Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Tuesday, March 05, 2002 Permanent link to this day
U.S. involvement in the Congo

U.S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo: on the Congo unrest of the late 1990s and the U.S. involvement in the region.

The United States' involvement in Congo since before independence from Belgium in June 1960 has been steady, sinister, and penetrating. Most notable was the CIA's role in the overthrow (September 1960) and later assassination (January 1961) of Congo's first Prime Minister, the charismatic (and socialist) Patrice Lumumba. The full extent of U.S. machinations was not known for years, but the failure at the time of the United Nations to protect Lumumba was patent. And questions continue to linger over the mysterious plane crash in September 1961 that killed U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold as he was flying to the border town of Ndola to meet with Moise Tshombe, president of the breakaway Katanga Province. The plane fell from the sky, killing all aboard. Is it any wonder that in Congo today there is little trust of Washington or respect for the United Nations?

[via abuddhas memes]

Expanding fronts

Following deployment of troops to the Phillipines to support their fight against Abu Sayyaf, the U.S. is sending troops to Georgia, the former Soviet republic. There are reports that portions of al-Qaeda have set up shop there. According to both U.S. and Georgian officials the troops are there to train and equip the Georgian military and won't participate in combat. The focus is on the Pankisi Gorge on the border with Chechnya, where Georgia has had problems for years. Russia raised a fuss at first but they are, at least officially, accepting the U.S. presence. This is due at least in part due to the hope that it will increase the stability in the area.

See also:

First, Georgia could become an important strategic outpost for the US, not only because of its proximity to hot spots in the Middle East and Central Asia, but also because it forms a key link in a chain of US military bases that now encircle Russia.

Second, US troops would be positioned to protect an important petroleum route that runs through Georgia from Caspian oil fields to Western markets. Taken together with new opportunities for an alternative route through Afghanistan and Pakistan, this could freeze current rivals, such as Russia and China, out of Caspian competition. This may account for Washington's concerns about a joint Russian-American operation in the Pankisi Gorge.

Though Georgia and Chechnya themselves contain limited oil and gas reserves, their territory is essential to both existing and proposed pipelines to carry oil and gas out of the Caspian basin west to Turkey and Europe.

The existing Russian pipeline, from Baku to Novorossiysk on the Black Sea, passes through Chechnya. U.S. oil companies, which have had difficulty dealing with the Russians, have proposed two alternative pipeline routes that pass through Georgia and Armenia. These pipelines would allow U.S. companies, and not Russian ones, to control oil and pipeline prices.

As for the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the USA considers it to be very important in the jihad against Saddam Hussein. America is not so much concerned about Al Qaeda militants and Chechens, it can hardly be said feeling guilty for the events in Chechnya, and thus willing to help Russia in the struggle with terrorists. Americans have already stopped talking about "Chechen patriots", but, at the same time, they are reluctant to help Russia. The USA needs Georgia for a victory over Hussein. Georgia is conferred the same role in the anti-Iraq war, as Pakistan had played in the hostilities against Taliban. If the US preparations go like this, experts say, we may expect a blow to be delivered against Iraq in the second part of March / beginning of April. And Georgia may come in handy for it. DEBKAfile reports, the USA will deliver air blows from three directions: Turkey and Georgia in the north, Jordan, Israel and Egypt (a large air base in Sharm-el-Sheikh) in the west, Oman, Bahrein, Yemen and Kuwait in the south.

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