Containing China by “Fighting Al-Qaeda”?


africa

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Authorities recognize growing threat of domestic terrorism in Kazakhstan.

Over the last couple of months Kazakh authorities introduced series of measures targeting to modify counter-terrorism policy and to prevent the development of religious extremism across the country. Recently security authorities of the republic recognized that the series of attacks over the last years highlighted inability of Kazakh security forces to tackle terrorism and extremism threats.

Such measures included series of amendments to the Counter-Terrorism Law, strengthening of security measures in some areas of the country and supplementary training and information campaigns.

Besides that Kazakh authorities announced their initiative to intensify cooperation with other countries in countering terrorism and extremism and launched a waste media campaign to inform about the terrorism threats and implementation of counter-terrorism measures.

In January Kazakhstan National Security Committee announced the initiative to establish a school in Security Academy to train security personnel to deal with terrorists, which will be a new preventative measure against terrorism. New specialists, trained in this school, should operate mainly as negotiators during hostage taking and others terrorist attacks.

Moreover, Kazakh authorities have stated that they also plan to form counter-terrorism commissions on the regional level to ameliorate application of counter-terrorism measures.

By Evgenia Gvozdeva

Full analysis.

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Hidden Agenda behind America’s War on Africa

The geopolitical posturing over the crisis in Mali, coming as France’s intervention   fans out across the region, is no more evident than in the public statements coming from both London and Washington.

As British Prime Minister David Cameron declared, the crisis in Mali “will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months.” Backing up such bluster, Britain has reportedly joined France in dispatching special commando teams to Mali, in addition to surveillance drones.

In Washington, the talk of a long war to be waged across the entire Sahel region of Africa has also begun. As one U.S. official speaking on the Western intervention into Mali warned Monday, “It is going to take a long time and time means that it could take several years.”

Such remarks mirror those made by outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“This is going to be a very serious, ongoing threat because if you look at the size of northern Mali, if you look at the topography — it’s not only desert, it’s caves,” Clinton remarked. “Sounds reminiscent. We are in for a struggle. But it is a necessary struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the safe haven refrain is also pulsating through the corridors of the Pentagon.

“Some top Pentagon officials and military officers warn that without more aggressive U.S. action,” the Times reports, “Mali could become a haven for extremists, akin to Afghanistan before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

And as the American public is prepped for the opening of a new front in the unending “war on terror,” U.S. intervention accelerates.

As the Washington Post reports, the U.S. is now offering “aerial refueling” to French warplanes, along with “planes to transport soldiers from other African nations.”

U.S. intelligence officials, meanwhile, have reportedly begun drawing up plans to provide “data to help French warplanes locate and attack militant targets.” This, as Pentagon hawks continue to push for the use of drone strikes.

In fact, the New York Times reports the U.S. has begun “preparing plans to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups.”

The paper, which notes the base’s likely location to be in Niger, reports the Pentagon has “not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.”

As one American official told the Times, the decision to establish a permanent drone base in northern Africa “is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom [the U.S. Military’s Africa Command] a more enduring presence.”

The very notion, though, of an al-Qaeda threat in northern Mali so dire as to require Western intervention and a permanent U.S. presence is anything but well-defined. As Blake Hounshell, managing editor of Foreign Policy, notes: it’s by no means clear what threat al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb…poses to the United States.”

Indeed, the very notion of al-Qaeda in Mali posing a threat to the West is predicated on the oft-repeated safe haven refrain. That is, the belief that without foreign intervention al-Qaeda will use northern Mali as a staging ground to launch attacks within Western countries.(…)

One needs look no further than the intervention into Mali to see the al-Qaeda threat bearing fruit for the West. All the attention on combating al-Qaeda in northern Mali has provided the perfect cover for the U.S. and its junior Western partners to pursue their grand strategy of containment against China. And with China increasingly out competing Western interests throughout Africa, one understands the sudden neo-colonial urge in the West.

According to Razia Khan, the regional head of research for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, bilateral trade between Africa and China is nearing $200 billion annually, having grown at an average rate of 33.6 percent per year over the past decade. What’s more, in the coming years Africa stands to become China’s largest trade partner, surpassing both the EU and the U.S.

None of this has been lost on Washington. As the presumptive next U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, noted during his Senate confirmation hearing, the U.S. is knowingly playing from behind.

“Now with respect to China and Africa, China is all over Africa — I mean, all over Africa. And they’re buying up long-term contracts on minerals, on … you name it,” Kerry commented. “And there’re some places where we’re not in the game, folks. And I hate to say it. And we got to get in.”

By Ben Schreiner

Full analysis.

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