Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Destabilizing Chad and Sudan

Destabilizing Chad and Sudan

“Chad's troubled post-independence history is an extreme case of the problems faced by many post-colonial African states in their attempts to achieve political integration. Formerly part of French Equatorial Africa, Chad's territory was not demarcated with concern for social, cultural and economic coherence, and followed the colonial power's convenience. Like its neighbor Sudan, Chad is split between an Arab-Muslim north and a Christian and animist south, and contains more than 200 distinct ethnic groups, many of which are split into sub-societies with distinctive cultures. The fragmentation of Chad's society and the rivalries that it creates both within and between regions are the root causes of the country's failure to achieve political integration and the resulting personalism that characterizes its political class. The lack of a coherent societal community has left Chad open to corruption -- it shares last place with Bangladesh on Transparency International's corruption index -- which has propelled political defections through fights over spoils and consequent jealousies.
Arid, landlocked and lacking basic physical and social infrastructure, Chad is one of the five poorest countries in the world, with 80 percent of its population of 9.5 million gaining its livelihood from subsistence farming and stock raising. The country's economic prospects improved and it gained strategic importance in the late 1990s when its oil fields in the southern Doba region -- estimated to contain one billion barrels -- were developed by an international consortium including ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and Malaysia's Petronas. Petroleum exports began in 2003, after a pipeline through Cameroon was completed with a capacity of 225,000 barrels per day. As a result of the new oil revenues, Chad's G.D.P. increased by 40 percent in 2004 and is estimated to have grown by a larger percentage in 2005.” http://www.pinr.com/report

The New York Times dated February 28, 2006 carried a headline bemoaning the worsening conditions in Sudan that have spread across the border to it next door neighbor Chad. When I read that and I reflected on the fact the Bu$h administration has been shedding crocodile tears about he situation in Darfur for the past two weeks I knew something fishy was up. Knowing as I know, the Bu$hites could care less about war, depopulation and depravation in Africa; I started looking deeper. The NY Times fake concerns in a Byline credited to Lydia Polgreen distorts the real deal and obfuscates the real reasons for the destabilization of the region, oil, black gold, bubbling crude. “ADRÉ, Chad — The chaos in Darfur, the war-ravaged region in Sudan where more than 200,000 civilians have been killed, has spread across the border into Chad, deepening one of the world's worst refugee crises. Arab gunmen from Darfur have pushed across the desert and entered Chad, stealing cattle, burning crops and killing anyone who resists. The lawlessness has driven at least 20,000 Chadians from their homes, making them refugees in their own country. Hundreds of thousands more people in this area, along with 200,000 Sudanese who fled here for safety, find themselves caught up in a growing conflict between Chad and Sudan, which have a long history of violence and meddling in each other's affairs.” She points out marauding Arabs have transgressed into Chad and caused the disruption and dislocation of at least 20,000 Chadians from their own homes and country. Nowhere in her piece does she mention the word oil! Contrast that with the piece in the Power and Interest News Report dated February 28, 2006 which points out the real politic of the destabilization of the whole region. “With disaffection with Deby's regime on the rise, Chad's political class fractured and petrodollars a tempting prize for all contenders for power, the country's cycle of instability is gaining momentum for another rise toward a peak. At present, a war with Sudan does not appear to be imminent, but the possibility for one should not be discounted. More likely is a repeat of past instances of regime change, especially if the fragmented resistance groups are able to forge their united front and the May 2006 presidential election is perceived to have been rigged. Under any probable scenario, Chad's oil industry does not appear to be vulnerable or to be threatened with nationalization. Aware that Chad faces the stress of more than 200,000 refugees from Darfur on its soil and that it might become a failed state and a breeding ground for Islamic revolution if it is allowed to collapse, Western donor states are unlikely to follow the World Bank and I.M.F. in pulling the financial plug. Indeed, they might, as Wolfowitz has suggested, step up their aid. Chad's basic problem is not of its own making, but is the result of its colonial legacy which has left it with a pattern of violent regime change that shifts power from one faction and strongman to another, but that does not take on ideological or structural import. Nothing in the present situation suggests that the basic pattern will be broken by the achievement of a coherent political community or the imposition of a comprehensive dictatorship, whether or not Deby is able to fight his way out of the corner and hang on to his waning power.” She mentions the Arabs and the Arabs are and have been players in the internal and cross border conflicts but ask yourself where are these militias and rebels and thugs on both sides getting their guns? Who is paying for their supplies, who supplies the gas for their vehicles their uniforms etc? Could it be the Western powers who covet the oil and water of both Sudan and Chad have a hand in the chaos that is developing in the region. Notice the writer points out that Western investor states (like the US, Britain, France, and Israel) probably will not pull the plug on Chad investments. Of course not they want to pump money into expropriating the natural resources. ExxonMobil is not stupid! Keep in mind the World Bank and IMF are really tools of the Western Neoliberal elites who work hand in hand with the diplomatic and military arms of the West to keep Africa in disarray, corruption and exploitation. The fact that Bu$h and the NY Times are shedding crocodile tears about Sudan and Chad is a sure sign Western skullduggery is under foot. Keep your eyes and ears open on this and look beyond the headlines for the real deal.

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