Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What new game, for the Sudan, shall we play?

People are already applauding the five American food ships diverted to Sudan. Of course, food aid has been arriving in that country already for many, many years. Usually, the Sudanese government has impeded distribution of food and relief supplies by imposing restrictions on the operating NGOs. I imagine that this same weapon will be used on this newest food influx.

I cannot help but remember a similar noble mission many years ago called “Operation Restore Hope.” Back in the early 1990s, then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, organized an effort for US troops to provide humanitarian aid to Somalia. Of course, few Americans realized that several oil companies including BP (Amoco), Chevron, Total, and ConocoPhillips, had leases for oil exploratory rights in Somalia. Nor were they easily aware that Conoco had claimed drilling success with nine exploratory wells though certainly, Somalia’s overall oil wealth was far from assured.

Since when has the American government ever given precedence to humanitarian concerns over those of global competitiveness? Is it possible that this present American administration, with Dick Cheney now as vice-president, is up to the same old game in the Sudan? Could their humanitarian interest actually be driven by oil? Is it possible that they might be jealous of the oil profits being made by non-American companies operating in the Sudan? Is it possible, that their actual concern is with Chinese dominance of the region’s oil through the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNCP)? Is this really all about trying to contain the machinations of the emerging global influence of China?

Far be it for me to mention that containing China's world influence was a principal strategic concern of this administration when it ascended to power. Who am I to point out that the Sudan is the CNPC's largest venture? Who am I to remind people about little details such as China’s new oil exploratory deals with Kenya and Nigeria? Who am I to point out that the present Sudan situation did not start suddenly a couple of years ago, as the American government would pretend, but back in the 1980s instead?

Perhaps you might take time to skim through this document about the Sudan. It’s about 600 pages long, but I think, by reading through it, you’ll start to get an idea of the true motives of this administration.

As usual, people seem to be celebrating a victory, but they don’t even know who the players are or even what game is being played. Judging by the picture above, I’m not even sure that there will be rules in this new game.
-Just a peasant

Photo of US soldier kicking and “restoring hope” to a Somali kid - from AIDA website