a new war for oil and minerals

President Obama's October 2011 announcement that the US is sending military "advisors" to Uganda is the next step in the unveiling of AFRICOM, the "Africa Command" created at the end of the George W. Bush administration. This website predicted before Obama's "election" that a motive for his selection was to increase US presence in Africa (and Obama is a much better salesperson for this job than McCain could have been). OilEmpire did not predict that the US would attack Gaddafi and Libya, especially since Gaddafi had become a US ally (again - he played all sides).

Uganda just discovered maybe 2 billion barrels of oil. That's not much, only about a month's worth of global consumption. It's enough to either raise the standard of living for everyone in Uganda (at least until it's gone) or to make a few people in Uganda very rich. Uganda also has a lot of fancy minerals just sitting in the ground waiting for western companies to extract them.

It doesn't hurt the US campaign that the "Lord's Resistance Army" the US will be tracking down is a truly disgusting, apolitical terror group that is about as insane as the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot (fortunately without much chance of taking over Uganda). No one who understands what the LRA has been doing to rural Ugandans is going to rush to their defense. It will be easy for Obama to sell this new intervention as humanitarian.

Mark Robinowitz
October 20, 2011

Uganda: Scramble for Minerals Begins

Ibrahim Kasita
20 May 2010

Kampala — Foreign firms are rushing to get hold of mineral deposits as prices continue to rise due to economic recovery.

Firms from China, India, Australia and South Africa have shown interest in exploring and producing the minerals.

"We have really attracted significant investors both abroad and local ones. They are all doing well," Joshua Tuhumwire, the commissioner in charge of geology department in the ministry of mineral development, said.

The revelations come shortly after an aerial survey report confirmed that Uganda is endowed with copper, iron ore, cobalt, tin, gold as well as platinum.

There is anticipation for Foreign Direct Investment in the mineral exploration sector in the Great Lakes region as China looks for raw materials to oil its growing economy.

China's entry into Africa is seen as catalyst for renewed interest in Africa by the European Union and US to undermine China's emerging influence due its non-political interference policy on investments in Africa and the potential for monopoly access to energy and mineral resources.

China is not alone in searching for mineral supply. Already the Russians have installed a 1.5m gold refinery in Kampala to process gold within Uganda as well as from the region.

October 17, 2011, 2:02 pm
Limbaugh Defends Lord's Resistance Army
Updated | 2:54 p.m.

Apparently sensing an opportunity to tarnish President Obama's standing with listeners who were unaware of the suffering caused by the African rebels who call themselves the Lord's Resistance Army, Rush Limbaugh responded to the president's deployment of 100 military advisers to combat the group in central Africa on Friday in a segment of his radio show headlined, "Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians."

Mr. Limbaugh began his discussion of the group — described by my colleagues Thom Shanker and Rick Gladstone as "a notorious renegade group that has terrorized villagers in at least four countries with marauding bands that kill, rape, maim and kidnap with impunity" — by explaining that the "Lord" referred to in their name is not someone named Lord, but "God." He said:

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord's Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord's Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord's Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. It means God.

Overlooking the detailed record of their brutality and bizarre practices, Mr. Limbaugh then added: "They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops, to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda."

After suggesting that Mr. Obama "supported" violence against Coptic Christians by Muslims in Egypt, Mr. Limbaugh then read aloud what he called the "Lord's Resistance Army objectives."

I have them here. "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people." Now, again Lord's Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord's Resistance Army, what they're trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the L.R.A. ideology." Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting.

The conservative host, who has previously demonstrated a fondness for sharing information found on Wikipedia with listeners, even when it is incorrect or misleading, appears to have taken this list of objectives from a defense of the Lord's Resistance Army delivered by one of its leaders 14 years ago, which is featured in the online encyclopedia's entry on the group's ideology.

Mr. Limbaugh did not mention that the speech defending the rebel group was made in 1997 at a peace conference, organized by members of the ethnic group the Lord's Resistance Army claims to represent, who characterized the conflict in northern Uganda this way: "The L.R.A. has abducted thousands of people, mainly children, tortured and murdered; and looted and destroyed property. The government army has not been able to provide adequate protection to the civilian population."

In response to Mr. Limbaugh's defense of the Lord's Resistance Army, Matthew Yglesias, who blogs for the liberal Think Progress site, quoted from a Human Rights Watch report detailing a brutal attack by the group. Mr. Yglesias argued: "I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not chasing a relatively small band of depraved mass murderers around Central Africa is a reasonable thing for American military personnel to be doing. But let's make no mistake — these are depraved mass murderers."

From the opposite end of the political spectrum, Erick Ericksonm the editor-in-chief of the conservative Web site wrote on Sunday night: "In the past 72 hours, I have gotten lots of e-mails from lots of people who should know better asking me if I've heard about Barack Obama sending American troops to Africa to go after the Lord's Resistance Army. The people hearing the name assume it is a Christian group fighting radical Islamists in the Sudan or some such. It is no such thing." He added: "The group has notoriously gone through Uganda capturing children and turning them into soldiers and, when not successful, murdering them. The group engages in sex trafficking, slavery, murder, mutilation, and the list goes on and on."

Oct 18, 2011

Obama, the king of Africa
By Pepe Escobar

If United States President Barack Obama really wanted to get rid of the new bogeyman du jour, Uganda's Joseph Kony - a former altar boy turned mystical Christian prophet/politico, sporting at least 60 wives - he would order US Attorney General Eric "The Fast and the Furious" Holder to concoct a plot subcontracting the hit to a lunatic Iranian linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

Plan B would be to order the United Nations to tell the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to impose a no-fly zone over Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) "rebels", and then bomb them to oblivion.

Plan C would be to drone the LRA to death with a fleet of MQ-9 Reapers; yet the nearest US drone base is very far away, in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.

As no unsuspecting Mexicans were available, and the "rebels" in this case are the bad guys, Obama settled for the classic imperial option; he pulled an AfPak and ordered a surge cum boots on the ground, sending 100 US Special Forces to help a corrupt dictator - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni - crush his local bunch of "rebels".

Anyone may be excused to see Uganda as Libya upside down - because that's exactly what it is; the dictator in this case gets a good guy billing - one of "our bastards" - while the "rebels" have a pact with the devil. But is that all there is?

I got an urge to surge

The reality in Uganda is an absolute, murderous mess. As much as the LRA "rebels", Museveni's government (helped by Washington) has also perpetrated horrendous massacres against civilians. Kony may even be an amateur compared to Museveni - a sort of dictator for life who has just supervised the displacement and mass murder of at least 20,000 Ugandans on behalf of British corporations. Additionally, Museveni basically stole the Ugandan elections early this year.

Obama's Uganda surge should be seen as a crucial exchange of favors with Museveni - who has sent thousands of Ugandan troops to the African Union (AU) force that is fighting the hardcore Islamist al-Shabaab in Somalia. So while Uganda fights a proxy war for the US in Somalia, Washington helps the dictator to get rid of the LRA "rebels". No wonder the Pentagon is quite fond of Uganda; Museveni recently got $45 million in equipment, including four small drones.

The LRA - a ragged bunch of hardcore Christian fundamentalists - is based in northern Uganda but spread out between four countries, including the new South Sudan and Congo, in Central Africa. They carry no heavy weapons. They don't stand a chance of destabilizing the Ugandan government - much less being a "national security" threat to the US. Bogeyman Kony may be in hiding somewhere along the immense Sudan-Congo border, with no more than 400 warriors left.

Uganda's proximity to the new country of South Sudan is key in the whole equation. So far, for Northern Sudan the LRA has been a convenient, weaponized firewall against Western puppet Museveni. But most of all, this whole area is prime real estate where the fierce battle between China and the Americans/Europeans plays out, centered on oil and minerals, all part of the Great 21st Century African Resource War.

Behold the mineral kingdom

That brings us to Uganda as a new land of opportunity. Ah, the sheer scale of humanitarian warmongering possibilities. For a semblance of success, the initial steps of Obama's African surge would have to include a military base with a long runway attached, and a mini-Guantanamo to imprison the "terrorists". If that sounds too good to be true, that's because it is; think of the Pentagon's Africom headquarters soon entertaining the possibility of time-traveling from Stuttgart, Germany, to somewhere in Uganda.

Any student of realpolitik knows the US doesn't do "humanitarian" interventions per se. Africom's surge parallels the real name of the game; precious minerals - and mining. Uganda - and nearby eastern Congo - happens to hold fabulous quantities of, among others, diamonds, gold, platinum, copper, cobalt, tin, phosphates, tantalite, magnetite, uranium, iron ore, gypsum, beryllium, bismuth, chromium, lead, lithium, niobium and nickel. Many among these are ultra-precious rare earth - of which China exercises a virtual monopoly.

The mineral rush in Africa is already one of the great resource wars of the 21st century. China is ahead, followed by companies from India, Australia, South Africa and Russia (which, for instance, has set up a fresh gold refinery in Kampala). The West is lagging behind. The name of the game for the US and the Europeans is to pull no punches to undermine China's myriad commercial deals all across Africa.

Then there's the inescapable Pipelineistan angle. Uganda may hold "several billion barrels of oil", according to Heritage Oil's Paul Atherton, part of a recent, largest-ever on-shore oil discovery in sub-Saharan Africa. That implies the construction of a $1.5 billion, 1,200 kilometer long pipeline to Kampala and the coast of Kenya. Then there's another pipeline from "liberated" South Sudan. Washington wants to make sure that all this oil will be exclusively available for the US and Europe.

Obama, the King of Africa

The Obama administration insists the 100 special forces will be "advisers" - not combat troops. Think of Vietnam in the early 1960s; it started with "advisers" - and the rest is history. Now, the "advisers" are even expected to fan out from Uganda to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

And it's not even the first time this happens. George W Bush tried the same thing in 2008. It ended in unmitigated disaster because of - what else is new - corruption inside the Ugandan army. Kony was tipped off and escaped hours before an attack on his camp.

So on the surface, we have an uplifting narrative of the first black US president deeply disturbed by the "humanitarian crisis" in yet another African nation, Uganda; i n the perfect cover story for Anglo satrapy Uganda will be propped up as an advanced base for Washington to plunge a dagger inside Islamic Africa.

The official Washington spin hammers the fact that the LRA has "murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children". Now compare it to devastation perpetrated by Washington, over two decades, on Iraq; at least 1.4 million people killed directly and indirectly, millions of refugees, a Sunni-Shi'ite civil war still in effect and the eastern flank of the Arab nation virtually destroyed.

And compare it to the thunderous silence of the Obama White House as racist eastern Libya "rebels" round up, harass, torture and even snuff out sub-Saharan Africans.

Africa has been fighting like forever against multiple strands of the great white genocidal slave master, aided and abetted by multiple strands of the subservient black dictator/kleptocrat - just to be presented in the early 21st century with an American president of direct African descent who has nothing better to offer than special forces, drones, a militarization surge and hypocrisy-laced "humanitarian" intervention.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

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