How America & Obama are confusing everyone about Syria and Assad

This video is courtesy of C-Span. It shows an American senator grilling fellow Senators and an Army General on America’s futile strategy in Syria and the Middle East. It will hopefully shed a bit of light on the complex system of alliances and conflicts that exist between the The West, states in the Middle East and Jihadist groups like ISIS.
Please watch and share.

And if you are still confused I have quoted here the following lines from Aubrey Bailey of Fleet, Hampshire, when she wrote in to the Daily Mail on September 5. She wrote:

“Are we confused by what is going on in the middle East? Let me explain.
We support the Iraqi government inthe fight against Islamic State. We don’t like IS, but IS is supported by Saudi Arabia, whom we do like.
We dont like President Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but not IS, which is also fighting against him.
We don’t like Iran but Iran supports the Iraqi government against IS. So, some of our friends support our enemies, and some of our enemies are our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies, whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.
If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might be replaced by people we like even less. And all this was started by us invading a country to drive out terrorists who weren’t actually there until we actually went in to drive them out. Do you understand now?”

How France loots its former colonies

By Siji Jabbar on January 24, 2013
From the original published here

— We try to keep a positive vibe going here at This Is Africa, but every so often you come across something that just paints your mood black. Some of you may already be aware of this, but if like us you’re hearing about this for the first time your jaw will drop. And it’ll probably raise the same BIG questions in your mind that it did in ours.

Incidentally, once you read this you’ll no longer wonder why French presidents and ministers are sometimes greeted by protests when they visit former French colonies in Africa, even if the protests are about other issues. Though what other issues could be more important than this one we have no idea.


14 African countries only ever have access to 15% of their own money!
Monetary bankruptcy
Just before France conceded to African demands for independence in the 1960s, it carefully organised its former colonies (CFA countries) in a system of “compulsory solidarity” which consisted of obliging the 14 African states to put 65% of their foreign currency reserves into the French Treasury, plus another 20% for financial liabilities. This means these 14 African countries only ever have access to 15% of their own money! If they need more they have to borrow their own money from the French at commercial rates! And this has been the case since the 1960s.

Believe it or not it gets worse.

France has the first right to buy or reject any natural resources found in the land of the Francophone countries.


So even if the African countries can get better prices elsewhere, they can’t sell to anybody until France says it doesn’t need the resources.

In the award of government contracts, French companies must be considered first; only after that can these countries look elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if the CFA countries can obtain better value for money elsewhere.

Presidents of CFA countries that have tried to leave the CFA zone have had political and financial pressure put on them by successive French presidents.

No escaping the CFA Zone
Thus, these African states are French taxpayers – taxed at a staggering rate – yet the citizens of these countries aren’t French and don’t have access to the public goods and services their money helps pay for.

CFA zones are solicited to provide private funding to French politicians during elections in France.

The above is a summary of an article we came across in the February issue of the New African (and from an interview given by Professor Mamadou Koulibaly, Speaker of the Ivorian National Assembly, Professor of Economics, and author of the book The Servitude of the Colonial Pact), and we hope they won’t mind us sharing it with you, so here goes:

The colonial pact
It is the Colonial Pact that set up the common currency for the Francophone countries, the CFA Franc, which demands that each of the 14 C.F.A member countries must deposit 65% (plus another 20% for financial liabilities, making the dizzying total of 85%) of their foreign exchange reserves in an “Operations Account” at the French Treasury in Paris.

The African nations therefore have only access to 15% of their own money for national development in any given year. If they are in need of extra money, as they always are, they have to borrow from their own 65% in the French Treasury at commercial rates. And that is not all: there is a cap on the credit extended to each member country equivalent to 20% of their public revenue in the preceding year. So if the countries need to borrow more than 20%, too bad; they cannot do it. Amazingly, the final say on the C.F.A arrangements belongs to the French Treasury, which invests the African countries’ money in its own name on the Paris Bourse (the stock exchange).

Ownership of natural resources
It is also the Colonial Pact that demands that France has the first right to buy or reject any natural resources found in the land of the Francophone countries. So even if the African countries could get better prices elsewhere, they cannot sell to anybody until France says it does not want to buy those natural resources.

The contract must go to a French company, which incidentally has quoted an astronomical price
It is, again, the Colonial Pact that demands that in the award of government contracts in the African countries, French companies should be considered first; only after that can Africans look elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if Africans can obtain better value for money elsewhere, French companies come first, and most often get the contracts. Currently, there is the awkward case in Abidjan where, before the elections, former president Gbagbo’s government wanted to build a third major bridge to link the central business district (called Plateau) to the rest of the city, from which it is separated by a lagoon. By Colonial Pact tradition, the contract must go to a French company, which incidentally has quoted an astronomical price – to be paid in euros or US dollars.

Not happy, Gbagbo’s government sought a second quote from the Chinese, who offered to build the bridge at half the price quoted by the French company, and – wait for this – payment would be in cocoa beans, of which Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer. But, unsurprisingly, the French said “non, you can’t do that”.

Overall the Colonial Pact gives the French a dominant and privileged position over Francophone Africa, but in Côte d’Ivoire, the jewel of the former French possessions in Africa, the French are overly dominant. Outside parliament, almost all the major utilities – water, electricity, telephone, transport, ports and major banks – are run by French companies or French interests. The same story is found in commerce, construction, and agriculture.

In short, the Colonial Pact has created a legal mechanism under which France obtains a special place in the political and economic life of its former colonies.

The big questions
In what meaningful way can any of the 14 CFA countries be said to be independent?

If this isn’t illegal and an international crime, then what is?

What is it going to take for this state of indentured servitude to end?

How much have the CFA countries lost as a result of this 50-year (and counting) “agreement”? (Remember, they’ve had to borrow their own money from the French at commercial rates)


Do French people know they’re living off the wealth of African countries and have been doing so for over half a century? And if they know, do they give a damn?

When will France start paying back money they’ve sucked from these countries, not only directly from the interest on cash reserves and loans these countries have had to take out, but also on lost earnings from the natural resources the countries sold to France below market rates as well as the lost earnings resulting from awarding contracts to French companies when other contractors could have done things for less?

Does any such “agreement” exist between Britain and its former colonies, or did they really let go when they let go?

Ory Okolloh explains why Africa can’t entrepreneur itself out of its basic problems

You can’t entrepreneur around bad leadership, we can’t entrepreneur around bad policy,”

One of Kenya’s best known tech investors Ory Okolloh has thrown cold water on the push for entrepreneurship and innovation on the continent. “You can’t entrepreneur around bad leadership, we can’t entrepreneur around bad policy,” Okolloh said, criticizing what she called the “fetishization” of entrepreneurship and neglect of fundamental problems hampering African countries. “There is growth in Africa but Africans are not growing,” she said echoing earlier comments she has made.

Speaking at the Quartz Africa Innovator’s summit, (Sept 14), Okolloh said:
“I’m concerned about what I see is the fetishization around entrepreneurship in Africa. It’s almost like it’s the next new liberal thing. Like, don’t worry that there’s no power because hey, you’re going to do solar and innovate around that. Your schools suck, but hey there’s this new model of schooling. Your roads are terrible, but hey, Uber works in Nairobi and that’s innovation.
During the Greek bail out, no one was telling young Greek people to go and be entrepreneurs. Europe has been stuck at 2% or 1% growth. I don’t see any any entrepreneurship summit in Europe telling them you know, go out there and be entrepreneurs. I feel that there’s a sense that oh, resilience and you know, innovate around things—it’s distracting us from dealing with fundamental problems that we cannot develop.

Those of us who have managed to entrepreneur ourselves out of it are living in a very false security in Africa. There is growth in Africa, but Africans are not growing.

We can’t entrepreneur our way around bad leadership. We can’t entrepreneur our way around bad policies. Those of us who have managed to entrepreneur ourselves out of it are living in a very false security in Africa. There is growth in Africa, but Africans are not growing. And we have to questions why is there this big push for us to innovate ourselves around problems that our leaders, our taxes, our policymakers, ourselves, to be quite frankly, should be grappling with.

Our systems need to work and we need to figure our shit out.”

… I think sometimes we are running away from dealing with the really hard things. And the same people who are pushing this entrepreneurship and innovation thing are coming from places where your roads work, your electricity works, your teachers are well paid. I didn’t see anyone entrepreneur-ing around public schooling in the US. You all went to public schools, you know, and then made it to Harvard or whatever. You turned on your light and it came on. No one is trying to innovate around your electricity power company. So why are we being made to do that? Our systems need to work and we need to figure our shit out.”

Originally published here

“Educated Africans do not make good politicians”


Nb. Google images results show Jacob Zuma’s picture as the first image that comes up when you type in “Educated African Leaders”

I was going thru my Facebook feed today and came across this post on Educated Africans in politics. See snapshot below.
I quickly found myself typing away a comment on my mobile phone and discovered that I had A LOT to say on the matter. Below is the contribution I came up with in a few seconds but believe you me I could have gone on and on and on and on.
Would you say I gave a fair comment, and would you care to engage with me on the subject here or on twitter @Webster_IM

“African politics is a type of politics that is not suited for educated people. It is a politics based on the Great Leader mentality, the one big thinker for the group. The “visionary” father who leads a mass of ignorant children whose only contribution is to vote when asked to. The children have to wear apparel with the great leader’s face imprinted on it and sing songs of how he eloquently often puts the white man in his place with words.
The great leader shall build universities but their graduates shall not be invited to parliament or to town house meetings. They shall be “youths” until they are 70 years old and survived a series of scandals that have nothing to do with their degrees. Thats when they can stand for parliament.
How does an educated citizen raise a fist in the air sloganeering “down with so and so”?
How does a university graduate play the African drum on the runway to welcome the great leader when he returns from the great indabas abroad?
Which chapter or page, in all his reading, tells him that he has to donate a goat to the great leader’s pen each time He comes round to his village constituency to give that campaign speech?
Can he dare remind the great leader that those men in uniform work for the people and not the great leader and his party?
Listen, madhodha: the brand of politics that is common across most of Africa is just not suited for the Learned citizen.
If he does make it to the high bench he will have to do only what he is told, even if it means staying in office for life, spewing out anti imperialist rhetoric drafted in the military barracks.”

Quick thoughts on presidential term limits and the political crisis in Burundi

Originally posted on An Africanist Perspective:

The president of Burundi is about (or not) to join the list of African leaders who have successfully overcome constitutional term limits in a bid to hang on to power. Currently (based on observed attempts in other African countries and their success rate) the odds are roughly 50-50 that Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza will succeed. The last president to try this move was Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso who ended up getting deposed by the military after mass protests paralyzed Burkina’s major cities.

Successful term limit extensions have so far happened in Burkina Faso (first time), Cameroon, Chad, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Namibia, Togo, and Uganda. Presidents have also tried, but failed, to abolish term limits in Burkina Faso (second time), Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia. Countries that are about to go through a term limit test in the near future include Angola, Burundi, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia…

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