Posts Tagged ‘Niger’

Afrika: Mitspieler gesucht

Dienstag, Januar 29th, 2013

“USA wollen Drohnenstützpunkt in Afrika

Die USA wollen islamistische Extremisten und Al-Kaida-Ableger in Afrika besser kontrollieren können. Zu diesem Zweck plant das Verteidigungsministerium einen Drohnenstützpunkt Nordwestafrika.

Noch halten sich die USA aus dem Konflikt in Mali heraus. Das könnte sich aber bald ändern. Das Verteidigungsministerium erwägt offenbar den Einsatz von ferngesteuerten Überwachungsdrohnen im Krisengebiet von Mali.

Im Visier der vorerst unbewaffneten US-Operation aus der Luft sind Gruppen des Terrornetzwerkes Al-Kaida sowie islamistische Extremisten. Das berichtete die Tageszeitung «New York Times» am Montag.

Zu den möglichen Standorten zählten Regierungsmitarbeiter das im Osten an Mali grenzende Niger sowie das südlich von Mali gelegene Burkina Faso. Die Drohnen könnten so schnell wie möglich die von Frankreich geführte Mission in Mali unterstützen, hiess es.

Die einzige ständige Militärbasis der USA in Afrika liegt in Dschibuti, weit im Osten des Kontinents. Vertreter des Militärs bestätigten auch dem Fernsehsender Fox News entsprechende Pläne und Niger als Standort. Allerdings befinde sich der Stützpunkt noch in der Planungsphase. Weder das Pentagon noch das Weisse Haus oder die Regierung in Niger hätten die Pläne bestätigt.

IWF und Japan sichern Mali Millionen zu

Nebst technischer Hilfe aus der Luft ist auch finanzielle Unterstützung in Sicht. Japan kündigte an, das westafrikanische Land und andere Staaten der Sahel-Zone mit zusätzlich 120 Millionen Dollar zu unterstützen.

Das Geld solle helfen, die Region zu stabilisieren und die Sicherheit zu verbessern, erklärte der japanische Aussenminister Fumio Kishida. Unter anderem sei es zur Finanzierung von Friedenseinsätzen gedacht.

Der IWF seinerseits gewährte Mali einen Kredit von 18,4 Millionen Dollar. Dieser solle dem Land erlauben, sich von der Rezession zu erholen und die wirtschaftliche Stabilität wiederherzustellen.

Doch diese erste Finanzspritze ist nur ein Tropfen auf den heissen Stein. Benötigt würden für den Militäreinsatz der Allianz 950 Millionen Dollar. Dies sagte der Präsident der Elfenbeinküste und Vorsitzende der westafrikanischen Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft Ecowas, Alassane Ouatarra, bei der Eröffnung einer Geberkonferenz für das Krisenland in der äthiopischen Hauptstadt Addis Abeba.

10 000 Soldaten würden benötigt, um das riesige Land aus der Hand von islamistischen Extremisten zu befreien – weit mehr als die ursprünglich geplanten 3300, fügte er hinzu.”



Siehe auch:

Ein “Kollateralschaden”
The imperial agenda of the US’s ‘Africa Command’ marches on
America’s Best Worst Partner in Africa
U.S. Airlift of French forces to Mali
Ambassador Christopher Dell, DCMA, spoke with journalists from Burkina Faso and Niger during their visit to AFRICOM headquarters
Mali: Fortsetzung des Drohnenkriegs gegen Dschihadisten


Pentagon richtet Drohnen-Stützpunkt in Niger ein

Mali: Fette Beute

Montag, Januar 28th, 2013

“France launches bombing of northern Mali, with Canadian support


France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11. French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometers from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 km north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.

A French armoured convoy entered Mali several days ago from neighbouring Ivory Coast, another former French colony. French troops spearheaded the overthrow of that country’s government in 2011.

The invasion has received universal support from France’s imperialist allies. The U.S., Canada and Europe are assisting financially and with military transport. Earlier this week, Stephen Harper announced that Canada’s contribution would include the use of one C-17 military transport plane. 

To provide a figleaf of African legitimacy, plans have been accelerated to introduce troops from eight regional countries to join the fighting (map here).

“Islamist terrorists” etc., etc.

The public relations version of the French et al invasion is a familiar refrain. “Islamic terrorists” and “jihadists” have taken control of northern Mali and are a threat to international security and to the well-being of the local population. Terrible atrocities against the local populace are alleged and given wide publicity by corporate media. Similar myths were peddled by the warmakers when they invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

It is true that Islamic fundamentalists have ruled northern Mali with an iron hand since taking over in 2012. But the reasons for this latest intervention lie in the determination of the world’s imperial powers to keep the human and natural resources of poor regions of the world as preserves for capitalist profits. West Africa is a region of great resource wealth, including gold, oil and uranium.

The uranium mines in neighbouring Niger and the uranium deposits in Mali are of particular interest to France, which generates 78 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy. Niger’s uranium mines are highly polluting and deeply resented by the population, including among the semi-nomadic, Touareg people who reside in the mining regions. The French company Areva is presently constructing in Imouraren, Niger what will become the second largest uranium mine in the world.

Notwithstanding the fabulous wealth created by uranium mining, Niger is one of the poorest countries on Earth. As one European researcher puts it, “Uranium mining in Niger sustains light in France and darkness in Niger.”

Mali (population 15.5 million) is the third-largest gold producing country in Africa. Canada’s IAMGOLD operates two mines there (and a third in nearby Burkina Faso). Many other Canadian and foreign investors are present. 

A key player in the unfolding war is Algeria. The government there is anxious to prove its loyalty to imperialism. Its lengthy border with northern Mali is a key zone for the “pacification” of northern Mali upon which France and its allies are embarked.

Further proof of the hypocrisy of the “democracy” that France claims to be fighting for in Mali is found in the nature of the Mali regime with which it is allied. Often presented in mainstream media as a “beacon of democracy” in west Africa, the Mali government was little more than a corrupt and pliant neo-colonial regime before last year when the U.S.-trained and equipped Mali army twice overthrew it–in March and again in December. The Mali army now scrambling to fight alongside its French big brother was condemned and boycotted by the U.S., Europe and Canada during a brief, sham interlude of concern following the first coup.

Today, the Mali government is a shell of a regime that rules at the behest of the Mali military, the latter’s foreign trainers, and the foreign mining companies that provide much of its revenue.

The Touareg people

At the political heart of the conflict in Mali is the decades-long struggle of the Touareg, a semi-nomadic people numbering some 1.2 million. Their language is part of the Berber language group. Their historic homeland includes much of Niger and northern Mali and smaller parts of Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Libya. They call themselves Kel Tamasheq (speakers of the Tamasheq language).

The Touareg have fought a succession of rebellions in the 20th century against the borders imposed by colonialism and then defended by post-independence, neo-colonial regimes. They are one of many minority nationalities in west Africa fighting for national self-determination, including the Sahwari of Western Sahara, a region controlled by Morocco and whose Sahwari leadership, the Polisario Front, is widely recognized internationally, and the Biafrans of Nigeria (whose story is told here and in a new book, ‘The Biafran War: The Struggle for Modern Nigeria,’ by Michael Gould).

The Tuareg were brutally subdued by colonial France at the outset of the 20th century. Following the independence of Mali and neighbouring countries in 1960, they continued to suffer discrimination. A First Touareg Rebellion took place in 1962-64.

A second, larger rebellion began in 1990 and won some autonomy from the Mali government that was elected in 1992 and re-elected in 1997. A third rebellion in Mali and Niger in 2007 won further political and territorial concessions, but these were constantly reneged. A Libya-brokered peace deal ended fighting in 2009.

The Mali state and army constantly sought to retake what they had lost. Violence and even massacres against the Touareg population pushed matters to a head in 2011. The army was defeated by the military forces of the National Liberation Movement of Azawad and on April 6, 2012, the MNLA declared an independent Azawad, as they call northern Mali and surrounding region. The Touareg are one of several national groups within the disputed territory.

The independence declaration proved premature and unsustainable. The MNLA was soon pushed aside by Islamist-inspired armed groups that oppose Touareg self-determination and an independent state. The army, meanwhile, continued to harass and kill people. A group of 17 visiting Muslim clerics, for example, were massacred on September 22, 2012.

According to unconfirmed reports, the MNLA has renounced the goal of an independent Azawad. It entered into talks with the Mali regime in December for autonomy in the northern region. A January 13 statement on the group’s website acquiesces to the French intervention but says it should not allow troops of the Mali army to pass beyond the border demarcation line declared in April of last year. 

Militarization of Mali and west Africa

Mali is one of the poorest places on earth but has been drawn into the whirlwind of post-September, 2001 militarization led by the United States. U.S. armed forces have been training the Mali military for years. In 2005, the U.S. established the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership comprising eleven ‘partner’ African countries-Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

The ‘partnership’ conducts annual military exercises termed ‘Flintlock.’ This year’s exercise is to take place in Niger and according to the January 12 Globe and Mail, “Canada’s military involvement in Niger has already commenced.”

Canadian troops have participated in military exercises in west Africa since at least 2008. In 2009, Mali was named one of six “countries of focus” in Africa for Canadian aid. Beginning that year, Canadian aid to Mali leaped to where it is now one of the largest country recipients of Canada aid funds.

In 2008, Canada quietly launched a plan to establish at least six, new military bases abroad, including two in Africa. (It is not known exactly where the Africa part of the plan stands today.)

War atrocities

Only days into the French attack, evidence is mounting of significant civilian and military casualties. In the town of Douentza in central Mali, injured civilians can’t reach the local hospital, according to Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders). “Because of the bombardments and fighting, nobody is moving in the streets of Douentza and patients are not making it through to the hospital,” said a statement by the agency’s emergency response co-ordinator Rosa Crestani.

The International Red Cross is reporting scores of civilian and military casualties in the towns coming under French attack.

Amnesty International is worried. Its West Africa researcher, Salvatore Saguès, was in the country last September and saw the recruitment of children into the Mali army. He is worried about retaliatory attacks by the army if it retakes control of the towns and cities it has lost, notably in the northern cities of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.

He also warned of the plans to bring neighbouring armies into northern Mali. “These armies, who are already committing serious violations in their countries, are most likely to do the same, or at least not behave in accordance to international law if they are in Mali,” he said.

According to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, the latest crisis has internally displaced nearly 230,000 Malians. An additional 144,500 Malians were already refugees in neighbouring countries.

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards says half the population of the town of Konna, some 5,000 people, sought as French bombs threatened to fall by fleeing across the River Niger.

In an ominous sign of more civilian casualties to come, and echoing the excuses for atrocities by invading armies against civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine in recent years, French military commanders are complaining of the difficulty in distinguishing fighters they are bombing from non-combatant populations. France’s army chief Edouard Guillaud told Reuters that France’s air strikes were being hampered because militants were using civilian populations as shields.

No to the war in Mali

The military attack in Mali was ordered by French President François Hollande, the winner of the 2012 election on behalf of the Socialist Party. His decision has been condemned by groups on the political left in France, including the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste and the Gauche anticapitaliste. The latter is a tendency with the Front de gauche (Left Front) that captured 11 percent of the first-round presidential vote last year.

Shockingly, the Left Front leadership group has come out in favour of the intervention. Deputy François Asensi spoke on behalf of the party leadership in the National Assembly on January 16 and declared, “The positions of the deputies of the Left Front, Communists and republicans, is clear: To abandon the people of Mali to the barbarism of fanatics would be a moral mistake…”

“International military action was necessary in order to avoid the installation of a terrorist state.”

His statement went on to complain that President Hollande did not bother to seek the approval of the National Assembly.

A January 12 statement by the French Communist Party (PCF), a component of the Left Front, said, “The PCF shares the concern of Malians over the armed offensive of the Jihadist groups towards the south of their country… The party recalls here that the response to the request for assistance by the president of Mali should have been made in the framework of a United Nations and African Union sponsorship, under the flag of the UN…”

Unlike the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government in 2004, which the PCF and Socialist Party supported at the time, France and its allies did not feel the need to obtain a rubber stamp of approval from the UN Security Council this time in Mali. But doing so would not have changed the predatory nature of this latest mission, just as it didn’t in Haiti.

 A January 15 statement by the Canadian Peace Alliance explains, “The real reason for NATO’s involvement is to secure strategic, resource rich areas of Africa for the West. Canadian gold mining operations have significant holdings in Mali as do may other western nations…

“It is ironic that since the death of Osama Bin Laden, the US military boasts that Al-Qaeda is on the run and has no ability to wage its war. Meanwhile, any time there is a need for intervention, there is suddenly a new Al-Qaeda threat that comes out of the woodwork. 

“Canada must not participate in this process of unending war.”

That’s a call to action which should be acted upon in the coming days and weeks as one of the poorest and most ecologically fragile regions of the world falls victim to deeper militarization and plundering.


Roger Annis is a social rights and trade union activist in Vancouver, B.C. He can be reached at rogerannis[at]hotmail[dot]com



Siehe auch:

Frankreichs Militär mordet in Mali
Der Ali in Mali – Schnell mal Krieg machen

Global: Club der Gürtelträger

Donnerstag, Juni 28th, 2012

“Euro-Krise bringt armen Ländern starke Verluste

Geschrieben von: Redaktion

Freitag, den 22. Juni 2012 um 11:12 Uhr

London. – Die Krise in der Euro-Zone verursacht in den Entwicklungsländern einen starken Rückgang bei Exporten, Investitionen, Rücküberweisungen von Migranten und bei der Entwicklungshilfe. Experten des britischen Overseas Development Institute (ODI) haben errechnet, dass sich die daraus resultierenden Verluste in den Jahren 2012 und 2013 auf insgesamt 238 Milliarden US-Dollar belaufen könnten. Dies könnte das Wirtschaftswachstum in den Ländern des Südens um durchschnittlich 0,5 Prozent senken.

Besonders anfällig für Auswirkungen der Krise in der Eurozone sind nach Angaben des ODI die Länder Mosambik, Kenia, Niger, Kamerun, die Kapverden und Paraguay. Die EU ist nach wie vor der größte Exportmarkt für ärmere Länder. Die meisten Importe der Entwicklungsländer kommen hingegen aus den “BRIC-Staaten” Brasilien, Russland, Indien und China.

Die ODI-Untersuchung nennt hinsichtlich der Abhängigkeit vielen Entwicklungsländer von der EU einige Beispiele. So gehen mehr als die Hälfte aller Exporte Marokkos, Mosambiks und Kameruns in europäische Länder. Die Kapverden exportieren sogar 90 Prozent ihrer Güter in die EU. 17 Prozent des Bruttoinlandsprodukts der Elfenbeinküste wird mit Exporten in die EU erwirtschaftet. Und Tadschikistans Bruttoinlandsprodukt hängt zu 40 Prozent von den Geldüberweisungen ab, die in der EU lebende Tadschiken nach Hause senden.


(Quelle: entwicklungspolitik online)

Europa: Medien schüren Xenophobie

Donnerstag, Mai 19th, 2011

“Media Complicit in Rise of Xenophobia

By Zoltán Dujisin

As European leaders increasingly question the concept of Europe without borders and follow each other in announcing the end of multiculturalism, the media response has been mostly to present migrants as destabilising Europe’s labour markets and welfare states.

The role of the media in the worsening image of migrants in Europe was debated in Budapest at a conference titled “Promoting Migrant Integration through Media and Intercultural Dialogue”.

The conference, organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union, ran from May 16-18, and was aimed at helping media representatives provide fair and balanced coverage of migration issues.

With far-right, anti-immigration parties gaining strength throghout Europe, journalists have been signalled as frequent accomplices to rising xenophobia:

“European public opinion is being pressed with the threat of a migration wave. Both politicians and journalists should recognise their mistakes,” Czech sociologist Ivan Gabal told participants.

Mircea Toma, president of Active Watch, a Romanian media monitory agency, mirrored a similar view: “Journalists often don’t look at events with an eagle eye, but rather with the same perspective as anyone in the population,” he said.

The increasing commercialisation of the mainstream media and the profit imperatives it imposes seem to be at the core of the lowering of quality in media coverage of migration related issues.

“We certainly need some transparency rules to see where the funding is coming from and what are the political groups involved,” Aidan White, former general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists told participants.

“There is a crisis within the media, a financial crisis that is reducing the quality of training, of journalism, and ultimately journalists’ capacity to tell complex stories.”

There is a harsh, competitive environment that is leading editors and journalists to violate codes of ethics. “If anti-immigration writing allows the media to stay in business, the media will go for it,” Milica Pesic, executive director of the U.K.-based Media Diversity Institute warned.

Still, blame should not be placed exclusively on the media, White said. “This is not just a problem of the media. Issues related to economic migration are complex, but lack of courage is leading to an unscrupulous form of politics. We are facing a general problem of societal anxiety about our healthcare, our education and our labour market.”

An anxiety which, participants agreed, has peaked with the Middle East revolts in general, and the Libyan crisis in particular.

Since the beginning of what some have termed the ‘Arab Spring’, “no more than 30,000 people have arrived in Europe, but the reaction has been surprising,” Kinga Goncz, vice-chair of the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee told the conference.

This is not a large number but from reading the media you would think it’s a huge number. There’s a paranoid fear that these people will overburden Europe, while actually some of the economies that are better recovering from the crisis, like Germany’s, require even more migrants,” she said.

The latest crisis has also underlined the ethnocentrism of European media. “Eight hundred thousand people, overwhelmingly migrant workers, have fled from Libya and gone mostly to Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Chad and Algeria. This indeed represents a migration crisis, but it is not affecting Europe yet,” Jean- Philippe Chauzy, head of the IOM’s Media and Communication Unit told IPS.

The message was, however, not that media should portray migrants positively; instead speakers stressed the need to ensure balanced and accurate reporting.

“Journalists have prejudices of their own,” Pesic said. “It’s very important to know the facts, figures and sources, but even when they have them, some papers will go out of their way to mislead.”

Concerns over lack of journalistic ethic were shared by more than one state official: “Journalists often have an agenda, in the ministries we often provide them with correct, written information and they still write it wrong or put things out of context,” Paulina Babis from the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy told IPS.

Yet some questioned why journalists would even begin by approaching officials and not give voice to those who remain mostly voiceless: “Migrants and their organisations should speak for migrants, not government officials,” White said.

“Journalists will go to the easiest available source, they don’t have time for much else. What we need is an alternative sources handbook that should be made available to them,” he suggested.

Journalists, civic actors and international and state officials agreed the solution lies in increased cooperation between the media and other societal actors.

Migration is a complex and changing issue and journalists have less and less time to develop expertise. They don’t have the resources to cover an issue which requires a comprehensive understanding of the context,” Chauzy said, speaking to IPS.

“The present context is one of economic downturn and growing unemployment, which is leading to polarisation. That’s why the media should get all the information it needs: biased coverage is less acceptable in an era when access to information is a lot easier than at any other time in history,” he said. (END)”


(Quelle: IPS News.)

Afghanistan: Nirgends geht es Müttern schlechter

Montag, Mai 9th, 2011

“Norway Best Place to be a Mother, Afghanistan Worst

As Mother’s Day is observed today in North America, a new report by Save the Children finds that Norway is the best place to be a mother and Afghanistan the worst.

The United States, meanwhile, comes in at #31 among the 43 developed countries ranked.

The findings are contained in Save the Children’s 12th annual Mothers’ Index, which analyzes health, education and economic conditions for women and children in 164 countries.

Other countries that ended at the top of the list are: Australia, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark. Competing with Afghanistan for worst rankings are: Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Chad, D.R Congo and Eritrea.

Explaining the last place ranking of Afghanistan, the report said: “It has the highest lifetime risk of maternal mortality and the lowest female life expectancy in the world. It also places second to last on skilled attendance at birth, under-5 mortality and gender disparity in primary education. Performance on most other indicators also places Afghanistan among the lowest-ranking countries in the world.”

With one of the most advanced health systems in the world, and a wealthy economy, the relatively low rank place of the United States may come as a surprise to some people. Save the Children explained that one of the key indicators used to calculate well-being for mothers is lifetime risk of maternal mortality.

Says the report: “The United States rate for maternal mortality is 1 in 2,100 – the highest of any industrialized nation.  In fact only three Tier I developed countries – Albania, the Russian Federation and Moldova – performed worst than the United States on this indicator.

A woman in the U.S. is more than seven times as likely as a woman in Italy or Ireland to die from pregnancy-related causes, and her risk of maternal death is 15-fold that of a woman in Greece.”

So what is the world to do to boost countries such as Afghanistan out of its lowest-ranking status? Save the Children suggests that governments and international agencies boost funding to improve education levels for women and girls, increase access to maternal and child health care and advance women’s economic opportunities. Current research and new studies on mothers’ and children’s well-being is also crucial. Finally, the US and other industrialized countries, governments and communities “need to work together to improve education and health care for disadvantaged mothers.” ‘


(Quelle: HUMNEWS.)

Niger: Atomkraft tötet – auch ohne Kernschmelze (HÖRTIPP)

Dienstag, Oktober 12th, 2010

“Die ‘saubere’ Lösung – Vom Niger und deutschen Atomkraftwerken

Die Atomkraft hat in Deutschland ein Comeback: Sie gilt als CO2-neutrale Energie. Kaum jemand spricht darüber, welche Energie man zur Aufbereitung der Brennstäbe braucht, woher das Uran kommt, und wie es abgebaut wird. Deutschland bezieht einen großen Teil des Urans für seine AKW aus dem westafrikanischen Wüstenstaat Niger.
Dort ist der französische Staatskonzern AREVA im Uran-Abbau federführend und betreibt seit rund vierzig Jahren Uranminen. Er ist einer der größten Arbeitgeber im Niger. Doch viele Menschen in der Region klagen über mysteriöse Krankheiten. Eine Spurensuche nach Kosten und Nutzen des Uranabbaus, nach Gewinnern und Verlieren, nach Verantwortlichkeiten und Profiteuren.”

Sender: WDR 5
Sendung: Dok 5 – Das Feature
Datum: 17.10.2010
Sendezeit: 11:05 – 12:00 Uhr


(Quelle: WDR 5.)