Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Africa, Materie Prime

Guinea. Simandou. La Cina sta acquisendo la principale fonte mondiale di ferro.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-08-03.

2022-08-03__ Simandou 001

Il termine ‘iron ore’ è generico e spesso ambiguo: si riferisce al ferro estrattivo indipendentemente dalla concentrazione del metallo. È evidente che maggiore sia la concentrazione minori siano i costi di raffinazione.

Con il sistema economico in piena espansione, la Cina necessita di oltre un miliardo di tonnellate di ferro all’anno.

La sua produzione interna è del tutto insufficiente e, per di più, l’estratto è di bassa qualità. A questo consegue un maggiore costo di raffinazione.

Le miniere di Simandou estraggono minerale di alta qualità, con una concentrazione superiore al 60%. e sono stimate contenere oltre la metà delle scorte mondiali.

Da anni la Cina tesse la sua rete politica e diplomatica per assicurarsi il controllo di Simandou, ed adesso sembrerebbe essere alla conclusione dell’accordo.

* * *

Guinea. Ha le maggiori intonse scorte di materiali ferrosi, che tutti vorrebbero. – Caixin

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Perché alla Cina interessa l’Africa

Gruppo Wagner. La entità che non esiste ma agisce. Figlio negletto mai riconosciuto.

Cina. Ferro. Importa circa il 70% del materiale estratto a livello mondiale.

* * * * * * *

L’importanza del Simandou risiede nella sua capacità di fornire ai principali consumatori di minerale di ferro, come la Cina, un’alternativa alle principali fonti di approvvigionamento come l’Australia e il Brasile.

Due consorzi hanno dichiarato che cercheranno finanziamenti per costruire più di 600 chilometri di infrastrutture ferroviarie che si estendono dal sud al sud-ovest della Guinea e infrastrutture portuali nella prefettura di Forecariah, nella Guinea Marittima.

A regime, Simandou sarebbe in grado di esportare fino a 100 milioni di tonnellate di minerale di ferro all’anno, rivaleggiando con i volumi di produzione di pesi massimi australiani come Fortescue Metals e della mega-mineraria brasiliana Vale.

Ma le future miniere della Guinea, che si estendono in quattro blocchi su due lotti settentrionali e meridionali e su oltre 100 chilometri di terreno accidentato e delicato.

Ma mercoledì i due consorzi proprietari dei quattro blocchi, Winning Consortium Simandou e Rio Tinto Simfer, e il governo guineano hanno concordato di sviluppare congiuntamente le infrastrutture multiutente per Simandou, un passo avanti nel progresso delle operazioni minerarie.

I due consorzi hanno dichiarato che cercheranno finanziamenti per costruire più di 600 chilometri di infrastrutture ferroviarie che si estendono dal sud al sud-ovest della Guinea, nonché infrastrutture portuali nella prefettura di Forecariah, nella Guinea Marittima.

Il Consorzio Winning Simandou comprende la società di Singapore Winning International Group, la società cinese Weiqiao Aluminum e la United Mining Suppliers International.

La presenza di società cinesi nelle operazioni di Simandou indica la speranza di Pechino di esplorare e diversificare ulteriormente le proprie fonti di minerale di ferro.

Togliere potere di mercato a società come BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale e Fortescue non è un’idea nuova in Cina.

L’ulteriore punto di forza di Simandou è il minerale di altissima qualità, con un contenuto di ferro del 65%. La maggior parte dei minatori australiani e brasiliani tende a esportare minerali tradizionali con un contenuto del 60%-62%.

* * * * * * *

«Simandou’s significance lies in its ability to provide major iron ore consumers such as China with an alternative to top supply sources like Australia and Brazil»

«Two consortiums say they will seek financing to construct more than 600 kilometers of rail infrastructure extending from the south to the southwest of Guinea as well as port infrastructure in the Forecariah prefecture in Maritime Guinea»

«When fully operational, Simandou would be able to export up to 100 million tonnes of iron ore a year, rivaling the production volumes of Australian heavyweights such as Fortescue Metals and Brazilian mega-miner Vale»

«But the future Guinea mines, stretched across four blocks on two northern and southern parcels and over 100 kilometers of rough and sensitive terrain»

«But on Wednesday, the two consortium owners of the four blocks, Winning Consortium Simandou and Rio Tinto Simfer, and the Guinean government, agreed to co-develop multi-user infrastructure for Simandou, a step forward in progressing mining operations»

«The two consortiums say they will seek financing to construct more than 600 kilometers of rail infrastructure extending from the south to the southwest of Guinea as well as port infrastructure in the Forecariah prefecture in Maritime Guinea»

«Winning Consortium Simandou comprises Singaporean company, Winning International Group; Chinese company, Weiqiao Aluminum; and United Mining Suppliers International»

«The presence of Chinese companies in the Simandou operations point to Beijing’s hope to further explore and diversify its iron ore sources»

«Taking market power away from the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale and Fortescue is not a new idea in China»

«Simandou’s additional point of difference lies in its top quality ore, which have 65% iron content. Most of the miners in Australia and Brazil tend to export traditional 60% to 62% content ores»

* * * * * * *


China is one small step closer to getting alternative iron ore supply from Simandou

– Simandou’s significance lies in its ability to provide major iron ore consumers such as China with an alternative to top supply sources like Australia and Brazil.

– Two consortiums say they will seek financing to construct more than 600 kilometers of rail infrastructure extending from the south to the southwest of Guinea as well as port infrastructure in the Forecariah prefecture in Maritime Guinea.

– When fully operational, Simandou would be able to export up to 100 million tonnes of iron ore a year, rivaling the production volumes of Australian heavyweights such as Fortescue Metals and Brazilian mega-miner Vale. 

* * * * * * *

The development of one of the largest untapped high-grade iron ore deposits in the world in Guinea, Simandou, has moved a step forward after miners struck a deal to develop key infrastructure at the West African location. 

Simandou’s significance lies in its ability to provide major iron ore consumers such as China with an alternative to top supply sources like Australia and Brazil, creating raw material diversification for Chinese and other steel mills while offering coveted higher-quality ore. 

But the future Guinea mines, stretched across four blocks on two northern and southern parcels and over 100 kilometers of rough and sensitive terrain, are notoriously difficult to develop, resulting in years of delays and a production stalemate.

But on Wednesday, the two consortium owners of the four blocks, Winning Consortium Simandou and Rio Tinto Simfer, and the Guinean government, agreed to co-develop multi-user infrastructure for Simandou, a step forward in progressing mining operations. 

“WCS and Rio Tinto Simfer are committed to co-develop the rail and port infrastructures in line with internationally recognised environmental, social and governance standards,” a statement by the consortium owners and the Guinean government said. 

“The infrastructure constitutes the backbone of the Simandou project, that presents a significant opportunity for the economic growth of the Republic of Guinea, in addition to the mining activities it will support.”

The two consortiums say they will seek financing to construct more than 600 kilometers of rail infrastructure extending from the south to the southwest of Guinea as well as port infrastructure in the Forecariah prefecture in Maritime Guinea.

The inked deal comes after several rounds of delays which saw the Guinean government again suspend activities at Simandou last month when both consortium parties failed to reach a deadline. 

Winning Consortium Simandou comprises Singaporean company, Winning International Group; Chinese company, Weiqiao Aluminum; and United Mining Suppliers International.

The Simfer joint venture comprises Simfer S.A., owned by the Government of Guinea, and Simfer Jersey, which is made up of Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Group and Chinese group Chalco Iron Ore Holdings.

The presence of Chinese companies in the Simandou operations point to Beijing’s hope to further explore and diversify its iron ore sources, given its heavy dependence on Australian ore in particular. 

China has been importing about 60% of its total from Down Under. Another 20% comes from Brazil, according to Chinese customs figures.

However, frail relations between China and Australia in recent years have ignited a debate over China’s desire to push forward with the Simandou project

“China is particularly exposed to international iron ore prices given it only produces 15% to 20% of the iron ore it consumes,” said Vivek Dhar, a mining and energy commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, in a note last week.

“Taking market power away from the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale and Fortescue is not a new idea in China.”

Alongside expediting new sources of iron ore, Dhar said China is attempting to control its iron ore supply by centralizing purchases of the material rather than allowing steel mills to do so in a piecemeal fashion, although that project might be hard to coordinate.

When fully operational, Simandou would be able to export up to 100 million tonnes of iron ore a year, rivaling the production volumes of Australian heavyweights such as Fortescue and Brazilian mega-miner Vale. 

Simandou’s additional point of difference lies in its top quality ore, which have 65% iron content. Most of the miners in Australia and Brazil tend to export traditional 60% to 62% content ores. Higher iron ore content means better yield and profits for miners. 

Simandou is expected to start production in 2025, although the project has had a checkered history of delays in the past two decades that also involved scandals such as bribery and corruption.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia, Stati Uniti

Russia. Più della metà degli stati africani ha appoggiato la Russia in sede UN.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-08-02.

Lavron e Putin che ridono 001

Il problema è semplice.

«when the 193-member General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine, 35 countries — roughly half from Africa, including South Africa and Senegal — abstained …. Others, like Ethiopia and Morocco didn’t vote at all»

Più della metà degli stati africani ha appoggiato la Russia in sede UN.

I liberal democratici si domandano stupefatti come mai possa essere successo un fatto del genere.

Se i liberal non fossero liberal lo avrebbero capito più che bene.

«None of the stops feature high up in democratic rankings either, so it’s been less a triumph than a round of autocratic nations happy to get a boost from a like-minded government  …. The trouble is that’s been enough»

«It’s a resource-rich region that Europe sees as its backyard»

Si sono dati la risposta da soli.

I liberal occidentali hanno sempre visto i paesi americani come stati nei quali fare tutto ciò che volevano, imponendo sempre l’adesione alla ideologia liberal, dall’aborto agli lgbt e depredandoli delle loro risorse.

Nulla da stupirsi quindi del successo della Russia. L’articolo allegato è un capolavoro della mistica liberal.

* * * * * * *


Dall’invasione dell’Ucraina a febbraio, non c’è dubbio che la Russia abbia trovato nel Sud globale partner più amichevoli, o esteriormente neutrali, di quanto l’Occidente vorrebbe.

Quando l’Assemblea Generale dei 193 membri ha votato una risoluzione di condanna dell’invasione dell’Ucraina, 35 Paesi – circa la metà africani, tra cui Sudafrica e Senegal – si sono astenuti ….. Altri, come Etiopia e Marocco, non hanno votato affatto.

I legami anticoloniali di epoca sovietica giocano a favore di Mosca, insieme a una diffusa sfiducia nei confronti dell’Occidente …. Non meno cruciali sono i legami con la difesa e la sicurezza: ciò che manca al Cremlino in termini di capacità di investimento (e non si avvicina ai miliardi della Cina per le infrastrutture) è compensato dalla vendita di armi e da appaltatori militari privati, senza che vengano poste domande imbarazzanti. La Russia è anche un esportatore chiave di grano e fertilizzanti per una regione vulnerabile che ha bisogno di entrambi. Nazioni come l’Egitto, prima tappa del tour di Lavrov, non hanno bisogno di ricordare i pericoli dell’impennata dell’inflazione alimentare.

Non ci sono promesse di denaro vistose da parte di una nazione che sta lottando per espandere la propria economia sottoposta a sanzioni, e mentre l’Egitto è un partner commerciale importante – c’è un motivo per cui il suo leader ha fatto un’apparizione virtuale al raduno Davos-lite del presidente Vladimir Putin a giugno – gli altri lo sono meno.

Nessuno degli scali si trova in cima alle classifiche democratiche, quindi non si è trattato tanto di un trionfo quanto di una serie di nazioni autocratiche felici di ricevere una spinta da un governo che la pensa come loro.

Il problema è che questo è stato sufficiente. Per aiutare l’Africa e schiacciare la Russia, questa situazione deve cambiare.

È una regione ricca di risorse che l’Europa vede come il suo cortile di casa, con governi spesso deboli che rendono relativamente poco costoso portare avanti gli interessi di Mosca (e quelli di stretti collaboratori del Cremlino che beneficiano di accordi sulle risorse e sulla sicurezza).

La Russia ha rappresentato il 44% delle vendite di armi all’Africa nel periodo 2017-21.

Non basta torcere le mani a Bruxelles e Washington quando il capo dell’Unione Africana fa commenti fuorvianti sulle sanzioni occidentali e si presta ai giochi della fame di Putin. A quel punto, è troppo tardi.

* * * * * * *

 «Since its invasion of Ukraine in February, there’s no question that Russia has found more friendly, or outwardly neutral, partners in the Global South than the West would like»

«when the 193-member General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine, 35 countries — roughly half from Africa, including South Africa and Senegal — abstained …. Others, like Ethiopia and Morocco didn’t vote at all»

«Soviet-era, anti-colonial ties work to Moscow’s advantage here, along with a widespread distrust of the West ….

«No less crucially, there are defense and security links — what the Kremlin lacks in investment capacity (and it doesn’t come near China’s billions for infrastructure) it makes up for in weapons sales and private military contractors, no awkward questions asked. Russia is also a key exporter of grain and fertilizer to a vulnerable region badly in need of both. Nations like Egypt, the first stop on Lavrov’s tour, need little reminding of the dangers of soaring food inflation.»

«There are no flashy cash promises from a nation struggling to expand its own sanctioned economy, and while Egypt is a significant trade partner — there’s a reason its leader made a virtual appearance at President Vladimir Putin’s Davos-lite gathering in June — others are less so»

«None of the stops feature high up in democratic rankings either, so it’s been less a triumph than a round of autocratic nations happy to get a boost from a like-minded government»

«The trouble is that’s been enough»

«To help Africa and squeeze Russia, that must change.»

«It’s a resource-rich region that Europe sees as its backyard, with often-weak governments that make it relatively inexpensive to advance Moscow’s interests (and those of close Kremlin associates benefitting from resource and security deals).»

«Russia accounted for 44% of weapons sales to Africa in 2017-21»

«It isn’t enough to wring hands in Brussels and Washington when the head of the African Union makes misleading comments on Western sanctions and plays into Putin’s hunger games. By then, it’s far too late»

* * * * * * *


Is Russia Winning the Battle for African Support?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s charm offensive in Africa this week, part of efforts to rally support in the face of growing isolation, has prompted fresh Western hand-wringing. Is Moscow gaining ground in the emerging world? Why can’t African nations see that Russia is waging a war of conquest? On the other side, predictably, it fed propaganda bombast. “Russia is winning the fight for Africa,” one state television presenter told viewers. “The tour has turned out to be a triumphal march.”

Both are wide of the mark.

Since its invasion of Ukraine in February, there’s no question that Russia has found more friendly, or outwardly neutral, partners in the Global South than the West would like. Kenya gave a rousing speech at the Security Council laying out the dangerous implications of Russian irredentism, but when the 193-member General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine, 35 countries — roughly half from Africa, including South Africa and Senegal — abstained. Others, like Ethiopia and Morocco didn’t vote at all.

Soviet-era, anti-colonial ties work to Moscow’s advantage here, along with a widespread distrust of the West, nurtured by expanding Russian disinformation campaigns framing the war as the rich world against the rest. No less crucially, there are defense and security links — what the Kremlin lacks in investment capacity (and it doesn’t come near China’s billions for infrastructure) it makes up for in weapons sales and private military contractors, no awkward questions asked. Russia is also a key exporter of grain and fertilizer to a vulnerable region badly in need of both. Nations like Egypt, the first stop on Lavrov’s tour, need little reminding of the dangers of soaring food inflation.

Still, his destinations — Egypt, Uganda, Republic of Congo and Ethiopia — say a lot about the limits of the Kremlin’s endeavor. Russia’s constrained means (and Africa’s patchwork of political systems) force it to take a selective approach. There are no flashy cash promises from a nation struggling to expand its own sanctioned economy, and while Egypt is a significant trade partner — there’s a reason its leader made a virtual appearance at President Vladimir Putin’s Davos-lite gathering in June — others are less so. None of the stops feature high up in democratic rankings either, so it’s been less a triumph than a round of autocratic nations happy to get a boost from a like-minded government.

The trouble is that’s been enough. Too few African nations have seen the benefit of getting off the fence, and that’s as much about nonaligned traditions and Russia’s historic might as it is about Western disengagement. It’s not that Europe and the United States are absent — French President Emmanuel Macron has just completed a tour of Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau — but they have proven easily distracted by other demands. They tend to portray Africa as a geopolitical battleground, and their investment priorities do not always align with the continent’s own. After a diplomatic retreat during the Trump years, US embassies remain understaffed, and a US-Africa leaders summit announced last year (the second, after a first in 2014) has only just been scheduled for the end of 2022. Not to mention the blunder of attempting to portray the crisis in Ukraine as a war of values to a continent that has seen plenty of evidence of Western hypocrisy.

To help Africa and squeeze Russia, that must change.

It’s clear what Russia, in need of friends and trading partners, gets out of Africa. It’s a resource-rich region that Europe sees as its backyard, with often-weak governments that make it relatively inexpensive to advance Moscow’s interests (and those of close Kremlin associates benefitting from resource and security deals).

But what’s in it for the vast majority of Africans? Russia amounts to a sliver of foreign direct investment into Africa, less than 1% in 2020, and its stagnant economy is not going to thrive any time soon, as the Kremlin prioritizes Putin’s imperial delusions over growth. Import restrictions, Moscow’s removal from international payment systems, a lack of innovation and research make it an unlikely partner in anything other than resources, which have long accounted for the bulk of Russian greenfield investment into the continent, when Africa needs technology instead. Russia accounted for 44% of weapons sales to Africa in 2017-21, but even that will pull back as import restrictions bite, and Russia scrambles to resupply its own armed forces.

Allied governments, eager to sustain support for Ukraine as the war drags, should seize the moment. First, they must recognize today’s food-security concerns, particularly with generous financial and logistical support for nations dependent on food and fertilizer imports and generously support the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Import Financing Facility and other mechanisms. 

Europe and the United States must also recognize that compounding crises — climate, fuel, security, agriculture — demand long-term solutions that include a dramatic increase in renewable-energy generation, more sustainable fertilizer production and use, more resilient crops, plus improved infrastructure to limit the amount of food wasted. Private companies can and must be crowded in.

Then, there’s the need for long-term diplomatic engagement and communication. Staff embassies and invest in the sort of media and education partnerships that China has used to good effect. It isn’t enough to wring hands in Brussels and Washington when the head of the African Union makes misleading comments on Western sanctions and plays into Putin’s hunger games. By then, it’s far too late.

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Cina, Criminalità Organizzata, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Africa. Sahel. Cina e Russia hanno scalzato l’occidente. I popoli odiano francesi e Nato.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-07-21.

Africa Sahel 001

In estrema sintesi.

Francia e Nato hanno in passato operato in modo così arrogante e vessatorio che le popolazioni del Sahel semplicemente li odiano.

Non è un sentimento delle sole élite: questo è un sentimento diffuso a tutte le popolazioni.

Capito questo, tutto risulta essere solo sequenziale.

* * * * * * *

Sahel è un termine di derivazione araba.

«Da alcuni decenni, il termine ha assunto, per antonomasia, il valore di specifica denominazione di un’unica vasta area africana, posta immediatamente a Sud del Sahara e delimitata approssimativamente dall’isoieta di 250 mm a Nord e da quella di 500 mm a Sud, con precipitazioni concentrate in estate; la caratterizzazione del Sahel, in questa accezione, è dunque climatica e, di conseguenza, biogeografica. Il Sahel. in senso geografico si estende dall’Oceano Atlantico al Mar Rosso, per circa 2,5 milioni di km2, fra i paralleli di 12° e 18° Nord, per una profondità variabile secondo le condizioni climatiche, interessando porzioni più o meno estese di Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina, Niger, Nigeria, Ciad, Camerun, Sudan, Etiopia ed Eritrea (cui alcuni vorrebbero aggiungere Somalia e Kenya, dove si ripropongono condizioni ambientali analoghe). La vegetazione è di tipo steppico a Nord, a savana arborata a Sud.» [Fonte]

* * * * * * *

I paesi dell’area saheliana hanno dimostrato, fino ad ora, di privilegiare il rapporto con Mosca rispetto a quelli Nato.

La Nato volge il suo sguardo anche a sud del Mediterraneo, in particolare verso il Sahel.

Già nel passato la Nato è intervenuta nella gestione delle crisi su richiesta dell’Unione Africana (Ua)

Con l’ultimo vertice della Nato a Madrid, che ha ridisegnato la postura dell’Alleanza a livello globale puntando con più forza alla deterrenza e alla difesa collettiva, resta l’impegno verso la prevenzione e la gestione delle crisi con un focus significativo sul Nord Africa e il Sahel.

Tuttavia il capitale politico, militare ed economico dell’Alleanza verrà inevitabilmente incanalato verso est e verso la minaccia russa.

I paesi dell’area saheliana hanno dimostrato, fino ad ora, di privilegiare il rapporto con Mosca.

In particolare in Mali dove l’ambasciatore spagnolo a Bamako, Romero Gomez, è stato convocato dal ministro degli Esteri maliano, Abdoulaye Diop, dopo le parole del suo omologo spagnolo, Manuel Alvares che in una dichiarazione non escludeva un possibile intervento della Nato in Mali

Diop non le ha mandate a dire e in un’intervista ha spiegato: “Oggi abbiamo convocato l’ambasciatore spagnolo per sollevare una forte protesta contro queste affermazioni.

L’espansione del terrorismo nel Sahel è principalmente legata all’intervento della Nato in Libia, le cui conseguenze stiamo ancora pagando”.

L’occidente dovrà abituarsi a questa ostilità che, in parte, è persino giustificata dalle missioni militari francesi e europee nell’area.

Nel difendere i propri interessi la Francia non ha fatto altro che alimentare un sentimento anti francese.

* * * * * * *

Africa. Le sanzioni di Joe Biden rendono appetibili i metalli africani anche in zone pericolose.

EU Summit. Vorrebbe contrastare l’influenza russa e cinese in Africa.

Cina penetra economicamente l’Africa subsahariana.

Pechino assorbe il 30% dell’export di 9 Paesi subsahariani.

Cina ed Africa. I rapporti collaborativi si stanno consolidando.

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Cina. Grande Muraglia contro la Germania. – Handelsblatt.

I nuovi enormi investimenti della Cina in Africa

Cina. Prima base militare permanente a Djibouti in Africa. Prima non c’era.

Pirateria. Fregata cinese abborda nave piratata e la libera.

Mali. Macron si è trovato in casa più di mille mercenari russi. Mr Putin lo ha sfregiato.

Macron accusa Russia e Turchia di voler scalzare la Francia dall’Africa Centrale.

Russia. Penetrazione in Africa costruendovi centrali atomiche.

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

Russia. Putin sta penetrando militarmente l’Africa, scacciandone americani e francesi.

Macron Says Russia, Turkey Fueling Anti-French Sentiment in Africa.

* * * * * * *


Perché l’Occidente dovrà ripensare la propria politica strategica in Africa.

I paesi dell’area saheliana hanno dimostrato, fino ad ora, di privilegiare il rapporto con Mosca rispetto a quelli Nato.

AGI – La Nato volge il suo sguardo anche a sud del Mediterraneo, in particolare verso il Sahel. E questa sembrerebbe una novità se non fosse che già nel passato la Nato è intervenuta nella gestione delle crisi su richiesta dell’Unione Africana (Ua). L’esordio è del 20005 quando, con l’acuirsi della crisi del Darfur, la Nato ha accolto la richiesta della Ua di supportare la sua missione di peacekeeping in Sudan. Poi nel 2009 la richiesta, sempre da parte della Ua di sostenere la missione in Somalia. Poi nel 2009 con l’operazione Ocean Shield per la lotta contro la pirateria nel Corno d’Africa. Per non dimenticare ciò che è successo in Libia a partire dal 2011. Sono solo alcuni esempi.

Con l’ultimo vertice della Nato a Madrid, che ha ridisegnato la postura dell’Alleanza a livello globale puntando con più forza alla deterrenza e alla difesa collettiva, resta l’impegno verso la prevenzione e la gestione delle crisi con un focus significativo sul Nord Africa e il Sahel. Di sicuro l’Italia può dirsi soddisfatta del linguaggio usato nel nuovo Concetto strategico – come scrive su Affarinternazionali.it, Elio Calcagno – rispetto a una regione di primario interesse per il paese. Tuttavia il capitale politico, militare ed economico dell’Allenza verrà inevitabilmente incanalato verso est e verso la minaccia russa. L’Italia, dunque, dovrà giocare un ruolo più propositivo e concreto sul fianco sud in ambito Nato di quanto abbia fatto fino ad oggi. Roma non può permettersi di stare a guardare e non può essere uno spettatore passivo come in Libia.

La gestione e la prevenzione delle crisi, in particolare nel Sahel, dovranno necessariamente passare attraverso una “richiesta” dell’Unione africana e il consenso dei paesi coinvolti. E visto il clima anti-occidentale che regna in questa regione dell’Africa è abbastanza complesso che i governi saheliani si affidino all’Alleanza per risolvere le crisi interne, senza dimenticare, poi, la forte presenza della Russia in quell’area.

Detta in parole povere la lotta al terrorismo nel Sahel non può essere camuffata come deterrenza nei confronti della minaccia russa. Insomma, i paesi dell’area saheliana hanno dimostrato, fino ad ora, di privilegiare il rapporto con Mosca. Un esempio eclatante è il ritiro dal Mali dei francesi con l’operazione Barkhane e di quella europea Takuba. Un bel rompicapo.

Fino ad ora tutto è sulla carta ma alcune fughe in avanti di qualche ministro degli Esteri europeo, fanno già discutere nel Sahel. In particolare in Mali dove l’ambasciatore spagnolo a Bamako, Romero Gomez, è stato convocato dal ministro degli Esteri maliano, Abdoulaye Diop, dopo le parole del suo omologo spagnolo, Manuel Alvares che in una dichiarazione non escludeva un possibile intervento della Nato in Mali.

Diop non le ha mandate a dire e in un’intervista ha spiegato: “Oggi abbiamo convocato l’ambasciatore spagnolo per sollevare una forte protesta contro queste affermazioni. L’espansione del terrorismo nel Sahel è principalmente legata all’intervento della Nato in Libia, le cui conseguenze stiamo ancora pagando”.

Parole dure, ma Diop non si ferma qui, ha infatti definito le affermazioni del suo omologo spagnolo “ostili, gravi e inaccettabili”, perché “tendono a incoraggiare l’aggressione contro un paese indipendente e sovrano”. L’ambasciata spagnola, in un tweet, ha cercato di smorzare i toni spiegando che la “Spagna non ha richiesto, durante il vertice della Nato o in un qualsiasi altro momento, un intervento, una missione o qualsiasi azione dell’Allenza in Mali”. L’occidente dovrà abituarsi a questa ostilità che, in parte, è persino giustificata dalle missioni militari francesi e europee nell’area.

Secondo il direttore del Centro studi sulla sicurezza dell’Istituto francese di relazioni internazionali (Ifri), Elie Tenenbaum, la Francia, ma anche l’occidente nel suo insieme, deve “pensare” una nuova strategia, perché attualmente la “dinamica strategica produce l’opposto di ciò che si è prefissa”. L’analista sostiene che i tentativi di entrare in partenariato con gli attori locali ha prodotto attriti – il Mali ne è un esempio – i francesi hanno cercato di arginare il deterioramento della sicurezza in Sahel ma non ci sono riusciti. Nel difendere i propri interessi la Francia non ha fatto altro che alimentare un sentimento anti francese.

Ma il problema su tutti è quello di avere trascurato le ambizioni russe, turche e cinesi. Attori nello scacchiere africano molto più spregiudicati e soprattutto meno interessati alle politiche interne dei paesi con cui diventano partner. La Francia, invece, non ha fatto altro che continuare, anche “sottobanco”, a determinare le politiche interne delle ex colonie, a “scegliere” chi di volta in volta avrebbe governato. Insomma, un’ingerenza inizialmente mal sopportata e ora totalmente avversata da buona parte delle popolazioni saheliane, certo con gradazioni diverse, ma pur sempre penetrante.

È chiaro che l’occidente dovrà ripensare completamente la sua strategia globale nel Sahel e nell’Africa occidentale se non vuole essere “sfrattato”. Ciò lo chiedono anche le opinioni pubbliche, in particolare quella francese, che cominciano a non capire più le politiche post coloniali della Francia e quelle dell’Europa che sembra avere come unico obiettivo quello di spostare sempre più a sud il confine del Mediterraneo per arginare i flussi migratori.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Materie Prime

Africa. Le sanzioni di Joe Biden rendono appetibili i metalli africani anche in zone pericolose.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-05-15.

Gufo_019__

«con il 7% della fornitura globale di nichel della Russia, il 10% del platino del mondo e il 25-30% del palladio del mondo fuori dal mercato internazionale, i ricchi depositi africani di questi metalli iniziano a sembrare molto più attraenti»

«Le sanzioni occidentali alla Russia per la sua invasione dell’Ucraina stanno costringendo le catene di approvvigionamento dei metalli a riconfigurarsi lungo le linee geopolitiche»

I paesi dell’enclave liberal occidentale stanno imbattendosi in una critica carenza di carenza di metalli, carenza che è effetto del blocco delle esportazioni di tali beni da loro stessi imposto alla Russia.

Ma se le miniere africane possono offrire ragionevoli ancorché rischiose possibilità di approvvigionamento, il loro sfruttamento non risolve certamente la carenza attuale.

Senza materie prime la produzione chiude i battenti.

Con un Ppi al 37% il blocco europeo sta agonizzando.

I Contribuenti dell’enclave socialista stanno pagando un ben alto prezzo.

La Russia?

Esporta con gioia il suo surplus minerario alla Cina ed all’India. Non ha perso un centesimo.

* * * * * * *

In calce riportiamo una traduzione in lingua italiana dell’allegato articolo.

* * * * * * *


«Global scramble for metals thrusts Africa into mining spotlight»

«The need to secure new sources of metals for the energy transition amid sanctions on top producer Russia has increased the Africa risk appetite for major miners, who have few alternatives to the resource-rich continent»

«Companies and investors are considering projects they may have previously overlooked, while governments are also looking to Africa, anxious to ensure their countries can procure enough metals to feed an accelerating net-zero push»

«The reality is that the resources the world wants are typically located in difficult places»

«The United States has voiced support for new domestic mines, but projects have stalled»

«Certainly, the risks of mining in sub-Saharan Africa remain high»

«The acute security challenge facing mines in the gold-rich Sahel region was highlighted last month when Russia’s Nordgold abandoned its Taparko gold mine in Burkina Faso over an increasing threat from militants»

«And even in the continent’s most industrialised economy, South Africa, deteriorating rail infrastructure is forcing some coal producers to resort to trucking their product to ports»

«Yet with Russia’s 7% of global nickel supply, 10% of the world’s platinum, and 25-30% of the world’s palladium off the table, Africa’s rich deposits of those metals start looking a lot more attractive»

«Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine are forcing metals supply chains to reconfigure along geopolitical lines»

* * * * * * *


Global scramble for metals thrusts Africa into mining spotlight

Ohannesburg, May 8 (Reuters) – The need to secure new sources of metals for the energy transition amid sanctions on top producer Russia has increased the Africa risk appetite for major miners, who have few alternatives to the resource-rich continent.

Companies and investors are considering projects they may have previously overlooked, while governments are also looking to Africa, anxious to ensure their countries can procure enough metals to feed an accelerating net-zero push.

This year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba conference, which runs May 9-12 in Cape Town, will see the highest-ranking U.S. government official in years attending, organisers say, as well as representatives from the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation (JOGMEC), in a sign of rich countries’ rising concern about securing supply.

“The reality is that the resources the world wants are typically located in difficult places,” said Steven Fox, executive chairman of New York-based political risk consultancy Veracity Worldwide.

The U.S. administration wants to position itself as a strong supporter of battery metals projects in sub-Saharan Africa, he said.

“While Africa presents its challenges, those challenges are no more difficult than the corresponding set of challenges in Canada. It may be easier to actually bring a project to fruition in Africa, than in a place like Canada or the U.S.,” he added.

The United States has voiced support for new domestic mines, but projects have stalled. Rio Tinto’s  Resolution copper project, for example, was halted over Native American claims on the land, and conservation issues.

Certainly, the risks of mining in sub-Saharan Africa remain high. The acute security challenge facing mines in the gold-rich Sahel region was highlighted last month when Russia’s Nordgold abandoned its Taparko gold mine in Burkina Faso over an increasing threat from militants.

And even in the continent’s most industrialised economy, South Africa, deteriorating rail infrastructure is forcing some coal producers to resort to trucking their product to ports.

Yet with Russia’s 7% of global nickel supply, 10% of the world’s platinum, and 25-30% of the world’s palladium off the table, Africa’s rich deposits of those metals start looking a lot more attractive.

“As a mining company, there aren’t many opportunities and if you are going to grow, you’re going to have to look at riskier countries,” said George Cheveley, portfolio manager at Ninety One.

“Clearly, after Russia-Ukraine people are more sensitive to geopolitical risk and you cannot predict which projects are going to work out and which are not,” he added.

Kabanga Nickel, a project in Tanzania, secured funding from global miner BHP  in January, and CEO Chris Showalter said it is seeing increased demand from potential offtakers.

Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine are forcing metals supply chains to reconfigure along geopolitical lines, Showalter said.

“Not everyone’s going to be able to get clean battery metals from a friendly jurisdiction, so I think some difficult decisions will have to be made, and it is going to force people to make some new decisions about where they want to source.”

* * * * * * *


La corsa globale ai metalli spinge l’Africa sotto i riflettori dell’industria mineraria

Ohannesburg, 8 maggio (Reuters) – La necessità di assicurarsi nuove fonti di metalli per la transizione energetica in mezzo alle sanzioni sul produttore principale Russia ha aumentato l’appetito di rischio Africa per i principali minatori, che hanno poche alternative al continente ricco di risorse.

Le aziende e gli investitori stanno prendendo in considerazione progetti che potrebbero aver trascurato in precedenza, mentre i governi stanno anche guardando all’Africa, ansiosi di garantire che i loro paesi possano procurarsi abbastanza metalli per alimentare una spinta netta-zero in accelerazione.

La conferenza Investing in African Mining Indaba di quest’anno, che si svolge dal 9 al 12 maggio a Città del Capo, vedrà la partecipazione del più alto funzionario del governo degli Stati Uniti da anni, dicono gli organizzatori, così come i rappresentanti della Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation (JOGMEC), in un segno della crescente preoccupazione dei paesi ricchi di garantire l’approvvigionamento.

“La realtà è che le risorse che il mondo vuole sono tipicamente situate in luoghi difficili”, ha detto Steven Fox, presidente esecutivo della società di consulenza sui rischi politici Veracity Worldwide con sede a New York.

L’amministrazione degli Stati Uniti vuole posizionarsi come un forte sostenitore dei progetti sui metalli delle batterie nell’Africa sub-sahariana, ha detto.

“Mentre l’Africa presenta le sue sfide, quelle sfide non sono più difficili del corrispondente insieme di sfide in Canada. Può essere più facile portare a compimento un progetto in Africa che in un posto come il Canada o gli Stati Uniti”, ha aggiunto.

Gli Stati Uniti hanno espresso il loro sostegno per nuove miniere nazionali, ma i progetti si sono arenati. Il progetto di rame Resolution di Rio Tinto, per esempio, è stato fermato per le rivendicazioni dei nativi americani sulla terra e per questioni di conservazione.

Certamente, i rischi dell’attività mineraria nell’Africa sub-sahariana rimangono alti. L’acuta sfida alla sicurezza delle miniere nella regione del Sahel, ricca d’oro, è stata evidenziata il mese scorso quando la russa Nordgold ha abbandonato la sua miniera d’oro Taparko in Burkina Faso a causa della crescente minaccia dei militanti.

E anche nell’economia più industrializzata del continente, il Sudafrica, il deterioramento delle infrastrutture ferroviarie sta costringendo alcuni produttori di carbone a ricorrere ai camion per trasportare il loro prodotto nei porti.

Tuttavia, con il 7% della fornitura globale di nichel della Russia, il 10% del platino del mondo e il 25-30% del palladio del mondo fuori dal tavolo, i ricchi depositi africani di questi metalli iniziano a sembrare molto più attraenti.

“Come azienda mineraria, non ci sono molte opportunità e se vuoi crescere, devi guardare a paesi più rischiosi”, ha detto George Cheveley, portfolio manager di Ninety One.

“Chiaramente, dopo Russia-Ucraina la gente è più sensibile al rischio geopolitico e non si può prevedere quali progetti andranno bene e quali no”, ha aggiunto.

Kabanga Nickel, un progetto in Tanzania, si è assicurato un finanziamento da BHP a gennaio, e il CEO Chris Showalter ha detto che sta vedendo un aumento della domanda da parte di potenziali acquirenti.

Le sanzioni occidentali alla Russia per la sua invasione dell’Ucraina stanno costringendo le catene di approvvigionamento dei metalli a riconfigurarsi lungo le linee geopolitiche, ha detto Showalter.

“Non tutti saranno in grado di ottenere metalli puliti per batterie da una giurisdizione amica, quindi penso che alcune decisioni difficili dovranno essere prese, e questo costringerà le persone a prendere alcune nuove decisioni su dove vogliono approvvigionarsi”.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Russia. La presenza in Africa occidentale preoccupa ed irrita i francesi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-11-17.

Mali 002

Mali. Macron si è trovato in casa più di mille mercenari russi. Mr Putin lo ha sfregiato.

Cina penetra economicamente l’Africa subsahariana.

Macron accusa Russia e Turchia di voler scalzare la Francia dall’Africa Centrale.

Russia. Penetrazione in Africa costruendovi centrali atomiche.

Russia. Dispiegati cacciabombardieri in Libia. La strategia russa in Africa.

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

* * * * * * *

«France’s foreign and armed forces ministers will stress their governments concern over the Kremlin’s activities in West Africa»

«Relations have been strained over ongoing differences over Ukraine and more recently over the role of Russian mercenaries in West Africa»

«Diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters that Mali’s year-old military junta is close to recruiting mercenaries from the Russia Wagner Group»

«such an arrangement is incompatible with a continued French presence in its former colony»

* * * * * * *

Nel passato l’Africa occidentale e subsahariana erano colonie francesi, che fecero poco o nulla per quelle popolazioni. Adesso ci si sta avviando al redde rationem.

Russia e cinesi stanno penetrando economicamente e militarmente quelle nazioni, che sono sempre più insofferenti al controllo francese.

Uno dei risultati tangibili lo si  visto

Cina. Si avvia alla maggioranza nelle Nazioni Unite.

Questa nuova débâcle di Joe Biden segna la tappa epocale della perdita di controllo delle UN.

«Da venerdì Stati Uniti ed enclave liberal europea sono diventati minoranza nelle assemblee delle Nazioni Unite..

I media liberal si son chiusi in un muto silenzio, come se nulla fosse successo.

Questa è una svolta storica, epocale: adesso è la Cina a controllare la maggioranza in seno alle Nazioni Unite»

Volenti o nolenti, i francesi non contano più nulla sul piano internazionale.

* * * * * * *


French ministers to raise concerns with Russia on West Africa activities.

France’s foreign and armed forces ministers will stress their governments concern over the Kremlin’s activities in West Africa when they meet their Russian counterparts in Paris on Friday.

Relations have been strained over ongoing differences over Ukraine and more recently over the role of Russian mercenaries in West Africa, where France has thousands of troops fighting Islamist militants.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said the mercenaries are working at the behest of Moscow.

“This meeting will discuss the political and military dimensions of regional and international crises, in particular with regard to the situations in Ukraine and in the Sahel-Saharan strip in which France will express its concerns about Russia’s actions,” a joint statement by the French foreign and armed forces ministries said.

Diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters that Mali’s year-old military junta is close to recruiting mercenaries from the Russia Wagner Group.

France has mounted a diplomatic drive to thwart it, saying such an arrangement is incompatible with a continued French presence in its former colony.

France postponed a visit to Moscow in Sept. 2020 by its foreign and armed forces ministers as European powers sought answers from Russia to Germany’s findings that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned.

Those had been scheduled as the first joint strategic talks since 2018 and was part of French efforts to reduce distrust between Russia and the West, hoping to enlist Russian help in solving the world’s most intractable crises.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Mali. Macron si è trovato in casa più di mille mercenari russi. Mr Putin lo ha sfregiato.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-16.

Mali 002

«Russian mercenaries are closing in on a deal to send a 1,000-strong force to shore up the junta in Mali in a move that has alarmed France, the former colonial power.

The Wagner Group would earn approximately $10.8 million a month for deploying to the west African state, according to diplomatic sources. Its mission would be to train troops and protect the regime’s senior figures in a country that has suffered two coups in the last year and faces an ongoing Islamist insurgency in the vast Sahel region.

Reports of the deal come after President Macron announced in June the winding down of Operation Barkhane, France’s 5,000-strong Mali-based military effort against the insurgents.» [The Times]

* * * * * *

«Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali close»

«Paris wants to prevent deal being enacted»

«At least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved»

«A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into Mali, extending Russian influence over security affairs in West Africa and triggering opposition from former colonial power France»

«Paris has begun a diplomatic drive to prevent the military junta in Mali enacting the deal, which would permit Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony»

«A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved»

«Four sources said the Wagner Group would be paid about 6 billion CFA francs ($10.8 million) a month for its services»

«One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would train Malian military and provide protection for senior officials»

«France’s diplomatic offensive, the diplomatic sources said, includes enlisting the help of partners including the United States to persuade Mali’s junta not to press ahead with the deal, and sending senior diplomats to Moscow and Mali for talks»

«France is worried the arrival of Russian mercenaries would undermine its decade-old counter-terrorism operation against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa at a time when it is seeking to draw down its 5,000-strong Barkhane mission to reshape it with more European partners»

«An intervention by this actor would therefore be incompatible with the efforts carried out by Mali’s Sahelian and international partners engaged in the Coalition for the Sahel for security and development of the region»

«Public opinion in Mali is in favour of more cooperation with Russia given the ongoing security situation»

«Having Russian mercenaries in Mali would strengthen Russia’s push for global prestige and influence, and be part of a wider campaign to shake up long-standing power dynamics in Africa»

«As relations with France have worsened, Mali’s military junta has increased contacts with Russia, including Defence Minister Sadio Camara visiting Moscow and overseeing tank exercises on Sept. 4»

* * * * * * *

Cina penetra economicamente l’Africa subsahariana.

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Cina ed Africa. I rapporti collaborativi si stanno consolidando.

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

*

Macron accusa Russia e Turchia di voler scalzare la Francia dall’Africa Centrale.

Russia. Penetrazione in Africa costruendovi centrali atomiche.

Russia. Dispiegati cacciabombardieri in Libia. La strategia russa in Africa.

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

*

Macron in visita nel Burkina Faso. Per poco lo accoppano. Incidente diplomatico.

* * *

E così o russi hanno messo un piede ben fermo nel Mali: ci sono e non hanno nessuna intenzione di andarsene.

*


Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali is close – sources.

– Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali close- sources

– Paris wants to prevent deal being enacted, sources say

– At least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved – two sources

*

PARIS, Sept 13 (Reuters) – A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into Mali, extending Russian influence over security affairs in West Africa and triggering opposition from former colonial power France, seven diplomatic and security sources said.

Paris has begun a diplomatic drive to prevent the military junta in Mali enacting the deal, which would permit Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony, the sources said.

A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved. Two other sources believed the number was lower, but did not provide figures.

Four sources said the Wagner Group would be paid about 6 billion CFA francs ($10.8 million) a month for its services. One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would train Malian military and provide protection for senior officials.

Reuters could not confirm independently how many mercenaries could be involved, how much they would be compensated, or establish the exact objective of any deal involving Russian mercenaries would be for Mali’s military junta.

Reuters was unable to reach the Wagner Group for comment. Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who media outlets including Reuters have linked to the Wagner Group, denies any connection to the firm.

His press service also says on its social networking site Vkontakte that Prigozhin has nothing to do with any private military company, has no business interests in Africa and is not involved in any activities there.

His press service did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment for this story.

                         POTENTIAL THREAT TO COUNTER-TERRORISM EFFORT

France’s diplomatic offensive, the diplomatic sources said, includes enlisting the help of partners including the United States to persuade Mali’s junta not to press ahead with the deal, and sending senior diplomats to Moscow and Mali for talks.

France is worried the arrival of Russian mercenaries would undermine its decade-old counter-terrorism operation against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa at a time when it is seeking to draw down its 5,000-strong Barkhane mission to reshape it with more European partners, the diplomatic sources said.

The French foreign ministry also did not respond but a French diplomatic source criticised interventions by the Wagner Group in other countries.

“An intervention by this actor would therefore be incompatible with the efforts carried out by Mali’s Sahelian and international partners engaged in the Coalition for the Sahel for security and development of the region,” the source said.

A spokesperson for the leader of Mali’s junta, which took power in a military coup in August 2020, said he had no information about such a deal.

“These are rumours. Officials don’t comment on rumours,” said the spokesperson, Baba Cisse, who declined further comment.

Mali’s defence ministry spokesperson said: “Public opinion in Mali is in favour of more cooperation with Russia given the ongoing security situation. But no decision (on the nature of that cooperation) has been made.”

Russia’s defence and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the Kremlin or the French presidency.

The mercenaries’ presence would jeopardise Mali’s funding from the international partners and allied training missions that have helped rebuild Mali’s army, four security and diplomatic sources said.

                         RIVALRY IN AFRICA

Having Russian mercenaries in Mali would strengthen Russia’s push for global prestige and influence, and be part of a wider campaign to shake up long-standing power dynamics in Africa, the diplomatic sources said.

More than a dozen People with ties to the Wagner Group have previously told Reuters it has carried out clandestine combat missions on the Kremlin’s behalf in Ukraine, Libya and Syria. Russian authorities deny Wagner contractors carry out their orders.

Mali’s military junta has said it will oversee a transition to democracy leading to elections in February 2022.

As relations with France have worsened, Mali’s military junta has increased contacts with Russia, including Defence Minister Sadio Camara visiting Moscow and overseeing tank exercises on Sept. 4.

A senior Malian defence ministry source said the visit was in “the framework of cooperation and military assistance” and gave no further details. Russia’s defence ministry said deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin had met Camara during an international military forum and “discussed defence cooperation projects in detail as well as regional security matters related to West Africa.” No further details were released.

The French foreign ministry’s top Africa diplomat, Christophe Bigot, was dispatched to Moscow for talks on Sept. 8 with Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s point person on the Middle East and Africa. Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed the visit.

France’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the visit. Bigot could not immediately be reached for comment. The Russian foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment from Bogdanov.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Russia. Putin sta penetrando militarmente l’Africa, scacciandone americani e francesi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-15.

Putin Vladimir 012

Mr Putin sta tessendo tutta una serie di accordi militari strategici bilaterali con tutti quegli stati africani che più non tollerano l’ossessione americana di voler imporre la visione liberal dei così detti ‘human rights’ quale elemento propedeutico ad aiuti ed accordi.

Come suo solito, e con rara maestria, Mr Putin sfrutta tutti gli errori degli occidentali e di Joe Biden per scalzarli politicamente, economicamente e militarmente.

Se è vero che al momento attuale l’Africa sia misera, sarebbe altrettanto vero considerare le sue ricchezze minerarie e come sarà nel corso di una generazione.

Domani, invece, pubblicheremo lo sfregio che Mr Putin ha fatto a Mr Macron.

* * * * * * *

«Russia is building its military influence in Africa, challenging U.S. and French dominance»

«In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations»

«The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending»

«France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa»

* * *

«Russia is challenging the status quo in Africa, using insecurity and diplomatic disputes with Western powers as a springboard to expand its presence on the continent»

«From Libya to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Mali, Moscow has been building key strategic military alliances and an increasingly favorable public profile across Africa in recent years»

«→→ Central to this effort is offering alternatives to countries that have grown disgruntled with Western diplomatic partnerships ←←»

«Russia was not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa»

«Via the U.N., Russia has also provided aid in the form food and medical assistance alongside its growing commercial, economic and military support across the continent»

«Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020»

«Russian mercenaries have also provided direct assistance to governments in Libya and the Central African Republic»

«A group of Russian instructors was sent to the CAR at the request of its leaders»

«U.S. lawmakers had stalled a planned $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses by the government»

«Less than a month later, Russia signed a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to supply military equipment, training and technology to Nigerian forces»

«This confluence of factors paving the way for Russian influence-building was also at play in Ethiopia. Russia has provided support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government after Western governments balked at his forces’ military response to an insurgency in northern Tigray»

«Moscow proceeded with the deployment of election observers to Ethiopia, whereas the EU withdrew its observers, citing “ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members.”»

«Russia has supplied strategic weapons both as a potential defense against any Egyptian strike on the GERD and to aid government forces in Tigray»

«Ethiopia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in July, focused specifically on knowledge and technology transfers»

* * *

«The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops»

«the “creeping build-up” of U.S. military on the continent was accompanied by mixed messaging, accusing both the U.S. and African governments of a lack of transparency»

«France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa, particularly in the form of 5,100 troops in the Sahel, where the border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet has become a hotspot for violence»

«Paris is inconsistent in its treatment of friendly regimes, indulging an unconstitutional transfer of power in Chad but taking a harder line following a coup in Mali»

«when Colonel Assimi Goïta established military rule in Mali, Macron denounced the coup and suspended a joint military operation with the Malian army»

«Protests in the aftermath were also hostile toward France, while Russian flags and posters were visible»

* * * * * * *

Gli occidentali stanno pagando a duro prezzo la pulsione coatta dei liberal di voler imporre la loro ideologia.

Gli africani proprio non ne vogliono sapere e sono arcistufi degli americani che salgono in cattedra ed impartiscono loro lezioni: vogliono essere sé stessi, senza condizionamenti. Questo è il motivo della felice penetrazione nel continente di Russia e Cina.

*


Russia is building its military influence in Africa, challenging U.S. and French dominance.

– In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations.

– The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending on operational bases and longer-term plans to sustain a strategic presence.

– France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa.

*

Russia is challenging the status quo in Africa, using insecurity and diplomatic disputes with Western powers as a springboard to expand its presence on the continent.

From Libya to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Mali, Moscow has been building key strategic military alliances and an increasingly favorable public profile across Africa in recent years. 

Central to this effort is offering alternatives to countries that have grown disgruntled with Western diplomatic partnerships.

The second Russia-Africa Summit is scheduled for 2022. At the inaugural summit in Sochi in 2019, President Vladimir Putin vowed that Russia was “not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa.”

Via the U.N., Russia has also provided aid in the form food and medical assistance alongside its growing commercial, economic and military support across the continent.

                         Russia’s bilateral push.

In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020.

Russian mercenaries have also provided direct assistance to governments in Libya and the Central African Republic, according to the U.N. However, the Kremlin has denied links to the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization alleged by the U.N. to be aiding human rights abuses in the region.

“A group of Russian instructors was sent to the CAR at the request of its leaders and with the knowledge of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on the CAR established by Resolution 2127,” a Russian foreign ministry statement said in July. “Indicatively, none of them has taken part in combat operations.”

Reuters reported in July that U.S. lawmakers had stalled a planned $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses by the government.  

Less than a month later, Russia signed a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to supply military equipment, training and technology to Nigerian forces.

Although historically a key diplomatic and trade partner of the U.S., Buhari’s government found itself at odds with Washington amid the #EndSARS protests in 2020, and again after a recent fallout with Twitter.

Meanwhile, Islamist militant groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province have cotinued to wreak havoc in the northeast of the country. 

This confluence of factors paving the way for Russian influence-building was also at play in Ethiopia. Russia has provided support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government after Western governments balked at his forces’ military response to an insurgency in northern Tigray. 

Ethiopia felt the U.S. in particular was aligning with Egypt in the ongoing dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken further evoked the ire of Addis Ababa in March by accusing forces in Tigray of “ethnic cleansing.” 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov then met with Ethiopian counterpart Demeke Mekonnen in June. Moscow proceeded with the deployment of election observers to Ethiopia, whereas the EU withdrew its observers, citing “ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members.”

Russia has supplied strategic weapons both as a potential defense against any Egyptian strike on the GERD and to aid government forces in Tigray. 

“Gains by the Tigray Defence Force (TDF), which has captured parts of the Afar and Amhara regions in recent weeks, make the provision of desperately needed weapons all the more important for Addis Ababa, and Moscow is likely to oblige to such a request, possibly on a buy-now-pay-later basis,” said Louw Nel, senior political analyst at NKC African Economics.  

In what Nel flagged as a “sign of things to come,” Ethiopia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in July, focused specifically on knowledge and technology transfers. However, Nel noted that Ethiopia will be “wary of allowing Russian personnel to be deployed there in anything other than a training capacity.” 

Russia’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

                         U.S. ‘creeping build-up’. 

The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending on operational bases and longer-term plans to sustain a strategic presence, according to a recent report from risk intelligence firm Pangea-Risk. 

In 2018, then-U.S. national security advisor John Bolton singled out Russia’s expansionist “influence across Africa,” and Washington has been keen to retain a foothold on the continent.

The Biden administration is set to maintain the U.S. military’s 27 operational outposts on the continent, while the country’s Africa Command (Africom) is prioritizing counter-terrorism objectives in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions.

The U.S. is also establishing a presence in other strategically important regions, such as the Red Sea and the Gulf of Guinea. Some $330 million is reportedly being spent by 2025 on U.S. military base construction and related infrastructure projects, while Africom is drawing up a 20-year strategic plan. 

This will focus on counterterrorism, special forces operations and humanitarian support, along with safeguarding U.S. commercial interests in the face of growing Chinese and Russian presence. 

The report noted that Cape Verdean authorities have since July 2020 agreed a Status of Forces Agreement with the U.S. military to allow U.S. troops to operate from its archipelago. 

“Such an agreement makes sense given global geo-political competition in the West African region and the need to counter the growing risk of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, both of which pose an existential threat to U.S. commercial interests,” Pangea-Risk CEO Robert Besseling said. 

“However, the one-year-old SOFA with Cape Verde raises questions over broader U.S. diplomatic and judicial engagements in the country, and whether this sets a pattern for U.S.–Africa relations going forward.” 

International Crisis Group Africa Program Director Comfort Ero, has said the “creeping build-up” of U.S. military on the continent was accompanied by mixed messaging, accusing both the U.S. and African governments of a lack of transparency. 

The U.S. is likely to phase out its direct military presence in insecurity hotspots, but continues to seek SOFA deals with countries of strategic importance, Pangea-Risk said, adding that Washington will be reluctant to withdraw entirely due to Chinese and Russian presence. 

France struggles in the Sahel. 

France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa, particularly in the form of 5,100 troops in the Sahel, where the border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet has become a hotspot for violence. 

“Paris is inconsistent in its treatment of friendly regimes, indulging an unconstitutional transfer of power in Chad but taking a harder line following a coup in Mali,” said NKC’s Nel. 

French President Emmanuel Macron supported a military-led transition from Chadian President Idriss Deby, who was killed in battle with rebel forces in April, to his son. This violated the country’s constitution and led to anti-French protests and the vandalism of a Total petrol station. 

However, when Colonel Assimi Goïta established military rule in Mali, Macron denounced the coup and suspended a joint military operation with the Malian army. Protests in the aftermath were also hostile toward France, while Russian flags and posters were visible. 

“Given the clear negative trend in political stability in Mali, there is reason to consider the danger that it might end up looking like the CAR, where President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s weak government is essentially kept in place by Russian muscle: the mercenaries of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group,” Nel said.

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa

Nigeria. 2021Q1. Il pil ritorna ad essere positivo 0.51%.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-05-30.

2021-05-26__ Nigeria

«Nigeria’s economy grew 0.5% in the first quarter, lifted by higher crude production and oil prices, the country’s statistics office said on Sunday, as activities slowly gain momentum after the gradual easing of coronavirus lockdowns»

«Africa’s largest economy, exited its second recession since 2016 in the fourth quarter, despite a full-year contraction in 2020»

«Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the coronavirus pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation»

«Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the coronavirus pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation»

«Oil, which accounts for around two-thirds of Nigerian government revenue and 90% of foreign exchange, contracted 2.21% in the first quarter as crude production rose to 1.72 million barrels per day from the fourth quarter»

«Dollar shortages have stoked inflation to a more than 4-year high, while a shrinking labour market and mounting insecurity have pressured households»

* * * * * * *

Questi macrodati suggerirebbero che la Nigeria stia uscendo dalla fase recessiva: permangono i forti dubbi su come possa contenere l’inflazione, ad oggi sopra il 12%.

*


Nigeria’s economy grows in first quarter on oil price rise.

Abuja (Reuters) – Nigeria’s economy grew 0.5% in the first quarter, lifted by higher crude production and oil prices, the country’s statistics office said on Sunday, as activities slowly gain momentum after the gradual easing of coronavirus lockdowns.

Africa’s largest economy, exited its second recession since 2016 in the fourth quarter, despite a full-year contraction in 2020.

Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the coronavirus pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation.

“The Q1 2021 growth rate was slower than the 1.87% growth rate recorded in Q1 2020 but higher than 0.11% recorded in Q4 2020, indicative of a slow but continuous recovery,” The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

Nigeria is inoculating its 200 million citizens, but last month directed its regions to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca vaccines once they use half their current stock, to safeguard supply for a second dose.

The NBS said the non-oil sector, which the government is trying to make the main growth sector, rose 0.79% in the first quarter. Telecoms, crop production, real estate, food manufacturing and construction lifted growth in the quarter.

Crude prices rose above $70/barrel on Tuesday but fell on Wednesday on renewed demand concerns as COVID-19 cases in Asia rose and fears that rising inflation might lead the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise rates, which could limit growth.

Oil, which accounts for around two-thirds of Nigerian government revenue and 90% of foreign exchange, contracted 2.21% in the first quarter as crude production rose to 1.72 million barrels per day from the fourth quarter.

With weak growth, few expect Nigeria’s central bank to alter interest rates next week.

The bank has pursued an accommodative stance by leaving interest rates on hold. However, dollar shortages have stoked inflation to a more than 4-year high, while a shrinking labour market and mounting insecurity have pressured households.

“While this points to the likelihood of firmer growth from the second quarter, it still does not allow for a more robust policy response to inflationary pressures,” Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered, said.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Macron accusa Russia e Turchia di voler scalzare la Francia dall’Africa Centrale.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-11-22.

Africa Centrale 013

«President says Turkey has distorted his words on radical Islam»

«Russia and Turkey are fueling anti-French feeling in Africa by playing on post-colonial resentment»

«Macron said anti-French sentiment in Africa results partly from decades of France maintaining a “very institutional relationship” with Africa through heads of state and companies, but also a strategy by some African leaders and particularly foreign powers such as Russia and Turkey»

«We must not be naive on this topic: many of those who comment, who make videos, who are present in French-speaking media are paid by Russia or Turkey»

«France is one of the biggest foreign investors in Africa, with $53 billion in 2018, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development»

«Macron said he regrets that his words on radical Islam have been distorted, largely by the Muslim Brotherhood but also by Turkey, with a capacity to influence widespread public opinion, also in sub-Saharan Africa»

«“With terrorists, we don’t talk,” Macron said. “We fight.”»

«One doesn’t change a country, institutions and power structures in a few months»

* * * * * * *


Russia e Turkia hanno da tempo attuato una politica di scalzamento della Francia dall’Africa, specialmente da quella centrale e sub-sahariana.

In questo Mr Macron dice il vero.

Ma il problema sembrerebbe essere un altro.

Domandiamoci: per quanto tempo ancora la Francia potrà mantenere il controllo di quello scacchiere geopolitico?

A parere di molti i suoi giorni sarebbero contati.

*


Macron Says Russia, Turkey Fueling Anti-French Sentiment in Africa.

– President says Turkey has distorted his words on radical Islam

– Macron to do everything to help success of Algeria transition

*

Russia and Turkey are fueling anti-French feeling in Africa by playing on post-colonial resentment, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with Jeune Afrique, the most widely read pan-African magazine.

Macron said anti-French sentiment in Africa results partly from decades of France maintaining a “very institutional relationship” with Africa through heads of state and companies, but also a strategy by some African leaders and particularly foreign powers such as Russia and Turkey.

“We must not be naive on this topic: many of those who comment, who make videos, who are present in French-speaking media are paid by Russia or Turkey,” Macron said in the interview published on Friday.

France is one of the biggest foreign investors in Africa, with $53 billion in 2018, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The country has deployed more than 5,000 troops in the Sahel region to combat Islamist groups there as part of Operation Barkhane.

Macron said he regrets that his words on radical Islam have been distorted, largely by the Muslim Brotherhood but also by Turkey, with a capacity to influence widespread public opinion, also in sub-Saharan Africa. The president said he’s attacking Islamist terrorism, not Islam, adding that 80% of victims are Muslims.

The French president said he’ll have decisions to make about Barkhane in the coming months and that he needs “a clear reiteration” from partner countries in the Sahel that they want France by their side.

Fighting Terrorists

Regarding possible peace talks with Islamist groups in Mali, Macron said the Algiers peace agreement provides a road-map for talks with political groups and those seeking autonomy. He said that doesn’t mean there should be discussions with terrorist groups.

“With terrorists, we don’t talk,” Macron said. “We fight.”

The French president said he’ll do “everything I can” to ensure a successful transition period for Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algeria’s new president. He said the north African country is still facing a revolutionary movement, while there is also a demand for stability particularly in more rural regions.

“One doesn’t change a country, institutions and power structures in a few months,” Macron said. “There are also things that are not in line with our standards and that we’d like to see evolve.”

After visits to Angola and South Africa were delayed due to Covid-19, Macron said he hopes they can go ahead in the coming weeks, before a trip to Rwanda in 2021.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Problemi militari, Russia

Russia. Dispiegati cacciabombardieri in Libia. La strategia russa in Africa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-06-03.

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 001

Inizia a delinearsi la strategia di Mr Putin e della Russia per il dominio del Mare Mediterraneo. Dapprima l’intervento militare diretto in Siria, adesso in Libia. Ma il Mediterraneo è solo un elemento di uno scacchiere ben più vasto: l’obiettivo è il dominio dell’Africa.

*

«The US has identified over a dozen Russia warplanes in Libya, marking Moscow’s first direct venture into the North African country»

«Experts say it is part of a larger Russian plan to expand its influence in the region»

«US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced earlier this week that Russia had deployed at least 14 warplanes to Libya in support of private military contractors known as the Wagner Group»

«It was the first time Russian armed forces were identified in the North African country. Although the Wagner Group purportedly enjoys Russian state backing, the Kremlin had initially stopped short of deploying official military assets to Libya, despite Moscow’s support for general-turned-warlord Khalifa Haftar»

«For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict»

«neither Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) nor private military contractors could “arm, operate and sustain these fighters without state support — support they are getting from Russia»

«Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya …. The UN said Russia’s Wagner group already has up to 1,200 mercenaries in Libya.»

«Haftar’s LNA has sought to oust the UN-backed government Tripoli in favor of a rival Tobruk-based government. He has received support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and, at one point, even France. …. But Russia remains Haftar’s most committed ally»

«Strengthening the Russian military position in North Africa will undoubtedly provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with a much tighter grip over Europe and possibly even deep-rooted influence and control in the wider MENA region»

«Libya’s energy resources and the presence of several deep-water ports will give Putin the logistical and geo-strategical advantage he is attempting to achieve»

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 002

Sarebbe impossibile dominare il Mediterraneo senza poter disporre di porti con acque sufficientemente profonde da permetterne l’uso a navi da guerra. Ma gli unici porti ‘acquisibili’ al momento sono quelli della Libia.

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 003

«Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport announced in April the first contract to supply assault boats to a country in sub-Saharan Africa»

«Russia is building its path to gain a foothold in Africa and broaden its export map for arms on the continent»

«Currently, it accounts for 49% of total arms exports to Africa, according to the database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)»

«Until now, Algeria remains the biggest recipient of Russian arms in Africa, followed by Egypt, Sudan and Angola …. In the early 2000s, 16 African countries were recipients of Russian arms. Between 2010 and 2019, the figure went up to 21»

«Starting in 2015, Russia started selling arms to oil-rich Angola — mainly fighter aircraft and combat helicopters»

«That same year, Algeria signed another arms deal to buy Russian weapons for $7.5 billion»

«Russia hosted the first-ever Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019 as a way of further identifying cooperation possibilities across the continent. During the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “the strengthening of ties with African countries is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities”»

«This exhibition showed that Russia does not aim to offer disruptive new technologies in arms; instead, it focuses on improving the models that have been demanded the most»

«Russia sees Africa as a key potential partner in the vision for a multipolar world order»

«Less European, less trans-Atlantic and focused more on rising powers and rising regions»

«Despite widespread international condemnation of Mugabe’s regime, Russia stayed on the side of Zimbabwe: together with China, it vetoed the UN’s Security Council resolution for an arms embargo in 2008 and criticized Western sanctions»

«Russia has been scaling up activities in the mining of resources such as coltan, cobalt, gold, and diamonds in several other countries across Africa»

«For example, Algeria alone bought around 200 aircraft items from Russia from 2000 to2019, ranging from transporter helicopters to combat helicopters, bomber and fighter ground aircrafts. Various models of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) that are designed for destroying aircrafts or other missiles have been ordered from Algeria (several orders through 2000-2019), Burkina Faso, Egypt (several orders), Ethiopia, Libya and Morocco. Algeria also ordered tanks (more than 500 items in total), as did Uganda (67 items).»

«Cheap weapons — no questions asked»

«Africa is the continent where Russia can freely push one of the key elements of its exports: weapons. Arms trading accounts for 39% of Russia’s defense industry revenue.»

«Russian arms are good. It is universally recognized. Russian arms are also cheaper. There is no reason why African countries would not want to buy them»

«For example, in 2014, government soldiers in Nigeria were accused of human rights abuses against suspects in the country’s fight against Boko Haram. Afterwards, the US cancelled a shipment of attack helicopters, even though the deal had already been signed. That same year, Nigeria placed an order and received six Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia»

«from 2009 to 2018, Russia accounted for 31% of Egypt’s imports of major weapons.»

«Russia’s defense industry is secretive; the law does not oblige companies to report on arms exports as such, and usually this information falls under the state’s secrecy laws.»

«China is generally growing as an arms exporter and shows similar patterns as Russia in a way of giving weapons with less political conditions»

* * * * * * *

Fornire armi e sistemi di arma è sicuramente una operazione economica, ma i risvolti politici sono evidenti: i paesi che si dotano di armamenti russi alla fine dipendono dalla Russia.

La chiave del successo è di un semplice banalità.

«Russian arms are good»

«Cheap weapons — no questions asked»

«giving weapons with less political conditions»

Il vizietto di voler imporre la propria Weltanschauung come prerequisito ai commerci sta costando all’occidente il domini mondiale.

*


Russia expands war presence in Libya.

The US has identified over a dozen Russia warplanes in Libya, marking Moscow’s first direct venture into the North African country. Experts say it is part of a larger Russian plan to expand its influence in the region.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced earlier this week that Russia had deployed at least 14 warplanes to Libya in support of private military contractors known as the Wagner Group.

It was the first time Russian armed forces were identified in the North African country. Although the Wagner Group purportedly enjoys Russian state backing, the Kremlin had initially stopped short of deploying official military assets to Libya, despite Moscow’s support for general-turned-warlord Khalifa Haftar.

“For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict,” said US Army General Stephen Townsend, who leads AFRICOM. “We watched as Russia flew fourth-generation jet fighters to Libya — every step of the way.”

The US general noted that neither Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) nor private military contractors could “arm, operate and sustain these fighters without state support — support they are getting from Russia.

“Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya,” Townsend said.

The UN said Russia’s Wagner group already has up to 1,200 mercenaries in Libya.

Russia’s man

Haftar’s LNA has sought to oust the UN-backed government Tripoli in favor of a rival Tobruk-based government. He has received support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and, at one point, even France.

But Russia remains Haftar’s most committed ally.

Moscow has sought to expand its influence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and supported that mission through military escapades. In Syria, Moscow deployed its armed forces to prop up the Assad regime, a move that has ensured its place as a regional stakeholder.

“Strengthening the Russian military position in North Africa will undoubtedly provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with a much tighter grip over Europe and possibly even deep-rooted influence and control in the wider MENA region,” said Tomas Olivier, a counter-terrorism expert and former senior officer in the Dutch government.

“Libya’s energy resources and the presence of several deep-water ports will give Putin the logistical and geo-strategical advantage he is attempting to achieve,” Olivier added.

Risky business

Although the Russian Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the US allegations, Russian lawmaker Andrei Krasov, a member of the Russian parliament’s Defense Committee, dismissed them as “fake.”

With state-supported paramilitary forces on the ground, the Kremlin maintains the ability to deny direct involvement, yet still has strategic assets in place. That plays into its larger hybrid warfare strategy, which serves to undermine rules and responsibilities in the conflicts it engages with.

But deploying warplanes raises the stakes, making it a highly risky move for Russia, according to Theresa Fallon, director and founder of the Brussels-based Center for Russia Europe Asia Studies.

“Moscow’s supply of aircraft reportedly repainted in Syria for plausible deniability, represents a creeping shift from a proxy war to open support for Haftar,” Fallon said. “If Turkey responds by deploying more aircraft, it is likely that this could turn into another endless, Syria-like conflict.”

Although Russian-Turkish ties have thawed in recent years, the countries back opposing parties in Syria and Libya. Earlier this month, the Turkish government threatened to strike Haftar’s forces if they continued to attack diplomatic missions in Tripoli, where the UN-backed government is based.

“Libya is rich in energy sources, migrants can be leveraged in negotiations with Europe and Russian mercenaries are likely to command a lucrative revenue stream,” Fallon said. “This could turn into one more frozen conflict on which Russia thrives.”

*


Russian arms exports to Africa: Moscow’s long-term strategy.

Along with natural resources, arms exports are a key component of Russia’s economy. In the last two decades, Moscow has managed to deepen its connection with Africa and became the biggest arms supplier on the continent.

Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport announced in April the first contract to supply assault boats to a country in sub-Saharan Africa. The recipient’s identity is concealed. What is known: It marks the first export contract of Russian-made final naval products to this region in the last 20 years. While this news might not have caught much international attention, this new deal adds up to a pattern: Russia is building its path to gain a foothold in Africa and broaden its export map for arms on the continent.

Once a major supplier during the Soviet era, Russia’s role in Africa waned after the collapse of the USSR. But by 2000, Russia had made inroads again, and within the last two decades Russia has managed to become the biggest arms exporter to Africa. Currently, it accounts for 49% of total arms exports to Africa, according to the database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). 

Since 2000, Russia’s arms exports to Africa have grown significantly. The increases were mainly due to growth in Russia’s arms exports to Algeria.

Russia’s eye on Africa

Until now, Algeria remains the biggest recipient of Russian arms in Africa, followed by Egypt, Sudan and Angola. According to Alexandra Kuimova, a researcher with SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the number of African countries buying Russian arms increased over the last two decades. In the early 2000s, 16 African countries were recipients of Russian arms. Between 2010 and 2019, the figure went up to 21.

Starting in 2015, Russia started selling arms to oil-rich Angola — mainly fighter aircraft and combat helicopters. The Angolan government in Luanda has long maintained strong ties with Moscow, dating back to the USSR. In 1996, Russia forgave 70% of Angola’s $5 billion (€4.56 billion) in debt, which was mainly a result of several export credits the USSR had issued Angola for buying Soviet arms and military equipment. In the new millennium, Russia was a predictable choice for Angola to sign new arms deals — and within the last five years, Angola has become the third-biggest African client for Russian arms after Algeria and Egypt. Luanda’s other suppliers are Bulgaria, Belarus, Italy and China, but their shares are small.

The situation was similar with Algeria, the largest importer of Russian arms on the African continent. Soviet-era connections allowed Russia to secure its monopoly on arms deals, and Moscow completely wrote off Algeria’s $5.7 billion in debt in 2006. That same year, Algeria signed another arms deal to buy Russian weapons for $7.5 billion.

“Officials in these countries intrinsically look at Moscow from the Soviet-era links and Moscow has been able to maintain its influence. In some cases, like Algeria, it is done by debt release; sometimes by claiming that it will build repair facilities and manufacturing or maintenance facilities,” says Paul Stronski, a senior fellow in the Carnegie Endowment’s Russia and Eurasia Program.

Russia hosted the first-ever Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019 as a way of further identifying cooperation possibilities across the continent. During the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “the strengthening of ties with African countries is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities”.

Arms deals were at the center of attention at the summit. African delegates were invited to exhibitions of Russian weapons: from subsonic jet trainor Yakovlev Yak-130, the Pantsir missile system, and the Tor-M2KM surface-to-air missile systems to smaller arms including a new Kalashnikov AK-200 series assault rifle. This exhibition showed that Russia does not aim to offer disruptive new technologies in arms; instead, it focuses on improving the models that have been demanded the most. 

Opening new markets in line with geopolitical vision

Russia’s growing interest in Africa is defined by not only economic, but also political and strategic reasons. Russia sees Africa as a key potential partner in the vision for a multipolar world order.

“Less European, less trans-Atlantic and focused more on rising powers and rising regions,” Stronski said. This is where Russia’s ties with countries like Zimbabwe and Sudan have been established, he stressed.

Zimbabwe has been subject to financial sanctions from the West since the early 2000s. The state was reportedly responsible for violence, tortures and killings of the president’s opponents during the era of former President Robert Mugabe. Despite widespread international condemnation of Mugabe’s regime, Russia stayed on the side of Zimbabwe: together with China, it vetoed the UN’s Security Council resolution for an arms embargo in 2008 and criticized Western sanctions. Russia exports a number of both raw and finished materials to Zimbabwe, ranging from wood, wheat and fertilizers to printed materials, railway cars and electronics. Russia, in turn, imports coffee and tobacco from Zimbabwe.

Russian companies are also involved in diamond and gold mining projects in the country. According to Gugu Dube, a researcher at the Transnational Threats and International Crime program in the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, Russia has been scaling up activities in the mining of resources such as coltan, cobalt, gold, and diamonds in several other countries across Africa. In Zimbabwe, Russian companies are also involved in a joint venture of the Darwendale project — mining and smelting one of the world’s largest deposits of platinum group metal — for which production is planned in 2021.

These include aircrafts, missiles, tanks, air defense systems and artillery. For example, Algeria alone bought around 200 aircraft items from Russia from 2000 to2019, ranging from transporter helicopters to combat helicopters, bomber and fighter ground aircrafts. Various models of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) that are designed for destroying aircrafts or other missiles have been ordered from Algeria (several orders through 2000-2019), Burkina Faso, Egypt (several orders), Ethiopia, Libya and Morocco. Algeria also ordered tanks (more than 500 items in total), as did Uganda (67 items).

Cheap weapons — no questions asked

In Russia’s publicly available strategy documents, such as its foreign policy concept or defense doctrine, African states are defined as belonging to an unstable continent and posing an international threat in light of terrorist groups’ activities, particularly in the North African region. Such documents highlight Russia’s aims to expand interaction with Africa by developing beneficial trade and economic relations and supporting regional conflict and crisis prevention.

This ongoing instability feeds a continuous market for arms — and for Russia, Africa represents a major market without a limit in the form of economic sanctions that came from the West after the annexation of Crimea. Africa is the continent where Russia can freely push one of the key elements of its exports: weapons. Arms trading accounts for 39% of Russia’s defense industry revenue.

“Russian arms are good. It is universally recognized. Russian arms are also cheaper. There is no reason why African countries would not want to buy them,” says Irina Filatova, a history professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics and professor emeritus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who specializes in Russo-African history and relations.

In comparison to other big players, arms deals with Russia do not demand political or human rights conditions. In some cases, Russia has managed to fill the gap where European or American suppliers stepped out.

For example, in 2014, government soldiers in Nigeria were accused of human rights abuses against suspects in the country’s fight against Boko Haram. Afterwards, the US cancelled a shipment of attack helicopters, even though the deal had already been signed. That same year, Nigeria placed an order and received six Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia.

Egypt is a similar case. After a military coup in 2013, the US started cutting military aid and arms supplies to the country. This left Russia (together with France, another leading arms exporter) with an open opportunity; the country quickly intensified arms transfers to Egypt. From 2009 to 2018, Russia accounted for 31% of Egypt’s imports of major weapons.

According to Kuimova, arms deals with Russia generally go fast. If a certain country needs weapons right away and Russia has them, Russia will be able to supply. What also plays in its favor is a lack of pressure from local civil society groups to track weapons sales. Russia’s defense industry is secretive; the law does not oblige companies to report on arms exports as such, and usually this information falls under the state’s secrecy laws. A general lack of data and transparency has created a situation where civil society groups for monitoring arms trading simply do not exist.

Competition for Russia? Growing potential of Chinese arms

For now, Russia seems to be secure in its markets for arms in Africa. However, experts see the potential of China to become a bigger player for arms supplies in Africa. Currently, China accounts for 13% of arms exports to the continent.

“China has improved the quality and quantity of what it sells. They also do reverse-engineered Russian weapons. Since 2014, Russia has shared sensitive military technology as a part of its growing ties with China,” Stronski said.

Kuimova adds that today China is able to produce and offer all kinds of arms. “China is generally growing as an arms exporter and shows similar patterns as Russia in a way of giving weapons with less political conditions,” she explained.

Researcher Filatova does not see China as a threat to Russian arms in Africa, however — in her opinion, the main competitors for Russian arms will remain the same: the US and France. She defines China’s interest in Africa as predominantly economic and says that “Russia’s competition in Africa in that regard is already lost” — because economically, Russia is not able to offer what China can. Moscow instead focuses on natural resources exports and locking down arms deals. For arms importers, switching to other suppliers is costly, so the likelihood is high that Russia can ensure new deals with its arms buyers well into the future.