It’s an open secret that the Iraqi war is caused by several factors, including fighting for control over the richest oil supplies. It’s for sure that official Washington will never admit that the war against Saddam is also a war waged with a view to get control over the Iraqi oil fields. The haste Americans made to extinguish fires on the oil fields (which are not numerous by the way) and how they rushed to distribute contracts on post-war reconstruction of the Mideast country give food for reflection. And the struggle for control over natural resources won’t be held within the limits of Iraq only. Within the nearest years the struggle will even intensify, it may exceed the Middle East boundaries and spread all over the world.
This may concern Africa as well. As some sources report, US special services have become suddenly very active in almost half of the countries on the African continent. The reason given for this stir is rather convenient: American special services are searching for al-Qaeda groups who have organized several acts of terrorism against US institutions located in Africa. This time Russian special services are not aside from these operations. In exchange for armament supplies Russia got a right to hold geological prospecting in the Sudanese province of Khartoum. Southern Sudan is seized with civil war which makes it quite understandable why intelligence focuses on the region so much.
Russia and the USA are not the only countries that evince interest in Africa. France and Great Britain have established their influence in the region long ago already. However, some countries that slightly ever interfered into affairs on the African continent are currently coming up. This is China for instance.
Beijing has a number of considerable advantages over the countries that have already established their influence on the continent. First, the Chinese leadership emphasized several times already that it was interested in the increase of political authority of African countries (in the UN network especially). And countries of the African continent stand up for this position. Second, Beijing often reminds its African partners that in the past China also seriously suffered from “colonialists and imperialists.” This is emphasized to state that China is ready to establish partnership with African countries only on equal terms. Some steps have been already made in this direction. In 2002, China wrote off 10 billion yuans of debt (over 1 billion dollars) owed by more than 30 African countries. It’s highly likely that the debts would have never been settled at all. Nevertheless, it’s a grand doing of China.
Like any other country, China is first of all eager to invest in production and processing of energy resources – oil, gas and coal. China’s need for these resources will be increasing with its economic growth. For the time being, it’s slightly profitable to transport these resources to China. Who can say how the situation may change in a couple of years?
To all appearances, it seems to be another wave of struggle for redistribution of spheres of influence. This time the struggle will be waged on a global scale, and none of the continents will remain aloof from the process. What will be the instruments of this struggle? The war in Iraq provides an obvious answer to the question, unfortunately. As we see now, although this scenario is the most disagreeable, it is the most probable at the same time.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/17/314/9108_peredel.html