Saturday, August 31, 2013

COSATU President Sdumo Dlamini Speaks at Alliance Summit In South Africa

COSATU Today | COSATU Speeches

Address by COSATU President Sdumo Dlamini at the Alliance Summit held from 30th - 1st September 2013, St Georges Hotel, and Centurion

The President of the ANC comrade Jacob Zuma and the entire leadership of the ANC The General Secretary of the SACP comrade Blade Nzimande and the entire leadership of the SACP The President of SANCO comrade Ruth Bhengu and the entire leadership of SANCO present here today The leadership of all leagues and the student movement present here today

We want to declare right from the onset that as COSATU we come to this Summit preoccupied with one intention, which is to find answers and solutions to the challenges facing our country and to generate practical ideas on how we strengthen the Alliance to execute its task of deepening and advancing our common objectives to achieve total liberation for blacks in general and Africans in particular.

We want this summit to desist from generating hopes full of air and not real commitments, which by one shivering finger from capital in the name of investors and one single press statement from the opposition may bubble out and be blown out into thin air living our people in despair.

The success of this Summit must not be measured by how much we are able to convince each other about this or that policy position, instead its success must be judged by its ability to provide real and practical solutions for the most marginalised people of our country.

This Summit must speak to the aspirations of the rural masses that still remain at the margin of economic activity, who are still faced with limited access to education and skills training, which further contributes to a life of poverty. It must be about youth who leave in despair because despite having finished a degree, they still cannot get a job. It must provide practical answers to the aspirations of the worker who despite having worked many years and produce wealth but can never access such wealth in his or her lifetime.

This Summit must give hope and clarity on the possibilities which exist for those who wake up in the morning to look for jobs and those who have even lost hope of finding a job that sooner rather than later, they too will get employment.

We must use this Summit to provide practical answers to our people who despite progress in the building of houses, in education, in health but still remain packed in shacks which get burned at any time or remain subjected to possibilities of evictions from their township four roomed house because the laws of the land have not given them any claim of ownership to the land.

This is what the 2008 January 8th statement meant when it said that "the task we face is to reconnect with and rebuild the mass movement and to close the gap that has emerged within the Alliance and between the Alliance and the State". This Summit must spend time on how we can practically rise to the challenge posed by this 2008 January 8th statement "to close the gap that has emerged within the Alliance and between the Alliance and the State". If the Alliance was once defined in the Morogoro as the "fighting Alliance" why should it not now, be defined in practice as the governing alliance?

It will become even more important to elevate the importance of the masses as we celebrate 30 years since the UDF was launched in 1983 that became a bulwark of our struggle which in concert with the ANC in exile at the time directed a people`s war against the Apartheid regime and implemented in practice mass mobilisation of all the motive forces inside the country leading to Apartheid`s regime`s ultimate political liquidation in the 1994 breakthrough.

UDF was actually a movement predicated on the notion that the transfer of political power to the representatives of the majority is a precondition for the realisation of basic economic demands such as decent shelter, cheap transport, proper health care, adequate education, the right to occupy land and the right to a decent and steady income[1].

It is the UDF which gave life to the theory of the mass line, it defined in practice the concept of people`s power, mobilised the masses behind a common and inspiring battle cry for the transfer of power to the people and through struggles which promised and in some occasions delivered real tangible gains helped to re-instil the mass based character of our movement.

As a tribute to the UDF this Summit should ask if as the Alliance we remain people centred and people driven or we get locked into conference rooms, take decisions and after that go to sleep having forgotten about all the commitments we made in the meeting. In the spirit of celebrating 30 years since the formation of the UDF this Summit should ask if we have not over time replaced mass power with over reliance on state power.

Comrades, we come to this Alliance Summit with high hopes that its outcomes will inspire our people and give answers to those workers who are currently on strike.

As we speak the NUM, NUMSA, SATAWU, POPCRU and very soon SAMWU will be joining them in the streets to demand that which belongs to the workers. This Summit must connect to these , it must speak to the aspirations of the rock drill operators in the gold and platinum mines , to those workers at ESKOM ,to the metal workers in the smelters and all over the country , to the construction workers , the transport workers who drive trucks , trains , taxis and buses , to the municipal workers who provide our services , who continue to be subjected to perpetual exploitation. This Summit must say to these workers the revolutionary Alliance is with you and will work with you to put pressure on employers to accede to your demands.

We want this Summit to give hope, clarity and assurance to our people that the dream articulated in the Freedom Charter that the people shall share in the country`s wealth is a closer reality which does not belong to a few who continue to enjoy it in the name of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment which has not benefited the majority of our people.

Comrades we want to clarify that we do not come to this summit as people who cannot see what has been achieved but we come here walking with our heads up on the achievements of this glorious movement .We also come here with a burden of anxiety about our collective tasks on the work which still need to be undertaken.

We have come to this Summit as this generation of leaders carrying a heavy burden on our shoulders to answer the proverbial question posed by comrade Lenin many years ago on "what is to be done?".

In our view this Summit must achieve the following: (a) Unite our efforts strategically to achieve the strategic objectives which unites us and not to force in each other`s throats policy proposals which have been defeated in our own internal processes as the alliance such as the Youth wage Subsidy. Non amongst us in this hall can make a claim of possessing wisdom on the precise path which must be taken because none has travelled it before. So our collective wisdom must be valued and we all should respect each other`s views. (b) This Summit must generate practical proposals on how we should build our respective organisational structures and instil a sense of revolutionary responsibility to one another that if one Alliance Partner is weak , that is a costly weakness for the revolution as a whole and it is a weakness for all of us which we must confront collectively (c) This Summit must give answers on how we should re-build a broader mass democratic movement and Mobilise popular forces behind an inspiring programme (d) This Summit must creating a platform which will constitute the bases of unity in the alliance based on what should be the content of the radical phase of transition to which all alliance partners have resolved to pursue (e) This Summit must reclaim the credibility and relevance of the Alliance in the Society and make sure that the decisions taken here are binding for all of us. No Alliance partner must have an exclusive right to convene its constitutional structures which will have powers to veto decisions taken in this Summit which actually all revolutionaries and cadres of our movement must consider as the highest decision making organ of our revolution in between the congresses of each alliance partner. This also applies to government departments that no government department and bureaucrats (in particular the National treasury) must think for a moment that they have a right to misinterpret, negate, undermine or openly refuse to implement the programme which will emerge from this Summit and instead develop their own policy proposals which are not a product of democratic processes of our movement.

We call on this Summit to defend the integrity of the Alliance. Decisions taken here must be owned and implemented by all of us and ideas generated here must be respected by all of us. If we do not do that, gradually the Alliance will become a body whose importance will only be defined through its past.

As this generation of leaders we have to make the alliance relevant and an important factor in the political life of the movement not to see it as an important factor only at the point of elections, such an attitude will ultimately dampen the moral of the revolutionary forces and force them to break away from our ranks and thereby weaken the people`s camp.

Our engagement here will be based on the progressive positions of the movement in particular the outcomes of the 2008 Alliance Economic Summit, the resolutions from Polokwane and Mangaung ANC National Conferences including all historic Alliance policy positions such as the Freedom Charter as well as the consensus to push ahead with a second phase of transition for radical economic transformation.

In this context we want to reaffirm the perspective of the 2002, Alliance Summit which asserted that "The primary task of this epoch is the creation of a national democratic society. All the classes and strata which share this objective, as well as the schools of thought found in the democratic movement, see this as their current strategic objective. There is one NDR, at the core of which the liberation of black people is in general and Africans in particular. Among these classes and strata, the working class is the leading motive force."

We also want this Summit to reaffirm the resolution of the Alliance Summit held after the Polokwane Conference from the 9th-10th May 2008 and the Statement of the Alliance Political Council held on the 13th October 2009 which reaffirmed that "we seek to strengthen the Alliance as an ANC led strategic political centre that will act together as a revolutionary formation to advance the objectives of the revolution".

In our view there is no contradiction between this Alliance position and the notion of accepting the ANC as the leader of the core of organised forces that drive transformation, represented by the ANC itself, the South African Communist Party (SACP), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African National Civics Organisation (SANCO).

All these organisations remain firmly committed to the creation of a new society based on the principles of the Freedom Charter. The ANC in particular, and the Alliance in general, are the organisational fountain from which ideas, strategies, programmes, conduct and demeanour that should inform the project of fundamental change should emerge.

We further call on this Summit to reaffirm the resolutions of the Alliance Economic Summit, which was convened from the 17th-18th October 2008 which on among others agreed on the (a) restructuring of Cabinet and reconfiguration of government departments (b) Implementation of Decent Work Agenda (c) Macro Economic Policy particular that "decisive action was required to transform the patterns of wealth production and distribution

We come here as Alliance partners clear on our roles as individual formations and a collective. In this context we recall the 2010 ANC -NEC January 8th statement which said that the ANC, as a leader of the revolutionary Alliance, has the historic duty and responsibility to provide direction. The Alliance partners, on the other hand, have the responsibility to support the ANC in this role. They must also work to ensure that the ANC remains strong and united in order to fulfil its leadership responsibilities.

On the role of each alliance partner the 2008 January 8th statement defined SANCO as a dynamic civic movement that leads the struggle of communities for a better life for all.

The 2011 January 8th statement said that the Alliance has always been at the forefront of exercising people`s power and each component has a historic role and mission within the Alliance.

It said that the revolutionary trade union movement and the ANC continue to work together, with the ANC playing its historical role as the shield and the trade union movement as the spear, as pronounced by the President-General of the ANC, Chief Albert Luthuli.

In defining our role it specifically said that the two organisations plus the SACP must continue to act in unison to defend and advance the interests of workers and the poor. The SACP, the vanguard of the working class, has always provided robust and profound intellectual and ideological debate to the Alliance.

The ANC as the leader of the Alliance has the responsibility of providing revolutionary support to the Alliance components. The SACP and COSATU have a responsibility to strengthen and defend the ANC. These responsibilities must be executed within the established and time tested culture and discipline of our movement.

The most effective and concrete way of building the ANC-led Alliance is through a common programme of action based on our shared strategic objectives. The programme of action must be implemented at all levels of organisations of the Alliance. It is this Alliance Programme of Action which provides the line of march for every cadre of the Alliance.

We remain inspired by the 2011 January 8th statement which said that "we have to live the promise of the Freedom Charter, which states amongst others, that all our people will share in the wealth of the country. Political emancipation without economic transformation is meaningless. That is why we have to commit ourselves to economic freedom in our lifetime, and the ANC must continue to be in the forefront of that transformation".

The 2012 Mangaung conference declared that "we are boldly entering the second phase of the transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society. This phase will be characterised by decisive action to effect economic transformation and democratic consolidation, critical both to improve the quality of life of all South Africans and to promote nation-building and social cohesion".

Comrades, if there is so much clarity about the roles of each alliance partner and the common programme we should pursue as an Alliance what explains the reason behind the failure to implement the resolutions of our previous Alliance Economic Summits and all our progressive policies.

In the last Alliance Economic Summit we agreed that the Alliance, working closely with our colleagues in government, should set up a task group to receive reports and to assess the effectiveness of our macro-economic policies in the face of the global crisis, and to evaluate possible measures to ensure a relatively stable and competitive currency. This resolution was never taken forward.

That Economic Summit also agreed that the activities of all government departments, parastatals and DFIs, should be reviewed to ensure more purposeful achievement of decent work outcomes. This resolution has again not been implemented.

The previous economic Summit said that exchange rates and interest rates need to be calibrated to take account of industrial policy imperatives. This will require, among others, a discussion on the mandate and practices of the SARB to include considerations of employment and economic growth in addition to the mandate on price stability. We have not seen an Alliance coordinated process to implement this resolution!

In that Summit we said that the Competition Act should be amended to make considerations of decent work an explicit goal of the competition authorities. We have not seen any Alliance coordinated review of the Competition Act.

The Summit agreed that DFIs, like the DBSA, Land Bank and National Housing Finance Corporation, have an important role to play in development, though the private financial institutions also need to be involved in development. The Summit demanded the urgent implementation of the Resolution of the Growth and Development Summit that 5% of the entire financial sector`s investible assets should be invested in socially beneficial projects.

It was agreed that there should be a National DFI Council, to co-ordinate better the different Development Finance Institutions and avoid overlaps and streamline them so that each has a specific strategic area for investment. We will wait to get a report in this Summit on how far these resolutions have been implemented but we have not seen any alliance driven process to this effect.

Comrades we are concern that these are pointers to the fact that unlike the pre - Polokwane period where the alliance nearly collapsed, currently the Alliance appears to be acknowledged on paper but in practice it remains a disturbance or an albatross which should be removed as soon as elections are over.

As part of our positive approach to this Summit which focuses on finding solutions rather than lamenting we will propose that the Summit should resolve to institutionalise the Alliance driven monitoring and evaluation in the implementation of Alliance Summit resolutions.

Part of the discussion which will also take place in this Summit will be on the NDP. We want to state that the NDP is a departure from the 2011 January 8th statement which said that "we have to live the promise of the Freedom Charter, which states amongst others, that all our people will share in the wealth of the country. Political emancipation without economic transformation is meaningless. That is why we have to commit ourselves to economic freedom in our lifetime, and the ANC must continue to be in the forefront of that transformation".

The NDP in its current form and content does not take forward the spirit of 2012 Mangaung conference which declared that "we are boldly entering the second phase of the transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society. This phase will be characterised by decisive action to effect economic transformation and democratic consolidation, critical both to improve the quality of life of all South Africans and to promote nation-building and social cohesion".

Neither does the NDP move closer to the 2008 Alliance Economic Summit which on among others agreed that decisive action was required to transform the patterns of wealth production and distribution. There is nothing decisive in the NDP towards the realisation of the Freedom Charter instead the decisiveness remains in favour of capital

In this context we will argue in this Summit that the National Development in its current form does not even move closer to transforming the patterns of wealth production and distribution in our country.

Whilst we accept the NDP as a move to build the strategic, organizational and technical capacities of government with a view to a democratic developmental state but the NDP, especially in relation to its economic and labour market analysis and proposals, not only fails to advance a radical economic shift, but actually threatens to reverse certain progressive advances made by the ANC and government over the last few years.

We will argue in this Summit that no national development plan can succeed without an appropriate economic strategy, which must form the core, and the base, on which any plan rests.

Some proposals of the NDP are positive. However the success of even these, hinge on the appropriate economic strategy being adopted.

It is for this reason that we call on the Summit to resolve that an Alliance team be set under the guidance of the Alliance Political Council and the Alliance Secretariat to oversee the redrafting and fundamental overhaul of the political orientation of the NDP, the core economic chapter of the Plan, and any other aspects of the NDP in conflict with Alliance policies, or that undermines the radical economic shift which we all agree must form the main content of this phase of our transition. This redrafting should be based on agreed Alliance positions.

Comrades we should learn from our own history particularly with regard to how Gear got introduced and imposed on us and the rapture such an action created within our ranks.

We should learn from other revolutions particularly from how Chile`s revolution got disarmed. Just to quote from what General Secretary of the Social Party of Chile comrade Carlos Altamirano said at the time that "we do not believe the middle strata can be bought with flattery, with promises of a living standard that is often impossible to maintain in our impoverished country, or with legislation to provide them with special benefits. Historically the middle strata have sided with the victorious class. It is the strength and energy of the popular government that will either draw them to us or throw them into the arms of reaction." [2]

We also want to warn that it is dangerous to think that we will only derive power from the legality that put our government in office; such an approach may as well just become the very source of weakness for the whole revolutionary process. We agree that State power is important but it must never replace mass power instead we need to continuously buttress it with mass power mobilised by us and no other force.

The NDP must not be elevated to a position of being an overarching programme but must be subjected and be seen as an element of the National Democratic revolution. We must be guided by the knowledge that "in all social processes, and especially revolutionary ones, there is constant interaction between the opposing forces; one sector`s errors spur the energies and firmness of the antagonist, tactical weaknesses end up as strategic weakness, and theoretically fallacious programme leads inevitably to its defeat in practice".[3]

This Summit must prioritise the strategic unity of the people`s camp and the revolutionary forces above everything else!

[1] The United Democratic Front And Township Revolt South Africa,
Mark Swilling
[2] The revolution disarmed , Chile 1970 - 1973, Gabriel Smirnow,pp25
[3] ibid

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South African Government to Send More Artillery to DRC (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Govt 'Ready to Send More Artillery to DRC'

30 AUGUST 2013

The South African National Defence (SANDF) says it is prepared to send more artillery to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should the United Nations request it.

Briefing reporters in Pretoria on Friday on the deployment of South African troops in the DRC, SANDF joint operations chief Lietenant-General Derrick Mgwebi said the UN had yet to sign the documents for the additional weaponry to be sent to the DRC.

"We have said to them we are ready and this is what it is going to mean to you [financially] as the UN, the rates. The ball is in their court, not in South Africa's," Mgwebi said, adding that the United Nations was in charge of the operation.

Last week, President Jacob Zuma informed Parliament of the deployment of 1 345 SANDF troops in the DRC as part of a UN mission in that country. According to the Presidency, the deployment was in line with South Africa's obligations to the United Nations.

The SANDF has been involved in the UN peace-keeping mission in the DRC since 1999. The initial directive from the UN was that the SANDF would help to protect civilians, assets and facilities, as well as provide training.

Mgwebi said that nine soldiers that are part of this mission had sustained injuries in clashes this week, and that one soldier, from Tanzania, had died in hospital. Of the injured, three South African soldiers had sustained minor injuries.

"The families of the soldiers have been informed ... and they understand the situation," Mgwebi said, adding that the soldiers had been given the opportunity to speak to their families.

Mgwebi said the SANDF soldiers in the DRC were well-equipped.

Last week, Zuma said: "Our soldiers are doing exceptionally well on the continent. We congratulate them and assure them of the support of their compatriots as they continue to contribute to the building of a better Africa, as a force for peace.

"We are very proud of them and their contribution to African renewal and development."

Zimbabwe Vice-President Urges Youth to Change Mindset About Agriculture

Change your mindset, VP Mujuru urges youths

August 31, 2013
Herald Reporters

VICE President Joice Mujuru has urged youths to change their mindset and view farming as a lucrative venture that can improve their standard of living.

Speaking at the Harare Agricultural Show the Vice President emphasised the importance of imparting agricultural knowledge to school children.

“The agricultural sector is a key vehicle in resuscitating Zimbabwe’s economy and as Government we want our children and grandchildren to acquire farming knowledge to increase generational expertise in the sector,” she said. VP Mujuru urged school teachers and various stakeholders to be hands-on and promote agricultural projects in secondary schools.

“The agricultural sector is a key vehicle in resuscitating Zimbabwe’s economy and avant-garde must be implemented within the sector,” she said while addressing school children who were exhibiting agriculture products. Prince Edward won first prize while Glen View High 1 settled for the second prize in the competition for all agricultural secondary schools.

Mrs Martha Muchena, a teacher in Prince Edward’s agricultural department, said the school was involved in a number of agricultural activities that included poultry, green pepper, spinach, lettuce, king onions and carrots.

“Prince Edward is involved in various agricultural projects and we also want to start breeding rabbits as soon as some logistics have been sorted out,” she said. Mrs Muchena said that Prince Edward’s agricultural project was affected by water shortages as the borehole ran low on water supply.

Vice President Mujuru, who toured various stands at the exhibition park, also urged business to partner with communities for the benefit of the country’s economy.

“Tell us what you can do and what you want communities to do to promote your businesses. If you teach communities how to grow the inputs you want to use to produce a deliverable they will learn better other than giving them books to read,” she said while addressing officials from Ariston Holdings.

Ariston Holdings subsidiary FAVCO is in the business of selling fruit and vegetables as well as producing juices. The company has its own farms where it grows the fruits and vegetables. VP Mujuru also toured the livestock section where she met cattle farmers.

At the Ministry of Agriculture stand, VP Mujuru urged the ministry to teach good farming practices so as to improve the agricultural sector which she said was the backbone of the country.

She also toured the Agriculture Colleges stands, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces stand, Goat Breeders Association, Orchestra Dendera Kings stand, Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, Zimbabe Tobacco Seed Association, Kutsaga Seed, Office of the Health Advisor, Nico Orgo, Grain Marketing Board and PSMAS among others.

We Are Not Scapegoats, Says ANC Secretary General

National & Provincial
Aug 30 2013 9:00PM

We are not scapegoats: Mantashe

Qaanitah Hunter
New Age, South Africa

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says he will not be used as a "scapegoat" for divisions that has pitted the National Union of Metal Workers SA (Numsa) against trade union federation Cosatu.

This comes after Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim isolated Mantashe along with Sacp general secretary Blade Nzimande for being behind attempts to divide Cosatu.

"A divided Cosatu is to the ANC's disadvantage. Only a fool will want to divide Cosatu," Mantashe said.

He refuted further claims made by Numsa that his utterances fulled divisions in the alliance.

"When they line up behind (Cosatu general secretary Zwelenzima) Vavi and (Cosatu President Sdumo) Dlamini then they are creating a cult personality. We can't have this," Mantashe said.

Numsa had boycotted the Economic Alliance Summit which started on Friday citing lack of preparedness.

It has openly maintained its allegiance behind Vavi who has been suspended for sexual misconduct.

"Nobody must worship personalities. It is a danger to our movement," Mantashe said.

He said he was not concerned about Numsa's absence at the summit because it was a meeting between the alliance not between individual affiliated unions.

The summit is due to continue until Sunday with alliance members set to debate the National Development Plan, macroeconomic policies- among other aconomic related policies.

COSATU Criticizes NUMSA for Not Participating in Economic Summit

National & Provincial
Aug 30 2013 9:17PM

Dlamini hits back at Numsa

Qaanitah Hunter
New Age, South Africa

Leaders of Cosatu and its affiliate union the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) have lashed out at the National Union of Metal Workers SA (Numsa) for not participating at the Economic Alliance Summit which began today.

Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini said he would not "compete" with (Numsa) for attention by responding to allegations that Numsa was not involved in the preparation toward the summit.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Economic Alliance Summit which started on Friday, Dlamini said he "could not understand" why Numsa decided to pull out of the summit.

"We have been in preparation for the summit for a quite a long time and there were issues whether the summit would discuss the National Development Plan (NDP) or macroeconomic policies," he said.

At a Cosatu union meeting on Tuesday leaders of affiliated unions agreed that they would communicate their skepticism of the NDP.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said on Friday that Numsa and other affiliates had asked Cosatu to request that the meeting be postponed because affiliates were not ready for the gathering.

Numsa said it would not attend because it had not prepared.

Num leader Senzeni Zokwana told The New Age that Jim was "making nonsense" by not attending the summit.

"I don't know what Jim is thinking. He is the one that is causing the split in the alliance," he said.

Zokwana bemoaned Numsa's absence saying they could have participate.

"They say they are supporting Zweli(nzima Vavi) but they are not helping him," he said.

Numsa said it had also written to Cosatu to request that Vavi - who was suspended earlier this month- be reinstated, failing which they said they would consider approaching the courts.

Dlamini refused to comment on the letter saying they will handle it internally inside Cosatu.

How A United States Strike On Syria Might Look

29 August 2013
Last updated at 21:59 ET

How a US strike on Syria might look

By Tara McKelvey
BBC News Magazine

US officials hope that any military assault on Syria will be surgical and limited. But what does the US do after the missiles or bombs have fallen?

It could go either way. The US may attack - or may not. "I've not made a decision," US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

Mr Obama has maintained that if the Syrian government uses chemical weapons, the US will act militarily.

And last week, according to US officials, President Bashar al-Assad's forces deployed poison gas against rebels in a Damascus suburb. More than 1,000 people, including women and children, were reported killed.

Syrian government officials say they did not use chemical weapons, but the US is ready to act.

'We are prepared'

UN inspectors are looking for evidence of a gas attack in the Damascus suburb, and plan to finish their work on Friday.

Meanwhile officials in Washington DC are laying the groundwork for military operations.

"We are prepared," Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel told the BBC.

If US officials proceed with military operations, they will likely be supported by Turkey and France, at least in some fashion.

They will not have the backing of the UK, where Parliament on Thursday night rejected a government motion supporting intervention in Syria.

Nor is the UN Security Council expected to support an attack, because the Russians are opposed.

The US military would most likely use Tomahawk cruise missiles for an attack on the Syrian government forces. These missiles are now stored on destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean.

The missiles would not be fired at places where chemical weapons might be stored, since poisonous gas could spread or chemical agents could fall into the wrong hands.

Instead, military facilities would be targeted - radio centres, command posts and missile launchers, says Douglas Ollivant, who served as an operations officer with the Army's Fifth Cavalry Regiment in Iraq.

The initial military operation would be fast.

Public opinion

"It would be a fairly short, sharp action - much like Operation Desert Fox," a 1998 military operation in Iraq, says Peter Mansoor, an Ohio State University professor of military history who served as executive officer for David Petraeus, a retired US Army general, in Iraq.

Mr Obama has been looking for a way to retaliate against the Assad regime for the chemical weapons. If he proceeds with a missile strike, he will follow a long line of US presidents who have tried to avoid bloody ground battles.

The missiles would likely be deployed from the sea, without putting Americans in danger.

This option is more palatable to the US public than the deployment of ground troops.

Most Americans do not want the US to get involved in the Syria conflict, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Yet roughly half of the Americans polled said they were open to military action - if the operations were done from a distance.

Indeed, remotely controlled attacks such as air strikes have been called "the American way of war" by the authors of an article in Foreign Affairs magazine.

Unfortunately, the notion of effective and pain-free distance warfare is illusory.

In March 2003, the US "shock and awe" bombing campaign in Iraq did not on its own bring down Saddam Hussein.

"It still required a ground force invasion," said Kalev Sepp, a former special forces officer who is now a senior lecturer at the US Naval Postgraduate School.

Besides that, bombs and missiles are only as effective as the intelligence targeting them.
In 1998, US cruise missiles destroyed a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, because intelligence analysts had believed it to be a chemical weapons factory.

An earlier military strategy based on remotely controlled strikes, the Nato air war in Kosovo, has reportedly been discussed during high-level Obama administration meetings about Syria.

Not everything went smoothly during that bombing campaign, either - the US blew up the Chinese embassy.

"There's these mistakes - shortfalls - and they have counterproductive value," says Mr Sepp.

'You failed'

Mr Obama says that the objective of any military strike would simply be to warn the Assad regime not to use chemical weapons again.

"The Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal," Mr Obama said.

What happens afterwards, though, is anybody's guess.

"They don't want to do something that could look like an empty gesture," says Suzanne Nossel, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of state during Obama's first term.

"They'll wait for a reaction. Does Assad step it up with the rhetoric - 'you failed in Iraq, you failed in Vietnam'? Or does he take the beating?"

If the Assad regime decides to ratchet things up, Mr Obama has an array of options - none of them good.

"The range is, you do nothing - all the way up to large-scale air and ground campaigns to remove the Assad regime," says Mr Sepp.

"You can send in special forces to train and organise the rebels. But it's impossible to do that clandestine. So then you have to have Americans on the ground - and they're being killed. Is that worth overthrowing the Assad regime for?"

Friday, August 30, 2013

Displaced Women, Children at High Risk of Rape In Somalia

Displaced women, children at high risk of rape in Somali camps - rights group

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation
Fri, 30 Aug 2013 11:33 AM
Author: Maria Caspani

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Rape and sexual violence pose a “constant threat” to women and children living in camps for displaced people in Somalia, Amnesty International said on Friday.

Fear of being stigmatised and a lack of confidence in the will or ability of the authorities to investigate cases of sexual violence stop most of the victims – some as young as 13 – from reporting abuses to the police, the rights group’s researchers said following a trip to the country.

“Women and children, who have already been forced to flee their homes because of the armed conflict and drought, now face the additional trauma of living under threat of sexual attack,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Adviser.

Decades of conflict and a devastating famine in 2011 have displaced hundreds of thousands of Somalis who have sought shelter in overcrowded camps with poor security and where humanitarian conditions are dire.

A 14-year-old girl was raped in the camp in the capital Mogadishu where she had taken shelter to recover from an epilepsy attack in late August, Amnesty’s report said.

“I woke up to find a man who was undressing me and I tried to scream but he grabbed me by the throat and so I could not scream,” she told the rights group. “My four-year-old cousin woke up and he told her to be silent. He did his business and then ran away.”

In a separate testimony, a pregnant mother of five recounted her struggle with an armed man who entered her shelter and tried to rape her earlier this month. The woman eventually managed to fight the man off, but was shot in both hands as a result and lost the baby she was expecting, the report said.

Camp residents reported the attempted assault to the police who didn’t follow through with an investigation, according to the rights group, which said that some female victims of sexual violence have faced additional abuse and stigmatisation after reporting such crimes.

According to an Al Jazeera report on Friday, a young mother in Mogadishu reported being repeatedly raped by African Union (AU) peacekeepers stationed in the country. AMISOM – the AU contingent in Somalia – has denied the allegations.

The Somali government, often criticised for inaction against this type of crime, said it was deeply troubled by the alleged abuse by peacekeepers, Al Jazeera reported.

According to the United Nations, there were at least 1,700 cases of rape in internally displaced people (IDP) settlements in 2012 in Somalia, with at least 70 percent of these being carried out by armed men wearing government uniforms. Nearly a third of the survivors are reported to be under the age of 18.

Kenyan Troops and Somalia Resistance Forces Battle In Gedo Region

Somalia: Kenyan Troops and Alshabab Fighters Battle in Gedo Region

29 AUGUST 2013

Fahfahdun — Heavy fighting between Kenyan troops and Alshabab fighters occurred in Fahfahdun district located in Gedo region of Somalia.

The fighting started when Alshabab fighter attacked a Kenyan military base in the region which borders Bardere town in gedo region.

Eyewitness told Shabelle radio that the deafening sounds made by heavy artillery used against each other was heard at the nearby towns in Gedo region.

Shabelle radio contacted the Fahfahdun administration which confirmed today's fighting and added that there were no casualties on their side.

The situation of Fahfahdun town is now in the hands of federal government troops and Kenyan troops after the Shabab fighters withdrew.

Sudan Works Around United States Sanctions


Sudan to take advantage of loophoples in US sanctions regulations

August 28, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s foreign ministry undersecretary, Rahmatallah Mohamed Osman, has said that US economic sanctions on Sudan contain some loopholes which could be exploited to boost the economy.

Osman mentioned Iran as an example of a country which took advantage of some aspects in its relations with the US in spite of the long history of sanctions and animosity.

Sudan has been under the US blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 on allegations of harboring Islamist militants despite reports of Sudan being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the "war on terror".

Sudan is also subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges as well as human right abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.

Osman, who was speaking at a seminar on the impact of the US sanctions on Sudan on Wednesday, said that US officials always insist that Khartoum did not ask them to cooperate in the areas where there are possible opportunities.

He pointed that several Sudanese corporations including Kenana Sugar Company (KSC) and Sudatel Telecom Group (STG) managed to break the sanctions and engaged in direct business relations with US companies and businessmen, adding that the US misses out on some opportunities as a result of those sanctions.

The director of the US department at Sudan’s foreign ministry, Mohamed Abdelaziz Al-Tom, said that the US sanctions have slowed the economic growth and hampered government access to external loans and foreign debt exemption and pointed to the difficulty of lifting it, since that it was authorized by the congress in the form of laws.

Al-Tom also said that US companies refrained from investing in Sudan although there were some exceptions regarding agricultural and medical exports, pointing that sanctions don’t apply to areas of displacement within the Sudanese territory.

The chairman of the board of directors of the Gum Arabic Company (GAC), Taj Al-Sir Mustafa, said that sanctions have negatively impacted financial transfers for GAC, pointing that the US sanctions led to curbing Sudan’s gum exports due to smuggling, and encouraged its production in neighboring countries as well as seeking alternatives.

The director of KSC, Al-Amin Al-Kareb, said that his company managed to hire an American irrigation company through the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which is the government agency that administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions.

He claimed that there are certain bodies and businessmen who contacted OFAC to report on US banned commodities in the Sudanese markets, saying that a giant private company operating in Sudan has incurred huge financial loss as a result of that.


Sudan President Bashir Meets With Former Prime Minister Al-Mahdi


PCP says Bashir-Mahdi summit “disconcerted” Sudan’s political scene

August 29, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Islamist figure Hassan al-Turabi appeared uncomfortable with this week’s meeting between Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) al-Sadiq al-Mahdi saying it has breathed new life into the regime.

The PCP Political Secretary General Kamal Omer, told Sudan Tribune that al-Mahdi, the Prime Minister who was ousted in the 1989 coup led by Bashir, did not learn from his past experiences with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) that always let him down.

Omer asserted that the NCP is seeking to reach out to opposition parties to “break its isolation“ which he said was caused by recent floods and growing economic discontent.

He claimed that the ruling party wants to form a cabinet with participation from opposition parties that will end up being centered around the NCP “without real reforms” adding that he expects the formation of an oversized, status-quo government.

The PCP official said that opposition parties as part of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) are still trying to evaluate the outcome of the meeting.

Remarks by Bashir and Mahdi following the meeting gave no indication of any major breakthrough or agreement.

The NUP chief said he agreed with the Sudanese president that issues of constitution and governance should incorporate all political powers adding that the two parties will hold consultations that are aimed at reaching unspecified agreements.

Neither men addressed speculations that NUP might join the government. Officials in the opposition party have denied any intention of doing that.

Al-Mahdi has insisted in the past that a constitutional conference including all political parties as well as rebel groups is required to reach a solution to Sudan’s mounting crises.

The NCP however, routinely rejected his call saying that any changes should be made through available political mechanisms.

Prior to Mahdi-Bashir meeting, several opposition figures appeared critical of the NUP leader and suggested that he is trying to play on both sides of the aisle.

The representative of the Baath party within the NCF Fathi Nuri al-Abbas said the NUP is flirting with the NCP to use as a card with the opposition and the government.

"We have launched the opposition’s 100-day plan, but the plan failed because of the NUP which launched similar scheme in a unique tune with the ruling power," he said,

The NUP leader has made sure to distance his party from last year’s demonstrations that broke out in response to the government’s rollout of austerity measures in response to growing economic pressures caused by the secession of the oil-rich South Sudan.

Last June, al-Mahdi said he does not approve of the 100-day plan to oust the regime announced by the NCF even though al-Basha said he took part in formulating the scheme.

Instead, he offered a different initiative to change the regime through collecting a million signatures and organizing sit-ins in public squares and other places.


George Clooney Exposed As Spy: U.S. Actor Continues Interference In Sudan Affairs

George Clooney's Spy Satellite Over Sudan Revealed At Venice Film Festival

The Huffington Post UK
By Charlotte Meredith
30/08/2013 12:43 BST

George Clooney may star as an adrift astronaut in his latest film, but the Hollywood heart-throb is far more busy having a real life space odyssey via his very own satellite over Sudan.

The actor has revealed further details about his spy satellite which he funds to keep an eye on the Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir and his followers, who have been accused of war crimes.

At a Venice Film Festival press conference for his new film Gravity the actor claimed his satellite hindering the Sudanese ruler and his penchant of for violence – as long as he isn't doing anything "at night or under cloud cover."

George Clooney has revealed further details about his spy satellite over Sudan
“I have a satellite in areas [in Sudan] where there is a lot of violence because we want to keep an eye on some of the atrocities that are going on there and because we want not just accountability but we want to make it more and more difficult to act without ramifications,” Clooney said.

“We find that it has been incredibly successful since now the attacks only happen at night or under cloud cover.”

In response to the dictator's new tactics, Clooney said that the satellite will now be “switched up to infrared” so that acts of violence can be seen at all times.

“It is our job to try and shine a light on those places,” he said. “If it helps at all, it is worth it.”

However, when he was asked whether he supported the idea of the US launching missile strikes on Syria, he sighed. “You know, I was hoping I'd get that question! I actually thought you were going to ask me about Ben Affleck playing Batman. But no, it was Syria!

ILPS: Condemn and Oppose United States Plans to Bomb Syria


Condemn and oppose US plan to bomb Syria as opening act of war of aggression

Chairperson, International League of Peoples' Struggle

We, the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), call on the entire ILPS, its global region region committees, its national chapters and member-organizations to undertake all possible and necessary actions against the US plan to bomb Syria and engage in a brazen war of aggression against Syria and the Syrian people.

This call is consistent with the ILPS statement dated 12 May 2013 titled, “ILPS Reiterates Support for the Syrian People, Condemns Intervention by US, NATO, Israel, et al” . We pointed out in this statement, “Due to the ineffectiveness of its mercenaries, the US has practically announced the escalation of US-NATO and Israeli intervention on the false charge that Syria is using chemical weapons of mass destruction.”

Since 5 May, evidence has emerged that the mercenaries themselves hired by the US imperialists have been culpable for the use of chemical weapons. The surviving victims have confirmed the fact. But the US and the so-called Free Syria Army have persisted in carrying out false flag operations with the use of chemical weapons in order to justify US-NATO bombing of Syria and the start of flagrant aggression by the imperialist powers.

The latest pronouncement of US President Obama is that the US has “worked out the evidence” and is prepared to launch a military attack on Syria. By its pronouncements and actions, the US is hell-bent on waging a war of aggression on Syria in the interest of the US war manufacturers and the oil companies, despite the opposition of the people of the world.

The US and its imperialist allies are big liars in claiming that they are protecting civilians and conducting “humanitarian intervention” by launching the most brutal acts of military intervention and aggressive wars, killing far more people and destroying far more social infrastructure than their mercenaries can. The Syrian government has been winning the civil war. And the US is fabricating the reason for aggression in order to help its losing puppets. The US is thus blatantly violating the UN Charter and international law.

The US is a total hypocrite in making false claims against Syria on the use of chemical weapons. The US is the biggest user of chemical weapons in its wars of aggression. It uses napalm, white phosphorous and other bombs, depleted uranium tipped artillery shells and bombs, and defoliants like Agent Orange. Until now, the US has not apologized to Vietnam and to humanity for the extensive and intensive use of Agent Orange, which continues to victimize the Vietnamese people.

The entire ILPS, its global region committees, national chapters and member-organizations must engage in united front against imperialism and coordinate with all other possible forces in order to maximize their strength, and in order to arouse, organize and mobilize the people in their millions. The people in every country and in the whole world must unite and act against every military intervention and war of aggression that the US and its imperialist allies are planning and carrying out.

South Africa Opposes Military Intervention In Syria

South Africa opposes military intervention in Syria

August 30, 2013

JOHANNESBURG — The South African government yesterday announced that it does not support any idea of military intervention in Syria. “South Africa is alarmed at the latest escalation in the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, bombing the already suffering people and crumbling infrastructure of Syria will not contribute to a sustainable solution,” said the Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, in a statement in Pretoria.

Syrian rebels claimed that chemical weapons were used by the government troops last week in an attack on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, killing many people including children.

The five UN Security Council permanent members met on Wednesday to discuss a British-proposed resolution on Syria, which called for a military response to the use of chemical weapons.

Monyela said the South African government was convinced that the outcome of the military intervention would be unpredictable and will only serve to worsen the conflict in Syria.

“It will ultimately be the people of Syria who pay the price, while those participating in the military intervention will return to safety far away from the crisis,” he pointed out.

Believing that a political solution should be sought in Syria, the South African government urges all parties involved in the Syrian conflict to engage in a process of all-inclusive national dialogue, free of any form of violence, said the spokesperson.

On Monday, the Syrian government denied and slammed the allegations of chemical weapon use, saying the West’s claims that his government used chemical weapons were “an insult to common sense.”

— Xinhua.

Ghana Supreme Court Upholds President's Election Victory

Ghana Supreme Court upholds president’s election victory

August 30, 2013

ACCRA. — Ghana’s Supreme Court yesterday upheld President John Dramani Mahama’s win in elections last year, dismissing the opposition’s case alleging voter fraud in a test for one of Africa’s most stable democracies.

“The first respondent (Mahama) was validly elected and the petition is therefore dismissed,” presiding judge William Atuguba said, reading from the verdict issued by the nine-justice panel.

A statement issued on the president’s Twitter account said, “the Supreme Court has spoken and validated our December 2012 victory . . . This is a victory for Ghana’s democracy.”

The sometimes tense proceedings were broadcast live on radio and television and were followed closely across the nation of 25 million people.

In the December polls, Ghana’s electoral commission said Mahama took 50.7 percent of the vote over NPP candidate Nana Akufo-Addo’s 47.7 percent. A heavy police presence deployed around the court ahead of the ruling, with access to the chamber tightly restricted.

After the decision was announced, NPP supporters quickly filed out, while the president’s loyalists waved party flags and cheered.

While observers had broadly declared the vote fair, the NPP levelled an array of allegations, including that tally sheets had been doctored and ballot boxes stuffed.

Some of the judges found merit in certain NPP allegations but as a group they declared Mahama’s win legitimate.

Both parties had said beforehand that they would accept the court’s ruling, though under Ghana’s laws, Supreme Court rulings are subject to review.

The 2012 elections were generally unmarred by violence and Ghana has been seen as a rare democratic success story in turbulent west Africa.

Many in Ghana are wary of the type of bloody unrest seen after recent elections in Nigeria or neighbouring Ivory Coast. There had been widespread calls for restraint from politicians and religious leaders ahead of the court’s decision.

Everything from the conduct of the lawyers and witnesses to the quality of the evidence had been debated on the airwaves and written about in Ghana’s feisty press. In June, irate judges declared that anyone making disparaging public statements about the court could be held in contempt.

Those who ran afoul of the order were kicked out of the courtroom, fined, or, in a few cases, jailed. Editor of the Daily Searchlight newspaper Ken Kuranchie was jailed for 10 days in July for contempt after publicly criticising the judges.

The jailing sparked debate over Ghana’s contempt laws, many of which date back to British colonial rule.

Before the ruling, Franklin Cudjoe, director of the IMANI think-tank in the capital Accra said “Ghana’s elections will never be the same again.”

He also praised the court’s willingness to spend months hearing the case. Akufo-Addo, who was in court to hear the decision but left immediately after the ruling was read.

Meanwhile, Akufo-Addo conceded defeat yesterday, saying he would not challenge a Supreme Court ruling that confirmed the president’s win in elections last year.

“Whilst I do not agree with the court’s decision, I accept it,” Akufo-Addo told journalists.

— AFP.

Zimbabwe Tobacco Brings In Over $1Billion

Tobacco rakes in over US$1bn

August 30, 2013
Marshall Bwanya Herald Reporter

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board director Dr Andrew Matibiri has said Zimbabwe this year earned more than US$1,2 billion from the tobacco industry.

Speaking at the TIMB stand at the Harare Agricultural Show yesterday, Dr Matibiri said he was pleased with tobacco sales proceedings as the season nearly comes to an end.

“At the moment, the Zimbabwe tobacco industry has generated US$1,21 billion into our economy,” he said.

Dr Matibiri said that at least US$610 million of the money was paid to tobacco farmers, while the other half was realised from exports. Zimbabwe exports 98 percent of semi-finished tobacco products, while the remaining three percent is locally consumed.

The tobacco industry has been recently beleaguered by side-marketing, reducing trust in the industry’s payments system and this negatively impacted on support for production as financiers were not confident of recovering debts through the central payments processing system.

Dr Matibiri assured farmers and stakeholders that TIMB would adopt zero tolerance to side marketing in the coming selling season.

“Side marketing is a scourge that TIMB does not tolerate,” he said. “Whenever insurance companies are seen to be causing discomfort to farmers and other players in the industry, we do not hesitate to stop their activities and operations.”

Dr Matibiri applauded Government for initiating indigenisation in the production phase of tobacco that has resulted in increased numbers of participants and production units.

The private sector has also played a pivotal role in assisting growers through contract growing and marketing arrangements at a time when support from financial institutions was reduced.

Thousands Bid National Hero Enos Nkala Farewell In Zimbabwe

Thousands bid national hero farewell

August 30, 2013

The National Heroes Acre was filled up as thousands came to bid farewell to Cde Nkala

Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter

THOUSANDS of people from all walks of life yesterday bade farewell to Zanu-PF founding member Cde Enos Mzombi Nkala at the National Heroes Acre. The burial was attended by opposition party leaders, who included former deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Dr Simba Makoni, MDC-99 president Mr Job Sikhala and NCA chairman Professor Lovemore Madhuku.

MDC-T members — Mrs Sekai Holland, Mr James Makore and former Mvurachena Senator Cephas Makuyana — also attended the colourful send-off.

As early as 8am, hundreds of Mbare residents had lined streets leading to Stodart Hall, the ceremonial home of the liberation struggle, waving placards, singing and dancing to revolutionary songs.

Around the same time, hundreds others had already gathered at the National Heroes Acre where they were entertained by the police band and other choral groups.

Some youths were holding banners that described the veteran nationalist’s character, while others were stuck on the walls.

The crowd broke into song and dance when the gun carriage bearing Cde Nkala’s body arrived at the National Heroes Acre at 12:05pm.

President Mugabe’s motorcade was right behind, marking the beginning of official proceedings.

Pallbearers carried the casket draped in the national flag and placed it in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Cde Nkala’s pastor from Harvest House International Church gave the dedication, describing the national hero as a born-again believer who had also obtained a degree in Theology.

Family representative Mr Herbert Nkala dispelled claims in some quarters that his uncle had said he did not want to be buried at the National Heroes Acre.

“Baba repeatedly told us in front of Mama and the rest of the family that his value system had moved him to higher principles and he no longer had any difficulties in accepting to be laid at this shrine, the National Heroes Acre or anywhere else if his political colleagues and family so agreed.

“Unfortunately, these utterances did not have the same audience as his initial statement. But I assure you, baba is here with his full permission and concurrence and that the family has not in any way gone against his will by accepting this honour on his behalf,” Mr Nkala said.

Vice President Joice Mujuru, Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, Zanu-PF Politburo, Central Committee members and other officials and service chiefs attended the burial.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Cde Didymus Mutasa said Cde Nkala deserved to be buried at the National Heroes Acre given the roles he played during and after the liberation struggle.

“He was a very good man. I stayed with him in prison at the then Salisbury Remand Prison from March 1972 to November of that year.

“He was a pleasant fellow. We discussed issues with him. He was just an ordinary man, but he was also at that time a very senior leader of Zanu. We discussed issues at party level.

“He worked very long in Government. As a person who worked in Government, naturally he wouldn’t be buried as a hero like a lot of other people who were working in Government.

“People like Ushewokunze, the younger one. We had quite a lot of other people who were laid here at this National Heroes Acre by virtue of the service they had given to the State of Zimbabwe,” Cde Mutasa said.

Team Zim at Nkala burial . . . Our destiny a God-given right: President

August 30, 2013
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday said it was Zimbabwe’s God-given right to determine its destiny without foreign interference.

Since the turn of the millennium, some Western nations have been trying to determine Zimbabwe’s political and economic direction to the extent of imposing ruinous economic sanctions to abet their agenda.

The same Western nations that were barred from observing the elections have gone against the opinion of the progressive world that endorsed the polls as free and fair.

Addressing thousands of mourners at the burial of veteran nationalist and Zanu-PF founding member Cde Enos Mzombi Nkala at the National Heroes Acre yesterday, President Mugabe described Cde Nkala as a fearless fighter who sacrificed his life for the country’s independence.

“As he gave his physical and intellectual life to the nation, he sacrificed it so that our nation could regain its lost sovereign right to determine its own future after all one life leads to another, a father begets a son or daughter and so the life goes on and on.

“That is also how we regard this life, to be long and perpetual, until perhaps the good Lord or some Armageddon occurs and the world vanishes and life on it extinguished. But for as long as it is there, we have a right to determine our own destiny, the right to say to foreigners you can’t rule us so go and if you are not gone, then we will kick you out.

“That is what Enos did and we want to thank him today and say ‘you were unafraid, unyielding. You sacrificed your entire life except for the few years when you were now old, you gave direction to others, you showed your love’.

“God says love your neighbour and to us in the struggle there is no greater love you could show to your people than that to sacrifice for their freedom, that is what Enos did,” President Mugabe said.

Cde Nkala (81) died at the Avenues Clinic last Tuesday from organ failure induced by high blood pressure.

The President said even when they were in detention, they never wavered from their belief in God and Zimbabweans’ right to fight for their freedom.

“We never divorced our actions from the actions of those who are dedicated to the good Lord. We knew that part of each person is spiritual, another part physical, still yet another part intellectual, but the fight had to be fought and fought morally.

“It was a moral fight, we believed as we still believe that the people of Zimbabwe have a God-given right to defend themselves, a God-given right to defend that right, a God-given right to fight any intruders or persons or organisations which interfere with their right of ownership and the right to determine their own future that we believe is a sacred right the people have and even in the scriptures we see it,” he said.

President Mugabe said Cde Nkala had a short temper, but was also friendly.

“Yes, Enos was abrupt, short tempered, but friendly. One moment he would be quarrelling, the next moment he would be very friendly, very calm that was his nature,” he said.

President Mugabe added that Cde Nkala would also participate actively at the meetings they had and did not tolerate the notion that whites were superior to blacks.

“A meeting we had with Enos Nkala we knew it was going to be an active meeting, he did not want to see a white man next to him . . . he had that bravado, that I-dare-you spirit but we liked that. Why? At that time there was so much subjugation, so much acceptance that the white man was next to God, we wanted the minds of the people to be cleansed, in psychology they say to uncondition them.

“They were conditioned to worshipping the white man, you must uncondition them and the way to uncondition them was to show them that the white man was no better than any of us. He could be insulted, he could even be beaten up and this worked, worked in so far as our youths were concerned they became more and more fearless,” he said.

President Mugabe narrated how he met Cde Nkala in June 1960 when he had returned from Ghana and the National Democratic Party had just been formed in January of the same year.

He said some of the founders included George Silundika, Morton Malianga, Michael Mawema, Leopold Takawira and the late Cde Nkala.

The NDP, President Mugabe said, had been formed to replace the banned Southern Rhodesia African National Congress.

“The colonialists were looking at these organisations to see which were dangerous to the causes of the white men in the country and so in February 1959 after the formation of the Preventive Detention Act, that Congress was banned,” he said.

President Mugabe said when he returned, a number of nationalists had been in detention as a result of the Preventive Detention Act and these included the likes of national heroes Maurice Nyagumbo, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, the late Vice President Joseph Msika, among others.

President Mugabe said he had to terminate his teaching contract in Ghana after he was asked to be the NDP’s secretary for publicity after its congress in 1960.

President Mugabe also narrated events that led to the formation of Zapu after the banning of the NDP and then later Zanu.

President Mugabe said differences among the nationalists on strategies led to the formation of Zanu on August 8, 1963.

Zanu was formed at Cde Nkala’s house in Highfield and he was elected its treasurer.

Cde Nkala was born August 23, 1932 in Filabusi (Matabeleland South) and did his primary education at Mzinyati Mission where he learnt up to Standard Six.

He then did the National Junior Certificate through correspondence.

In 1950 he was employed by Rhodesia Cement in Bulawayo and then took up another job at a clothing factory in the same city.

He moved to Harare in 1953 where he was employed as a newspaper vendor before he joined Old Mutual as an insurance broker.

He joined the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress in 1957 until it was banned in 1959.

At the formation of the NDP in 1960 he became the deputy secretary general.

In 1964 after the Zanu congress held in Gweru, Cde Nkala was arrested and was detained at Sikombela Detention Camp and also at Salisbury, Connemara, Hwahwa and Gonakudzingwa and stayed in detention for 12 years.

He was released towards the Lancaster House talks and after the attainment of independence became Minister of Finance until 1983 when he moved to Minister of National Supplies.

He briefly moved to the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1985 and then became Minister of Defence before he resigned from Government in 1989.

He is survived by his wife, Thandiwe, eight children, six grand children and two great grand children.

Shadow of False Iraq Intelligence Hangs Over Syria Strike Threats

Shadow of False Iraq Intelligence Hangs Over Syria Strike

By Terry Atlas - Aug 30, 2013 12:00 AM ET

U.S. President Barack Obama’s case for punitive military action against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is haunted by events a decade ago, when his predecessor based his case for invading Iraq on false intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

After President George W. Bush took America and its allies to war in Iraq over non-existent WMDs, Obama and allied leaders must overcome heightened scrutiny of their arguments justifying retaliation against Assad’s regime for a chemical attack.

The effort is made more difficult by the fact that, so far, intelligence on Syria doesn’t absolutely prove that the Aug. 21 attack, which killed hundreds of civilians, was ordered by Assad or his top commanders.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, facing resistance to military strikes by members of both his Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party, acknowledged the credibility concerns when he spoke to the House of Commons yesterday.

“The well of public opinion was well and truly poisoned by the Iraq episode, and we need to understand the public skepticism,” said Cameron, who in the past criticized his predecessor, Tony Blair, for issuing a “dodgy dossier” on alleged Iraqi WMDs.

“The answer is we must do the right thing and in the right way,” Cameron said. “We must be sure to learn the lessons of previous conflicts.”

After Cameron spoke, the House of Commons rejected a motion endorsing, in principal, military strikes against Syria.

Not Pretext

Obama, too, is seeking to persuade Americans and the international community that he’s not seeking a pretext to intervene in the Syrian civil war, in which the UN estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed by conventional weapons.

“We can take limited, tailored approaches, not getting drawn into a long conflict, not a repetition of, you know, Iraq, which I know a lot of people are worried about,” he said Aug. 28 on PBS’s “NewsHour.”

The Iraq WMD episode “creates a very long shadow,” said Greg Thielmann, who had been a dissenting State Department intelligence official before the Iraq invasion.

“Now, particularly when the storyline has some similarities with the story line in the past, it is much harder to believe what the U.S. administration says,” Thielmann said in a phone interview.

‘Fundamental Differences’

That’s the case “even though you have some very fundamental differences, starting with a very different kind of president and an intelligence community which in some fundamental ways has reformed the kind of procedures and characteristics that led to the problem in the past,” said Thielmann, now a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association in Washington.

While the intelligence community knew that the Bush administration was set on invading Iraq and “was not interested in hearing about any kind of doubts,” Obama is “just the opposite,” he said.

“This is an administration that would much rather not have the information that it finds itself with, but is compelled to follow through on what needs to be done,” he said.

Michael Stephens, a Doha, Qatar-based research analyst for Royal United Services Institute, said the U.K. parliament’s debate makes it look “like they are they are tortured by what happened in Iraq” -- though Iraq-Syria comparisons are “very facile and incorrect.”

Citing YouTube

“It’s interesting to note that Cameron, at Parliament, cited publicly available information such as YouTube videos and humanitarian accounts to justify action on Syria,” he said. “Whereas in Iraq, intelligence was the main source of our justification for going into war.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf yesterday said there are “considerable differences” between the current Syria situation and the debate preceding the Iraq war, a conflict that the Pentagon says claimed the lives of 4,410 U.S. military personnel.

In the case of Iraq, “the U.S. was trying to prove the existence of weapons of mass destruction,” Harf said. “In Syria, we not only know they exist, but they were used.”

In making its case to the public, the administration will withhold some intelligence, such as communications intercepts, that relies on sources and methods the U.S. will want to protect. Other intelligence may be less than definitive in a war in which each side blames the other for using chemical weapons in previous smaller incidents.

‘Vile Weapons’

“Do we know with certainty who used these vile weapons? No,” Jacques Myard, a French opposition lawmaker who sits on the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee, said in an e-mailed statement. “Once bitten, twice shy: The Iraq affair remains on everyone’s mind.”

The Obama administration is preparing to present its case against the Syrian regime in what Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, calls the “most important single document in a decade.”

In February 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell presented in the UN Security Council a detailed -- and ultimately wrong -- account of Saddam Hussein’s WMD program. He has since said he regrets having presented false information that he thought at the time was correct.

Report Promised

The administration plans to make public, perhaps by the end of the week, an unclassified intelligence assessment that points to the culpability of the Syrian regime for the use of poison gas last week near the capital, Damascus. The report “will either redeem the reputation of the U.S. government and U.S. intelligence community or undermine it in ways that may take decades to recover from,” said Cordesman.

“Every error, every overstatement or fact in that first report that does not prove out over time, will impact on U.S. credibility indefinitely into the future,” he said in an analysis posted on the research group’s website. “The limits and flaws in what that initial report says will fuel every anti-American conspiracy theory in the region.”

Because the intelligence is limited, inconclusive and in some cases contradictory, the best the administration may be able to do is hold the dictatorial Syrian government -- not Assad himself -- responsible for everything that happens with its arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, three U.S. intelligence officials said yesterday.

International Consequences

That was the course Obama took in the interview with PBS, saying: “We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out. And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences.”

Similarly, Britain’s intelligence assessment made public yesterday was hedged. It found “no plausible alternative scenarios to regime responsibility.” What remains unclear, the assessment said, is Assad’s “precise motivation for carrying out an attack of this scale at this time.”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified intelligence, the three U.S. officials said intercepted Syrian communications provide no conclusive evidence that Assad or members of his inner circle ordered the attack, and two of them said the intercepts indicate that he didn’t know about it in advance and demanded that his subordinates explain what had happened.

‘High Confidence’

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the leaders of other U.S. agencies will be blunt in pointing out what the U.S. doesn’t know with certainty as well as what it knows with “high confidence,” in intelligence parlance, the three officials said.

A fourth U.S. official, alluding to the Bush administration’s use of false intelligence, expressed concern that Obama administration officials have gotten ahead of the evidence in trying to pin responsibility on Assad.

A team of UN weapons inspectors, which was already in Damascus when last week’s attack occurred, will provide an independent assessment of chemical weapons use, though it’s not empowered to determine who was responsible. The Bush administration disparaged a UN weapons team in Iraq when it failed to find evidence of WMDs before the invasion.

“This is not like Iraq; what we are seeing in Syria is fundamentally different,” Cameron said in the House of Commons yesterday.

“We are not invading a country, we are not searching for chemical or biological weapons,” he told lawmakers. “The fact the Syrian government has and has used chemical weapons is beyond doubt.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Terry Atlas in Washington at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why Syria Is More Complicated Than Libya

Why Syria Is More Complicated Than Libya

August 29, 2013 5:04 PM

Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech at an iftar dinner with political and religious figures in Damascus, Syria, on Aug. 4. In Syria, many different religious groups live in an often uneasy mix. While the country is primarily Sunni Arab, the government is run by minority Alawites like Assad — adherents of an offshoot of Shiite Islam.Enlarge image
Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech at an iftar dinner with political and religious figures in Damascus, Syria, on Aug.
4. In Syria, many different religious groups live in an often uneasy mix. While the country is primarily Sunni Arab, the government is run by minority Alawites like Assad — adherents of an offshoot of Shiite Islam.


The Arab spring has brought large-scale protests and violence to at least half a dozen countries in the past three years. Until now, the U.S. has only intervened militarily in one of them — Libya.

Now, as President Obama considers a strike on Syria, here's a look at some of the differences between the two scenarios:

1. Syria's Not Standing Alone

When Obama first announced U.S. military action in Libya, he highlighted a few facts he felt sure of at the time: "In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people," the president said on March 19, 2011.

Russia and China did not block U.N. action on Libya. But that was then.

Today, Russia is loudly defending Syria.

Two years ago, the Arab League supported the mission to take out Moammar Gadhafi. Today, the league does not support an attack on Bashar Assad.

"Nobody regionally and nobody internationally stood by Gadhafi and his regime," says Paul Salem, who directs the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. "Obviously, Syria's very different. Syria has Iran, the Maliki government in Iraq, Russia, China and Hezbollah in support of it."

A chart showing who supports which side in Syria's civil war looks like a bowl of spaghetti.

Add to that the fears that any conflict with Syria will look like a proxy war — say, between Iran and the United States.

"Syria is very important from a perspective of geopolitics," says Amos Guiora at the University of Utah law school. "Syria presents for the Iranian navy the ability to dock in Syrian ports and to sail in the Mediterranean."

And don't forget that Israel — America's No. 1 Mideast ally — is in Syria's backyard. So from a global perspective, the situation in Syria is far more complicated than it was in Libya.

2. Things Are Also More Complicated Inside Syria

The people in Libya are almost all Sunni Arabs. But in Syria, many different religious groups live in an often uneasy mix.

To start with, says Mark Katz of George Mason University, the Syrian government is run by minority Alawites — adherents of an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

"But there are so many other communities. The country consists of a majority of Sunni Arabs, there are Kurds, there are Arab Christians, there are Druze," Katz says, "and these other minorities are also fearful that a change to Sunni majority rule will have a negative impact on them."

And the rebels themselves are far less cohesive in Syria than they were in Libya. Remember, the U.S. recognized one rebel government in Libya.

In Syria, it's not even clear how many groups there are. Some experts say dozens; others say almost a thousand.

One thing most experts do agree on: "The most powerful ones are Salafist and jihadist. Some are linked to al-Qaida," says Joshua Landis, who directs the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

3. Syria's Economy Is Crumbling

"Libya's a country of 6 million people, and it can already pay its own bills," explains Landis. "Syria's a country of 24 million. Almost a third of them, 7 million, have been displaced — 2 million outside of the country; 5 million internally. And the economy is in shambles."

Libya can pay its own bills because it's the largest oil producer in Africa. Syria doesn't have nearly as much oil as its neighbors. That means reconstruction would be much more expensive.

Landis says Syria is "a destroyed country without any means of income today."

"The economy has collapsed by more than half and is in the process of collapsing even further," he says. "This winter is going to be a terrible winter in Syria. ... Only about half as many crops as were planted last year have been planted this summer due to insecurity, lack of fuel, lack of fertilizer and many other reasons."

4. U.S. Goals Are Different Now

In Libya, Obama and his allies sought to take out Gadhafi. In Syria, the president has described the U.S. goal as preventing the use of chemical weapons.

He spoke Wednesday night on PBS: "If we are saying in a clear and decisive but very limited way — we send a shot across the bow saying, 'Stop doing this,' that can have a positive impact on our national security over the long term."

In Libya, the U.S. ended its military involvement after seven months, when Gadhafi was killed. In Syria, it's still not clear what sort of military action the U.S. might take, or how long it could last.