The Incredible Costs of Rebuilding Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Others Under the Ongoing Spread of Extremism
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are putting investment capital into Libya according to a World Bank representative who spoke at the MED2018 in Rome Thanksgiving Day. To drive the 21st century, world leaders and industry moguls are seeing the continent of Africa as the last remaining bastion of undeveloped energy and mining resources before perhaps the planet Mars.
Powerful players including Russia and China have entered this space faster than Africans can say “wrecking ball” and have increased their global sphere aggressively on the resources and at times the many conflicts of these lands. Globalist Europe and Middle East countries like Qatar are also in competitive pursuits to expand their interests. The liberal media in the west failed to report on an entire war that lasted from 1997 to 2011 called the MDJT War (Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad).
Trump’s Call for New Global Media Network
With big tech advantages like wireless communication, the rapidity of development in African countries far exceeds the time Europe, the US, and even the Middle East took to industrialize. These countries are developing with technology faster than that of their political and civil capabilities leaving them exposed to the indirect rule of either global order expansion or criminal exploitation. So, it is no wonder that the Italian Institute for International Political Studies a liberal organization aligned with with Atlantic Council and liberal press chose to focus last week on Libya, Iran, ISIS among other terror networks and migration.
The problems are real enough and daunting to behold for any one organization or country. Al-Qaeda and ISIS have expanded into Africa following defeats in the Middle East, and other terror networks and state sponsors are also heavily influenced in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. ISIS remains a cyber threat with online financing as well as recruiting globally. Where we disagree comes down to understanding the problems and solutions that should be applied. Often private companies drawn into paid research while prospecting countries in the pursuit of investment opportunity can be misinformed by think tanks that have political agendas. President Trump has not been given credit for any of his Africa and Middle East policy and the media is covering up what is really going on with global migration. HBO is already advertising their latest propaganda mission called ICEBOX which portrays the plight of Latin American immigrants while completely whitewashing even erasing the security issues at the heart of Amazon’s JEDI contract with the US government to provide facial recognition to ICE.
Like so many CNN documentaries, the drama show produced by HBO will no doubt fail to communicate the actual situation on the ground and on the border. CNN’s reporting on the US Counterterrorism strategy claimed it was identical to Obama’s and attacked Muslims as terrorists. Not accurate. The policy which included even environmental terrorism couldn’t be further from the Obama doctrine which if you all remember enabled a foreign enemy, Iran, to board and take hostage a US Naval ship and crew. This leadership can only be described as a long series of stand-down orders while our country was raped and pillaged by international pirates. President Trump’s assessment that CNN does not have enough competition overseas is quite accurate, although I doubt we’re heading for our own version of Russia Today, the Russian state media.
In this series of blogs, I’m going to address Libya, Sudan, and Chad as well as ISIS, al-Qaeda, Iran, and Idlib in Syria. While Trump’s strategy in the Middle East and Africa was not celebrated at the MED 2018 event in Rome, [The Italian Institute for International Political Studies has not released video of the MED2018 panel discussion about sanctions on Iran nor physical security and critical infrastructure.] one of the most illuminating attributes of the discussions by leaders of NATO, the World Bank, European and Middle East dignitaries was the Israeli alignment in contrast to past Palestinian support and perhaps most disturbing is their solution to migration.
Europe to Pay Syria for Accepting Refugees
Among Europe’s security community voiced not in press but at private trade events like international security conferences, members have been speaking out about the toll of migration on Europe’s socialized economies, security, and industry growth. The saddest and most heart-wrenching and actually ludicrous proposals put forth in answer to the migration issue is that Europe will be paying the Assad regime in Syria to accept refugees displaced from the Syrian Civil War who are currently residing in European countries, and this will be an “involuntary” procedure in Europe. Assad who been criticized in the media for chemical weapons, does not want his own people back in Syria and is demanding payment in various forms including reconstruction in order to allow his people to return home, and Europe is insane enough to go along with it though making sure the media makes it look like they care about the safety and security of refugees from war torn countries including Syria and Yemen.
As someone who runs a private think tank and who has worked closely with refugee communities, I am astounded that these propositions are the best professionals can do. And private companies especially those working in energy, infrastructure, mining, and transportation logistics should know what they are really paying for. This design will directly fund the Assad, Iran, Turkey axis in major conflicts throughout the Middle East and Africa as the nuclear deal investments in Iran have shown, these countries will fund their military interests over civil infrastructure.
Turning Crisis into Opportunity for Millions of Migrants Currently in International Flux
The 4,000 migrant caravans from Honduras in transit to the Mexico-US border point to two distinct problems that deserve immediate attention. One is the issue of open or closed borders. The other is what to do about the instability causing mass migration.
Multiple mass migrations movements as a result of war, violent crime, and corruption currently threaten the stability of many continents including the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East as millions flee their homes in search for safety and employment opportunities risking everything for a chance to live a better life. Currently Central America including countries Honduras, Africa particularly the countries across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and Syria in the Middle East are the biggest refugee crises currently demanding coordinated solutions from multiple countries.
Coordination by not only the superpower destinations for millions of migrants but also the local governments within the regions of which migration is occurring is also needed across Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East because together they make up global trafficking routes which are growing in arms, narcotics, human slaves, and other commodities being traded between criminal organizations. These include both cartels and terrorist organizations active on these global trade routes perpetuating state-level corruption, violent crime, and black market industries.
Job Stimulus From Manufacturing and Development Could Promote Domestic and International Prosperity with Stability
This requires the US, Mexico, Canada, and Europe to create a 3 prong strategy- a migration policy to provide safety and economic opportunity for incoming migrants; a foreign policy of development that can be implemented in host countries; and last a global security strategy that serves to protect individuals inside these countries while combating ongoing threat.
Although the recent caravan of 4,000 migrants allegedly organized by for former Honduran legislator and member of the radical leftist Libre party for political gains in the US midterm elections, these individuals and millions more may present an opportunity both timely and unique. Manufacturing and infrastructure development can be a positive draw for millions of migrants to areas of safety and economic opportunity if the new trade agreement between the US, Mexico, and Canada the North American Trade Agreement and development agendas in allied countries could be coordinated with ongoing response to migration. The employment process could also be utilized for vetting as well as training and international placement. The same model can be applied in fact to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East as ongoing African conflicts and renewed fighting in Syria continue to displace innocent people as well as flush out combatants.
AID in the form of housing, food, medicine and other amenities could be shared with employer responsibilities applied towards job sites for construction and development as temporary relief while local communities are being built or to supplement urban growth around those enterprises. Ultimately the migration crises could be used to promote economic growth across superpowers and developing allied countries enabling the teaming up of employers, managers, and labor.
This is also timely with congressional reform about to take shape on AID programming in which development financing and AID may be rolled up and consolidated under fewer government agencies working internationally.
Raped; burned; run over by armored vehicles; hung from trees- Sudan is suffering the legacies of the Civil War (1983-2005) and the failures of postwar Disarmament Demobilization Reintegration (DDR).
“The South Sudanese military, known as the SPLA, together with allied youth militia, attacked numerous civilian villages during the Unity state offensive. They deliberately killed scores of civilians, including women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.” -Amnesty International
Coming out of the Civil War in Sudan between the North and South, South Sudan presented some security challenges early on in 2005 and 2006 as the UN gave the ok for DDR but opted out when the government of South Sudan elected forced disarmament. Disarmament is the collection of weapons from combatants as conflict is being resolved. Demobilization is the formal disbanding of nonofficial armed groups. Reintegration is the assimilation of ex-soldiers into society with job training and support packages.
There are many ways for these procedures to go wrong. In the case of Sudan, weapons have been collected by some combatant groups leaving them vulnerable to other armed groups whose weapons have not been collected. Disarmament has been conducted universally. At other times, disarmament has left former combatants without local food supplies while food, aid, and resources have not arrived on time, and reintegration into jobs has been implemented too slowly leaving creating economic hardships that have lead to further aggression.
In a report by Cecily Brewer, “UN policymakers and practitioners admit that, despite their best intentions, very little has been achieved so far beyond the approval of a national DDR policy.” Cofounder of the Small Arms Survey, Robert Muggah further has criticized the United Nations’ weakness in political leadership and lack of clear direction from its headquarters.
There are complications going on in Sudan and the continent overall. Extreme poverty and underdevelopment contribute to armed conflict. Russia has tied up a number of resources in African countries with agreements to develop resources, but has not provided funding for those projects. In turn, those resources are sitting stagnant, not creating jobs, and not earning income. If local countries want to change partners, they and the new prospector will have to buy the Russians out. Russia has acquired access to many natural mining resources it will deplete in the 2020s and to maintain its leadership in energy. Meanwhile, it has continued to sell arms creating a debilitating combination of stagnating natural resources and jobs while supplying weapons at the same time.
With Middle Eastern countries also developing prospects in Africa, Islamic terrorist havens have swollen in the chaos. The most important military task in Africa, for US AFRICOM, is to “deter or defeat al-Qaida and other violent extremist organizations operating in Africa and deny them safe haven.” These efforts however, must overcome cultural and political challenges such as anti Americanism fostered by the Cold War and colonial history.
If Sudan is to emerge from its present chaos, coordinated efforts between local governments and factions and host countries, private sector companies, NGOs, and aid need to be planned and ready to implement before conflict has ended and stages of DDR implemented with maximum time efficiency with both incentives for on time benchmarks reached and penalties for missteps. These projects can be put into effect without UN participation which has in recent years advanced Sudan’s problems instead of facilitating an environment for peace and economic growth.
Russia is expected to run out of many of its mineral resources by 2025. Within a decade economically viable reserves of zinc, manganese, copper, nickel, and platinum will have run out, these mineral resources are necessary for running a modern economy. To combat this threat to its economic security, the Russian Federation has pursued a number of mineral exploitation projects in Africa and other continents.
Uranium Supplies and Nuclear Energy Proliferation
Russia has specialized skills in nuclear energy desired by much of the developing world. In exchange for minable material exploitation needed for the Russian economy, leaders have initiated a number of nuclear energy development contracts with African countries. Note Russia has also included minable uranium from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia.
Contracts for Russian developed nuclear energy facilities exist in the Africa countries of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia in spite of security concerns and instability. These contracts follow the China model of noninterference into the local politics and corruption in these countries. China is developing nuclear energy projects in Sudan, Kenya, and Uganda.
China is Russia’s largest importer of oil. Oil and gas account for almost 70% of the Russian economy contributing to almost half of it’s federal budget. Despite this, Russian infrastructure continues to suffer and restrict growth to its economy. “I am convinced that infrastructure is one of the key problems of the Russian economy. We are underinvested here, the quality of infrastructure does not correspond to the level of Russia’s development and is a serious obstacle on the way of economic growth,” according to Russia’s Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin.
International Investment in Diversification and Infrastructure
Over the course of Vladimir Putin’s presidencies, he has asserted his commitment to stimulating non-commodity sectors of the economy, improving the business climate in Russia, and making it more attractive to foreign direct investment (FDI). Discouragement for international investment in Russia based on internal government corruption since the collapse of the Soviet Union has led to further nuclear and arms proliferation in the Middle East and Africa and consequently further military build-up in the motherland.
The lack of foreign investment in Russia has prevented its ability to develop other skills and commodities to offer to developing countries. This policy has also reinforced Russia’s growth in the narrow industries of defense and energy over the long term. The most attractive forms of trade with Russia for Middle East countries is in arms and nuclear energy followed by oil technology and transportation logistics. Instability in these regions continues to demand a steady stream of weapons.
Yet with the majority of the Russian economy based on oil and natural gas, it shares some of the same problems as Middle East countries in the need to diversify its industries and build up its internal infrastructure to support diversification. US trade agreements therefore with the Russian Federation and the Middle East could be aimed towards emerging markets to begin building economic diversity in these regions, and infrastructure development on all sides.
At the same time, the direct security capabilities of the US, Russia, China and local governments in these regions could therefore be directed towards the common threats of militant extremism. Control of transportation on land, water, and by air for example is essential to minimize the flow of supplies including natural resources, aid provisions, and other economic stimulus currently ending up in the hands of militant extremist groups in addition to stabilizing threats between regional players.
Kinshasa, Congo– the third largest city in Africa, a fireman sits in full dress in a station that has no walls, no roof, and no amenities. They have all burned. Yet, the river Congo is the world’s second-largest river. A young Congolese boy practices martial arts on the muddy streets. Between 230,000 and 1 million Chinese have immigrated to Africa where they have opened banks, import businesses, electronics shops, pharmacies and restaurants. A woman working in a local post office explains to each Congolese worker who comes to collect in his/her pay that there are no wages. However, a “benign climate and rich soil make it fertile, beneath the soil abundant deposits of copper, gold, diamonds, cobalt, uranium, coltan and oil are just some of the minerals that should make it one of the world’s richest countries,” according to BBC. The fireman, the boy, and the woman are three figures in the documentary film, Elephant’s Dream that tours the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where nearly 80 million people reside with only 1% of the population having access to electricity in rural areas and 19% in urban areas.
Chinese Investment Is Predatory
China replaced the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009, and estimated in 2012 it conducted $200 billion in trade with Africa having in the last 35 years moved approximately 600m Africans out of poverty. This success is attributed to a non-interference policy to develop Africa’s infrastructure in exchange for mineral extraction through mining. Yet Chinese exceptionalism as a resource based policy is not new to the colonies. The independent Democratic Republic of Congo has yet to realize its leverage in dealing with superpowers and determining the terms of its trade with international partners at varying stages of development. Neither the billions of dollars in US AID nor the billions of development investment from the Chinese have dramatically transformed the war torn underdeveloped fabric of the Congo for the average Congolese. However, as the African continent is overwhelmed with mass migration, and the Congo is in a relatively secure location with ample resources, it represents one of the better choices for rapid growth enhancements to the country where some migrants and Congolese may directly benefit both in the short and long-term future.
Generally, their investment is accompanied by a massive influx of Chinese citizens. In the process of building infrastructure, no efforts have been deployed to capacitate the DRC’s public agencies such as the Roads Office, the Office of Urban Roads and Canalization, and the Office for Country Roads. The use of imported Chinese labor, unstructured skills transfer, and lack of investment in the DRC institutions are among some of the factors that create skepticism about China’s development approach. 50 The benefits of these mega infrastructure projects are diminished by the fact that most of the people who do the actual work are Chinese who in most cases repatriate their earnings back to China and eventually return home with their skills and expertise. As such, Chinese construction undermines sustainability and transformation of the Congolese society and undermines the win-win partnership.
Work Camps Instead of Refugee Camps
If the Congolese government were interested in taking advantage of these opportunities, it with bilateral agreements with developed countries to clean, purify, and develop water resources for drinking, agriculture, and energy. Instead of refugee camps, it may request worker camps to draft in Congolese and immigrant skilled workers or unskilled labor that can be trained to development sites where worker camps can be phased into permanent housing in close proximities to long-term employment opportunities. Since the Chinese mining efforts were implemented in the Congo without respect to water pollution, and Chinese companies have not yet been sanctioned according to an American study, water projects and updated mining methods are one of the immediate areas for international and domestic cooperation and opportunity. Medical resources needed to ensure and maintain healthy labor forces is another area of immediate opportunity that can be implemented towards a sustainable medical industry in the Congo. From growth in these areas, the Congolese government may invest in furthering national education standards in the country and other independent infrastructure.
For US companies working in the areas of mining and water resources such as the construction of dams could mirror similar projects in the US where dam repair and updated water and energy systems many of which were constructed during the 1930s WPA programs and badly in need of improvements can be negotiated into agreements. This would provide additional investment incentives and immediate returns for private US companies working in these industries and US government resources such the utilization of the Army Corps of Engineers and Civil Military Operations to invest in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo where the long-term stability and economic advantages for the US present prohibitive investment risks in both sectors private and public. Additional visible operating presence of superpowers may have an impact on security vulnerabilities for the region while additional stages areas for managing terror and crime threats on the continent.
The mass migration movements from Syria, and other countries across Africa, are in excess of 60 million displaced people. Recently plans for refugee camps have surfaced that on paper would support the refugees but in practice would be unable to contain the sheer mass of people without turning into slums with high crime rates. To put it in perspective one refugee camp to house 60 million displaced people equals a city 6.5 times the size of Mexico City. The logistics of clean water, food, power, and basic healthcare cannot be provided in one of these refugee camps, not only that, but these camps would only exacerbate existing problems in unemployment, education, and healthcare.
The refugee camp systems have already proven risky and ineffective in countries like Syria where youth have been drafted into violent gangs or terrorist organizations, women have experienced violent crimes some preferring the relative stability of living as ISIS brides, and disease and poverty become long-term systemic handicaps. These environments have created social welfare nightmares in epidemic proportions that continue to drain international resources in defense and Aid programming. It’s time to rethink the problem and arrive with fresh solutions.
Smart Cities are Smart Solutions to Resettlement
It must be approached in terms of urban and rural development in relatively stable locations politically and militarily. Sustainable urban planning around midsize cities and development between midsize cities so as to avoid draining the resources of one and connect resources across several cities will absorb the problem of resettling such large amounts of people. This will also create areas of regional security, environmental challenges, the control of employment, containment of disease, and educational needs to support continued sustainable economic growth.
Foreign Investment is Hurting Developing Countries
Currently, much of the developing world is engaged with China, Russia, and EU in terms of developing natural resources and establishing infrastructure and stability, and these engagements are known to be very one-sided to the advantage of the China, Russia, or EU based investors while countries like Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are likely to be acquired by these investors bit by bit in the form of loans, the building of roads, railways, nuclear energy facilities, mining, communications, etc.
This approach further creates investment opportunities for the US that could also provide competitive engagements setting new standards on the African and Middle Eastern continents where current economic deals with Russia and China have prospered to the detriment of economic and political independence for native countries. It is also possible to manage these types of investments so that they are reciprocal engagements aimed at rebuilding critical infrastructure and increasing foreign direct investment in developed countries.
If one compares the type of investment needed to service the needs of displaced populations with the needs of many U.S. inner cities and outdated infrastructure including roads, bridges, dams, water and energy systems as well as social services like education, employment, and health care, these are nearly identical including population growth and thus require the same multilayered types of development investment and sustainability, which means that these engagements can be set-up to cross-pollinate one another internationally. The building of a new energy facility in a country like Nigeria can be mirrored in a U.S. city like Detroit. This method also avoids costly social welfare and aid program hikes that do not provide a return on investment, it actually cuts those costs long term.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has become one of the dominant military powers in the Middle East active in many international conflicts and a constant threat to regional stability. Learn about the revolutions and social movements that make up the turbulent history of modern Iran. Explore the world of the ancient Persian Empire, the establishment of Shia Islam in Iran, and experience the moving events of the 20th century to present day in this powerful documentary series years in the making.
In the oppressive grip of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, protesters in the streets of Iran call for the end of the Islamic Republic and the return to the peace and progress of the last ruling dynasty. Get to know the people of Iran today, what they are fighting for, and why foreign help may be needed to throw off the yoke of Iran’s duplicate military powers used to suppress its own population.
Experience the rise and fall of the Soviet Empire through the life and work of Grisha Bruskin. Born to a Jewish family in Moscow at the end of WWII, Bruskin rose to fame as an intellectual and artist in an underground social movement that questioned the Soviet way of life beneath the radar of the ruling elite. His work exposes the undocumented history of what became known as, “the Soviet situation,” and expresses the sentiments of generations lost to communist rule.