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In remarks sent to Newsweek some time last year by the Syrian permanent mission to the United Nations, representative Bashar al-Jaafari told the U.N. Security Council that “the U.S. occupation forces, in full view of the United Nations and the international community, took a new step to plunder Syria’s natural resources, including Syrian oil and gas” through the recent establishment of a company called “Crescent Delta Energy”.

This firm, “with the sponsorship and support of the US Administration, has entered into a contract with the so-called ‘Syrian Democratic Forces/SDF’ militia, an agent of the US occupation forces in northeastern Syria, with the aim of stealing Syrian oil and depriving the Syrian state and Syrian people of the basic revenues necessary to improve the humanitarian situation, provide for livelihood needs and reconstruction,” he added.

The Syrian diplomat noted that Trump had made his intentions known earlier, such as in a late October 2020 press conference at which the president said he sought “to make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies” to take hold of oil in Syria. Trump has publicly professed “I love oil!” and that he was staying militarily involved Syria “only for the oil,” even as his officials insisted the Pentagon’s focus was battling the so-called “Islamic State militant group (ISIS)”.

This is replicated elsewhere in countries like Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Now that oil wealth in Arab countries is running out fast, the focus has shifted to Africa. Africa is home to a lot of the minerals that are driving technological growth in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) age.

From Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Central African Republic (CAR), to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and now Mozambique, one sees the same pattern that suggests something fishy is going on.

The best example of this development is what has been going on in the DRC. The DRC is Africa’s richest country in terms of natural resources. It has all the minerals that are today driving the (4IR) as we know it. Since the country got its independence, it has never enjoyed peace. The presence of different “economic terrorist” groups in the country, has hindered its development as the looting continues unabated.

Many of those groups fighting in the DRC have got no political plans whatsoever that suggests they are fighting to take power and rule. They are just gangsters and criminals who are armed by the imperialist countries to terrorise the local people as they loot the resources. They are appendages of imperial governments that seek to exploit the resources of the DRC.

Those branded as “Islamist terrorists” in these regions are no more than a proxy for domestic and foreign looters.

They also intend to open and secure trans-Saharan routes to smuggle drugs to Europe and the Far East. Remember that the drug trade is controlled by some of the most powerful countries in the west. Though they appear to be in the forefront of the fight against drugs, it still remains an immensely powerful weapon in their overall political strategy against their targeted enemies.

If we look at what is happening in the CAR, where you get militias under the command of the Russians, French, and USA, we see a similar situation like the one prevailing in the DRC. There are militias under the control of each of these foreign countries who will be operating in an area. Each supporting imperial country is after a particular strategic mineral. So, these militias are supplied with arms from the supporting country to terrorise the people in those resource rich areas to pave way for the actual looting and smuggling to take place.

In the dead of the night, planes are landing to pick up the loot to their countries all under the nose of our African leaders. Our African leaders are weak and most of them would have been bribed not to say anything.

The argument here is that these labels called “al-Shabaab”, “al-Qaeda”, “ahlul Sunna wal-Jamah”, and “ISIS”, remain labels by which they operate but the owners still remain the same. And the purpose is none other than to steal the resources of the African people.

Similarly, if one looks at what is going on in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, it is the same thing repeating itself. Those groups fighting there are criminal gangsters who are after the mineral resources that have been discovered in the region. That is why Tanzania refused to send its forces as part of the SADC Standby Force asking, “who are we going to fight against if we send our forces there?”.

Obviously, Tanzania knows that these are not ISIS, al-Qaeda, and al-Shabaab, they are a bunch of criminals who have probably teamed up with the locals to fight for their piece of cake as well. So, its these criminals versus the ruling elites who do not want to share with the locals and instead want everything to themselves.

We call upon the AU to set up a panel of experts who can be tasked with investigating these developments across the continent before Africa loses all its mineral resources to these gangsters and thieves. The AU should also come up with home grown security measures and ensure that its security is never outsourced.

The continent is losing in excess of $89 billion yearly to theft and illicit financial flows a development which is more than what it receives in aid represents a 3.7% of its GDP.


Dr. Mustafa Mheta

Senior researcher/Head of Africa Desk

Media Review Network

South Africa