Oh, Burundi and Other Great Lakes Nations: You’re in for a Rough Ride from the Empire…Again.

(the transcript)

Well, you tell ‘im, Sam!

But #Burundi a day earlier:

Ford had mentioned this story: Ann Garrison’s Dec. 1, 2015 ‘Rwanda Conscripts Burundian Refugees into New “Rebel Force”: An Interview with Jeff Drumtra’.  She begins:

“Western press and officials now warn that the Rwandan massacres of 1994 are close to a replay in Rwanda’s neighbor Burundi, which shares its Hutu-Tutsi-Twa demographic. Prominent Western voices blame Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza for seeking and winning a third term in office, but critics of U.S. and E.U. foreign policy say that their real issues are Western firms’ loss to Russian and Chinese firms in the scramble for Burundi’s natural resources, most notably its nickel reserves, and Burundi’s geostrategic border with the resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In “Burundi’s dangerous neighbor,” a letter to the Washington Post, former U.N. official Jeff Drumtra argues that the Rwandan government’s conscription of Burundian refugees to fight in a new, so-called “rebel force” is a grave danger that the international community should recognize before it’s too late.

Drumtra returned several weeks ago from five months work in Rwanda’s Mahama Refugee Camp for Burundian refugees near the Rwandan Burundian border. I spoke to him on Nov. 14, 2015. He stressed that his employment contract with the U.N. had been completed several weeks before and that he was not speaking in any official capacity.”

Druntra’s story is an ugly tale of night raids on the camp, during the hours that UN observers were barred from being there, death threats to those who tried to hide from forced ‘subscription’, and his sense that the US and UN were turning a blind eye to it all.  When asked, he said he had no reason to believe that the US was actually supporting the shanghai-ing, but added that there has been scant reporting on the situation.

In an update, Garrison wrote:

On Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, President Obama issued an executive order imposing sanctions on two Burundian military officers and two former Burundian military officers who have joined the current insurgency. The order did not sanction any Rwandan officers and made no mention of Rwanda’s role in the conflict.”

Dec. 17; thanks, Sammie dear

As to Ford’s questioning whether the AU is a Western front for civil war in Burundi, I’d recalled the weird hanky-panky concerning the AU voting for UNSC 1973 (R2P Libya), but I wasn’t able to find the ‘a bare quorum was dug up’ story, but it may have been the Arab League I’d remembered instead.  What I did find, however, was an IPSnews op-ed from June, 2011.  In part:

“Rather than acting decisively, the African Union (AU) cowered to pressures from the West and voted for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorised military action in Libya.

The African support of the U.N. resolution was a mistake not only because it undermined the existing mechanisms and processes that are relevant for human protection on the continent but also because the now two-month-long military response in Libya to protect civilians has since degenerated into a plan to embolden Libyan rebels fighting to oust the country’s leader, Muammar Al Gaddafi, from power.

The Mar. 17, 2011 U.N. resolution on Libya is historic but problematic. It marked the first time the Security Council has authorised a military response to protect civilian populations in a non-consenting state. The action, according to the U.S. and its allies, was necessary to protect civilians from a leader who has “no conscience” and was intent on committing mass atrocities.”

Kwame Akona asks some exceptionally good questions about the ‘new norm’ (not law) of R2P, and tells a strange tale about the AU’s Peace and Security Council having established a committee comprising of the heads of states of Mauritania, Congo, Mali, South Africa, Uganda, as well as the chairperson of the AU Commission to find a political solution to the crisis on March 10, 2011.  And yet, before they were able to meet in Tripoli on the 20th to attempt to forge a diplomatic solution with Gaddafi, three African leaders on the SC voted to ‘use force’ in Libya.  A far longer explanation of some of the apparent schisms and skullduggery is here at the World Peace Foundation.

But he also wrote this:

South Africa’s vote is particularly interesting because it was on both the AU Libya committee and the U.N. Security Council. South Africa’s envoy reportedly failed to show up for the final vote, causing Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., to dash out of the Security Council chambers in search of him to cast an affirmative vote. It was also revealed later that U.S. President Barack Obama had personally pressed President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to support the resolution.”

Carrots, sticks, and all that jazz.  He did note, however:

“Finally, if African leaders really believed that humanitarian intervention were needed in Libya, they could have acted independent of the U.N. Article 4(h) of the AU Act gives the AU the right to intervene forcibly in one of its member states with regards to war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Thus if the AU was (sic) convinced that Gaddafi was committing mass atrocious crimes, they could have taken unilateral action without recourse to the U.N.”

From Gearóid Ó Colmáin via Counterpunch: ‘The Empire’s War against Burundi: War Propaganda in Preparation for an R2P “Humanitarian Intervention”

He doesn’t mince words as he (ahem) rather polemically apportions blame, allowing readers to feel the righteous rage beneath his words.

First up are the deep state NGOs funded by friends of military interventions to ‘stabilize’ nations they’ve worked to undermine.  He then moves to my personal favorite arm of NATO:

“The Burundian government has become a target of Africom, US neocolonial rule in Africa, due to its independent development policies which advocate the creation of a strong state with a multi-vectored foreign policy. Important contracts have been signed in recent years with Russia and China for the exploitation of natural resources such as nickel. The country is also moving closer into the orbit of the BRICS countries. This is why it is being attacked by Western backed political subversion.”

Well yes, we know why this ‘pivot’ is afoot, and is interwoven with the same schemes going on in so many African nations (cue Nick Turse’s reports), including the fact that China is building their first-ever military base in Djibouti, not far from Camp Lemonier..  Ack!  The Chinese are coming! Why is no one scared?  Fuck a multi-polar world!  It’s ours!

He writes of the reasons why Pierre Nkurunziza is such a popular as a leader, although noting he hasn’t risen to the level of Thomas Sankara, sometimes known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”.  But Colmáin makes the case that in aiming to eradicate poverty, champion women’s rights, increase education, and refusing to bow to the neo-colonial corporate powers that have are again stoking up new tensions between the Tutsi minority and Hutu majority, he is indeed a threat to the PTB.

He writes of the full-throated campaign by NED, USAID/CIA, Human Rights Watch, etc., to portray the Burundian government as:

“…threatening to exterminate the Tutsi minority. They do this by twisting almost every statement the government makes calling for calm and unity among all Burundians into incitement to racial hatred and genocide. The spreading of rumours that promote fear is an integral part of imperial destabilization techniques.

Amnesty’s (International) mendacious report on the ‘crackdown’ on ‘peaceful protesters’ and ‘human rights’ activists in Burundi has now been released in order to provide justification for the invasion and occupation of Burundi by international ‘peace-keeping’ forces under the spurious UN doctrine of ‘responsibility to protect’, which translates as the responsibility of the global corporate polyarchy and its puppet governments to ensure that no nation, no matter how small or insignificant, dares challenge the self-proclaimed authority of their ‘global governance’.”

Now given that “the bidness of Amerika is bidness (Molly Ivins), this photo should come as no surprise, and yes, Kagame was at the 2015 Global Conference as well.


President Kagame with Michael Milken, Bill Gates, Tony Blair and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles following the closing panel on Investing in African Prosperity at the Milken Institute Global Conference – Los Angeles, 1 May 2013

The photo comes from a reprint of this op-ed at urugaga.org  titled ‘Samantha Power, Louise Mushkiwabo, and Collette Braeckman Bring the Dead Back to Life in Order to Perpetuate a Lie’.  The reference to ‘the dead’:

“In recent days a fake letter claiming that the FDLR was in Burundi, working with President Nkurunziza to exterminate the Tutsia surfaced out of thin air, and was immediately promoted on social media by Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, Belgian Journalist/Rumour monger Colette Braeckman, and various Burundian opposition figures. This cynical choir of sinister characters claimed that this was the smoking gun they had long waited for, to prove that the FDLR was in Burundi working with President Nkurunziza to kill tutsis. According to these people, this was the final piece that gave President Kagame the right to march into Burundi to set things straight. All that was left, a decision by the UN Security Council,declaring Burundi a property of the UN/US where Kagame can lead his band of looters and pillagers to dispose of as they please. The task to bring this so called compelling evidence to the Security Council was assigned to the US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who has been itching for a fight with Burundi for the last couple of years.

It turns out the letter in question was written on November 4th 2015, by an FDLR Commander by the name of Col. Kabuyoya who passed away several years ago, May He Rest in Peace. Now, unless, the UN wants to accuse the FDLR of running an army of Whitewalkers like in Game of Thrones (an unsettling thought for Kagame who apparently loves the HBO TV show) whereby its fallen soldiers come back to life to fight as fearless ghostly commandos, Col. Kabuyoya did not write any letters.”

Let’s just say that the author narrates a hideous and vicious campaign that’s “worked for the RPF (Rawanda Defense Forces in the past) to perfection, and as a result the whole region has been in turmoil ever since, and more than 12 million people have lost their lives. Therefore, anyone who claims to care about the region to be engaged in this kind of politics, is outright criminal, and the international actors who are party to this are just as guilty.”

But no story on the Great Lakes Region and Paul Kagame would be close to complete without bringing Kagame’s BFF Susan Rice into it.  In his ‘Did Bloody Hands, Not Black Womanhood Sink Susan Rice Nomination?’, Bruce A. Dixon in Dec. 2012 shines a bloody bright light on their relationship as having caused her to shield him from censure, and has been a chief architect of USian Africa policy since her days with Bill Clinton.  Of course, she’s since been the US Ambassador to the UN, and is now Obama’s National Security Advisor.

From ten days or so ago:

(unintentional irony, I’m certain.)


34 responses to “Oh, Burundi and Other Great Lakes Nations: You’re in for a Rough Ride from the Empire…Again.

  1. fudge! just when all the happy-feely was making me coo a little bit about the new year.

    saying that the old colonialism hasn’t changed is like saying coke commercials haven’t changed or that star wars 2015 hasn’t changed since star wars 1977. DON’T YOU NOTICE ALL THE NEW CGI CRAP? in both coke & star wars? now we get r2p w/drones and r2p ideology via twitter instead of just newspaper articles proclaiming our humanitarian intentions toward those nickel mines. SEE HOW DIFFERENT IT IS!!!

    of course it’s different. burundi was worried about leopold 2 back in the day and had no notions of china, who was, of course, worried about britain, the US, western imperialist clone japan, etc., back in those simpler heart of darkness days.

    (sorry. not sure if this comment makes sense. starting the NY celeb early. peace to ya’ll & yours.)

    • you think i require a comment to make sense??? hay-ull, son; i’m just pleased as punch anybuddy read the damned thing, especially on ny eve! (silliest holiday i done ever heard of…) ;-) but i yam so glad you began your wassailing early on; too bad ya won’t see midnight now!

      you sly dog; i’d had to look up leopold 2, the butcher of congo. but yeah, some of this will be high tech, some just low, and some deaths will come via deep immiseration, eh? but goddam, i love the Twit machine…as long as i just look, but don’t touch.

      not to be utterly politically incorrect, but it’s a kick in the pants that the 3 harpies have done so much to wreck africa. and of course…bono and bill gates who’ve done their darndest to bio-wreck it already which reminds me, i hadn’t checked in with mi amigo Crossed Crocodiles in ghana for a bit. ack, same old, same old. but i will say that he turned me on to the evil doings of africom to begin with.

      merry making to you, my friend…

      on edit: have you read Joseph Conrad, then? i sure wish now i had.

      • i’m not knockin’ on twitter for it certainly means we get to know some things with astonishing rapidity, incl. what morons like bono are up to. (bono.guffaw & chortle. cui, bono?). i’ve read HoD a couple of times back in the day. been meaning to read The Secret Agent. from the BBC version with David Suchet, Conrad saw long ago the most interesting thing about “terrorism” is how useful it is to the State.

        and why isn’t bono in that photo w/milken, gates, blair, kagame, etc.? because it would be just too perfect, that’s why.

        • it’s seriously useful to see what comes outta the mouths of Tweeters in real time, isn’t it? and i do so love the art and photos from the various fascist institutions of the military and police state.but dang, i went and looked up my ‘cui bon?’/gates bio-wreck africa diary, and it has no photo of them. what a tool bono is. the post says that he was on w/ andrea mitchell twice (videos linked) touting monsanto and the whole ‘green agriculture revolution’.

          i think it’s gotten to be one of the things that bothers me most: the putative ‘good guys’ brands being so polished that few even try to peek behind the curtain to see something closer to the truth. fooking clinton and his/their ‘global inititative’, gates, yada, yada.

          ish, i have a thing to post that’s in the same vein; i’d like y’all to see if i’m just weirded out for little reason…or what. a group i’d never even hear of called ‘avaaz’, who bill themselves and their alleged 60 million (or whatever members world-wide) as The Best Guys, only… only….

          my self-education somehow never included conrad, and it seems to be another major deficiency. what’s the david suchet film?

          • ugh. i didn’t know that about bono & monsanto. what an awful creep he is.

            it’s a BBC version of The Secret Agent with Suchet as Verloc the main dude & Somebody Else who i don’t know but who played Dr. Who for a while. My comment about gov’ts manipulating/instigating “terrorism” was my take away from the film; not sure if Conrad would agree. it’s up on youtube.

            • bono is a schmuck among schmucks, a willing tool for the Empire, plus: his singing sucks! but oooh, his shades make him kewl as all giddy-up.

              i’ll ask mr. wd to see if he can find it through inter-library loan. the Who doctor was peter capaldi, although i don’t guess i’ve seen any of the 2015 series he’s in. mr. wd did score me three early seasons, though. it’s hard to fathom, among other things, that the bbc spent so much money on them; whooosh.

              well, mr. conrad would see clearly now that governments do that all the time. cia (and it counterpart in the UK, i reckon) first in deposing mossaddegh in iran in 1953. or at least i’d assume we could call the cia astro-turfed riots and resultant deaths ‘terrorism’.

              on edit: i just looked at the wiki, and it seems there was an MI6 at the time, and it was another of the dulles brothers’ projects. wow.

              but speaking of loathesome power couples: andrea mitchell and alan greenspan.

              • what an incestuous little world it is! at the top, for sure. we need one of those big Hapsburg family tree type things showing all the royals of Europe but for politicos, media types, and biz mavens.

  2. Such a cheery little diapered baby for this here New Year’s, eh what?

    It’s a very curious turn of events considering the fact that most commodities are in a slump at the moment. Economic colonialism does not seem the immediate driver of this to me.

    My sense is that it’s geopolitical manuevering to counter the Chinese New Silk Road economic relationships. Only China has plans to generate commodity demand and the ability (at least for now) to put the cash on the table to buy the commodities needed and to process them into infrastructure investments.

    The neoconservatives especially (and not the R2P idiots) would be keen to spit in China’s eye on this. (Did I tell you how much I loathe the freedom-hypocrite Sunstein-Power couple? Time to do in the First Amendment says Cass. Time to create another failed state say Sam.)

    It’s the same sort of made-up bullshit that politics is generating in this country.

    Pass the champagne and Happy New Year.

    • OFM, i’d totally forgotten that they were married! ye gods and little fishes, what horrid images are crowding into my mind now. yes, i understand and concur with your loathing them, my friend. first amendment is part of that quaint document, and he was a libertarian for bush’s military commissions, wiki says. ooof. the two must have trouble fighting for space in front of mirrors.

      well, you may be just right in your assessment, but resources, especially rare minerals can be stored, or owned in the ground for later, yes? but hell yeah, china’s investments there seem to be worrisome in that some say they may or do help raise the standard of living for locals *and* create some local markets. what they do i don’t like is by way of dams, not to be a broken record.

      but it’s full court press time, and not only for burundi, it seems. NATO seems to be calling other nations into their fold; you know, those ‘friends under nato’s umbrella’ who will be protected!

      if you ever have time, could you draw me a map about this, please? “The neoconservatives especially (and not the R2P idiots) would be keen to spit in China’s eye on this.”

      but yeah, even the Asian infrastructure bank…i left out a word, sorry, is likely not too welcome a notion to the Empire.

    • please don’t mind, but RL obligations and communications have stolen my attention, much in the way they had before i’d tried to respond to your comment.

      yes, happy new year; i’m entirely glad to ka-ching! this year.

    • am i being too cynical if i look w/scepticism on china in africa? they have to offer better deals to the locals b/c the West is just so awful, but it’s still colonialist, capitalist rivalry. b/c westerners are such vicious, arrogant, pricks, i gloat some when anyone, Vlad or whoever, does an end run around ’em, esp. the US, but the fact is there is still Schaden in that Freude and the whole world just needs to leave that nickel/etc. all alone. as i think we all know. china is still building a capitalist, consumer global economy. that’s not cool.

      the hourly npr blurb at 0900 here on the local pbs/classical station, desperate for “good news” in 2016, reports with breathless babbling that the price of solar panels, windmills, etc., has plummeted in the last year. uh, smart guys at npr, guess what else has plummeted even more this year? what’s the relation b/n the price of gas & any possible value in solar panels?beside, all that solar panel crap means little in a consumer economy. “This Megamart Walmart store now has solar panels on the roof!” so does the pentagon. you know what they say the opposite of wrinkly is? irony.

      • yeah, i keep reading all these paens to solar having reached economic parity with oil ($45/ barrel, i read recently, didn’t say what grade), and wonder what the true environmental costs are, including batteries.

        one has to wonder about first the EO, then congress, permitting oil to be exported. is the main export gonna be tarsands gluck? phooey, that reminds me to go fetch a link.

        ‘During Paris Climate Summit, Obama Signed Exxon-Koch-Backed Bill Expediting Pipeline Permits’ by Steve Horn

        oopsie, here was ‘wrinkly’.

    • Wendy, just read your GMO link above. if china is not a GMO-slave & lets Burundi grow its own damn crops…well, i might modify my china bashing. some.

      • at least in china they had banned gen-modified corn and rice, but googling found a WSJ report that china is spending billions in gmo research, then listing the whys and needs. who knows if they’ll develop them or not, or go back to actually sustainable small-scale framing?

        i don’t consider reasonable critiques of china ‘bashing’, jason. my understanding is that their economy could be called ‘state capitalism’, and while it may be less pernicious than market capitalism, i dunno how their adventures in africa may turn out for ordinary people. i’ve read, not knowing if it’s so, that they’ll bring their own workers for the slated infrastructure projects, for instance.

        but i had meant to say that burundi also has the second largest fresh-water lake within its boundaries, and that would be a huge prize for corporate developers to own/control.

        ‘boner’ for bono is just right, as it is for john boehner as well.

        • max keiser, based on a telegraph.uk article, reports today on how much china is investing in “green energy.” incl. 110 nukular reactors. that’s not the enviro-leadership we are looking for!

          speaking of nightmares, i was jabbering w/someone who spouted the old rotten chestnut, “give a man a fish and…teach a man to fish and…” just how long is that poor starving man to live on the generous capitalist handout of ONE GD FISH!?! but that aside, i didn’t have the heart to burst this sad soul’s bubble by pointing out that all the fish are dead (ok, not all.) but that gave me a bright idea: instead of giving them a (non-existent) fish, we can give them a micro-loan to shop Monsanto goodies! put me on the evil Monsanto team, coach! i’m ready! (wait, aren’t they already doing this in india? maybe i’m not quite up to Dr. Evil levels of evil just yet.)

          • yeah, i’m with you on nukes not being green. but they also are reportedly going great guns (sorry) on solar, and at least want to get away from coal. they make tube of coal with perforations that drop right into coal stoves. ish. we burned coal in a couple cabins we lived in eons ago, and what a horrid fuel.

            the wiki says that the populace in china is protesting more nuke plants there because: fukushima. there was a lot there about fast nukes (as per THD’s explanation earlier), and work on fusion reactors.

            no, no: micro loans for GMO salmon with eel growth hormones ONLY. we’ll putcha on the team soon, son, when ya ramp it up a notch. in fact, monsanto bought a bunch of land in ukraine before the putsch. joe biden’s son is there doin’ some kind of bidness.

            oh, and by the by, i loved your ‘not wrinkly equals irony’. around here, we made it our mission to appreciate it…given how stuffed with irony our lives have been almost forever. ;-)

          • good for the chinese people! something something about the intervention of the working class…on this beautiful but still a little too warm sunday a.m., it’s difficult to believe the West overthrew Ukraine’s gov’t, partially, to smuggle GMO’s into Europe. I didn’t know biden jr. was also in on the GMO in ukraine thing. other stuff, yeah, so not surprising.

            “what shall we @ Monsanto call our miraculous GMO self-multiplying super fish? how about…Jesus Fish?”

            • ah, i’d said it wrong about biden’s son, not Monsanto, but oil and gas.

              “When Vice President Joe Biden’s son, R. Hunter Biden, joined the board of a private Ukrainian oil and natural gas company this spring, he explained his new job as a legal one, disconnected from any effort to influence the Obama Administration. In a press release, the younger Biden boasted of his abilities on issues like improving corporate transparency.

              But the company, Burisma Holdings, did not disclose at the time the scope of their plans for influencing the U.S. government. Recently released documents show that Biden’s hiring coincided with the launch of a new effort to lobby members of Congress about the role of the company in Ukraine and the country’s quest for energy independence.”

              no conflicts, just like bill and hill, eh? https://www.rt.com/usa/327689-clinton-conflicts-state-department-us/

              but srsly; how ’bout: get a micro loan from pierre to learn to create a new Frankenfish?

  3. It’s hard to see any real geopolitical reasons for the US to care about in this postage stamp sized and extremely overpopulated, poverty stricken country Burundi. The Chinese and the Russians seem to be in agreement with the West about the political/humanitarian situation there because they have voted for the latest UN resolution.

    The Chinese are not ‘coming to Africa’ they already supply the UN with most of its Africa Peacekeepers about 8000 so far and they are sending an additional 8000 man PLA Rapid Response Force to assist the UN with crisis situations like Burundi.

    The Chinese have or had good relations with Burundi’s president they built him a new palace while they also have good relations with the Rwandan president where they have developed 56 financial projects so these divisions with the West don’t seem so clear and they may be on the R2P bandwagon in Africa.

    • lots of new info for me here, wayoutwest. but my ‘the chinese are coming!!!’ was by way of echoing the age old ‘the russians are coming’, since the empire and its media scribes don’t seem to love the new (and sole, iirc) military base in djibouti.

      it’s not just burundi, but the surrounding nations’ resources, especially congo with its vast resources, that seem to be so sought after as a reason for the corporate democracy projects meddling, and i added the lake above (Tanganyika).

      now since you’ve said that about chines troop numbers, maybe there are more ‘lily pad’ bases of theirs in key spots, yes?

      turns out you’re right about Pierre Nkurunziza kicking off the construction of a chinese funded palace, not that it’s shocking or anything.

      but the other reason for keen interest & meddling reminds me a bit of the reasons the US can’t abide anything like socialism in the south, as this president had been, according to reports, trying to make peace among factions, built 5000 schools, created a national service program for volunteer work a day a week, things like that.

    • It’s not the Chinese geopolitical view of the Great Lakes region of Africa I was commenting on; it is the US policymakers (especially some of the key one’s) view of the Chinese “threat” that requires and overblown increase in US military hardware and redeployment to contain China.

      It has been well of 75 years since the US looked at other nations’ behavior as normal behavior of nation states instead of a hyperventilating threat that provokes existential fear.

      A decade ago, China analysts were projecting that China’s approach would not be the strip-mine imperialism of European nations or the ideological imperialism of the US; instead they argued that China would practice a tributary imperialism of deference and economic tribute. I’m not sure that’s what’s occurring, but watch how China re-engages with the world as a world power is fascinating to watch. Wish that the US could get its foreign policy house in order; incoherency speaks to a two- or three-way struggle for intellectual control of foreign policy. When DoD is more restrained than State, something is definitely out of kilter. And numerous analysts are noticing that reversal of traditional roles.

      • a case in point on the apparent turf struggles is syria. one day kerry will say ‘assad doesn’t have to go…yet’, then sammy powers tweets ‘oh, yes he does’.

        i like your differentiation between strip-mining imperialism and tribute imperialism. from what i’ve read, china has been doing that so far. i guess time will tell.

        blimey, though, there’s a UNSC ‘peace plan’ now for libya, and what a clusterfuck that is now. UK might send 10,000 troops, who knows how many more from other nations, including UN peacekeepers.

        but this tweet from the UNSC account blew me away (i’d been searching for the vote on burundi peter had mentioned upstream). mr. wd just got in from work, and i asked him which nation it might be; he guessed!

        Ukraine?!? OMG.

        • I was a little surprised by Ukraine being on this list but any country in good standing can be selected for these rotating positions when their number comes up. I was more OMG about Egypt where a Military Dictatorship was acceptable.

          All of these countries including Venezuela supported this resolution which means they all see this crisis in Burundi as real and imminent.

          • a nation ‘in good standing’ was the issue, peter. good grief, the west is bending over backwards to protect not only an NGO putsch once the grass-roots protests against yanukovitch began, but now seems okey-dokey with the neo-nazi banderists and right sector antics. oh, and the west is so enthralled with doing bidness inside ukraine that as THD had mentioned, the IMF has rewritten its own rules to accommodate kiev’s defaulting on their debt to russia.

            but then one has to have extra animus toward russia to buy kiev’s claim that is was ‘rogue militias’ that committed such atrocities against insurgents and a hella lot of civilians in the donbass.

            but could you explain just what ‘the vote’ you’re speaking about was? i can only find vague mentions of the SC intending to send a delegation to burundi, and burundi perhaps not having decided to host them…at the UNSC’s website.

            • The D19 Sam P. tweet above about the SC unanimous vote to send the African Prevention and Protection Mission, 5000 African military and police peacekeepers, to Burundi which the Burundi government has rejected and threatened to attack if they enter the country. What you are referring to is the earlier mediation mission, I think.

              I think the UN general Assembly votes on these rotating SC positions and it’s probably viewed as wise to include countries such as Ukraine and Egypt and have some possible influence on their actions rather than isolate them and have none. Whatever the reasons it has nothing to do with Burundi.

              I read an interesting paper from Oxford on Sino/US relations since Nixon began engagement as US policy and how it has evolved into what is called Contagement based on economic engagement and political military containment and ambivalent confused policy. In Africa the policy appears mostly engagement because China doesn’t seem to want more than mercantile imperialism while in Asia their growing economic power can and will produce military and political power feared by their neighbors including India, Japan, S Korea and others.

              • thanks; it’ really the AU preposition, then. it’ll be interesting to see if they do consent to the meeting, but i can understand their reticence given the massive agitprop war against them. and yes, i understand that the administration wouldn’t be blameless, but that’s pretty different than the ’emergency! the next genocide,but on the minority tutsi!’

                yes, i read that the GA votes, looks for 2/3 majority, and there are five (iirc) geographical areas needing inclusion. dunno that your reasoning is right about influencing from the inside, but my guess is that some finagling was brought to bear because: amerikan bidness, and of course: The Bear. but i admit i’m getting cynical about the body being quite beholden to the USA.

                • The US has only one vote in the GA and we certainly exert power and leverage as the single Superpower but that’s not omnipotence. The GA did place Venezuela on the SC over US objections. Russia being on the SC with veto power certainly exerts influence far beyond their small economic and political power would justify but they do have Nukes.

                  I don’t know what exactly is happening in Burundi but it’s interesting because all the major players are supporting R2P action.

                  • points taken, peter. i’ll try to cobble together this Avaaz piece and influence PR, see if you all believe i’m a mite too credulous, given my own confirmation bias.

  4. ahead of my date with ‘sher-luck holmes’ in pbs, i’ll add a bit, knowing that it’s hard to know truth from propaganda, or if there is any difference.

    i’d been trying to remember which african nation in the vicinity might have been another cautionary tale for the western imperialists, but i did find what i was looking for, although my geographical sense is almost nonexistent, as eritrea seems to be in the horn of africa.

    this isn’t the source i’d originally read, but it’s close enough, although the key link seems to circle back to the article. but the key claim is that eritrea is on the hitlist for egregious human rights violations, but the author ‘ claim is that it’s largely about eritrea’s independence streak, or as in burundi, ‘african dignity’. no thanks to aid with strings, hell no to AFRICOM, and sure, it’s still fucked up in many ways, but:

    “First and foremost among Eritrea’s grave sins is its stubborn insistence on maintaining full independence and sovereignty in both political and economic spheres. This fact is perhaps best illustrated by Eritrean President Afewerki’s bold rejection of foreign aid of various sorts, stating repeatedly that Eritrea needs to “stand on its own two feet.” Afewerki’s pronouncements are in line with what pan-Africanist radicals, Marxists such as Walter Rodney, and many others have argued for decades, namely that, as Afewerkie put it in 2007 after rejecting a $200 million dollar “aid” package from the World Bank, “Fifty years and billions of dollars in post-colonial international aid have done little to lift Africa from chronic poverty… [African societies] are crippled societies…You can’t keep these people living on handouts because that doesn’t change their lives.“

    Naturally, such a radical departure from the tried and true cycle of financial aid and debt servitude, corruption and endemic poverty, is seen as a threat by the neocolonial establishment as manifested in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other financial institutions. But the real danger is not simply the ideology, but its success. As the LA Times noted in its profile of Eritrea in 2007:

    “The self-reliance program began a decade ago but accelerated sharply in 2005. Relying on its meager budget and the conscription of about 800,000 of the country’s citizens, the program so far has shown promising results. Measured on a variety of U.N. health indicators, including life expectancy, immunizations and malaria prevention, Eritrea scores as high, and often higher, than its neighbors, including Ethiopia and Kenya…It might be one of the most ambitious social and economic experiments underway in Africa” [snip]

    “In other words, Eritrea has managed to rapidly, and in earnest, embark on a process of economic and social transformation that the West is constantly advocating for African nations. However, Eritrea has done it on its own terms, without being enslaved by the financial institutions of global capitalism, and that is what makes it a target for demonization rather than praise. Why, one might ask, are the human rights of the rural poor, the unborn and infants, those living in grinding poverty, not taken into consideration in the so called OHCHR report? Are human rights only restricted to a small minority of political discontents whose grievances, even if justified, are relegated to the realm of politics and speech? This is not to diminish the importance of such issues, but rather to illustrate the sheer hypocrisy of the selective use of the term.”

    ….then the ‘No Africom’ section, etc.


    on the UNSC twit account, i saw this, although i wasn’t aware of the history at all.

    sleep well, dream well. i confess, my dreams resemble nightmares more than…dreams of a better world.

  5. Eritrea was one of the play toys between the aspirational Italian and Abyssinian empires up until the fall of Mussolini. Then Haile Selassie held it until his attempts at forcible integration sparked a 30-year war. The undemarcated border between the two countries perpetuates conflict much as does Kashmir on the India-Pakistani border. The all-convenient burr in the saddle to force other agendas.

    I found this interesting with respect to international plays.

    A big reason for the recent growth of the Eritrean economy is the commencement of full operations in the gold and silver Bisha mine and the production of cement from the cement factory in Massawa.

    The Bisha mine is operated by Nevsun Resources Ltd., a Vancouver BC, Canada, company. It appears to be the most valuable production in the Eritrean economy. I wonder what the royalty arrangement with the Eritrean government is. The huge share of the economy makes the politics behave like Alaska or Nigeria with respect to oil revenues or South Africa with respect to diamonds and gold, or Northern Australia and Western Australia with respect to large mineral companies. Efforts to improve indigenous lives in all of these areas have been overrun the moment a new mineral resource is found. And the leaders who thought the outside investment would make transformation and modernization of their society easier (and those until recently were the goals of many would-be transformers) in fact entrapped the society in a hugely corrupt and exploitative situation.

    One big knock on Afewerki’s regime is that he has been relentless in damping religious fundamentalism in Eritrea, jailing people who have been trying to proselytize for Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Baha’is and various jihadist movements. It’s another case of one part of the State Department works contrary to other parts and to other parts of the US national security establishment.

    Not making loans takes part of the leash used to lead countries around away from the rich countries. Thus the cheers on Wall Street from the results of the Argentinian and Venezuelan elections. Hey they’ll have to pay us back and then take loans in order to generate the cash flow to pay us back. Got ’em on the treadmill again. Cashing and banking resource-generated cash into infrastructure keep a country less captive but only a little bit. But that little bit seems to generate sufficient sums for the money brokers to want countries in the harness.

    • exactly right on the loans, and yes to the indigenous getting shafted by mineral extraction. how many gold miners were killed at south african mines by the state? (the ANC hasn’t borne out what was promised incipiently.) ha, come to think of it, that’s close to john irving’s definition of ‘irony’.

      but in that NEO link, the author quoted efewerki:

      “Your location could be a comparative advantage. If you have a long coastline, then you develop fisheries, develop your services industry – shipping, transportation – air, land. Provide industry and manufacturing…Africa can produce its own food and grow more. Why aren’t we able to do that? You have to produce something. Emphasize sustainable sectors. Agriculture is a sustainable sector. You need to put in place agriculture infrastructure. It’s a strategy commodity for communities…You need to think least on mineral resources (for economic development)… Gold glitters but it blinds people…

      If you forgo agriculture because you have gold, you go into a trap. If you forgo comparative advantage that you have because you have gold, then you make a big mistake…Food sovereignty and local production, local manufacturing and development are more critical than depending on resource exploitation. You must have a balance, comprehensive program that takes stock of your comparative advantages in different sectors and local needs first…Local markets are everything.”

      hope he wasn’t just blowin’ smoke.

      thank you for the earlier history, and it does seem as to the tweet’s content that the confusion over ethiopians and eritreans can get a bit dicey.

      hell, i’d be down with blocking jehovah’s witnesses and mormon missionaries comin’ to our door. ;-)

      bidness and VZ: mr. wd read that just ahead of the bidness party rule starting, VZ banned gmo seeds.

  6. US agriculture interests will never allow food sovereignty. Textbook case is Haiti. Agribusiness, military equipment, fossil fuels, and finance are the current US poster children for lobbying. What the IMF is for financial sovereignty (or lack thereof), trade deals have been for food sovereignty. NAFTA sucked out US labor power, but it also sucked out Mexican food sovereignty. US agribusiness has the market power to suppress labor costs, community taxation, and vendor costs and demand subsidies. Florida can raise rice cheaper than a Haiti farmer. Can Eritrea shield its agriculture from low-cost subsidized competition? Can it feed itself even through climate change? Big institutions are not interested in those sorts of questions.

    • “Big institutions are not interested in those sorts of questions.” no, but efewerki seemed to be considering local agricultural needs, and perhaps that might extend across local borders, yes?

      oh, nafta. yes, of course food sovereignty was the prime reason for the Zapatista movement, and of course their conferences are by way of showing others what they might create rather than waiting for ‘better’ electoral processes to catch up (if possible).

      i’ll just post a link for others, i know you know all of this.

      but speaking of which, flush the tpp says that as of feb. 4, obama can by fast-track law sign the dastardly treaty, and then…congress. they’re trying to arrange large protests, i dunno if they’ll help by now, but congress just might.

      remember when you’d said that kevin zeese had been coopted? what had he been or done before the Oct.2011 movement?

  7. ouch. ‘The New Scramble for Africa; The BRICS powers aren’t anti-colonial counterweights. They’re looking for new markets and resources for their corporations, just like Western countries’ by Pádraig Carmody at jacobin. mainly the piece concerns china and zambia/south africa. paddy doesn’t like what he’s seeing there.

    if i had to choose a representative paragraph, this would be it:

    “Membership in the BRICS is also key to China’s flexible geopolitical position. While the BRICS grouping has different meanings to different participants, for China it is part of a strategy to construct a counterpole to Western power — not through overthrowing the current global structures, but by bending them in China’s favor. Given the history of Western domination on their continent — and China’s (relative) lack of conditionalities and policy of non-interference — African political elites find this to be a relatively attractive alternative.”

care to comment? (no registration required)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s