The opposition faction UNITA has launched a massive offensive against MPLA (in government) and has made attacks within 50 km. of the capital city, Luanda. While African wars do not assume the same quality as the well-defined lines of European conflicts, instead being characterised by highly mobile bands of raiders, due to the distances, it is true that the notion that UNITA was finished as a military force is false. However, it is also true that UNITA does not have the capacity to gain power by military action. As Pravda.Ru reported recently, the fact is that both MPLA and UNITA are controlled by cliques of people who have become rich through the African syndrome of the 30% commission. Such a commission has been the unofficial figure stipulated for any transaction in African countries since the independence movements of the 1960s, the philosophy being, “if you want the business, I will be your agent, but you pay me 30% apart, or you will not enter the country”. Today, a violent attack by UNITA near Luanda reportedly caused the deaths of 250 civilians, 37 government soldiers and 60 boys kidnapped from a school, to be trained as UNITA guerrillas (or sold into child prostitution rings, or worse, video “nasties”). The city of Luanda, once a Pearl of the Atlantic Ocean, built for one million people but now housing five times that number, again sees an influx of people from the ravaged countryside of one of Africa’s richest states. While there are buyers for Angola’s vast oil reserves (10% of the USA’s consumption derives from the oil wells off the Cabinda coast, Chevron and Elf-Aquitaine are well implanted) and its diamonds (controlled by UNITA, the Angolan blue diamond being unique), the war will continue. UN sanctions are as politically motivated as the power bases behind them, controlled in turn by economic lobbies naturally fed by selfish and intrusive interests. These are the results of global capitalism, an imperialism as virulent and dangerous as the imperialist colonial policies of 150 years ago.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON
Russian President Vladimir Putin got the West worried again by signing Decree No. 915. The news did not produce any public effect in Russia