Thursday, June 14, 2007

The scramble for Africa's oil

by Christopher Thompson from the New Statesman

Professor Peter Pham, a US adviser on Africa to the Pentagon told the New Statesman, America's new Africa strategy reflects its key priorities in the Middle East: oil and counter-terrorism. US military sources estimate that up to a quarter of all foreign fighters in Iraq are from Africa, mostly from Algeria and Morocco. Moreover, there is increasing alarm within the US defence establishment at the creeping "radicalisation" of Africa's Muslims, helped along by the export of hardline, Wahhabi-style clerics from the Arabian peninsula. "The terrorist challenge [has] increased in Africa in the past year - it's gotten a new lease on life," according to Pham. But it is the west's increasing dependency on African oil that gives particular urgency to these new directions in the fight against terrorism. Africa's enormous, and largely untapped, reserves are already more important to the west than most Americans recognise.

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