Superb starling video

This video is about the superb starling.

These birds live in Africa.


Saddle-billed stork video

This is a saddle-billed stork video.

These birds live in Africa.

Macron escalates French neocolonial war in Africa

French soldier in Mali with skull mask

This photo of a French Foreign Legion soldier, part of the invasion of Mali, shows the real face of that war.

That war is not “against Al Qaeda terrorism” (supported by the French government in Libya and in Syria). It is not for women’s rights, human rights or secularism.

It started in support of a military dictatorship.

It brings death, mainly to Malian civilians.

This war is a neo-colonial war.

The French Foreign Legion became infamous in the nineteenth century for its atrocities while imposing colonial rule in Algeria and elsewhere. Now, it plays a role in twenty-first century neo-colonialism as well.

By Kumaran Ira in France:

France intensifies intervention in West Africa with launch of Sahel G5 force

18 November 2017

The Sahel, which has been devastated by the 2011 NATO war in Libya and the resulting French war in Mali starting in 2013, is facing a new military escalation as France steps up its deployments in the strategic, resource-rich region in its former colonial empire.

The new regional force set up by Paris, the Sahel G5—comprising Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad—carried out its first operation, code-named Haw Bi (“Black Cow”) from October 27 to November 11 in the border region between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The G5 force operated in coordination with French troops and the MINUSMA, the 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Mali. It carried out patrols aimed at ethnic Tuareg or Islamist fighters hostile to Paris and the Malian central government in Bamako.

“This operation has the character of a try-out,” said the G5 force’s commander, Malian General Didier Dacko. According to French army sources, the “territorial control” operation was carried out by 350 soldiers from Burkina Faso, 200 from Niger and 200 from Mali.

Since his election in May, French President Emmanuel Macron has pushed to intensify the war launched by his predecessor, François Hollande, in France’s former colonial empire, amid growing geostrategic tensions between Europe, the United States, and China. On July 2, Macron attended a summit of the G5 states in Bamako. The summit formally inaugurated the new force, which officially includes around 5,000 troops in total furnished by the countries of the alliance.

Macron confirmed that France will not leave Africa and or redeploy its 4,000 troops fighting in Operation Barkhane (the war in Mali), despite the launching of the G5 force. He said France would remain engaged in Mali “as long as it takes” to carry out a struggle against terrorism. He gave no indication of when, or even if, Paris might withdraw its forces.

“I came to Bamako today and went to Gao last month to show you that France will remain engaged as long as it takes,” Macron said in a speech before the French community in Bamako. “Thanks to our engagement, we aim in the long term to accompany and support the national and regional forces,” he added.

Paris faces a significant difficulty, in that it confronts a budgetary crisis. The G5 estimates that its operating costs will run to €423 million in the first year. Macron has announced material and logistical aid from France worth €8 million by the end of the year; the European Union (EU) has promised €50 million, and each G5 member country has committed to contributing €10 million. France is therefore forced to ask for financing from its imperialist allies, principally Germany and the United States.

In the final analysis, the imperialist capitals plan to put the costs of this neo-colonial escalation on the backs of the workers—which Macron made clear by calling for multi-billion defense spending increases while eliminating the special tax on large fortunes. Austerity and slashing cuts to social spending aim to boost financing for wars like the G5 operation in Africa. At the same time, Macron is demanding that the G5 countries, which were already among the poorest in the world even before being devastated by the wars during this decade, to provide large quantities of cannon fodder.

The claim that these sacrifices in blood and treasures are necessary in a struggle against terrorism is a shameless political lie.

The crisis in the Sahel flows from the bloody war for regime change that NATO waged against Libya in 2011, relying directly on Islamist militias as its ground troops. After the fall of the Libyan regime, Tuareg forces that had fought inside the Libyan army returned to northern Mali and backed local Tuareg fighters, including the National Movement for Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) against the Malian army. This provoked a major crisis in Bamako, where a coup toppled President Amadou Toumani Touré in March 2012.

Initially, Paris tried to remove the military junta of Captain Amadou Sanogo, which it forced to hand over power to an interim government. But finally Paris decided to back the Sanogo junta when it launched its own war in Mali in January 2013—which it nonetheless presented as a war to protect democracy from Islamism.

Since 2013, the French war in Mali has aimed neither to fight terrorism nor to create democracy in Mali. Rather, amid increasingly sharp international rivalries, Paris is preparing major new wars in Africa to protect its imperialist interests, including its control of the region’s vast uranium mines that fuel France’s nuclear plants.

These successive wars have devastated the G5 countries. According to the UN, 5 million people have fled their homes and 24 million people need humanitarian assistance in the region. Even Malian officials kept in power by French troops now feel compelled to confess that the war in Libya had horrific consequences for the region. Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop called the Libyan war a “strategic error” whose fall-out was not “well handled”.

As US troops also intervene in Niger and across the Sahel, there are growing differences between the imperialist powers and also with China, whose political influence in Africa is growing in line with its commercial weight. Washington—which is opposed to French demands that African operations function under the aegis of the UN and is reticent to fund French operations—has expressed serious reservations over the G5 force.

Washington has refused to finance the G5 through the UN, particularly under conditions where the Trump administration is trying to slash US payments to the UN, and has announced that it will provide funding directly to the G5 member states. It reportedly plans to provide aid worth €51 million to the five countries and has declared that this money would not go to the UN.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley bluntly criticized the French plans. “They can’t show us a goal, they can’t show us how they’re going to proceed,” Haley told CNN. “If they go back and they show us a strategy, and if it’s something that General [James] Mattis and General [Joseph] Dunford feel like is moving in the right direction, then yes. We will. But right now they’re not showing that, and so it doesn’t make sense for us.”

More Trump neocolonial war in Africa

This 2012 video is called Africom: The New American Empire in Africa.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Washington exploiting Green Beret deaths to escalate Africa intervention

27 October 2017

More than three weeks after four special operations troops died in a firefight in Niger, the Pentagon has yet to provide a coherent account of what led to this military debacle.

Combined with President Donald Trump’s initial silence on the deaths, followed by his repugnant public debate with the widow of one of the slain soldiers, the incident has cast a spotlight on a rapidly expanding US military buildup in Africa that has been carried out behind the backs of the American people and with no public debate, much less authorization, by the US Congress.

The Trump administration has made no real effort to sell this burgeoning American military operation—conducted under the badly frayed banner of the “war on terrorism”—to the American public.

Meanwhile, leading figures in the US Senate, including Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have claimed, however implausibly, that they knew nothing about the approximately 1,000 US special operations troops deployed in Niger and on its borders.

Trump himself provided an entirely credible claim of his own ignorance as to what is happening in Africa. Asked by reporters on the White House lawn whether he had authorized the mission in Niger, he said he had not, declaring idiotically: “I have generals that are great generals. These are great fighters; these are warriors. I gave them authority to do what’s right so that we win.”

Even as top politicians say they do not know what is going on and the public has been kept completely in the dark about US troops fighting in Africa—not to mention why they are there—the Pentagon is setting US policy. It is orchestrating a steady drumbeat to exploit the October 4 incident in Niger to push for a qualitative escalation of the US intervention.

This was reflected in a USA Today story Thursday that was evidently planted by its principal sources, unnamed Pentagon officials, who argued that “US counterterrorism efforts are likely to focus more on Africa now that the so-called Islamic State has been ousted from its de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.”

This same message was echoed by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday following a closed-door briefing by the US military brass. Both Republican and Democratic senators emerged from the meeting talking about the “rising terrorist threat” in Africa and the need to provide the US military there with “more resources.”

Specifically, the US military is seeking the rapid deployment of armed Reaper drones in Niger for a campaign of assassinations and massacres throughout the Sahel region of central West Africa.

US imperialism is preparing to inflict upon the African continent the levels of carnage that it has already wrought upon the Middle East, where the dead and wounded number in the millions and those driven from their homes in the tens of millions, while entire societies have been shattered.

This new stage in the global eruption of American militarism has been prepared through the extraordinary and largely secretive buildup of AFRICOM, the US regional military command set up under the Bush administration in 2007 and rapidly expanded under Obama. Today, some 6,000 US troops are spread across 24 African nations, carrying out some 3,500 exercises and operations a year, according to AFRICOM’s own figures.

AFRICOM drew its first real blood in the US-NATO intervention to bring down the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011, claiming the lives of some 80,000 Libyans and leaving the entire society, over six years later, still in shambles. The regime-change war in Libya destabilized the entire region, igniting longstanding conflicts between the Tuareg people and the governments in Mali and Niger, and strengthening various Islamist movements, which were armed and supported by the US and its allies as proxy ground forces against Gaddafi.

As is in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, the so-called terrorists that the US military is purportedly being deployed to fight represent the direct instruments or products of US imperialism’s own wars of aggression and regime-change, providing the pretexts for new and even bloodier interventions.

Behind these pretexts, however, lie the unmistakable geostrategic interests of US imperialism. These interests were spelled out fairly bluntly in a statement to Congress earlier this year by AFRICOM commander Gen. Thomas Waldhauser:

“Just as the US pursues strategic interests in Africa, international competitors, including China and Russia, are doing the same. Whether with trade, natural resource exploitation, or weapons sales, we continue to see international competitors engage with African partners in a manner contrary to the international norms of transparency and good governance. These competitors weaken our African partners’ ability to govern and will ultimately hinder Africa’s long-term stability and economic growth, and they will also undermine and diminish US influence—a message we must continue to share with our partners.”

The invocation of “international norms of transparency and good governance” by a senior military official of a military-dominated regime in Washington that wages wars behind the backs of the American people and conspires to topple any government getting in its way is, of course, pretty rich. But the thrust of the general’s remarks is clear.

AFRICOM’s rapid expansion and the shift of the “war on terror” to Africa are directed first and foremost at countering the rise of Chinese influence on the continent. It is among the sharpest expressions of the global drive by US imperialism to counter its declining economic influence by means of armed force.

China surpassed the US as the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009 and has continued to widen its lead. China-Africa trade has soared more than 20-fold from just $10 billion in 2000 to $220 billion in 2014. In 2015, Xi Jinping, China’s president, pledged $60 billion for African infrastructure projects in three years. Unable to compete with China economically and desperate for new sources of profits, US imperialism is resorting to military might.

Twice in the 20th century, Africa was the arena for savage armed conflicts between major imperialist powers for the control of colonies, markets and sources of raw materials and labor. In advance of World War I, Germany, demanding its “place in the sun” as a world power, sought to expand its dominance at the expense of the British, French and Belgian colonialists. It is estimated that one million people died in East Africa as a direct result of the war.

In the Second World War, Allied and Axis troops suffered over 400,000 casualties in the battles that raged over North Africa, while more than one million African troops were dragooned into military service on behalf of their European colonial oppressors.

It is not only the United States that is launching its military into a new scramble for Africa, but also the old European colonialists. France has deployed some 4,000 troops across its former Sahel colonies of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of a century after the defeat of Rommel’s Afrika Korps, Germany has some 1,000 troops deployed in Mali, a major component in the resurgence of German militarism.

The crisis of world imperialism, and above all that of the US capitalist system, threatens to turn Africa once again into an arena of bloody global struggles.

Author Tony Schwartz, who co-authored “The Art of The Deal” and is a contributor to :”The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump”, was on CNN to discuss Trump’s recent rash of Tweetrage at Lavar Ball. Schwartz tells us what we already know – that Trump hates black people (I would also include brown people, women and most other minorities): here.

Black heron video

This is a black heron video.

These African birds are known for spreading their wings parasol-style above shallow water, making shadow which attracts fish to feed on.

I saw them perform this trick in the Gambia.

Donald Trump’s war in Africa, war on Iran?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Decertifying Iran Deal, Trump Escalates His War

13 October 2017

President Trump’s de-certification of the Iran nuclear deal and targeting of the Revolutionary Guard is a dangerous escalation, says Reza Marashi of the National Iranian American Council.

Why is the US at war in West Africa? The October 4 killings of four US Green Berets in Niger has provided a rare glimpse into far-reaching American military operations which have been conducted almost entirely in secret: here.

US President Donald Trump vowed Friday that he will use his presidential powers to blow up the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran unless it is amended to Washington’s satisfaction: here.

Trump’s aggressive course of action against Iran has provoked a strong reaction in Berlin, where German politicians and media figures are openly discussing a break with the US: here.

Trump raises danger of war after move on Iran nuclear deal, Germany warns. ‘My big concern is that what is happening in Iran, or with Iran from the US perspective, will not remain an Iranian issue,’ says German foreign minister: here.

President Donald Trump’s declaration Friday that he stands ready to pull the plug on the Iran nuclear deal if it is not renegotiated to Washington’s liking has aggravated tensions between Washington and its ostensible European allies, and also been met with domestic criticism: here.

Trump, Iran and the US drive for world hegemony: here.

US threatens Iran after fall of ISIS “capital” of Raqqa: here.

Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program. Why do media keep saying it does? Here.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told CNN’s “State of the Union” that US diplomatic efforts to end the dangerous confrontation with North Korea would continue “until the first bomb drops.” Far from offering any reassurance of a peaceful solution, Tillerson’s remarks underscore the advanced state of US preparations for, in Trump’s words, the “total destruction” of North Korea, a country of 25 million people: here.

The resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, announced Saturday in Riyadh over Saudi state media, marks a further escalation of the US, Saudi and Israeli preparations for military confrontation with Iran: here.