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Opinions of Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Columnist: Amponsah, John

Ghana, African and the World Powers - Part III

Ghana, Africa and the World Powers Part III – Military Power displays by East and West

By John Amponsah


On Tuesday the 3rd of July 2012, Ghanaweb featured an article entitled "Collapse of Gaddafi’s regime responsible for political unrest in Africa" in which readers were told (quoting the article): "According to Ambassador Chris Kpodo, Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, these political upheavals in the sub-region can be attributed mainly to the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in Libya in 2011, as the fall of that regime has led to internal tensions, illicit trafficking, violent extremism and terrorists activities....Speaking at a two day Expert Workshop at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra on the theme, “Exploring Post-Gaddafi repercussions in the Sahel”, the Deputy Minister noted that, the fall of Gaddafi and the Arab Spring had multiple implications on many states which has led to an increased rebellion by Tuaregs and the Azawad Group which contributed to the overthrow of President Amadou Toure of Mali."

While all of what the Deputy Minister alludes to is true, is that really the root cause of “internal tensions, illicit trafficking, violent extremism and terrorists activities” in the sub-region? As I read the article, I wanted to shout out, "strike at the root, strike at the root, not at the branches!"

Gaddafi's fall has caused an infusion of weapons into West Africa and further afield, causing political destabilization in some areas. This is true. But why was Gaddafi removed in the first place? Was he removed partly because he threatened the “petrodollar economy” by wanting to trade Libyan oil in gold dinars rather than in US dollars, a mistake Saddam Hussein also made when Saddam wanted to move away from “petrodollars” to Euros, thus posing a threat to the American Empire?

Or was Gaddafi removed because the Euro-American establishment (NATO) genuinely cares for the welfare of the Libyan people? In that case, why then will the Euro-American establishment forge links with Abdelhakim Belhadj, a key player in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an organisation which has acknowledged links with Al-Qaeda, if this was a key group that started the trouble in Libya? Why would the Euro-American establishment, through CIA and MI6 and massive military special ops groups fund and facilitate this and other 'terrorist organisations' in order to remove Gaddafi? These were some of the questions that I expected the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana to be asking.

When at the onset of trouble in Libya Gaddafi said that Al-Qaeda was behind the attacks, the world ridiculed him. It turned out to be true.

I thought Al-Qaeda was the enemy of the West so why will NATO team up with an Al-Qaeda affiliated group to begin with? Fact is that the original Al-Qaeda was formed by Pakistan’s ISI with CIA oversight. This was done ostensibly to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Yet since that time, groups like Al-Qaeda continue to gain financial and other support from elements within rich Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. According to seasoned American Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, Ansar Dine, Bokko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Magreb (AQIM) are all being funded by elements within these three countries just mentioned (see : www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/07/249791/extremism-in-the-pansahel-region/). Note that these three countries work very closely with the West and were instrumental (Saudi Arabia in particular) in the rise of America as a superpower after the incidents in the 70’s which led to the emergence of the “petrodollar” (see sections on “petrodollar” below).

So why does the Euro-American establishment complain about the growing incidence of Islamic-type terrorist organisations in Africa when their Arab allies (Emirates, Qatar, Saudi) have elements supporting the terrorists? Why not resolve things from that angle?

Why did NATO put an Al-Qaeda man in charge of Libya after Gaddafi’s fall? Or does NATO get to choose which Al-Qaeda affiliated groups are the “terrorists” and which are “freedom/opposition fighters”? Today a new ally of the Euro-American establishment (Mahmoud Jibril) has been installed in Libya to make it possible for the West to access that “sweet oil” and massive water resources that Gaddafi worked decades to develop.

Come on, folks! Is the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana aware of some or of all of these things? Why did he not go deeper in his reasons for why the sub-region is suffering from increased terrorism, why not strike at the root of the issue? If Gaddafi was not removed in the first place then the influx of weapons into the sub-region would not have happened as they have. Even more seriously, the removal of Gaddafi has now opened Africa to the more insidious and more damaging (on the long term) prospect of greater American Militarization of the continent. “Terrorism” is being used as an excuse to extend the American Empire around the globe to secure resources like oil for the empire. Now the Americans are positioning themselves in Africa as they prepare for what looks to be a big struggle in the Middle East (Syria, Iran and Lebanon) that could possibly lead to a war spilling over into Africa and elsewhere.



AFRICA, WATCH OUT! THE AMERICANS ARE COMING!

Last year I wrote an article (on the 28th of October) in which I used the phrase "The Americans are coming!" to describe the fact that after the fall of Gaddafi, the American empire with its 'vassals' (using Zbigniew Brzezinski's term to refer to America's allies) paved the way for America to send its army reconnaissance teams into Africa. This began by sending a small contingent to Uganda, supposedly to hunt down Joseph Kony of the Lord's resistance Army, never mind the fact that Kony apparently no longer resides in Uganda but is said to be in the jungles of the Central African Republic. Even more significantly, how many know that Uganda is currently exploring prospects in coltan (Columbite-Tantalite, much of which comes from DRC), gold, natural gas, oil and most importantly uranium? You should connect the dots if you can.

True to my word, it was only a matter of time before more news came out about America's planned stepwise military encroach onto African soil. On the 14th of June 2012, the Washington Post published an article entitled "U.S. Expands Secret Intelligence Operations in Africa". Supposedly the operation (current as of this writing) is to curtail the rising incidence of “terrorism” in Africa. See, I told you so! The Washington Post article says, "About a dozen air bases have been established in Africa since 2007, according to a former senior U.S. commander involved in setting up the network. Most are small operations run out of secluded hangars at African military bases or civilian airports" (i.e. predator drones, which the UN is increasingly frowning upon)

The article goes on to say "The establishment of the Africa missions also highlights the ways in which Special Operations forces are blurring the lines that govern the secret world of intelligence, moving aggressively into spheres once reserved for the CIA."

That last line should be underlined! Okay, so what does all that mean? By their nature, intelligence agencies work for the most part if not exclusively in covert ops. Army units especially those of special ops designation operate either covertly or overtly depending on the task at hand. What we are witnessing is a change of American military policy in Africa from mostly “AFRICOM training programs” to a more overt presence, starting with reconnaissance. The stepwise approach by which this is being done is important to take note of.



EAST – WEST AND THE “PETRODOLLAR”

NATO countries are broke as we can see by what is happening in the current financial crisis. While economically the West is in trouble, this group still has huge military power. So to compensate for a weak economy, America and its allies are throwing their military weight around. Remember that every superpower needs to have both economic and military strength to truly qualify as such. The West is now overcompensating for their weak economic strength by overemphasizing their military strength.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has recently termed this stance “missile-bomb” diplomacy and not without reason.

What is more serious is the fact that America today is much weaker economically than it would have it seem. This country owes massive debt however because international trade is done in US dollars, the weakness of the American dollar is not so apparent. So any threat to the global dominance of the US dollar is seen as a threat not only to the dominance of America as a politically powerful nation but also as a threat to the very existence of the American way of life.

Imagine the IMF telling America to install in place austerity measures to ensure that the American economy got back on track! This is not likely to happen because America is very powerful and the rest of the world is supporting America’s largesse!

The events of the Yom Kippur War of the 1970s and the subsequent Arab Oil Embargo that led to the birth of the “petrodollar” gave America an edge over the Soviets. “Petrodollar” simply means that the OPEC countries led by Saudi Arabia decided while negotiating with the Americans that future oil trade will occur exclusively in US dollars. This had a massive impact – it seriously boosted America’s economic position. Eventually the Soviet Union fell, allowing America to reign supreme in the 90’s, riding on the might of the “petrodollar”.

Now the Russians are stronger again and in fact Russia recently got stronger than all the Soviet Nations put together at the height of Soviet power. The Russians and the Chinese have teamed up and are not having any more of it. The dollar’s privilege as a global currency is threatened and thus the true state of America’s economy is under threat of being revealed.



TRADE IN OTHER CURRENCIES AND THE WAR AGAINST THE PETRODOLLAR

Any nation that attempted or attempts to veer away from this 'petrodollar' standard becomes a threat to the American Empire because loss of petrodollar funds leads to a weaker dollar and hence weaker purchasing power and a weaker American economy. So Saddam Hussein became a big bogeyman for wanting to trade his oil in Euros! The military might of the American empire descended on Iraq in 2003 and has now left that country broken. Politicians lied! No weapons of mass destruction were ever found and over 2 decades later more than 100,000 people have died including thousands of American and European soldiers. Iran started trading oil in Euros and after the Americans pressured their European vassals to drop Iran, that Islamic republic now trades oil in Russian Rubles and Chinese Yuan (see: www.presstv.com/usdetail/222557.html). You can expect war with Iran to happen at some point just because of this move. It's only a matter of time now, since the Iranians have ditched the petrodollar. Do not forget that Gaddafi proposed the use of gold dinars for Libyan oil trade. Enter the Americans and their vassals (NATO). The rest of the story, as we say, is now history.

"We hope Iraq will be the first domino and that Libya and Iran will follow. We don't like being kept out of markets because it gives our competitors an unfair advantage" (John Gibson, CEO of Halliburton's Energy Services Group in an interview with International Oil Daily in 2003)
(see: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24542)

As we progress more and more into a multi-polar world, we could see more nations moving away from the 'dollar standard' by trading oil and other commodities in currencies other than the US dollar. This trade in US dollars is the life blood of the American Empire, and it looks like the empire will not “go quietly into that good night” without a fight. Iran, China and Russia are setting a very crucial precedent in ditching the petrodollar and other nations are following suit. This is a current event of high significance (as of this writing). It could lead to war.

In the midst of all this we have Kofi Annan who is attempting to broker peace in a situation which could easily start the biggest war in the history of man – a global war of incalculable loss of property and life.



CHINA'S MILITARY PRESENCE IN AFRICA

Throughout this article series I have emphasized that China's current expression of power on the global stage is overwhelmingly economic over military. At the same time we are seeing an increasingly confident China flexing its scientific and military might. During the height of the Somali pirate scenario, Chinese vessels left familiar waters and perhaps for the first time entered a region that is more accustomed to seeing Euro-American and Middle Eastern vessels. China's military interests in Africa (mostly present as UN peacekeepers) as well as military assistance are centred round areas where China has major economic investments. Areas such as Angola, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe have received military aid from China. China and Ghana recently seem to be forging closer military ties. Last November, Chinese defence minister Liang Guanglie visited Ghana quite likely to finalise China's $800 million gas pipeline deal which was announced in the December 2011 edition of the African Banker Magazine.

Will we see a bloated Chinese military presence on the global stage, much like that of the US? Possibly not, but time will tell. This month (July 2012) China sent out naval ships to take part in the biggest joint military exercise in the history of the Middle East, with almost 100,000 troops, 400 ships and 1,000 tanks. This military exercise also involves Russia, Iran and Syria (NATO also organised their own military exercise possibly to counter this). This event could signal a change in China’s traditionally hands-off military approach which preferred to focus instead on domestic and regional security.



CONCLUSION – "AFRICA UNITE" IS STILL THE FINAL ANSWER

Why is Africa suffering from conflicts resulting from increased militarization and terrorism? The very short and simple answer is that as a people we Africans are fragmented into small countries of little economic and military (and hence political) power on the global stage. As a people, we are not united and are hence are an easy target for manipulation by stronger groups. Part of the problem has to do with our own failings and part of the problem has to do with outside influence such as traditional and neo colonization efforts by stronger groups. We have a long way to go yet we have to start somewhere. We need good leaders to maintain an environment where our growth can occur in culture, education, science and technology and in all aspects of society. We need to "diversify our portfolio" by dealing culturally, economically, militarily, politically and socially not only with the super powers but with the many new partners, big and small, that have become available to us in today's increasingly multi-polar world. To a large extent, this is already happening in Ghana. Very often in the news, you hear of delegations from many countries (Oman, Iran, Turkey, UAE, South Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia etc.) visiting Ghana in search of business and other partnership. This is very good. When you have many partners, each country’s interests and investments could serve as an insurance against any factors that bring economic and political instability as our partners will naturally prefer to have a stable economic and political environment and hence should partner with us to ensure that this remains the case.