[Marxism] Abayomi Azikiwe on Africa

jay rothermel jayrothermel at gmail.com
Tue Mar 13 11:26:21 MDT 2012

Imperialist Intervention & the Global Economic Crisis Fuels Conflict in
>From the Maghreb to the East instability and struggle intensifies

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

With the escalating military and economic role of the United States and the
European Union on the African continent, mounting political crises have
resulted in social unrest throughout the region. From Libya and Kenya to
Nigeria and Somalia, internal turmoil, labor unrest and mass resistance
continues to illustrate the interconnectedness of events throughout the
international scene.

In the North African state of Libya, the U.S. and NATO-backed National
Transitional Council (NTC) is continuing to unravel with the declaration of
autonomy by elements based in the eastern sections of the country. In
Benghazi where the rebellion began in February 2011 against the government
of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, elite elements aligned with the former monarchy
have declared that Barqa, also referred to as Cyrenaica, has established
its own self-rule within a broader Libya.

These actions exposed the already tenuous coalition of forces that opposed
the Jamahiriya as being based on regionalism and opportunism. The
Tripoli-based TNC leadership immediately renounced the declaration of
autonomy by western-backed forces in the east and pledged to maintain the
“unity” of Libya even by force of arms.

Most keen observers of the rebellion and subsequent imperialist war against
Libya beginning in early 2011 characterized the anti-Gaddafi campaign as a
war for oil and an attempt to partition the state which was Africa’s most
prosperous. Such a division of the country can only benefit the imperialist
governments and their domestic and regional allies who are now in total
control of the petroleum and natural gas resources of Libya.

The instability generated by the internal rebellion and the massive bombing
of Libya between March and October of 2011 has resulted in the displacement
and re-location of hundreds of thousands of people both inside and outside
of the country. In Mali, Niger and other countries that make up areas of
the Sahel, conflict has escalated and the problems of food deficits have
worsened the already humanitarian crisis stemming from the drought.

Inside northern Mali, the ongoing Tuareg rebellion has spread as a result
of the fleeing of people who were living in Libya and allied with the
previous government of Gaddafi. Better armed and experienced in combat, the
Tuareg fighters have intensified their struggle against the central
government in Bomako.

At the same time this escalating conflict in Mali has pushed tens of
thousands across the border into neighboring Niger. This large-scale
movement of refugees has worsened the food deficit crisis in Niger.

In a recent article by Massahudu Ankiilu Kunateh in the Ghanaian Chronicle
it is pointed out that “Several countries in the Sahel region of western
Africa need urgent support to prevent a full-blown food and nutrition
security crisis, and to protect and restore livelihoods of communities
dependent on livestock and crops, according to the Food and Agricultural
Organization of the United Nations (FAO). “ (Chronicle, March 12)

This same article goes on to note that “At least 15 million people are
estimated to be at risk of food insecurity in the Sahel, in part due to
localized, but significant, declines in agro-pastoral production. This
includes 5.4 million people in Niger (35 percent of the population), 3
million in Mali (20 percent), around 1.7 million in Burkina Faso (10
percent), around 3.6 million in Chad (28 percent), 850,000 in Senegal (6
percent), 713,000 in the Gambia (37 percent) and 700,000 in Mauritania (22

Kony 2012 and the Invisible Children: A Cover for Further Intervention

During the week of March 5, the Invisible Children project launched a
massive public relations campaign over the internet utilizing social media
aimed at building support for further U.S. and European military
intervention in Central and Eastern Africa. The project is purportedly
targeted against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a
para-military organization that has been operating in northern Uganda for
over two decades.

Reports from northern Uganda indicate that the LRA has been largely
defeated in recent years and that the remnants of the organization has fled
to neighboring states in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the
Central African Republic and South Sudan. During October 2011, the Obama
administration announced that it was dispatching 100 Special Forces and
military advisers to these above-mentioned countries in the region to
assist with the efforts of various governments to defeat the LRA.

Yet it so happens that at least three of these states, Uganda, the DRC and
South Sudan, are rich in oil and other strategic minerals that are vital to
the profitability of the ruling classes in North America and Western
Europe. The U.S. and NATO have already escalated their presence in various
regions of Africa and these military forces over the last year were
involved in the naval blockade and bombing of Libya, the war against
Al-Shabaab in Somalia as well as other so-called “anti-piracy” efforts in
the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea.

B. E. Wilson wrote in Alternet.org asking “What does Invisible Children
share in common with the Discovery Institute, the leading organization
promoting ‘intelligent design,’ a pseudo-scientific theory created to
insinuate creationist ideas into public schools—or with The Call, whose
leader Lou Engle claims homosexuals are possessed with demons….? All of
these ministries—the Discovery Institute, Focus on the Family, the Family
Research Council, The Fellowship Foundation, The Call, Ed Silvoso’s Harvest
Evangelism, and Invisible Children—received at least $100,000 in 2008 from
what has emerged in the last decade as the biggest funder of the hard,
antigay, creationist Christian right: the National Christian Foundation.”
(alternet,.org, March 11, 2012)

It is also important to emphasize that the International Criminal Court
(ICC) chief prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo says that he supports Kony 2012.
Ocampo has issued arrest warrants for numerous African leaders including
Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Muammar Gaddafi and other leading
figures in the former Libyan government as well as Joseph Kony.

Filmmaker Jason Russell, who crafted the 30-minute video that was said to
have been viewed 58 million times, has been criticized because the bulk of
the money raised for the project does not go to victims of LRA violence but
back into the coffers of this right-wing group. Russell in response to
criticism said that “They hear the word charity and they don’t understand
why all of our money isn’t going to Central Africa. We have found that
putting money towards our media and our movie, changes lives.” (Christian
Science Monitor, March 12, 2012)

Kenya Fires 25,000 Health Care Workers

A major assault on labor is taking place in the East African state Kenya
where some 25,000 nurses have been on strike demanding better pay and
working conditions. The pro-Western government of Prime Minister Raila
Odinga has sacked the nurses and is demanding an explanation as to why they
should not be terminated before returning to work.

Union representatives told the nurses to return to work amid ongoing
efforts aimed at negotiations, but when many of them arrived they were sent
away with letters demanding to know why they have not come to work since
the beginning of the strike since March 1. A letter from the Medical
Services Permanent Secretary said “Absence from the place of work without
permission is viewed as a gross breach of discipline and a contravention of
the Employment Act.” (The Standard, March 12)

In a rally at Uhuru Park on March 12 the nurses sought a meeting with
Odinga but to no avail. Capital FM in Kenya reported that “One team led by
National Nurses Association of Kenya Treasure Jeremiah Maina camped at the
PM’s office for four hours before joining their striking colleagues at
Uhuru Park where they chanted slogans expressing their solidarity.”
(CapitalFm, March 12)

The Union of Kenya Civil Servants Secretary General Tom Odege said that “It
is true people are receiving ‘show-cause’ letters and we want to ask the
government not to go in that direction because forcing over 25,000 people
to write response letters to them would amount to intimidation which I do
not think is good for our relationship.” These actions by the Kenyan
government were condemned by various civil society organizations and two
labor unions: the Kenya Health Professional’s Society and the Kenya Union
of Civil Servants.

Military Raid by British Special Forces Raises Tensions With Italy

British Special Forces launched a raid to rescue two detained construction
engineers from the UK and Italy. Reports indicate that ransom had been paid
for the Italian, Franco Lamolinara, yet the British military unit went
ahead and conducted the raid without the knowledge of the government in

The individuals holding the two men had also made contact with the family
of the Briton, Chris McManus. McManus’ family admitted that they had
received a phone from the people holding him but no deal was worked out for
his release.

The incident has heightened tensions between London and Rome whose
respective governments have differing policies on the handling of hostage
crises. Britain has been staunchly opposed to negotiating for the release
of hostages whereas Italy was willing to pay ransom for its nationals being

In the face of criticism of the British handling of the bungled operation,
the government issued a statement on March 11 saying “There were no
coherent demands, no requests for money, no money paid and no suggestion
that these hostages would be released unharmed.” (The Independent, March 12)

This statement conflicts with a report published by the Italian newspaper
La Repubblica, which claimed that a portion of the ransom had been paid and
“negotiations were initiated to achieve the liberation of the two
hostages.” The corporate media had alleged that the kidnapping was carried
out by the Boko Haram religious group based in the north of Nigeria,
however, the organization denied that they were involved in the
apprehension some nine months ago.


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