(note: this also was posted at Foreign Policy In Focus)
By Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince
“The fate of Iraq is a sideshow, the terrorist threat is a red herring, and the radical Islamist’s dream of a worldwide jihad against the west is a fantasy, but the attempt to revive Pax Americana is real.”
The notion of “humanitarian intervention” by former imperialist and now neo-colonial powers is as old as the hills. One can trace such pretexts back far in modern history. Two examples, among many, suffice: the 1898 U.S. invasion of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines was done in the name of saving those peoples from the Spanish yoke. Hitler used it as the excuse to annex the Sudetenland regions of (then) Czechoslovakia to supposedly “save” the poor German residents of that country.
More recently, humanitarian interventionism has yet again gained currency, a needed pretext to extend empire or maintain its geo-political clout. Like all excuses for war-making, it hides the deeper political and economic factors for attacking a country, suggesting to the victims, that the aggression launched against them, are, really in the end, for their own good and that such intervention “preempts” worse suffering. In fact humanitarian interventionism is the doctrine of “pre-emptive military strikes” twin brother; they go together like a horse and carriage.
We are somewhat befuddled by the manner in which, all the same, so many, so willingly, fall for this and cannot see humanitarian interventionism for what it is? Read more…
Cameroon is a part and parcel of a larger system, set up by De Gaulle and his sidekick, Jacques Foccart during the 1950s and 1960s, the purpose of which was to insure that independence for France’s former African colonies would result in maintaining a French stranglehold over the countries’ resources and markets while feigning respect for African independence. Depending on whose point of view to be believed – it was either an on-going, never-ending success, or it has resulted in more than a half century of poverty, famine, and unending oppression. In fact many French people are quite proud of “France’s accomplishments” in Africa. Not so for many Cameroonians whose fate and sufferings rarely reach European/American eyes.
This is in part out of ignorance. Knowledge of France’s role on the continent is scant. Yes, there was Algeria…but wasn’t the horror inflicted on the Algerian people an exception – many French would ask? The media coverage of some of France’s other African ventures – Madagascar, Congo Brazzaville, Angola, Togo – and certainly, Cameroon – are hardly known. Africans, particularly those who have lived under the system known as Francafrique have a more somber view “France’s contribution to African development.” Wonder why?
Africans, particularly those who have lived under the system known as Francafrique have a more somber view “France’s contribution to African development.” Wonder why?
Ruben Um Nyobé, Félix Moumié, Ernest Ouandié, Albert Ndongmo…
Here in the USA these names ring virtually no bells. Not very many bells ring in France either, although given France’s role in squishing Cameroon’s legitimate anti-colonial movement – it took France 15 years – all of these should be household names. But in Africa, particularly the Cameroon where more than half a century after all of them were killed (minus Ndongmo), their memory as principled nationalists, as fallen leaders of their country’s independence movement from France, remains fresh, even vibrant, this despite efforts to slander their reputations and the movement for which they sacrificed their lives.
The gap between French rhetoric about supporting decolonization and its frenetic attempts to maintain economic and political control of its former colonies, especially in Africa could not be greater. There is a french word for this gap between the ideals of 1789 on the one hand and its efforts at all costs to dominate and control the economies of its former African colonies: `un gouffre‘ its called. In order to maintain this control while feigning support for African independence, the French systematically eliminated potential nationalist leaders, including the four Cameroon anti-colonial militants cited below and crushed independence movements – or tried to – with a ferocity and brutality of unspeakable proportions. The Algerian case is perhaps better known – in part because it is almost impossible to hide the torture and killing of nearly a million people in eight years. But there were other places, less known, where the French military stopped at nothing to destroy the challenges to their continued neo-colonial rule – Madagascar and Cameroon – examples hardly known outside Africa,. Several hundred thousand locals died in Madagascar struggling for independence; in the Cameroon, the figure might have reached close to 400,000 killed over a 15 years period before France and its local satraps finally snuffed out the light of democracy and African progress. These war crimes were hardly reported in the French press; the suppression of the independence movement in Cameroon was supported by all sectors of the French population, from right to left. It is only decades later that in drips and drabs, the outlines of the events have come to light.
The Cameroonian Nelson Mandela
Ruben Um Nyobé, founder and first leader of the Union des populations de Cameroun (UPC), was killed 55 years ago, on September 13, 1958 by French led counterinsurgency forces in the Cameroon hoping to neutralize the genuine nationalist movement Nyobé led. Although French and French Cameroon sources claimed he was killed in a skirmish with their forces, the events concerning his death have never been confirmed. Considered by many Cameroonians as nothing less than the George Washington of his country, Nyobé was one of a handful of African nationalists, considered of the caliber of Nelson Mandela. He is a part of a pantheon of African nationalists that includes Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Sylvanus Olympio (Togo), Barthélémy Boganda (Central African Republic), Thomas Sankara (Burkina Faso), all of whom, like Nyobé were killed, eliminated by French military, special forces or their local pawns. All understood that while France (or in the case of the Congo, Belgium) was willing to give African colonies titular independence, that Paris – most specifically Charles DeGaulle – would do everything in its power to retain political and economic control of these countries (and others) and their raw materials and strategic resources. A small volume of Nyobé’s writings “Ecrits Sous Maquis” appeared in 1989, published by Harmattan. Read more…
Obama Hesitates To Bomb Syria; KGNU – Hemispheres – September 24, 2013. Interview with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince
The link here is to a 59 minute interview on KGNU `Hemispheres’ program hosted by Jim Nelson with guest commentators Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. I consider it one of our better programs. We’ve been doing these programs on Middle East developments with Jim Nelson for three years now. This one deals mostly with the Obama Administration’s change of direction towards Syria. Several weeks ago, by all appearances, the United States was on the verge of bombing Syria, punishing it for allegedly having used chemical weapons (serin gas) against its own people on August 21, 2013 resulting in the deaths of 1400 people. The Syrian government denied the charge , the Obama Administration, despite much bluster and `assurances’ that it had the proof, never provided it. In any case, suddenly a change of course with what could be the beginnings of a negotiating process possibly in the making. American hawks, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, AIPAC types having something approaching apoplexy that the bombing did not take place.
by James M. Wall
Monday, September 9, was planned as a day for the White House to persuade Congress to support military strikes on Syria. The highlight of the day's "persuade Congress" plan was a White House appearance by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
After a luncheon meeting with President Obama, Clinton pledged her every effort to gain "yes" votes from Congress for a military attack.
Note: Reproduced here is an open letter to the administration of the University of Denver from the faculty of the Korbel School of International Studies. As can be noted, it is dated July 5, 2013, some two months ago. It was signed by some 24 full time faculty members, most tenured faculty, some lecturers. To my knowledge, it was never formally answered.
Two days from today, on Monday, September 9, 2013, George W. Bush will indeed speak at the annual Korbel dinner and receive some kind of award there. While there was never any question among the signers of denying Bush an opportunity to speak, the fact that he would receive an award, given the wars he unleashed against the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq in violation of international law, his support and that of his administration, for torture, was openly opposed by much of the Korbel faculty.
To: Chancellor Robert Coombe, Provost Gregg Kvistad, and Dean Christopher Hill
Re: Award to President George W. Bush
Date: July 5, 2013
We, all faculty members at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, have recently learned from the Korbel School’s website, from a memo of July 2nd from Dean Hill and from a petition organized by students and alumni of the school with over 1000 signatures (http://www.change.org/petitions/dean-christopher-hill-josef-korbel-school-of-international-studies-rescind-george-w-bush-s-improving-the-human-condition-award) that former US President George W. Bush is to be honored with an award at the Korbel School’s annual Korbel Dinner in September 2013. According to the website, an award is to be given in the name of the Korbel School and the University of Denver.
When we first learned of the award to the former President, “for improving the human condition,” we were shocked, disappointed, and embarrassed in light of his administration’s decisions to repudiate the US’ responsibilities as a signatory of the UN’s Convention against Torture by authorizing the use of waterboarding of prisoners. President Bush’s culpability is a matter of public evidence and personal admission. Indeed, President Bush affirms waterboarding in an interview with Matt Lauer which can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjUasA6xeVc. The relevant international treaty obligations and obligations under American law are indicated at the bottom of this letter.
We are extremely proud as faculty members that the Korbel School has long been recognized globally for its leadership in the area of international human rights theory and practice and human development; that the Korbel School has long aimed to nurture students who are “practical idealists”; that the Korbel School has a long and fruitful relationship with the Peace Corps, an institution to which so many of our students and our Dean remain deeply connected; and that the University of Denver is an institution that is explicitly dedicated to promoting “the public good” and ethical behavior. Read more…
Russian Information Agency Novosti
September 5, 2013
Russia Questions IAEA on Syrian Nuclear Risks
Click to enlarge
MOSCOW: Russia has handed over an official request to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to analyze potential nuclear risks of a US airstrike on Syria, a Russian diplomat said Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow would raise the issue at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors on Monday.