Africa
lake victora

Pipeline project threatens Lake Victoria

More than 260 organizations issued an open letter to banks and financial institutions involved in the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), which would carry oil from fields in western Uganda to a port on the northern coast of Tanzania, passing near critical wetlands in the Lake Victoria basin. The human rights and environmental organizations say the line’s construction poses “unacceptable” risks to communities in the immediate 1,445-kilometer (898-mile) path of the project and beyond. They are calling on banks not to fund the $3.5 billion project, and asking government leaders to shift funding from infrastructure for fossil fuels to renewable energy. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Mongabay)

North Africa
Haftar

Libya: Blackwater CEO trafficked arms to Russia-backed warlord

Erik Prince, former CEO of the notorious private military company Blackwater, violated the UN arms embargo on Libya with a clandestine pipeline to a rebel warlord, according to a confidential report to the Security Council obtained by the New York Times. The report found that in 2019 Prince deployed a force of foreign mercenaries and weapons to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, who has been fighting to depose the UN-recognized Libyan government‚ÄĒand is also being aggressively backed by Russia.¬†(Photo via ISS Africa)

Africa
Somaliland

Russia seeks naval base in Sudan ‚ÄĒand Somaliland?

Just after Russia finalized plans to¬†establish a naval base on the Red Sea in Sudan, Moscow’s UN ambassador¬†for the first time weighed in diplomatically on the dispute between Somalia and the¬†separatist enclave of Somaliland, urging both sides to find a compromise solution. The move¬†sparked speculation within the region that Russia is seeking a second naval facility at Somaliland’s port of Berbera, on the Gulf of Aden which guards the southern mouth of the Red Sea. This¬†would allow Russia to establish a counter-presence to US, French and Chinese bases in Djibouti, just across the land border to the northwest, as well as Turkish military forces in Somalia proper to the south.¬†(Map:¬†Somalia Country Profile)

Africa
OGFTZ

Worker uprising at Chinese FTZ in Nigeria

Aggrieved workers at a Chinese company in the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone, in Nigeria’s Ogun State, staged an uprising after they were locked within the complex, ostensibly under emergency measures to contain COVID-19. Several vehicles and a sentry box were set ablaze. The incident comes amid tensions between Nigeria and China over reports of Nigerian nationals in Guangzhou¬†facing discrimination and harassment,¬†apparently because of unfounded rumors that they are carrying the coronavirus. (Photo via Instagram)

South Asia

China expands Indian Ocean military footprint

In addition to stationing troops on the disputed islands it claims in the South China Sea, Beijing is rapidly expanding its network of commercial ports across the Indian Ocean. This comes as China is sending warships into the Ocean with growing frequency, leading to fears that the commercial ports could presage military bases, The latest addition is the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka, acquired in a debt swap deal—the Colombo government was forgiven $1 billion in debt to Beijing in exchange for the Hambantota facility. China has also gained access to facilities in Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Maldives, Seychelles and Oman as part of the maritime component of its Silk Road trade and infrastructure initiative. While the Silk Road is an ostensibly civilian project, China has also established its first foreign military base at Djibouti, leading Western wonks to warn that Beijing is seeking a "string of pearls" network of bases across the Indian Ocean.  (Map via CIMSEC)

Africa

DRC opens rainforest to oil, logging interests

Concern is mounting for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s vast forests and rich wildlife as logging concessions and licenses to explore for oil in protected areas are prepared ahead of presidential elections later this year. A moratorium on industrial logging, in place since 2002, has been broken with three concessions reportedly handed out by the DRC environment ministry to Chinese-owned logging companies. A further 14 logging concessions are expected to be granted within months, according to a Greenpeace investigation. In addition, the government is preparing to reclassify large areas of Salonga and Virunga national parks—both UNESCO World Heritage sites—to allow oil exploitation. (Photo via Global Forest Watch)

Africa

Zimbabwe: new leader implicated in massacres

The swearing in of Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is being hailed as opening a new era for the country that had been ruled by Robert Mugabe from independence in 1980 until his dramatic downfall this week. But  some are demanding accountability over Mnangagwa's role in ethnic massacres against the country's Ndebele minority people in the 1980s.

Africa

China sends combat troops to South Sudan

A 700-strong Chinese battalion is headed for South Sudan as part of a UN "peacekeeping" mission—but the deployment follows China's massive investment in the country's oil sector.

Africa

Boko Haram steps up Cameroon raids

Escalating attacks by Boko Haram militants from across the Nigerian border have led to curfews, fear and privation in Cameroon's remote and impoverished Far North Region.

Oceania

Rival trade pacts vie for Pacific hegemony

China is proposing a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) in  a race with the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.

Africa

South Sudan: Yes, another war for oil

South Sudan may be developing into proxy war, pitting US client states Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia against Khartoum in a struggle for control of pipeline routes.