Pubblicato in: Cina, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Unione Europea

EU. Un piano per contrastare il Belt and Road cinese in Europa ed in Africa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-12-13.

EP-051364A_Tajani_Brexit
Opening the debate on BREXIT

Con il programma Belt and Road la Cina sta finanziando e costruendo tutta una lunga serie di infrastrutture a livello mondiale, ed anche in Europa. È uno sforzo da oltre un trilione di dollari Usd.

Oltre agli evidenti ritorni commerciali, così facendo la Cina si conquista sempre più paesi amici.

Adesso sembrerebbe che l’Unione Europea si stia accorgendo che Africa ed Europa dell’Est stanno sfuggendo al loro controllo per gravitare sulla Cina, che soprattutto non vuole imporre loro la dottrina liberal.

* * * * * * *

Indocina. La ferrovia Kunming – Bangkok sarà inaugurata a dicembre.

Cina. Acquista una società italiana di droni militari, e trasferisce tutto in Cina.

Cina. Oct21. Exports +27.1%, Imports +20.6 % anno su anno. Surplus 84.54 mld Usd.

Cina. Con gennaio entra in vigore il Rcep, il più grande mercato libero mondiale.

Cina. Rcep. Non enfatizzato, il vero obiettivo è il controllo del mondo.

Asia. Firmato l’Accordo Rcep. Nasce il più grande mercato libero mondiale.

CEEC. Iniziati i lavori sulla tav Budapest-Belgrado, che arriverà fino al Pireo.

CEEC. 2020. Interscambio per 103.5 mld Usd, +8.4%, nonostante l’epidemia.

China’s European Diplomacy

Cina. Ceec, un nome da imparare. Dazi ridotti dal 17.3% al 7.7%.

Cina non divide l’Unione Europea: è già divisa. Ceec.

Asia alla conquista dell’Europa dell’Est.

Cina. Ceec 16 + 1. L’Occidente inizia a preoccuparsi.

Cina. Sta colonizzando l’Europa dell’Est e l’Unione si strappa i capelli.

Ferrovia Cina – Europa. 2020. 12,400 treni, +50% anno su anno.

* * * * * * *

«The EU is to reveal details of a global investment plan that’s widely seen as a rival to China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Insiders say it’ll set out “concrete” ideas on digital, transport, climate and energy schemes»

«It’s regarded as part of the West’s efforts to counter Chinese influence in Africa and elsewhere.»

«The EU is looking at how it can leverage billions of euros, drawn from member states, financial institutions and the private sector»

«Global Gateway wouldn’t exist if you didn’t have Belt and Road»

«the first serious effort from the European side to put packages together and figure out financing mechanisms, so countries considering taking loans from China have an alternative option»

«Belt and Road has been a centre-piece of Chinese foreign policy; developing trade links by ploughing money into new roads, ports, railways and bridges»

«The EU has pointedly emphasised its “values-based” and “transparent” approach, arguing it wants to create links not dependencies»

* * * * * * *

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Prosegue e si allarga la rivolta all’impèrio mondiale. Gambia.

Kenyatta: Gay rights is a non-issue for Kenya

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

Cina. Si avvicina con garbo al potere mondiale. Accupa tutti gli spazi che l’occidente abbandona.

Cina ed Africa. I rapporti collaborativi si stanno consolidando.

Kenya. Nuova linea ferroviaria Nairobi – Mombasa finanziata dalla Cina.

Cina. Una diplomazia alla conquista del mondo

Cina. È diventata il maggiore investitore nell’Europa dell’est

«China’s popularity …. is strong. Its policy of not linking aid and investments to human rights and good governance has made Beijing many friends on the continent, beyond its authoritarian governments»

Il punto nodale è questo.

* * * * * * *


Multi-billion EU bid to challenge Chinese influence.

The EU is to reveal details of a global investment plan that’s widely seen as a rival to China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Insiders say it’ll set out “concrete” ideas on digital, transport, climate and energy schemes.

It’s regarded as part of the West’s efforts to counter Chinese influence in Africa and elsewhere.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will present the “Global Gateway” initiative on Wednesday.

The EU is looking at how it can leverage billions of euros, drawn from member states, financial institutions and the private sector.

Mrs von der Leyen said in her State of the Union speech in September: “We want investments in quality infrastructure, connecting goods, people and services around the world.”

Wednesday’s 14-page document isn’t likely to explicitly pitch itself as a rival to China’s strategy. The Commission also studiously avoided mentioning China when pressed about the plans on Tuesday.

But Andrew Small, a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, says the backdrop is inescapable: “Global Gateway wouldn’t exist if you didn’t have Belt and Road.”

For him it marks “the first serious effort from the European side to put packages together and figure out financing mechanisms, so countries considering taking loans from China have an alternative option”

Belt and Road has been a centre-piece of Chinese foreign policy; developing trade links by ploughing money into new roads, ports, railways and bridges.

The strategy has reached into Asia, the Indo-Pacific, Africa and even into the EU’s nearer neighbours in the Western Balkans.

It has been criticised as a means of providing “predatory loans” in what is labelled “debt-trap diplomacy”.

But there are also those who argue the picture is more complicated, and that borrowing large sums of money is hardly risk-free. Moreover, China met a need others did not.

Either way, China’s economic and geopolitical footprint has grown as tensions rise with the West.

Now the EU will attempt to marshal its own clout and resources, in what Andrew Small says will be a big test.

The question is whether the EU can really act in this geo-political space.

“Or is it too rigid, too bogged down by internal bureaucratic fighting? If they fail at this, it’s a big miss,” he argues.

One diplomat told me, “It’s a good sign that finally Europe is asserting its influence in this area.”

“That’s a common interest we share with our transatlantic friends in the US and UK.”

But a common interest could also create more competition, according to Scott Morris, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development.

After all, the US has its own “Build Back Better World” initiative launched at the G7 last June. “This is a noisy space with a lot of brands bumping into each other,” says Mr Morris.

However he’s “hopeful” of success for the Global Gateway initiative. He says, “more importantly” than rivalling China, it’s a chance for Europe to “achieve a scale of financing that can do some good in developing countries that need some capital”.

Once the EU plan is approved by the College of Commissioners on Wednesday it will be presented by Ursula von der Leyen.

The EU has pointedly emphasised its “values-based” and “transparent” approach, arguing it wants to create links not dependencies.

But this is also about influence, as the Commission continues to look for ways to flex its muscles on the geopolitical stage and, in turn, find out how strong those muscles are.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Commercio, Geopolitica Mondiale

Cina – Europa. Gennaio. Da Manzhouli sono partiti 331 treni, +59.9% anno su anno.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-02-21.

Cina Manzhouli 001

«Manzhouli, China’s largest land port, handled a growing number of China-Europe freight trains in January»

«A total of 331 cross-border freight trains went through the port in January, up 59.9 percent year on year, marking growth for 11 consecutive months»

«Of the total, the port handled 157 outbound trains, an increase of 27.6 percent year on year, while the number of inbound trains soared by 107.1 percent year on year to 174»

«The outbound China-Europe freight trains through Manzhouli can reach 13 European countries»

«The imported and exported goods mainly include daily necessities, electrical products, industrial machinery, metals and agricultural products»

«short freight time, low price and high efficiency, have played an important role in ensuring smooth logistics and stable material supply in China and European countries»

* * * * * * *

Ferrovia Cina – Europa. 2020. 12,400 treni, +50% anno su anno.

Ferrovia Cina, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Iran, Afganistan, più Uzbekistan e Turkmenistan.

Nepal. Belt and Road. Progetto di collegamento ferroviario moderno con la Cina.

Rep Ceka e Cina. Attiva la ferrovia Praga – Yiwu.

Kenya. Nuova linea ferroviaria Nairobi – Mombasa finanziata dalla Cina.

Cina. Xi Jinping si meriterebbe il Premio Nobel per l’economia.

Ferrovia Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe. 11,920 km in dieci giorni. 1,033 convogli al mese.

*

La costruzione di interporti ferroviari, ed il loro collegamento alla rete ferroviaria, permette alla Cina di portare lavoro produttivo nelle sue zone periferiche, sottosviluppate. Non elargizione di sussidi, bensì allestimento di infrastrutture.

Questo discorso vale anche per l’interporto di Manzhouli, che ha generato quasi trentamila posti di lavoro degni di quel nome, per non parlare dell’indotto.

Ma la direttrice verso l’Europa non è certamente l’unica.

Cina. New Silk Road. Qualche difficoltà nel sud-est asiatico.

Cina. La diplomazia ferroviaria.

Al contrario degli Stati Uniti e dell’Occidente in genere, massimamente le Nazioni Unite, la Cina non vincola i propri investimenti alla soddisfazione di propri modi di vedere e sentire i problemi etici e morali. Accetta le altre realtà così come esse siano e richiede solo rapporti paritetici. La Cina investe in Africa ed Asia soprattutto in progetti infrastrutturali, quali ferrovie e strade.

Il conseguente indotto alimenta quindi il perfezionamento dei rapporti politici.

*

Xinhua. China’s largest land port sees rising number of China-Europe freight trains

HOHHOT, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — Manzhouli, China’s largest land port, handled a growing number of China-Europe freight trains in January, local authorities said.

A total of 331 cross-border freight trains went through the port in January, up 59.9 percent year on year, marking growth for 11 consecutive months, said the Manzhouli station under China Railway Harbin Group.

Of the total, the port handled 157 outbound trains, an increase of 27.6 percent year on year, while the number of inbound trains soared by 107.1 percent year on year to 174.

The outbound China-Europe freight trains through Manzhouli can reach 13 European countries. The imported and exported goods mainly include daily necessities, electrical products, industrial machinery, metals and agricultural products.

The global sea and air transport capacity has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the China-Europe freight trains, due to advantages such as short freight time, low price and high efficiency, have played an important role in ensuring smooth logistics and stable material supply in China and European countries.

Pubblicato in: Agricoltura, Devoluzione socialismo, Unione Europea

L’Alleanza per la Rivoluzione Verde in Africa è fallita. Sono alla fame.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-08-25.

Africa 001

«when an organization like AGRA fails to achieve the goals it had set itself, all alarm bells should go off — not only amid civil society, but also amid AGRA itself as well as its donors»

«The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a favorite cause among Western donors — including Germany»

«The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) seems to enjoy boasting with numbers and statistics: Its website is full of figures, highlighting some of the organization’s self-declared milestones such as the 550 million euros ($650 million) it has invested across the continent, the 119 seed companies AGRA has founded, the 700 scientific papers it has financed, and the almost 23 million small farmers the organization has reportedly impacted»

«But there is another number, which now is sorely missing on AGRA’s website; on older versions of the website stored on Internet archives it can, however, still be found»

«The number of starving people in AGRA’s 13 partner countries across Africa is said not to have fallen at all but is reported to rather have risen — by almost a third»

«AGRA had set itself the ambitious objective of doubling the earnings of 20 million small farmers by 2020 while halving food shortages in 20 African countries»

* * * * * * *

L’elargizione dei fondi era concessa esclusivamente per coltivazioni green, acquistano beni e servizi da aziende europee green.

È green ciò che arricchisce i liberal socialisti.

Sono stati costretti a diventare green e stanno crepando di fame.

«The number of starving people in AGRA’s 13 partner countries across Africa is said not to have fallen at all but is reported to rather have risen — by almost a third»

Alla resa dei conti, si sono arricchiti solo gli amici degli amici.

Come dovevasi dimostrare.

*


Has Africa’s green revolution failed?

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a favorite cause among Western donors — including Germany. But a study finds that the work of the organization is actually counterproductive.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) seems to enjoy boasting with numbers and statistics: Its website is full of figures, highlighting some of the organization’s self-declared milestones such as the 550 million euros ($650 million) it has invested across the continent, the 119 seed companies AGRA has founded, the 700 scientific papers it has financed, and the almost 23 million small farmers the organization has reportedly impacted.

But there is another number, which now is sorely missing on AGRA’s website; on older versions of the website stored on Internet archives it can, however, still be found: AGRA had set itself the ambitious objective of doubling the earnings of 20 million small farmers by 2020 while halving food shortages in 20 African countries. This is what the organization had pledged to do when it was founded in 2006.

Ready. Set. Fail.

Some critics say that this is not the only shortcoming they have witnessed in terms of AGRA delivering on its promises. Zambian agricultural expert Mutinta Nketani says that when an organization like AGRA “fails to achieve the goals it had set itself, all alarm bells should go off — not only amid civil society, but also amid AGRA itself as well as its donors.”

Nketani is one of the authors of a current review published by several German and African development organizations together with the left-leaning Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. The figures highlighted in the report do not paint AGRA in a good light: The number of starving people in AGRA’s 13 partner countries across Africa is said not to have fallen at all but is reported to rather have risen — by almost a third.

Meanwhile, agricultural output is purported to have risen at a slower rate than before ever since AGRA’s involvement began in eight of those countries. In two of those countries, it even decreased over that period, according to the analysis.

The debt trap

AGRA says it mainly supports small farmers. The Nairobi-based organization says it has invested around 500 million euros ($590 million) to this end to date, training small farmers in how to best employ certain resources. AGRA President Agnes Kalibata said in a DW interview in 2017 that “farmers need access to technology, quality seeds and fertilizer.”

But the researchers behind the current analysis write that farmers in Zambia, for example, were subsequently forced to take out loans to buy such fertilizer and seeds, adding that when their anticipated proceeds failed to materialize, they were no longer able to repay their debts.

Much like the farmers themselves, Zambia’s government is also burdened by a huge pile of debt amid this agricultural crisis. Having also purchased seeds and fertilizer at high market prices, the government started to distribute them to small farmers. According to the current evaluation, the Zambian government is currently sitting on outstanding invoices to the tune of $106 million (89 million euros).

Similar examples are reported to have occurred in other African countries.

Global influence on Africa

Zambian researcher Nketani wants to know: “Whose interests does AGRA actually represent?

“In most cases, it’s the interests of private companies, such as seed and fertilizer producers. And in Zambia, those are mostly multinational corporations.”

The study further highlights that an increasing amount of soil in the country is now becoming acidic due to the excessive use of fertilizers. With AGRA concentrating on monocultures such as corn, local plants are likely to eventually vanish altogether.

The accusations against AGRA are particularly serious as the organization is a favorite among Western donors. Dirk Schattschneider, representative of the special initiative “OneWorld No Hunger” at Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), says that AGRA “is highly respected by many African governments, the African Union and civil society.”

However, the initiative was founded in 2006 by two US organizations: The Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

The Gates Foundation alone has so far supported AGRA with the equivalent of 498 million euros ($589 million). AGRA refers to itself as an African initiative nowadays; however, both those US-American foundations remain its largest donors to date.

AGRA’s rising star

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA’s President, has built up a strong international network and knows how to go about getting people to listen to her.

In 2017, she co-authored a declaration at an international nutrition conference hosted by Germany on the occasion of its G20 presidency — later in the same year, AGRA and the federal German government agreed on embarking on a cooperation that has proven to be valuable for both parties: In 2019, the annual meeting of the AGRA board of directors took place in Berlin.

Kalibata’s star continues to rise with each major global cooperation projects being signed off; currently, she is preparing a World Food Summit next year as Special Envoy of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Reputation Poll International even ranked Kalibata as among the “100 Most Reputable Africans of 2020.”

PR work designed to distract from real issues

But AGRA’s growing influence is also the result of an offensive public relations campaign: AGRA has always been open to responding to media interviews, inviting journalists to pen guest commentaries, and paying their travel expenses to cover AGRA events. It is only now, in the midst of the mounting allegations against AGRA, that the organization for the first time failed to answer an interview request by Deutsche Welle for days.

In the end, AGRA’s head of strategy, Andrew Cox, sent a written reply, saying: “We reject the criticism arising of this ‘analysis’, which was not conducted in a transparent manner. AGRA was not afforded any opportunity to comment on these ‘results.’ We therefore find it impossible to comment any further.”

AGRA meanwhile also announced that it would evaluate its practices of recent years by the end of 2021 — without making any changes to its basic approach for the moment: “AGRA has demonstrated that household incomes rise sharply whenever farmers have access to modern seeds and technology,” Cox added.

Germany to continue cooperation — for now

The BMZ meanwhile says it intends to continue its cooperation with the organization: Since 2017, the BMZ has been funding two projects in Burkina Faso and Ghana at a cost of 10 million euros. According to BMZ representative Schattschneider, their current cooperation would be fully completed as planned, adding that AGRA may have set goals that were too ambitious ambitious to achieve when it first was founded.

The BMZ added that it would, however, take note of the results of the current analysis while deferring to external factors that might have also influenced the negative results of the study: “First and foremost, there was the world financial crisis, which had a major impact on the agricultural and farming markets, as well as various natural disasters and a number of other factors that may have played a role,” Schattschneider said.

“In the future, AGRA must provide better validation of its impact data from its activities. Secondly, AGRA projects must be given more room for agro-ecological approaches in the future,” Schattschneider argued, saying that these aspects were already being discussed with AGRA.

Mutinta Nketani might meanwhile be rather disappointed to hear that; she wants to witness a radical sea change on how investors deal with African agriculture: “They must support agricultural projects based on local techniques and experience,” she said in an interview, adding that every without AGRA’s help, African farmers already know how to produce seeds and organic fertilizers while protecting the environment.

Pubblicato in: Diplomazia, Problemia Energetici, Russia

Russia. Penetrazione in Africa costruendovi centrali atomiche.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-07-05.

Rosatom 013

«Russia’s nuclear play for power in Africa»

«Russia is pushing nuclear technology to African nations to both turn a profit and expand its political might on the continent»

«Rwanda, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia have signed similar deals with Rosatom, while countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Sudan and DRC have less expansive cooperation agreements»

«For Putin to remain relevant in Russia, he really has to ensure that Russia has a big influence …. That’s why he is looking at African markets so he has more parties to partner with when it comes to international issues»

«African nations constitute the largest voting bloc in the United Nations»

«Rosatom is the world’s biggest nuclear company by foreign orders»

«While it has projects in developed countries such as Finland and Hungary, it’s mainly involved in developing regions.»

«The Rosatom packages are popular because the corporation’s sheer size means it can offer all-in-one deals, from training local workers to developing nuclear science curricula, supplying uranium for the plant’s life time and dealing with nuclear waste — with the added plus of Russian state loans for the projects.»

«Russia is extending a $25 billion (€22.23 billion) loan to Egypt to cover 85% of the cost of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant, which Rosatom is constructing»

«Russia is itself a major player in the nuclear market, responsible for some 8% of uranium production worldwide as well as 20% of uranium conversion and 43% of uranium enrichment (conversion and enrichment are stages of processing uranium so it can be used by commercial nuclear power reactors).»

«In addition, on a continent where where more than half of the population lack access to electricity, there is “immense potential” for nuclear to provide a clean source of energy to meet Africa’s large energy deficit»

«Rosatom funds scholarships for students from sub-Saharan Africa to study nuclear sciences and engineering in Russia. As of January 2020, around 300 students from more than 15 African countries were studying nuclear specialties there»

* * * * * * *

L’Africa ha un disperato bisogno di infrastrutture. Mentre la Cina finanza e costruisce ferrovie, strade, ponti, fogne, acquedotti, dighe ed argini, solo per citarne alcune, la Russia primeggia nel fornire centrali atomiche, che una volta costruite consentiranno di produrre una parte non indifferente dei consumi elettrici.

Così la Russia continua a mantenersi allo stato dell’arte nella progettazione e costruzione delle centrali atomiche e svolge un ruolo meritorio per quelle popolazioni.

Non ci si stupisca poi se le nazioni africane, e sono tante, appoggino Cina e Russia nei consessi internazionali.

*


Russia’s nuclear play for power in Africa.

Russia is pushing nuclear technology to African nations to both turn a profit and expand its political might on the continent.

Rwanda’s parliament has just approved a plan for Russia’s state-owned Rosatom nuclear conglomerate to build it a nuclear research center and reactor in the capital, Kigali.

The Center of Nuclear Science and Technologies, planned for completion by 2024, will include nuclear research labs as well as a small research reactor with up to 10 MW capacity.

Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia have signed similar deals with Rosatom, while countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Sudan and DRC have less expansive cooperation agreements.

Rosatom has been aggressively wooing African nations since the mid-2000s and the nuclear deals are seen as part of Russia’s push turn a profit and also gain influence in Africa.

Western sanctions first imposed on Russia in 2014 over its annexation of the Crimea in the Ukraine have forced Russia to seek alternative sources of incomes and also new friends.

Nuclear technology instead of trade

“For Putin to remain relevant in Russia, he really has to ensure that Russia has a big influence,” said Ovigwe Eguegu, a geopolitics analyst with the international affairs platform, Afripolitika. “That’s why he is looking at African markets so he has more parties to partner with when it comes to international issues.”

African nations constitute the largest voting bloc in the United Nations.

While the Soviet Union had a close relationship to various African states during the Cold War, Russia’s trade balance with Africa is one tenth of that of China, meaning it needs to look for other means to get a foothold on the continent.

“Russia is using the tools that they have to expand their influence and right now, Russia has lots of experience in the nuclear energy area,” Eguegu said in a phone interview from Abuja.

Rosatom nuclear leader

Rosatom is the world’s biggest nuclear company by foreign orders. While it has projects in developed countries such as Finland and Hungary, it’s mainly involved in developing regions.

The Rosatom packages are popular because the corporation’s sheer size means it can offer all-in-one deals, from training local workers to developing nuclear science curricula, supplying uranium for the plant’s life time and dealing with nuclear waste — with the added plus of Russian state loans for the projects.

The cost and financing of Rwanda’s nuclear research center is still undisclosed. But Russia is extending a $25 billion (€22.23 billion) loan to Egypt to cover 85% of the cost of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant, which Rosatom is constructing.

“Rosatom has come to dominate nuclear exports to developing countries because of their generous financing and worker training,” according to the 2018 Center for Global Development policy paper, Atoms for Africa.

Additionally, Russia is itself a major player in the nuclear market, responsible for some 8% of uranium production worldwide as well as 20% of uranium conversion and 43% of uranium enrichment (conversion and enrichment are stages of processing uranium so it can be used by commercial nuclear power reactors).

Pros and cons of nuclear technologies

Rwanda’s planned research reactor will also be used to manufacture radioisotopes, according to Rosatom. Radioisotopes have many applications from irradiating food to increase its shelf life to helping diagnose tumors or heart disease.

Such research reactors have “definite advantages” in fields such as nuclear medicine, nuclear scientist Michael Gatari, a professor at the University of Nairobi, told DW.

In addition, on a continent where where more than half of the population lack access to electricity, there is “immense potential” for nuclear to provide a clean source of energy to meet Africa’s large energy deficit, the Center for Global Development study, Atoms for Africa, found.

“In the long term, a nuclear reactor generates electricity cheaper than we are paying now. It is also stable and produces no carbon emissions,” Gatari said in a phone interview from Nairobi.  

However, many experts, including Gatari, believe that nuclear technology doesn’t yet make sense for African countries. They lack the highly skilled local workforce required to run the technological intricacies of such reactors. Plus, nuclear facilities are vastly expensive and take years to build.

Gatari warns of countries becoming locked into costly projects that end up being “white elephants”.

“Such a project can only be driven by strong and educated local human resources,” the nuclear researcher said. “That knowledge isn’t possible by rushing young students through training for a short time.

And the cost of maintaining that kind of installation can cripple the budget of a country for a long, long time.”

Doing the smooth sell

Currently, South Africa is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa with a functioning nuclear power plant, while Nigeria and Ghana have research reactors, which are primarily used for studying and training and to test materials, such as minerals.

In Europe, safety concerns around nuclear technologies have already caused countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland to vote to phase out nuclear power.

These concerns are compounded in Africa, given the the political instability of certain regions and the threat of sabotage or terrorist attacks.

This hasn’t stopped Rosatom, and Russia, from doing a soft sell of nuclear technologies on the continent.

osatom funds scholarships for students from sub-Saharan Africa to study nuclear sciences and engineering in Russia. As of January 2020, around 300 students from more than 15 African countries were studying nuclear specialties there.  

It runs an online video competition, Atoms for Africa, where participants stand a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to Russia for a video dedicated to innovative nuclear technologies.

In 2019, it even held an international fishing competition near the Leningrad nuclear power station, Russia’s largest, to demonstrate the safety of nuclear power for water bodies. (The competition was won by an Egypt team). 

“There is good money if you can sell a research reactor,” said nuclear scientist Gatari. “Unfortunately, the convincing capacity of [Rosatom’s] marketing is very high, and the understanding of those who are buying is low.”

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.

Pubblicato in: Agricoltura

Cavallette. Stanno invadendo e distruggendo l’Africa del Nord Est.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-02-04.

2020-01-30__Cavallette 001

Le cavallette furono una delle peggiori delle sette piaghe dell’Egitto.

«I Celiferi (Caelifera Ander, 1936) sono un sottordine di insetti ortotteri noti con il termine generico di cavallette o locuste.

In realtà il termine cavalletta può indicare sia i membri delle famiglie Tetrigidae (cavallette nane) e Acrididae (cavallette migratorie, più propriamente dette locuste), correttamente appartenenti al presente sottordine celiferi, sia la comune cavalletta verde, Tettigonia viridissima (Tettigoniidae), appartenente al secondo e distinto sottordine degli ortotteri, gli Ensifera.

Spesso il termine cavalletta è usato per tutti gli ortotteri che sono in grado di volare o saltare. ….» [Fonte]

*

Uno sciame di cavallette è composto da oltre centocinquanta milioni di insetti, in grado di spostarsi anche di un centinaio di kilometri in un giorno: in breve, le zone ove si calano diventano brulle. Calate sulle culture o sulla macchie, le cavallette mangiano tutte le foglie, lasciando gli alberi e gli steli  completamente nudi. Servono poi anni perché la flora possa riprendersi.

*

La lotta alle cavallette è una fatica di Sisifo.

«Le cavallette compiono una sola generazione l’anno. Le neanidi nascono scalarmente dalla fine di maggio alla fine di luglio, in funzione dell’altitudine e dell’esposizione. I primi adulti compaiono in luglio e si spostano in volo per brevi distanze. L’ovideposizione inizia in agosto in aree circoscritte, dette grillare, caratterizzate da terreni incolti, compatti, esposti a sud e dotati di pendenza e quindi meno soggetti a ristagni idrici. Le uova sono deposte, in numero variabile da 25 a 55, all’interno di una ooteca o cannello sovrapposte le une alle altre ed incollate da un secreto spugnoso. Ogni ooteca viene inserita all’interno di un foro prodotto nel terreno dalla femmina alla profondità di 3-4 cm. ….

la conoscenza delle “grillare” permetterà agli agricoltori di effettuare, prima della nascita delle neanidi, lavorazioni superficiali (erpicature, fresature) o dissodamenti per distruggere le ooteche ed esporle agli agenti atmosferici. ….

il naturale contenimento delle cavallette avviene, nelle annate piovose, principalmente ad opera di parassiti fungini, in particolare Entomophthora grylli, ma buona è anche la predazione esercitata da uccelli quali storni, fagiani, tacchini, faraone, rapaci, ecc. ….

il ricorso alla lotta chimica, in quanto poco efficace e ad alto impatto ambientale, sarà ammesso solo sulle ristrette aree in cui le neanidi appena nate vivono gregarie formando popolazioni molto consistenti e nelle quali non si è riusciti ad intervenire preventivamente» [Fonte]

* * * * * * *

Orbene.

Le cavallette stanno invadendo, e distruggendo, quasi tutto il Nord Est del continente africano.

A Plague Of “Billions” Of Locusts Threatens To Create Horrific End-Times Famine Across Africa

«Billions of locusts are eating everything in sight in east Africa right now, and every single day many more farms are being completely wiped out.  Unfortunately, authorities are telling us that what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.  In fact, if extreme measures are not implemented immediately, authorities are claiming that this locust plague could literally get “500 times” worse in a few months.  But it is difficult to imagine conditions getting any worse than they are at this moment.  Ravenous locust swarms that are “the size of cities” are consuming crops at a staggering pace, and this could potentially cause famine on the African continent that is unlike anything we have ever seen before.

But this is actually happening.  Right now “billions of locusts” are absolutely devastating east Africa, and each one can eat “its own weight in food every day”…

    Billions of locusts swarming through East Africa could prove disastrous for a region still reeling from drought and deadly floods, experts have warned, amid increasing calls for international help.

    Dense clouds of the ravenous insects, each of which consumes its own weight in food every day, have spread from Ethiopia and Somalia into Kenya, in the region’s worse infestation in decades.

It would be hard to overstate what this is going to mean for the region.  According to the FAO, this plague is an “unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa”…

    The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has described the situation as “extremely alarming,” representing an “unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa.”»

*


La lotta alle cavallette è questione di vita o di morte: se condotta con esitazione, non serve a nulla.

Si faccia attenzione!

L’Europa è vicina all’Africa, e per le cavallette sarebbe un volo non eccezionalmente lungo.

Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Africa, Putin, Russia

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-06-23.

2019-06-15__Russia_Africa__001

2019-06-15__Russia_Africa__002

Gli occidentali hanno fatto nei confronti di popoli africani una lunga serie di errori alcuni dei quali madornali quali per esempio, il voler imporre loro la visione del’l’ideologia liberal, elemento loro alieno.

Kenyatta: Gay rights is a non-issue for Kenya

La Francia ha gestito l’Africa Centrale al rango di colonia schiavista.

China: France’s Macron Should Press Xi on Rights

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

*

La Cina ha invece dispiegato tutta la sua maestria diplomatica, impegnandosi con rapporti bilaterali equiparitari alla costruzione di un largo numero di infrastrutture essenziali.

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.

Cina. Grande Muraglia contro la Germania. – Handelsblatt.

I nuovi enormi investimenti della Cina in Africa

* * * * * * *

Se le mosse diplomatiche ed economiche della Cina e dell’occidente sono alquanto evidenti se non altro perché riportate dai giornali internazionali, quelle russe sembrerebbero azioni fantasma, ben poco chiacchierate. Ma il classico riserbo russo non significa assolutamente che Mr Putin sia inerte, anzi.

«Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”»

«The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region»

«Russia has a military presence and peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. CAR is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south”. It allows Moscow to expand “across the continent”, and Russian companies to strike lucrative mineral deals, the documents say»

«On 24 May the Kremlin announced it was dispatching a team of army specialists to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.»

«Five days later the Kremlin said it would host the first ever Russia-Africa summit in October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin and Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, will chair the event. About 50 African leaders are due to attend»

«The closest relations are with CAR, Sudan and Madagascar – all put at five. Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed as four, according to the map, with South Sudan at three, and DRC, Chad and Zambia at two.»

«Other documents cite Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Mali as “countries where we plan to work”. Libya and Ethiopia are flagged as nations “where cooperation is possible”.»

«In Madagascar the new president, Andry Rajoelina, won election with “the Company’s support”, the map says. Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month”, it adds. Rajoelina denies receiving assistance.»

«Other suggestions in the documents include trans-African road and rail-building schemes. A railway could be built linking Dakar in Senegal with Port Sudan in Sudan, along the “old hajj [pilgrimage] route”. A separate 2,300-mile (3,700km) toll road was proposed connecting Port Sudan with Douala in Cameroon»

«More immediate practical measures include setting up Russian-controlled non-governmental organisations in African states and organising local meetings.»

«Russian operatives also offer thoughts on global politics.»

* * * * * * *

I piani di Mr Putin sono a lungo termine.

Sembrerebbe quindi difficile poter vedere risultati immediati od a breve. Ma l’esperienza insegna come questo approccio per piccoli passi discreti ponga delle solide basi durature.

Attenzione!

L’Africa odierna è povera, spesso misera. Ma è nella stessa situazione della Cina trenta anni or sono, e trenta anni passano velocemente. Pensiamo solo a come cambierebbe il mondo quando l’Africa entrasse tra i paesi emersi.


Guardian. 2019-06-11. Exclusive: Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin leading push to turn continent into strategic hub, documents show

Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, leaked documents reveal.

The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region. Another is to see off “pro-western” uprisings, the documents say.

In 2018 the US special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” because of his Kremlin catering contracts. According to Mueller, his troll factory ran an extensive social media campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump. The Wagner group – a private military contractor linked to Prigozhin – has supplied mercenaries to fight in Ukraine and Syria.

The documents show the scale of Prigozhin-linked recent operations in Africa, and Moscow’s ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub. Multiple firms linked to the oligarch, including Wagner, are known by employees as the “Company”. Its activities are coordinated with senior officials inside Russia’s foreign and defence ministries, the documents suggest.

Putin showed little interest in Africa in the 2000s. But western sanctions imposed in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea have driven Moscow to seek new geopolitical friends and business opportunities.

Russia has a military presence and peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. CAR is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south”. It allows Moscow to expand “across the continent”, and Russian companies to strike lucrative mineral deals, the documents say.

On 24 May the Kremlin announced it was dispatching a team of army specialists to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press spokesman, they will service Russian-made military equipment. So far Moscow has signed military cooperation deals with about 20 African states.

Five days later the Kremlin said it would host the first ever Russia-Africa summit in October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin and Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, will chair the event. About 50 African leaders are due to attend. The aim is to foster political, economic and cultural cooperation.

The leaked documents were obtained by the Dossier Center, an investigative unit based in London. The centre is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman and exiled Kremlin critic.

Prigozhin has been approached for comment. He has previously denied any links to the troll factory and has said of Wagner that it does not exist. Putin has previously said that entities linked to Prigozhin do not constitute the Russian state.

A map from December 2018 seen by the Guardian shows the level of cooperation between the “Company” and African governments, country by country. Symbols indicate military, political and economic ties, police training, media and humanitarian projects, and “rivalry with France”. Five is the highest level; one is the lowest.

The closest relations are with CAR, Sudan and Madagascar – all put at five. Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed as four, according to the map, with South Sudan at three, and DRC, Chad and Zambia at two.

Other documents cite Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Mali as “countries where we plan to work”. Libya and Ethiopia are flagged as nations “where cooperation is possible”. The Kremlin has recently stepped up its ground operation in Libya. Last November the Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar travelled to Moscow and met the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu. Prigozhin was spotted at the talks. Egypt is described as “traditionally supportive”.

The graphic gives an overview of “Company” activities and achievements. It claims credit in CAR for getting of rid of politicians who are “orientated to France”, including national assembly representatives and the foreign minister. This appears to be Charles-Armel Doubane, sacked in December. It has “strengthened” the army and set up newspapers and a radio station. Russia is an “83% friend”, it says.

In Madagascar the new president, Andry Rajoelina, won election with “the Company’s support”, the map says. Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month”, it adds. Rajoelina denies receiving assistance.

Another key territory is Sudan. Last year Russian specialists drew up a programme of political and economic reform, designed to keep President Omar al-Bashir in power. It included a plan to smear anti-government protesters, apparently copy-pasted from tactics used at home against the anti-Putin opposition. (One memo mistakenly says “Russia” instead of “Sudan”.)

One ploy was to use fake news and videos to portray demonstrators in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities as “anti-Islam”, “pro-Israel” and “pro-LGBT”. The government was told to increase the price of newsprint – to make it harder for critics to get their message out – and to discover “foreigners” at anti-government rallies.

In a leaked letter Prigozhin wrote to Bashir complaining that the president had not actually followed through on the advice. Prigozhin mentioned “lack of activity” by the Sudanese government and its “extremely cautious position”.

The military deposed Bashir in April in a coup. Last week Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters, killing over a hundred. The Russian advisers had urged Sudan’s military council to suppress the activists with “minimal but acceptable loss of life”, one former regime source told CNN.

Meanwhile, Moscow is keen to exploit a long-running territorial dispute in Comoros, the documents say. France directly controls one out of four of the Indian Ocean islands, Mayotte. In 2018 Prigozhin employees flew to Comoros via Belarus. Their objective was to test if “political technologies” might be used to inflame the row between Paris and the Comoros government.

Other suggestions in the documents include trans-African road and rail-building schemes. A railway could be built linking Dakar in Senegal with Port Sudan in Sudan, along the “old hajj [pilgrimage] route”. A separate 2,300-mile (3,700km) toll road was proposed connecting Port Sudan with Douala in Cameroon. Neither has so far happened.

A plan to revive “pan-African consciousness” appears closely modelled on the idea of Russkiy Mir, or Russian world. The concept has become fashionable under Putin and signifies Russian power and culture extended beyond current borders.

One working paper is titled “African world”. It calls for a developing “African self-identity”. It recommends collecting a database of Africans living in the US and Europe, which might be used to groom “future leaders” and “agents of influence”. The eventual goal is a “loyal chain of representatives across African territory”, the March 2018 paper says.

More immediate practical measures include setting up Russian-controlled non-governmental organisations in African states and organising local meetings.

It is unclear how many Prigozhin initiatives have actually gone forward. There is evidence that media projects mentioned in the documents are now up and running – albeit with marginal impact. They include a website, Africa Daily Voice, with its HQ in Morocco, and a French-language news service, Afrique Panorama, based in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.

Russian operatives also offer thoughts on global politics. One policy paper, titled “Russian influence in Africa”, says Moscow needs to find “reliable partners among African states” and should establish military bases.

Pubblicato in: Bergoglio, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Religioni

Chiesa. Chi entra in conclave papa ne esce cardinale. Sarah e i migranti.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-04-09.

Sarah cardinale

Chiunque si sia preso la briga di leggersi, meglio forse studiarsi, il Flichet Martin, Storia della Chiesa, ha ampio materiale per meditare che i preti non siano riusciti a distruggerla perché è istituzione divina. Ce la avevano messa tutta.

«E il mondo, sgomento, si ritrovò ariano»: così constatò amareggiato san Girolamo. L’imperatore Costanzo mica che scherzasse, con lui il boia non restava certo inoperoso: aveva imposto l’arianesimo e non defletteva. Atanasio di Alessandria:, Lucifero di Cagliari, Eusebio di Vercelli, Dionigi di Milano, Ilario di Poitiers furono gli unici vescovi ad opporsi: per lungo tempo subirono l’esilio. Tutti gli altri vescovi abiurarono. Tutti. Ma alla fine l’arianesimo fu sconfitto sia dal punto di vista dogmatico, sia anche da quello umano sul campo di battaglia di Pavia.

Perché questo incipit?

Negli ultimi settanta anni l’ideologia liberal ha ricalcato le orme e la storia dell’arianesimo. Il loro potere politico e quello economico hanno combattuto la Chiesa permeandola e traendo nelle proprie fila sia i semplici fedeli, sia vescovi e cardinali. Il concetto di filantropia ha a lungo soppiantato quello della Carità, e mammona si è dato un gran da fare, spalleggiato da asmodeo. Come per l’arianesimo, il Cristo è ridotto a mera figura umana. Il caso McCarrick dovrebbe ben essere significativo e non è sicuramente l’unico.

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Ma in ogni epoca la Chiesa ha i suoi Atanasi.

«Robert Sarah (Ourous, 15 giugno 1945) è un cardinale e arcivescovo cattolico guineano, dal 23 novembre 2014 prefetto della Congregazione per il culto divino e la disciplina dei sacramenti.

Maturata la vocazione al sacerdozio, intraprende gli studi; nel 1964 ottiene il baccalaureato in teologia.

Il 20 luglio 1969 è ordinato presbitero, nella cattedrale di Sainte Marie a Conakry, dall’arcivescovo Raymond-Maria Tchidimbo.

Dopo l’ordinazione riprende gli studi; ottiene la licenza in teologia presso la Pontificia Università Gregoriana di Roma e una licenza in sacra scrittura presso lo Studium Biblicum Franciscanum di Gerusalemme. Rientra in Guinea nel 1974. ….

Il 13 agosto 1979 papa Giovanni Paolo II lo nomina, a soli trentaquattro anni, arcivescovo metropolita di Conakry; succede al dimissionario Raymond-Maria Tchidimbo, costretto all’esilio dopo anni di prigionia. L’8 dicembre successivo riceve l’ordinazione episcopale …

Il 1º ottobre 2001 papa Giovanni Paolo II lo nomina segretario della Congregazione per l’evangelizzazione dei popoli; succede a Marcello Zago, deceduto il 1º marzo 2001.

Il 7 ottobre 2010 papa Benedetto XVI lo nomina presidente del Pontificio consiglio “Cor Unum”; succede al cardinale Paul Josef Cordes, dimessosi per raggiunti limiti d’età.

Nel concistoro del 20 novembre 2010 papa Benedetto XVI lo crea cardinale diacono di San Giovanni Bosco in via Tuscolana, diventando il primo cardinale guineano. Il 30 gennaio 2011 prende possesso della diaconia.

Il 12 e il 13 marzo partecipa come cardinale elettore al conclave del 2013, che porta all’elezione di papa Francesco.

Il 23 novembre 2014 papa Francesco lo nomina prefetto della Congregazione per il culto divino e la disciplina dei sacramenti.» [Fonte]

* * *

Ecco alcune sue frasi.

«l’Africa potrebbe diventare la punta di lancia della Chiesa nella sua opposizione alla decadenza occidentale»

*

«Per quel che riguarda il mio continente voglio denunciare con forza una volontà d’imporre dei falsi valori utilizzando argomenti politici e finanziari. In alcuni Paesi africani sono stati creati ministeri dedicati alla teoria del gender in cambio di sostegno economico! Queste politiche sono tanto più odiose in quanto la maggior parte delle popolazioni africane è senza difesa, alla mercé d’ideologi occidentali fanatici»

*

«l’idea che consisterebbe nel rinchiudere il Magistero in un bello scrigno staccandolo dalla pratica pastorale che potrebbe evolvere secondo le circostanze, le mode e le passioni, è una forma di eresia, una pericolosa patologia schizofrenica. Affermo dunque con solennità che la Chiesa d’Africa si opporrà fermamente a ogni ribellione contro l’insegnamento di Gesù e del Magistero»

*

«Da una parte, l’idolatria della libertà occidentale; dall’altra il fondamentalismo islamico: secolarismo ateo contro fanatismo religioso».

* * *

Citiamo infine uno dei suoi tanti libri:

La forza del silenzio. Contro la dittatura del rumore, con Nicolas Diat, Cantagalli, 2017

In calce, alleghiamo un articolo che ben spiega il card Sarah: una ottimo traduzione del classico Why Cardinal Sarah terrifies his critics.

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Vatican Cardinal: Encouraging Immigration Misrepresents the Gospel

«it is wrong to “use the word of God to promote migration.”»

*

«using the Bible to promote migration constitutes “false exegesis,” adding that it is better “to help people flourish in their culture than to encourage them to come to Europe.”»

*

«the cardinal condemned the Church’s push for migration into Europe in the strongest terms, insisting that most immigrants wind up “without work or dignity” and assume the condition of slaves»

*

«this new form of slavery that is mass migration»

*

«If Europe disappears, and with it the priceless values of the Old Continent, Islam will invade the world and we will completely change culture, anthropology, and moral vision»

*

«This is not the end of the world, the Church will rise»

*

«In the Church there have always been betrayals. Today, I can say without fear that some priests, some bishops and even some cardinals are afraid to proclaim what God teaches and to transmit the doctrine of the Church. They are afraid of being seen as reactionary»

*

«yield to the morbid, wicked temptation to align the Church with the current values of Western societies. Above all they want people to say that the Church is open, welcoming, attentive, modern»

*

«Some have adopted the ideologies of today’s world with the fallacious pretext of being open to the world. But instead we should bring the world to be open to God, who is the source of our existence»

*

«When I visited Poland, a country often criticized, I encouraged the faithful to affirm their identity as they have done for centuries …. My message was simple: you are first and foremost Poles and Catholics and only afterward Europeans. You must not sacrifice these first two identities on the altar of a technocratic Europe that recognizes no homeland.»

*

«The European Union no longer protects the peoples within it. It protects the banks.»

* * *

Nella sua storia millenaria, la Chiesa ha spesso dovuto attraversare il deserto. Sono i momenti della prova, sempre molto dura. Ma sono anche i momenti fondamentali nei quali si setaccia il grano dalla pula.I santi ed i martiri emergono nei momenti dei triboli.

Una sola nota, ma che la conta tutta.

Molti presbiteri, vescovi e financo cardinali parlano in continuo dei problemi politici, sociali ed economici dei migranti. Ma non si riesce a sentire nemmeno una parola sulla necessità di convertirli. Per chiarire: convertire non significa costringere, bensì proporre. Senza Cristo, la carità diventa filantropia, e la filantropia mammona.

«Andate in tutto il mondo e predicate il vangelo ad ogni creatura.» Marco, 16: 15.

Mica ha detto di fare finanza, oppure di costruire strade e ponti.

Non si confondano i mezzi con il fine.

*


Vatican Cardinal: Encouraging Immigration Misrepresents the Gospel

The prominent Vatican Cardinal Robert Sarah, as his newly released book is causing furor in Europe, said it is wrong to “use the word of God to promote migration.”

The Guinean cardinal, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, said that using the Bible to promote migration constitutes “false exegesis,” adding that it is better “to help people flourish in their culture than to encourage them to come to Europe.”

In an interview last week, the cardinal condemned the Church’s push for migration into Europe in the strongest terms, insisting that most immigrants wind up “without work or dignity” and assume the condition of slaves.

“Is that what the Church wants?” he asked, adding that the Church should not support “this new form of slavery that is mass migration.”

“God never intended these fractures,” he said.

The cardinal also said that the demise of Christian Europe does not bode well for the future of the world.

“If Europe disappears, and with it the priceless values of the Old Continent, Islam will invade the world and we will completely change culture, anthropology, and moral vision,” he warned.

Cardinal Sarah has recently published a new book titled Evening Draws Near and the Day is Nearly Over (from Luke 24:29), in which he laments the “collapse of the West,” as well as the “migratory processes” that threaten Europe’s identity.

The cardinal insists that he wrote the book not to discourage believers but to “give hope” to all God’s people. “This is not the end of the world, the Church will rise,” he said.

In his interview, however, the cardinal pulls no punches in decrying what he sees as a betrayal of many of the Church’s pastors to preach the true Gospel of Christ and, instead, waste their time in political activism.

“In the Church there have always been betrayals. Today, I can say without fear that some priests, some bishops and even some cardinals are afraid to proclaim what God teaches and to transmit the doctrine of the Church. They are afraid of being seen as reactionary,” he said.

“And so they say confusing, vague, inaccurate things, to escape any criticism, and to enlist in the stupid evolution of the world. This is a betrayal,” he said.

“If he does not teach the faith, if he enjoys activism instead of reminding people that they are made for prayer, he betrays his mission,” Sarah said. “Jesus says, ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.’ This is what is happening today. People no longer know who to turn to.”

There are some who “yield to the morbid, wicked temptation to align the Church with the current values of Western societies. Above all they want people to say that the Church is open, welcoming, attentive, modern,” he said.

“Some have adopted the ideologies of today’s world with the fallacious pretext of being open to the world. But instead we should bring the world to be open to God, who is the source of our existence,” he said.

The cardinal also offered his support for nationalist movements in Europe that wish to recover their sovereignty from Brussels.

“When I visited Poland, a country often criticized, I encouraged the faithful to affirm their identity as they have done for centuries,” the cardinal said. “My message was simple: you are first and foremost Poles and Catholics and only afterward Europeans. You must not sacrifice these first two identities on the altar of a technocratic Europe that recognizes no homeland.”

“The Brussels Commission thinks only about building a free market in the service of the great financial powers,” he continued. “The European Union no longer protects the peoples within it. It protects the banks.”

“This contemporary desire to globalize the world, ridding it of nations with their distinctive characteristics is sheer madness,” he said.»

*


Why Cardinal Sarah terrifies his critics

Com’è che il cardinal Sarah è diventato l’uomo più pericoloso della cristianità

Per gentile concessione del Catholic Herald, proponiamo di seguito in una nostra traduzione un articolo di Matthew Schmitz apparso nel numero del 23 giugno del magazine cattolico londinese. Il testo originale in inglese è pubblicato in questa pagina.

Una folla sempre più numerosa vuole la testa del cardinale Robert Sarah su un piatto. Aprite un qualunque periodico cattolico liberal e probabilmente vi troverete un appello al licenziamento del cardinale guineano che in Vaticano guida la Congregazione per il Culto divino: «È giunto il tempo per [papa Francesco] di sostituire il cardinal Sarah» (Maureen Fiedler, National Catholic Reporter); «Potrebbe esserci bisogno di vino nuovo alla Congregazione per il Culto divino» (Christopher Lamb, The Tablet); «I rappresentanti della Curia che si rifiutano di adeguarsi al programma di Francesco dovrebbero dimettersi. O il Papa dovrebbe mandarli da qualche altra parte» (Robert Mickens, Commonweal); «Papa Francesco deve puntare i piedi. I cardinali come Robert Sarah… possono credere che con un pontificato che va nella direzione sbagliata, sia un dovere resistere. Ma questo non significa che Francesco debba arrendersi a loro» (The Tablet).

Sarah non è sempre stato trattato come l’uomo più pericoloso della cristianità. Quando fu scelto per l’incarico da papa Francesco nel 2014, beneficiò della benevolenza anche di quelli che oggi lo criticano. Mickens lo descrisse come «poco ambizioso, un buon ascoltatore e, nonostante abbia mostrato chiaramente un lato conservatore da quando è arrivato a Roma… un “uomo del Vaticano II”». Le fonti di Lamb gli riferirono che Sarah sarebbe piaciuto ai liberal, il tipo di vescovo che guarda simpateticamente alla “inculturazione”. John Allen sintetizzò così il consenso intorno al Vaticano: Sarah è un vescovo di basso profilo, «caloroso, simpatico e modesto».

Tutto questo mutò il 6 di ottobre del 2015, il terzo giorno del controverso Sinodo sulla famiglia. I padri sinodali erano divisi da due richieste apparentemente contrastanti, quella di avvicinarsi alle persone che si sentono stigmatizzate dall’insegnamento della Chiesa riguardo al sesso e quella di proclamare coraggiosamente la verità a un mondo ostile. In quello che divenne noto come il discorso delle “bestie dell’apocalisse”, Sarah insistette che entrambe le cose sono possibili. «Non combattiamo contro creature di carne e sangue», disse ai suoi fratelli vescovi. «Dobbiamo essere inclusivi e accoglienti verso tutto ciò che è umano». Ma la Chiesa deve continuare a proclamare la verità di fronte a due grandi sfide. «Da una parte, l’idolatria della libertà occidentale; dall’altra il fondamentalismo islamico: secolarismo ateo contro fanatismo religioso».

Da giovane prete Sarah aveva studiato alla École Biblique di Gerusalemme e progettato una dissertazione su “Isaia, capitoli 9-11, alla luce della linguistica semitica nordoccidentale: ugaritico, fenicio e punico”. Perciò non sorprende che [al Sinodo] impiegò il linguaggio biblico per spiegarsi. La libertà occidentale e il fondamentalismo islamico, disse all’assemblea, sono come le due «bestie dell’apocalisse». L’immagine viene dal Libro della Rivelazione, che parla di due bestie che attaccheranno la Chiesa. La prima emergerà dal mare con sette teste, dieci corna e blasfemia sulle labbra. La seconda sorgerà dalla terra facendo grandi prodigi e convincerà il mondo ad adorare la prima.

Questa strana dinamica – una minaccia mostruosa che porta gli uomini ad abbracciarne un’altra – è quella che Sarah vede all’opera nella nostra epoca. La paura della repressione religiosa induce alcuni a venerare una libertà idolatrica. (Mi ricordo la volta che fui l’unico a rimanere seduto mentre Ayaan Hirsi Ali terminava un suo discorso chiedendo alla platea di fare un’ovazione «alla blasfemia!»). D’altra parte, gli attacchi alla natura umana spingono altri ad abbracciare la falsa sicurezza del fondamentalismo religioso, che ha la sua espressione più terribile sotto l’insegna nera dell’Isis. Ciascun male tenta coloro che lo temono a soccombere al suo opposto. Così come con il comunismo e il nazismo nel XX secolo, bisogna resistere a entrambi.

L’arcivescovo Stanisław Gądecki, capo della Conferenza episcopale polacca, scrisse che l’intervento di Sarah aveva un «livello teologico e intellettuale molto alto», ma sembra che altri non ne abbiano inteso il significato. L’arcivescovo di Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, deprecò l’uso del «linguaggio apocalittico». (Viene da chiedersi che cosa pensi del resto della Rivelazione di Giovanni). «Ai giovani non piace che gli si ricordi il giudizio», ironizzò un cardinale dopo il discorso di Sarah.

Un importante osservatore di cose vaticane mi scrisse da Roma: «[Sarah] è intervenuto oggi parlando delle due bestie dell’Apocalisse. Il suo potenziale papabile ha subìto un brutto colpo». Il padre gesuita James Martin dichiarò che Sarah aveva violato il Catechismo, «che ci chiede di trattare le persone LGBT con “rispetto, compassione, delicatezza”».

A volte viene da chiedersi se, per i cattolici come padre Martin, esistano parole con cui l’insegnamento della Chiesa a riguardo del sesso possa essere difeso – dal momento che loro non le utilizzano mai. Comunque, la reazione al discorso di Sarah probabilmente aveva a che fare più con il semplice analfabetismo che con una qualche differenza di principio. Il cardinale di Durban, Wilfred Napier, alla vigilia del Sinodo disse che gli europei soffrono di una «diffusa ignoranza e rifiuto non solo dell’insegnamento della Chiesa ma anche della Scrittura». Aveva ragione. Coloro che non vivono nella Scrittura e non conoscono personalmente le sue immagini sono più propensi a ritenere il linguaggio biblico irrilevante o incendiario.

Il 14 ottobre, una settimana dopo il discorso di Sarah, il cardinale Walter Kasper si lamentò degli interventi africani al Sinodo. «Io posso parlare solo della Germania, dove una larga maggioranza vuole un’apertura verso i divorziati risposati. Lo stesso vale per il Regno Unito e ovunque». O meglio, non proprio ovunque: «Con l’Africa è impossibile. Ma non dovrebbero essere loro a dirci cosa fare».

Il rigetto di Sarah e degli altri africani da parte di Kasper scatenò una immediata protesta. Obianuju Ekeocha, una cattolica nigeriana che si batte contro l’aborto, scrisse: «Figuratevi il mio shock oggi quando ho letto le parole di uno dei più importanti padri sinodali… In quanto donna africana che oggi vive in Europa, vedo le mie idee e i miei valori morali continuamente screditati come “questioni africane”». D’accordo il cardinale Napier: «È preoccupante leggere espressioni com “il teologo del Papa” riferite al cardinale Kasper… Kasper non è molto rispettoso verso la Chiesa africana e i suoi pastori».

La dichiarazione di Kasper ruppe la diga. Da quel momento, una ondata di abusi si è abbattuta su Sarah. I suoi critici lo hanno descritto come arrogante, ignorante e un criminale potenziale – o quanto meno meritevole di una bella lezione.

Michael Sean Winters del National Catholic Reporter ha ricordato a Sarah il suo ruolo («In fondo i cardinali di Curia sono dipendenti, dipendenti rispettati, ma dipendenti»). Padre William Grim su La Croix ha definito il suo lavoro «asinesco… palesemente stupido… idiozia». Andrea Grillo, un liturgista italiano liberal, ha scritto: «Sarah ha mostrato, da anni, una sostanziale inadeguatezza e incompetenza in ambito liturgico».

Su The Tablet, padre Anthony Ruff ha corretto Sarah. «Sarebbe bene che studiasse le riforme più approfonditamente e riuscisse a comprendere, per esempio, cosa significa “mistero” nella teologia cattolica». Massimo Faggioli, un vaticanista che frequenta le gelaterie di Roma, ha osservato innocentemente che il discorso delle bestie dell’apocalisse di Sarah «sarebbe passibile di denuncia penale in alcuni paesi». (Avendo amministrato per anni sotto la brutale dittatura marxista di Sékou Touré, Sarah non ha proprio bisogno che gli si ricordi che la professione della fede cristiana può essere un crimine).

Dopo che papa Francesco ha respinto l’appello di Sarah ai sacerdoti a celebrare la Messa ad orientem, il disprezzo verso di lui è esploso in una scarica di botte: «È assai insolito per il Vaticano schiaffeggiare pubblicamente un principe della Chiesa, eppure non sorprende del tutto visto come si è mosso il cardinal Sarah…» (Christopher Lamb, Tablet); «Il Papa ha schiaffeggiato Sarah abbastanza sonoramente, salvandogli la faccia solo un po’» (Anthony Ruff, Pray Tell); «Il Papa schiaffeggia Sarah» (Robert Mickens su Twitter); «Papa Francesco… lo ha schiaffeggiato» (sempre Mickens, per Commonweal); «Un altro schiaffo» (Mickens ancora una volta, qualche mese dopo per La Croix). Sommato tutto insieme, fa una notevole lezione.

Scambiarsi accuse di insensibilità probabilmente non è il modo migliore per risolvere le dispute dottrinali, ma la retorica dei critici di Sarah rivela qualcosa di importante a riguardo della vita cattolica oggi: nelle dispute dottrinali, morali e liturgiche, i cattolici liberal sono diventati nazionalisti ecclesiali.

I cattolici tradizionali sono inclini a sostenere standard dottrinali e atteggiamenti pastorali coerenti a prescindere dai confini nazionali. Se non prediligono la Messa in latino, vogliono che le traduzioni nelle lingue locali ricalchino il latino il più esattamente possibile. Non sono scandalizzati dal modo in cui gli africani parlano dell’omosessualità o i cristiani d’Oriente dell’islamismo.

I cattolici liberal, invece, si battono per le traduzioni scritte in stile idiomatico e approvate dalle conferenze episcopali nazionali, non da Roma. Le realtà locali esigono che la verità venga regolata ogni volta che oltrepassa un confine. Le affermazioni dottrinali cattoliche dovrebbero essere accennate in un linguaggio pastoralmente sensibile – sensibile cioè verso le sensibilità dell’Occidente ricco e istruito.

Uno dei vantaggi del nazionalismo ecclesiale è che consente ai liberal di evitare di argomentare in campo dottrinale, dove i “rigoristi” tradizionali di solito hanno la meglio. Se la verità deve essere mediata dalle realtà locali, nessuno a Roma o ad Abuja avrà granché da dire sulla fede di Bruxelles e di Stoccarda (ecco qual era il punto dietro il rigetto degli africani da parte di Kasper).

È quel che emerge in certi autori come Rita Ferrone di Commonweal, la quale dice che invece di badare a Sarah, chi parla inglese dovrebbe «fidarsi del nostro popolo e del nostro buon senso per quanto riguarda la preghiera nella nostra lingua». Il “noi” che sta dietro quel “nostro” non è globale e cattolico, ma borghese e americano.

E se invece di essere rimesso al suo posto, schiaffeggiato e sbattuto in galera per aver violato i codici linguistici dell’Occidente, Sarah diventasse papa? Ecco quello che i suoi critici temono di più. Mickens scrive della cupa possibilità di un «Pio XII (anche noto come Robert Sarah». Lamb dice che Sarah potrebbe finire per essere «il primo papa nero». (Sarebbe stupendo – i genitori di Sarah, due convertiti del remoto villaggio di Ourous, in Guinea, immaginavano che solo gli uomini bianchi potessero diventare preti e risero quando il loro figlio disse loro che voleva entrare in seminario). Lo stesso osservatore bene informato che mi disse che il potenziale di Sarah era precipitato durante il Sinodo, ora dice che le sue prospettive stanno migliorando. «La gente ha visto tutti gli attacchi, e il suo generoso rifiuto di rispondere a tono».

È davvero notevole il fatto che Sarah abbia sopportato una tale gragnuola di insulti con tanta grazia. Nel suo nuovo libro La forza del silenzio sentiamo il suo grido soffocato di angoscia:

«Ho provato sulla mia pelle la dolorosa esperienza dell’assassinio attraverso il chiacchiericcio, la calunnia e la pubblica umiliazione, e ho imparato che quando una persona ha deciso di distruggerti, non le mancheranno le parole, la cattiveria e l’ipocrisia; la menzogna ha una capacità immensa di costruire argomenti, prove e verità sulla sabbia. Quando tale è il comportamento degli uomini di Chiesa, e dei vescovi in particolare, il dolore è anche più profondo. Ma… dobbiamo restare calmi e in silenzio, chiedendo che la grazia non ceda mai al rancore, all’odio e alla sensazione dell’impotenza. Restiamo saldi nel nostro amore per Dio e per la sua Chiesa, nell’umiltà».

Nonostante tutto questo, Sarah è un uomo indomito. Il suo libro ribadisce l’appello alla Messa ad orientem e al resto della “riforma della riforma”. «Se Dio vorrà, quando vorrà e come vorrà, sarà realizzata la riforma della riforma nella liturgia. Malgrado lo stridore di denti, essa avverrà, perché c’è in gioco il futuro della Chiesa».

Se Sarah si è rifiutato di rendersi accondiscendente con quelli che comandano a Roma, non si metterà nemmeno al servizio altri schieramenti. In questo libro meravigliosamente personale, racconta vecchie storie popolari islamiche, ama profondamente i deboli e gli afflitti, e depreca gli interventi armati: «Come possiamo non essere scandalizzati e inorriditi dall’azione dei governi dell’America e dell’Occidente in Iraq, Libia, Afghanistan e Siria?». Sarah li considera spargimenti di sangue idolatrici «nel nome della dea Democrazia» e «nel nome della Libertà, un’altra divinità dell’Occidente». Si oppone allo sforzo di costruire «una religione senza confini e una nuova etica globale». E se questa vi sembra un’iperbole, ricordate che sei giorni dopo che i missili avevano colpito Baghdad, Tony Blair mandò a George W. Bush un promemoria che diceva: «La nostra ambizione è grande: costruire un’agenda globale attorno alla quale possiamo unire il mondo… per diffondere i nostri valori di libertà, democrazia, tolleranza». Sarah vede questo programma come qualcosa di contiguo alla blasfemia.

Ha opinioni altrettanto taglienti sull’economia moderna: «La Chiesa commetterebbe un errore fatale se si logorasse nel tentativo di dare una specie di volto sociale al mondo moderno che è stato scatenato dal capitalismo del libero mercato».

Guerra, persecuzione, sfruttamento: tutte queste forze fanno parte di una «dittatura del rumore» i cui slogan incessanti distraggono gli uomini e screditano la Chiesa. Per resistere ad essa, Sarah si rivolge all’esempio di Fratello Vincent, un giovane recentemente scomparso che Sarah amava con tutto il cuore. Solo se amiamo e preghiamo come Vincent possiamo sentire la musica callada, la musica silenziosa che gli angeli suonarono per Giovanni della Croce. Sì, questo libro mostra che Sarah ha molto da dire: sulla vita mistica, sulla Chiesa e sull’attualità mondiale. Ma su tutto il resto, rimane in silenzio – mentre il mondo parla di lui.

Pubblicato in: Cina

Belt & Road e l’Africa. Puntualizzazione di China Org.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-03-10.

pechino-città-proibita-da-piazza-tiananmen

China Org è organo di stampa del Governo cinese.

I nuovi enormi investimenti della Cina in Africa

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

«The Chinese-proposed Belt and Road Initiative could transform Africa’s economy»

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«Belt and Road Initiative is a game changer because it has made African countries start thinking beyond their national borders»

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«What the Chinese have done is to galvanize the imagination of people to think regionally through cross border infrastructure projects»

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«that the initiative provides an alternative to the traditional financing models offered by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which peg their credit on the size of economy of the recipient countries»

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La politica estera cinese risente in pieno il fatto che la Cina sia stata potenza imperiale per 5,000 anni.

Mentre l’Occidente tende a vedere i rapporti internazionali nell’ottica di esportare la propria Weltanschauung, spesso imponendola ed altrettanto frequentemente ponendo questo vincolo come non contrattabile, una visione statalista nella sua essenza. La visione imperiale cinese, simile a quella romana o del Sacro Romano Impero, tende a rispettare in modo paritetico gli interlocutori, con i quali ingaggia progetti economicamente vantaggiosi per ambo le parti.

Come i romani ben si guardavano dal sopprimere religioni e credenze, usi e costumi locali delle provincie, così anche i cinesi. La non ingerenza nei problemi interni è una norma plurimillenaria di collaudata efficacia.

Quanti non la rispettino, prima o poi falliscono.


China Org. 2019-03-08. Belt and Road Initiative could transform Africa’s economy: expert

The Chinese-proposed Belt and Road Initiative could transform Africa’s economy, economic analyst said on Thursday.

James Shikwati, director of Inter Region Economic Network (IREN), a think tank, told Xinhua in Nairobi that Belt and Road Initiative is a game changer because it has made African countries start thinking beyond their national borders.

“What the Chinese have done is to galvanize the imagination of people to think regionally through cross border infrastructure projects,” Shikwati said during the release of the Metropol 2019 Kenya Economic Outlook.

He urged African countries that are along the route of Belt and Road Initiative to use it to uplift their communities.

“It is up to African governments to put in place measures to ensure that they leverage the opportunities provided by Belt and Road Initiative to accelerate their country’s economic development,” he added.

He observed that the initiative provides an alternative to the traditional financing models offered by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which peg their credit on the size of economy of the recipient countries.

He noted that the Chinese are able to finance projects based on the long term needs of a country.

According to IREN, African countries have a huge infrastructure financing gap that cannot be met solely through public resources.

Shikwati added that African countries will only develop if they are willing to take financing risks to fund their development projects.

He revealed that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development project, dubbed the Big Four Agenda on food security, manufacturing, universal healthcare and affordable housing could also benefit immensely from the Belt and Road Initiative. 

Pubblicato in: Cina, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Politica Mondiale

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-04-26.

animali-bocca-aperta-civetta-001

Gli Occidentali sono riusciti negli otto anni di presidenza Obama a diventare odiosi agli occhi degli africani, che si sono sempre più rivolti ai cinesi.

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Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Prosegue e si allarga la rivolta all’impèrio mondiale. Gambia.

Kenyatta: Gay rights is a non-issue for Kenya

Rifugiati. Uganda un milione in un anno, e tutti zitti.

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Ricordate la visita di Mr Obama in Kenya?

«Kenyan president describes gay rights as a non-issue after Obama calls for equality for gays and lesbians in Africa»

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«South Africa is the only country on the continent to have legalised gay marriage. Most African countries have made it illegal to be gay or lesbian»

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L’Editorialista del Deutsche Welle ha sintetizzato al meglio il fallimento occidentale in Africa con queste parole:

«China’s popularity in Africa is strong. Its policy of not linking aid and investments to human rights and good governance has made Beijing many friends on the continent, beyond its authoritarian governments»

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La dizione “human rights” si estingue per gli Occidentali nel riconoscere giusto ciò essi reputano sia tale, ovvero l’accettazione come normale del comportamento contro-natura e tutto un bagaglio ideologico condiviso solo da loro. Davvero misera concezione, ma soprattutto, ripetiamo, non condivisa da nessuno.

La Cina non ha avuto altro da fare che andare ad occupare lo spazio lasciato vuoto dagli Occidentali.

Tra l’altro, non è impelagata nel fomentare guerre civili.

«African countries require Chinese expertise, technology and financial resources to accelerate the next phase of socio-economic transformation»

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«I regard Chinese engagement with Africa as really transformational both in trade, investments and infrastructure development»

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«trade, investments and infrastructure development»

Queste sono le key words del successo cinese, totalmente alieno da motivazioni ideologiche e soprattutto rispettoso dell’altrui sovranità e tradizione.


China Org. 2017-04-18. China remains Africa’s indispensable ally in development

African countries require Chinese expertise, technology and financial resources to accelerate the next phase of socio-economic transformation, a researcher has said.

Executive Director of Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Professor Lemma Senbet, told Xinhua in a recent interview that China’s robust engagement with the world’s second largest continent has been a game changer in many spheres.

“I regard Chinese engagement with Africa as really transformational both in trade, investments and infrastructure development, there has been positive impact on Africa’s growth trajectory,” Senbet said.

The Ethiopian born scholar was optimistic that the current geopolitical shockwaves linked to economic nationalism and isolationism in the west will not affect Sino-Africa bilateral cooperation.

He said China has eclipsed traditional African allies in the West to become the leading source of foreign direct investments in the continent.

At the same time, the Asian giant has become the leading trading partner with Africa, a feat credited for the continent’s stellar economic growth in the last two decades.

Senbet refuted claims that China was only interested with Africa’s natural resources and emphasized that Sino-Africa partnership has been framed around mutual respect and pursuit of common aspirations.

“Basically some people think of natural resources when it comes to China’s engagement with Africa yet the country is strong in trade, retail and financial services sector in Africa,” said Senbet.

He said African countries should court China as they embark on economic diversification, regional integration and strengthening of political institutions.

Senbet hailed China’s investment in modern infrastructure projects across Africa saying the move will hasten the continent’s economic development through robust trade and investments.

“China’s investments in this continent’s infrastructure have been huge. For instance, the Nairobi-Mombasa railway has impacted positively on regional integration,” Senbet said.

He added that African countries will benefit immensely from creation of Belt and Road Initiative envisioned by Chinese leaders to revive ancient trading routes.

The initiative is “playing the role of enhancing economic integration of African countries,” Senbet said while hailing China’s investment in Africa’s modern industrial parks.

African countries require Chinese soft loans and grants to support infrastructure development and modernization of social sectors like education and health.

Senbet noted that investments in Africa’s knowledge-based economy as opposed to financial aid would sustain the continent’s renaissance for the long haul.

He emphasized that China should help African countries strengthen their capacity to harness local expertise and resources in order to propel growth.

The scholar singled out technology transfer as an area that would unleash optimum benefits to both China and Africa.

African countries should forge strong partnership with China in areas that advance democracy, good governance and the rule of law.

Senbet reiterated that African countries can borrow lessons from China to strengthen their political institutions and shield them from internal and external shocks.


Deutsche Welle. 2015-07-25. Africans approve of China, says Afrobarometer

China’s popularity in Africa is strong. Its policy of not linking aid and investments to human rights and good governance has made Beijing many friends on the continent, beyond its authoritarian governments.

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“We didn’t really ask that question,” said Anyway Chingwete, co-author of a survey recently published by Afrobarometer. She was referring to the difference between East and West in their approach to trade and development aid relations with Africa. But the senior project leader for the African organization that measures public attitudes on economic, political and social issues in sub-Saharan Africa believes that China’s approach, its policy of not making aid and investments conditional on performance on human rights and good governance, has won China a lot of sympathy across the continent. “It has had a positive impact in terms of the growth of trade relationships between China and African countries.” Chingwete told DW.

Zimbabwe is a case in point; the perceived meddling by western powers drove the regime of long-term President Robert Mugabe to look to the east for much needed investments. Now Zimbabweans not only feel that China has the greatest external influence in their country by far, but many of them also approve this: 48 percent say this influence is positive as opposed to 31 percent who perceive it as negative.

Problem awareness

Contrary to countries like Mali, where China meets with a 92 percent approval rate, Zimbabweans are divided over whether China or the US offer the best model for development: 25 percent still feel the Americans have better solutions, but a significant 20 percent prefer the Chinese way.

This is not to say that Africans overlook problematic aspects in Sino-African relations. Zambians have not forgotten that a couple of years ago their miners had to fight to get minimum wages from Chinese investors. The protests resulted in riots which turned deadly. Still ,72 percent of Zambians today say that China’s economic and political influence is positive. Analyst Chingwete says: “I think people possibly weigh the positive and the negative. I know there were issues. But I think they also look at the positive aspect.”

China’s investments are especially welcome

According to the survey, there are a number of factors which are liable to tarnish China’s good reputation among Africans: “Citizens highlighted issues having to do with the quality of Chinese products,” Chingwete said. More than one third of Africans (35 percent) feel the products they buy from China are not up to standard. Other negative perceptions are China’s extraction of resources from the continent, land grabbing and taking away jobs and trade from Africans. On the positive side are Chinese investments in infrastructure and other projects, business partnerships and the low cost of imported products. 

Currently, former European colonial powers are still seen as the countries having the strongest political and economic influence on the continent (28 percent). But the gap with China (23 percent) is narrowing. The US comes a close third with 22 percent. But with 30 percent they are still ahead of China (24 percent) when it comes to being a role model.

Will China soon replace America in that position? Expert Chingwete doesn’t think so. The US is increasing its presence in Africa, and Africans are well aware of the benefits of trade relations with the US: “For instance we can look at the African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA. This has really helped most African countries to be able to trade effectively with the States.”  But, she adds, “China is really coming on board and moving very fast.”