on February
6, 2007.

Although Somalia is not one of the world producers of petroleum,
geographically it is a significant chess piece on the strategic map
for American energy security. The African nation has exits to the Red
Sea and the Arabian Sea, which have been transport routes since the
times of the adventures of the European colonialists.

In addition, Somali coasts stretch 3,300 kilometers along the Gulf of
Aden, through which great quantities of the petroleum of the Persian
Gulf are transported.

Likewise, the corporations in alliance with the Pentagon are
attempting satanize the area’s national resistance groups, accusing
them of being linked to international terrorist networks, as occurred
in the Nigerian Delta. In this region, nationalist groups —those that
don’t enjoy the benefits of Nigerian petroleum, which represents 70
percent of all of Africa’s reserves— have not given in to the
dominance of the grand American consortia. They have opted for
attacking pipelines, which has caused a decrease in the quantity of
barrels that leave the area and a reduction in the daily production
by the transnationals.

At the end of April, the Anglo-Dutch Shell group reported daily
losses of 169,000 barrels due to the sabotage of its energy
facilities in the south of the country.

Oil-producing countries, or those near petroleum routes, always have
“terrorists”: this is the Bush formula.

The attractiveness for African locations is growing, with the number
of countries on the continent that have begun to explore and exploit
their reserves increasing. The discovery of locations in Africa of
such a valuable resource is on the agenda. This year, the Algerian
state-run company Sonatrach has discovered five oil-producing sites,
three of them in association with foreign companies.

“A key mission for the US armed forces will be to assure the supply
of the oil fields of Nigeria, which in the future they could reach up
to 25 percent of all the petroleum imported by the United States,”
explained General Charles Wald, undersecretary of the US armed forces
in Europe, in an interview to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Washington’s
official data-collection organization on the issue, almost 21 percent
of oil imports to the US come from Africa. The figure is expected to
increase to 25 percent by 2015 according to the expert forecasts.

>From the 263,532 million barrels of Nigerian petroleum that United
States bought in 1993, the figure increased to 394,856 million in
2007. While in 1996 the US imported 1,817,000 barrels from Equatorial
Guinea, in 2007 this rose to 20,070,000. Although this may sound
excessive, it is very “reasonable” for an economy that consumes 20
million barrels daily.

After the African oil elephants

At the same time, the American oil corporations are closing in on
Africa. Exxon-Mobil, the largest American company operating on the
continent, concentrates its production, approximately a million daily
barrels, in five African countries: Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea,
Angola, Chad and Cameroon. It also is running exploration operations
in Libya, Madagascar, the Republic of the Congo and a development
field in the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Prince area. Its activity in the
region represented almost 18 percent of the net production of
petroleum and gas for the company in 2006, according to its own

Also increasing their presence in Africa are Marathon Oil, the Hess
Corporation, Chevron, Vanco Energy and Ocean Energy. Hess alone, one
of the most active in Western Africa, in 2006 realized net daily
production of 85,000 barrels of crude: 28,000 in Equatorial Guinea,
22,000 in Algeria, 23,000 in Libya and 12,000 in Gabon. By the
beginning of this year, only in Equatorial Guinea —what experts call
the “New Kuwait,” because of its vast reserves— the Okume Complex, in
which Hess has 85 percent participation, the reaching peak production
of 40,000 barrels per day is foreseen.

The development of new technologies applied to the oil industry has
allowed these transnationals to explore in the deep waters full of
“elephants,” as geologists call sites with large reserves of a
billion barrels. There are several of these sites in African
countries, and potentially in others that three decades ago were
virtually unknown by this industry.

One of these “marine elephants” is the field of Agbami, 70 miles off
the coast of Nigeria. The first production effort is planned for the
second half of this year, in which Chevron hopes to obtain 250,000
barrels daily.

It is very probable that they will reach their goal. At the end of
June, there arrived in this area a South Korea-built ship, well-known
as a production, storage and pumping installation. It is one of the
biggest of its type in the world, able to store 2.2 million barrels
per day in its hull and designed to pump a million barrels daily.

The theater is prepared

For the moment, as affirms the United States, Africa serves as a
“refuge” for terrorists, but it also has a tremendous amount of oil,
and it is a continent sunk in poverty and the most terrible
pandemics, such as AIDS and malaria. The histories of hunger and
poverty are greatly exploited by the grand media, and in them the
heroines are always all those companies that —like AFRICOM— “attend”
to people with their medicine and food. Africa is “diabolical,” and
US is the perfect one to “exorcize” it; it is the moral redeemer
presented in the transnational media.

Therefore, the world should not be surprised if one day, not very
distant, Africa emerges as a scenario like the hecatomb of Iraq. If
“persuasion” by some other show of force doesn’t work for the United
States, what will happen?


     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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