An unholy alliance of Christian warlords backed by the United States and European powers has drawn the iron-curtain around Muslim Sudan. All the drum-beating in western capitals about the peaceful transition of power in Kinshasa, the capital of former Zaire, now renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo, is designed to camouflage their own complicity in the rule of the hated ousted dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko.
The western powers and their African proxies, all Christian, are determined to prevent the spread of Islam into sub-Saharan Africa south of Sudan. One by one, African States have been taken over by Christian warlords beholden to the west, especially Uncle Sam and his conniving cousins in Britain. Even Muslim majority States - Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda - are in the grip of Christian minorities.
Eritrea is the most obvious example. For more than 30 years, Sudan helped the Eritreans in their struggle against the Amhara-dominated Ethiopia. Tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees were sheltered in Sudan with little or no help from the outside world. Once the Amhara-led regime collapsed in Addis Ababa, a Tigrayan Christian warlord, a former communist to boot, was intalled in power in 1991 by the US.
Around the world where people have had a taste of Washington’s benevolence, Uncle Sam has rightly earned the epithet, the ‘ugly American’. In Zaire, the ugly Frenchman holds this dubious honour but it is not likely to last long. The Americans are moving in a big way all over the continent. Once the Africans experience the ways of the cigar chewing cowboys, the ugly American will implant his image on African soil as well.
Two objectives are uppermost in America’s mind: destabilisation of Sudan and control of the vast mineral resources of Africa. Sudan is being targeted to prevent it from exploiting its vast oil reserves as well as prevent it from producing the grain to feed its people. In fact, the Anglo-American plan for Sudan is to break the country up because the Sudanese refuse to the toe the west’s line.
Christian International, a British-based organisation headed by Baroness Cox, is spearheading this campaign. This woman has had the gall to enter southern Sudan illegally, not once but several times.
Would western governments allow illegal immigrants into their territory? Anti-immigrant xenophobia is sweeping Europe, especially in Britain and France. The US, too, is afflicted by this disease. Even refugees and asylum-seekers are targeted, accused of being economic migrants. Yet in the case of Sudan, Cox thinks she is above the law. Her visits to Southern Sudan have nothing to do with the plight of the people. The vast majority of the southerners are suffering as a result of the policies pursued by her Christian allies, a tiny minority there.
The west’s aim is to divide Sudan, separating the southern part where much of the oil is to be found, from the rest of the country. The seeds of this policy were sown by the British when they first took control of Sudan in 1885. Typical of British intrigue, the southern part of Sudan was administered from Kenya while the rest of the country was handled from Cairo. In fact, while Sudan was never completely occupied by the British colonialists, it served as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until the country’s independence in 1956.
The southern question, however, was left hanging, deliberately one might add, on hindsight. It is this British intrigue that is causing so much havoc in the region today. In April, Khartoum was forced to agree to a referendum in four years to determine the southern question.
The advantage, from the west’s point of view, is that it will prevent the spread of Islam southward. Islam’s appeal for Africans is natural. Its egalitarian system fits in well with the good-natured Africans, unlike the racist brand of Christianity propagated by the west. Africa is essentially a Muslim continent.
Regarding the west’s other aim - to grab Africa’s mineral resources - this is not new. The entire colonial drive was predicated on exploiting the resources of other peoples and lands. Congo is a typical of this.
Not that Mobutu was unwilling to allow this to happen. He was installed in power in 1965 by the CIA who also appropriately facilitated the murder of Patrice Lumumba in 1960. Throughout his life, Mobutu served as a loyal stooge of the west - France, Belgium and the US. From 1975 onwards, Mobutu was also the lynchpin of US policy against marxist Angola. South Africa, too, under apartheid, found Mobutu’s Zaire a useful hunting ground.
He had to be ditched because he was suffering from prostrate cancer and was extremely hated by the people of Zaire. The US decided to get rid of him and install its own man before the people overthrew Mobutu, who had worked hand-in-glove with the apartheid regime of South Africa.
It is therefore, not surprising that South African bankers have got a head-start to rearrange the financial system in Congo. South African deputy president Thabo Mbeki said on May 23 that his government was sending a team of financial expers to help ‘bankrupt’ former Zaire. One wonders who helped bankrupt the country which is rich in diamonds, copper, cobalt and zinc and whether the new regime will have the wherewithal to recover some of the loot from the former dictator estimated at $4 billion?
South Africa, however, will not be able to reap much benefit for its role in facilitating the change-over in Zaire. Long before Laurent Kabila’s storm troopers marched into Kinshasa, American mining executives had made a beeline to his southern retreat in Lubumbasha. The America Mineral Fields (AMF) was the first to be awarded a project much to the chagrin of the South African giant, Anglo American Corp.
Uncle Sam is determined to rearrange the political furniture in Africa and to sink his claws into Africa’s vast mineral resources. On May 27 and 28, US deputy treasury secretary Lawrence Summers was in Abidjan to attend the annual meeting of the African Development Bank. From there, he went to South Africa and Mozambique as well.
‘We are interested in trying to help economic development proceed in Africa,’ a senior US treasury official, who declined to be named, told Reuters news agency on May 23. ‘It’s clearly the last great development challenge,’ he added. It has to be, given the riches to be exploited.
But for economic development, read unbridled access for Uncle Sam to rob and plunder.
Muslimedia - June 16-30, 1997