The Wikileaks U.S. diplomatic documents dropped yesterday. The 250,000 WikiLeak cables made references to Africa and its leaders. These are still being mulled over in the hope of piecing together America’s view of Africa. Top issues considered as important to the Amerians included “Darfur/Sudan,” and surprisingly eight West African states including Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal. Does the US really care for Africa this much?
The detailed document reveals which UN issues most interested the US government. These included: “Darfur/Sudan,” “Afghanistan/Pakistan,” Somalia, Iran and North Korea. Other top issues included Paraguay and the Palestinian Territories, eight West African states including Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal, as well as various states in Eastern Europe.
As justification for the espionage orders, Clinton emphasized that a large share of the information that the US intelligence agencies works with, comes from the reports put together by State Department staff around the world.
The crazy old man” – this apparently is how South Africa’s International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoane Mashabane, branded Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, according to a US embassy cable from Pretoria to Washington
Another cable revealed that senior ANC members gave confidential information about the inner workings of the ANC to the US government before the 1994 elections with ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela seemingly helping US officials gain access to Madiba.
One cable, sent from the US embassy in Pretoria on May 3 1990, describes how former South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) boss and now mining businessman Zwelakhe Sisulu persuaded the top leadership of the ANC at the time that Mandela should refrain from meeting United Kingdom prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Mandela, who headed the ANC at the time, and formally elected as its president a year later, apparently was “keen” to meet Thatcher because he wanted to talk to her about the UK viewing the ANC as a “terrorist organisation”. However Sisulu, who ran Mandela’s appointment diary, argued successfully that the national executive committee veto the idea.
Mugabe has been in power in Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. Once one of Africa’s wealthier nations, with a thriving agricultural sector, it has deteriorated into economic and social turmoil. In 2007, the same year the cable was written, Zimbabwe had the highest inflation rate in the world at 66,212 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Fuel and food shortages prompted Dell to say “for the first time the president is under intensifying pressure simultaneously on the economic, political and international fronts” and that Mugabe was “running out of options.” He says it up to the U.S. “once again, to take the lead, to say and do the hard things.”
He admits in 2007 that Mugabe will “not wake up one morning a changed man, resolved to set right all he has wrought. He will not go quietly nor without a fight. He will cling to power at all costs.”
Dell added: “Mugabe and his henchman are like bullies everywhere: if they can intimidate, you they will. But they’re not used to someone standing up to them and fighting back.”
Some contacts have claimed the two were involved in a romantic relationship, according to the document.
The cable, sent from the US embassy in Tripoli after US officials had discussed Gaddafi’s travel arrangements to New York in 2009, was among 250,00 documents released by WikiLeaks on Sunday.
Washington certainly had a motive to get involved in Somalia. There was growing concern in the White House and the Pentagon that Somalia’s Islamists might ally themselves with Al Qaeda and turn to international terrorism. Already with two escalating wars on its own plate, the U.S. was in no position to openly lead its own large-scale attack on Somalia. It’d have been far simpler to simply sponsor somebody else to do the dirty work. Enter Ethiopia.