China Is Turning Africa Into A Military Base

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China has tried to sell the world on the idea that it is a peaceful superpower with only benign intentions, helping developing countries build up their infrastructure with China financing, while at the same time sharing the industriousness and technical expertise of the Chinese people. But when China starts building military bases in other countries it gets hard to keep up that image. China has one military base in Africa already, and according to US intelligence, is trying to build another one on the other side of the continent, writes China Uncensored.

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With Low Vaccination Rates, Africa's Covid Deaths Remain Far Below Europe And The US

Africa Covid-19 awareness
Image by Oteba

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Reprinted with permission Mises Institute Ryan McMaken

Since the very beginning of the covid panic, the narrative has been this: implement severe lockdowns or your population will experience a bloodbath. Morgues will be overwhelmed, the death total toll will be astounding. On the other hand, we were assured those jurisdictions that do lock down would see only a fraction of the death toll.

Then, once vaccines became available, the narrative was modified to "Get shots in arms and then covid will stop spreading. Those countries without vaccines, on the other hand, will continue to face mass casualties."

The lockdown narrative, of course, has already been thoroughly overturned. Jurisdictions that did not lock down or adopted only weak and short lockdowns ended up with covid death tolls that were either similar to—or even better than—death tolls in countries that adopted draconian lockdowns. Lockdown advocates said locked-down countries would be overwhelmingly better off. These people were clearly wrong. 

Undaunted by the increasing implausibility of the lockdown narrative, the global health bureaucrats are nonetheless doubling down on forced vaccines—as we now see in Austria—and we continue to be assured that only countries with high vaccination rates can hope to avoid disastrous covid outcomes. 

Yet, the experience in sub-Saharan Africa calls both these narratives into question: Africa's numbers have been far, far lower than the experts warned would be the case. 

For example, the AP reported this week that in spite of low vaccination rates, Africa has fared better than most of the world:

[T]here is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said….

Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports.

Yet disaster for Africa has long been predicted for several reasons even beyond the availability of vaccines. For instance, it is known that lockdowns are especially impractical in the poorest parts of the world. This is because populations in places with undeveloped economies can’t simply sit at home and live off savings or debt. Rather, these people must go out into the world and earn a living on a day-to-day basis. Starvation is the alternative. Moreover, much of this work is done in the informal economy, so enforcing lockdowns becomes especially difficult.

afr
Source: Our World in Data (Confirmed Deaths per Million, November 19, 2021;  Share of People Vaccinated against Covid-19, November 19, 2021).

It was also assumed covid would be especially deadly in Africa due to the fact many large households live in small housing units.

But that "conventional wisdom" flies in the face of the reality of covid in Africa, which is that there have been fewer deaths.

The "experts" have groped around, looking for possible explanations.

Some sources, for example, insist that the low death totals are only an artifact of incomplete reporting on covid infections and that "a lack of good qualitative data was the issue."

But Richard Wamai at Northeastern University rejects the claim it’s all about case reporting, and says that "local systems for reporting deaths in Africa make it difficult to hide COVID-19 casualties." In a paper for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Wamai and his coauthors conclude, "[T]here is no evidence that COVID-19 mortality data is less accurately reported in Africa than elsewhere" and "While the true picture of infections and mortality in the continent has yet to fully emerge, the quality of data for other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, indicates that Africa has the capacity to collect and report valid disease surveillance data."

In any case, the World Health Organization reports that covid deaths in Africa make up only 2.9 percent of covid deaths, while Africa’s population is 16 percent of the global total. Africa’s covid total could double or triple, and Africa would still be faring far better than Europe and the Americas.

Wamai et al. also note that at this point "[i]t is likely that SARS-CoV-2 has already been widely disseminated through Africa…. If so, widespread infection is likely to also result in widespread natural immunity."

In other words, continued claims by health officials—both in Africa and elsewhere—that mass death is right around the corner with the "next wave" look increasingly implausible. 

It looks increasingly likely that the lack of covid mortality in Africa is not due to a data issue nor a situation in which covid has been "contained" up until now. So then why is Africa doing so much better than the wealthy West?

Naturally, the advocates of forced lockdowns and coerced vaccines would prefer to ignore this issue altogether, but the undeniable reality of Africa’s experience has forced mainstream researchers to publicly admit the many ways that many factors can explain covid's prevalence beyond vaccination rates and mask mandates.

For instance, mentioning that obesity is an important factor in covid mortality has in the past been likely to get one savaged in the media for "fat shaming." Yet the Africa situation has forced the well informed to admit that yes, obese populations clearly suffer more from covid. In Africa, not surprisingly, we find that obesity rates are far below those found in North America and Europe.

Other possible explanations forwarded as reasons for Africa’s situation include past exposure to other coronaviruses, youthful populations, fewer patients lacking zinc and vitamin D, past use of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination, climate, genetic background, and parasite load. In addressing the African "enigma" one group of researchers in the journal Colombia medica dared even suggest it’s possible—although not conclusively shown at this point—that “a mass public health preventive campaign against COVID-19 may have taken place, inadvertently, in some African countries with massive community ivermectin use.”

africa
Source: "Global Obesity Levels," ProCon.org, last modified March 27, 2020; Our World in Data (Share of People Vaccinated against Covid-19, November 19, 2021).

In the West, however, the media drumbeat around covid has consistently been "Shut up, stay home, get jabbed, and stop doubting the experts on forced vaccines." Fortunately, however, the African situation has forced many researchers to ask inconvenient questions.

In fact, it’s amazing Africa has not been overcome by mass death considering that covid lockdowns and covid "mitigation" measures have contributed to the impoverishment and mass starvation on the continent. Or as Germany’s DW News puts it, “Measures put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus are pushing millions of people in Africa into severe hunger.” And as Wamai notes, “[S]ome of the excess deaths in Africa “can be attributed not to the disease, but to lockdown measures that cut off access to medical care for other illnesses.”

But Africa hasn’t gotten the bloodbath that was promised, and as one Nigerian put it, "They said there will be dead bodies on the streets and all that, but nothing like that happened."

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A Habit Of Courage...Tiny Somaliland Snubs The Chinese Communist Party

A Habit Of Courage...Tiny Somaliland Snubs The Chinese Communist Party
Image by Peter Fitzgerald

A Habit of Courage

The tiny almost state that is Somaliland has yet again put its neighbours, and pretty much everybody else, to shame. With a history of achieving against the odds, this beacon of near democracy in the Horn of Africa has just decided to snub China. And do so in a very public fashion.

In some ways this is hardly surprising. China has for a while now been supporting the rump state of Somalia and its so called “territorial integrity” – which is diplomatic sub speak for a re-annexation of Somaliland. Given that the smaller, former protectorate of British Somaliland has been a beacon of near peace and stability since it declared its independence from the maniacal regime of Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has never recovered, though is slowly limping out of decades of internecine and Islamist strife and murder. Whereas, Somaliland has taken a different track, forging ahead with an independent, African form of democracy that has, by and large, kept its citizenry safe.

The rejection of Chinese overtures by the Government of Somaliland is as brave as it is unusual. For decades Sino influence in Africa, particularly East Africa has been almost untrammeled. In the last 15 years upwards of £400bn has been invested directly by the government of President Xi, and many, many more billions by state owned or para independent firms. Yet here is this country, of 3.5 million turning round to the behemoth and simply saying ‘No’. Not just once but twice it is reported.

This extraordinary moment took place a few days ago during a visit to the country’s capital, Hargeisa in the last week of Qin Jian, by China’s Ambassador to Somalia and a high-ranking delegation from the foreign ministry in Peking.  

The diplomats had arrived after a hastily organised trip, triggered by the strengthening relations between President Muse Bihi Abdi and Taiwan. Somalia, recipient of increasing investment from China, has recently affirmed its support for China’s territorial claims over Taiwan. Chinese interests have lasted since 2007 when CNOOC, a state-owned Chinese oil producer, has been involved in the northern province of Puntland, the region closest to the Somaliland border.

Thus, to see little Somaliland making formal overtures to Taipei, overtures that resulted in Taipei and Hargeisa establishing bilateral ties on July 1st, 2020 has enraged China.  Ambassador Jian tweeted two days later, “Taiwan is China's inherent territory. China exercised effective jurisdiction over Taiwan since the China's Ming and Qing governments hundreds of years ago. Every inch of China's territory can't be discarded. If (sic) is not China's territory, China doesn't want an inch.” 

A couple of days later, the Foreign Ministry followed up, “The Somali government has reaffirmed its commitment to the One-China Principle and condemned Taiwan’s act that has undermined Somali’s sovereignty & territorial integrity. We appreciate that. The Democratic Progressive Party’s separatist activities will never succeed.” They have secured the formal support of the government in Mogadishu.

But this hasn’t swayed the Somalilanders. President Abdi first had a brief meeting, cut short after Chinese demands on cutting ties with Taiwan, and followed on Friday with another with a delegation from FOCAC, the Chinese Africa Forum. The Chinese arrived with blandishments of the normal kind. Massive investment in the port of Berbera, the airport in Hargeisa. But alongside those carrots comes the inevitable stick. 

Currently China has a naval base in Djibouti, a country whose debt obligations to the dragon are overwhelming. In late July, China and Somalia announced they would be conducting joint naval patrols in what they describe as ‘Somalian territorial waters’ on the Red Sea littoral – or in other words Somaliland waters. The carrot; let us build your port (and put you on massive” debt to us). The stick; we will throttle your waters and ability to trade independently. Again, President Abdi turned the Chinese away empty handed, except for positive words about, “agreed to strengthen mutual respect to each other”.

The President must be hoping that the USA’s commitment to Taiwan stretches to those who follow up the Taipei Act, or the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative which since March of this year commits the US to support those who support and recognise Taiwan. 

China’s increased belligerence around the world, be it in the mountain fastnesses of the Himalayas where a low level shooting war is being conducted against India, in the China Sea and around Taiwan itself, to its ‘string of pearls’ initiative, of which the Somali naval patrols are part, where it plans to take physical control of the Indian Ocean is seeing diplomatic kick back. The UK has suspended its extradition Treaty with Hong Kong and is ripping up the expected 5G deal with Huawei. Australia’s ongoing economic symbiosis has not stopped it putting on diplomatic pressure and New Zealand and Canada are baring their teeth. India is going through its military and diplomatic gears. Even the EU is beginning to get cold feet over its enthusiasm for cheap Chinese money. 

But Somaliland, a land of herdsmen, and a million poets, nobody has yet so directly turned their backs. 

Conflict Sprouts Between Nigerian Farmers, Christian Pastoralists

Conflict Sprouts Between Nigerian Farmers, Pastoralists
Braving the threat of terrorists, young farmers take a rest from plowing at Rostu, Nigeria June 8

Nigeria’s northern state of Plateau increasingly has become a battleground between Muslim Fulani herders and the largely Christian farmers from numerous ethnic groups who are trying to eke out a living on its sun-swept Savannah woodlands. The Trump administration has been taking notice of the plight of Christians in Africa's largest country.

For the first time, farmers are returning en masse to 175 acres of land that Fulani’s militants seized three years ago through midnight massacres and torching hundreds of houses. This time, the farmers sought safety in their numbers. The new experiment is for thousands of farmers to hand-plow the rich soil collectively – armed and ready.

Shotgun-carrying vigilantes are standing nearby to defend against attack. Shouting as if at a friendly football match, nearly 3,000 young adults competed at plowing the rows the fastest –despite COVID-19 risks.

Meanwhile some 25 Fulani tribesmen watched the match from a nearby hilltop. The farmers expect that they will face massed attacks in coming months by Fulani’s armed with AK 47 assault rifles, but they are taking the risk.

“Fulani attacked our community in 2017.  Ten people were killed; all our houses were burned down as well as two schools and three churches - Anglican, Evangelical Church Winning All and Catholic Church,” said  Mr. Monday Yah a 38-year-old farmer from Rostu village, “We could not farm since 2017. Our community farmed more than 125 hectares of land before the attack, but we had to leave it all. Today we were able to plow and plant 70 [175 acres] hectares with maize, beans, and millet,” said Yah.

Conflict Sprouts Between Nigerian Farmers, Pastoralists
Village lady at Rostu, Lami Audu holds the traditional hoe used in the plow competition June 8
Image by Lawrence Zongo


20-year-old Lami Audu was among the competitors at the collective plowing event where each participant used a traditional tool with a wooden handle and an 18-inch blade called a “big hoe.”


“Our community is facing three pandemics simultaneously: CoVid-19, terror attacks and hunger, ” Audu said to CDMedia.

Since ethnic cleansing attacks against farmers escalated from 2015, more than a million hectares of farmland nationwide has been taken over by grazing tribes, according to Obadiah Mailafia, an Oxford-trained economist in Jos and 2019 Presidential candidate of African Democratic Congress. With 2.7 million Nigerians trapped in Individual Displacement Camps, farmers say they are down but not out.

The Muslim Fulani are the largest nomadic ethnicity in the world,  numbering up to 25 million people and spanning 11 African countries from Sudan to Senegal.  West African leaders of the Fulani descent include the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari; the President of Senegal, Macky Sall; the President of Gambia, Adama Barrow; the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh; and the Prime Minister of Mali, Boubou Cisse. They also lead major international institutions, such as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed.

The farmer-herder conflict  is a problem in almost all the states of West Africa but has become Nigeria’s most acute security challenge, now claiming far more lives than the Ansaru, Niger River Delta, or Boko Haram insurgencies, according to the International Crisis Group. “It has displaced hundreds of thousands and sharpened ethnic, regional and religious polarization.”

President Buhari’s plan is to resettle nomadic pastoralists in designated grazing reserves all over Nigeria. Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano has welcomed the pastoralists to settle in two selected forests in his northern state but has sounded the alarm about unwelcome migration of Fulani herders from across the border in Niger and Chad.  

The governor on June 6  called on the Federal government to ban herdsmen from the West African countries from coming into the country  and blamed the Fulani for incessant farmers- and herder clashes. “The Economic Community of West African States protocols should be reviewed so that the herdsmen are not being allowed into Nigeria so that we reduce the level of conflicts,” he told Nigerian media.

Conflict Sprouts Between Nigerian Farmers, Pastoralists
Young farmers plow in a competition at Rostu, Nigeria
Image by Lawrence Zongo

“They (Fulani herdsmen) move with arms and ammunition, so we appeal to the government to prevent them from coming into the country,” Ganduje said. 

The escalating attacks by Fulani militias and occasional reprisals by farmers have drawn the concern of two U.S. Senators from Iowa, Charles Grassley, and Joni Ernst, both of whom have appealed in May to President Donald Trump to appoint a Special Envoy to the Lake Chad region. 

Left unchecked, the continuing massacres in Nigeria will result in Islamization of the whole country and possibly all of West Africa, according to Stephen Enada, founder of the International Committee on Nigeria, a supporter of the letter campaign.

Sen. Grassley’s letter to Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Brownback urged them to act against the ever-increasing violence in Nigeria. In the letter, Grassley explains, “2020 attacks against Christians in Nigeria are gaining increased international attention…Alongside this persistent threat from Boko Haram, growing land-use conflicts in Nigeria’s Middle Belt between largely Muslim Fulani and Christian farmers have exacerbated existing ethnic and religious conflicts.”

“If these killings continue and spread widely, there will be food crisis in Nigeria, because most of the foods are produced from the Middle Belt. The middle Belt is the food basket of Nigeria, and if attacks continue, 70 percent Nigerians, will be affected with famine,” Mailafia said to CDMedia.

“The Fulani attacks are designed to displace farmers from lands with good fertile soil. They are not at random but focused in areas that Fulani want for settlement, which the government is supporting,” Mailafia said.

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations
Image by Itzuvit 

[Israel] We spoke with Israeli General Israel Ziv this week on his exoneration by the U.S. government on illicit arms trading accusations in conjunction with the General's agricultural work in Sudan. The allegations included providing weapons and ammunition to both sides of the conflict.

The United States Treasury Department has sanctioned three people over their roles in South Sudan's civil war, including retired Israeli major general Israel Ziv, reported The Jerusalem Times in 2018.

The department also designated three of Israel Ziv’s Israeli companies: Global N.T.M Ltd, Global Law Enforcement and Security Ltd, and Global IZ Group Ltd to be on the sanctions list.

Ziv categorically denied the accusations during the length of the ordeal, as did the government of South Sudan.

General Ziv was removed from the sanctions list this week.

His comments are below...

"When you wake up in the morning and you're sure you are doing something very good…My work in Sudan is a fantastic thing,. Then all of a sudden someone is turning off the light, forcing you to look at yourself as a criminal; it's not a nice experience to go through.

"I"m Glad justice was done, I had confidence in the American system.

"OFAC is one of the most important elements to fight terror, to block Iranian spread of proxy armies around Middle East; my appreciation to the organization was not damaged because of this personal situation.

"I am at a good point with no bitterness and can continue with [farming] project

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations

"South Sudan has no system in-country, no infrastructure, no established economy, no stabilized market, no balance between production and food, commerce, nothing of that kind.

"The Green horizon project is the only light at the end of the tunnel in Sudan to create a system for food production, distribution. It is based in 3 counties, which have a major farm for staple foods - grains primarily. It goes around the whole farming life cycle and supports the school system, medical care, and we support individual farmers, by giving them seeds, training, coaching on how to increase their yield. We buy everything they produce, and there is a logistic element to take the food to the market. We are creating the whole system.

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations

"My company is a service provider, a private company, but the project is a national project; once we finish our job, the whole thing will stay embedded and sustainable.

"The farms are far away in the bush. You go by the Nile in a small boat, many hours, or a day, to reach the place, then you will see green valley, producing crops.

"Now I can go back to those duties; justice was done."

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations

Defeat Of Sudanese Coup Attempt May Have Lead To Deal With Israel

Defeat Of Sudanese Coup Attempt May Have Lead To Deal With Israel

Sudan’s transitional government headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan saw off an armed uprising last month which helped strengthen confidence in the government. The events are worthy of a second look now that Burhan announced, following a historic meeting in Kampala, that Sudan and Israel would normalize their relations. At present only three other Arab League members – Israel, Jordan and Eritrea have such a relationship with Israel.

Many believe the revolt whose gunfire lit-up the night sky was more than a mutiny and was in fact a coup attempt. 

If true, it is worth pointing out that Sudan is no stranger to coup attempts.  During the rule of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir he saw off more than his fare share. Al-Bashir knew a thing or two about coups. In 1989 a coup, launched by Gordon College students and military officers in Khartoum with the support of Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups, was bloodless. The deposed dictator was permitted to fly to Egypt with his family, aides and heirlooms by Omar Al Bashir who would rule until being toppled in another coup following weeks of protests in Sudan last year. Al Bashir is currently under trial and there are some who would like to see him executed but, Sudan famously doesn’t execute former leaders.  They depose them. 

The January mutiny appears to have emerged from the elite Operations Corps of the General Intelligence Service, Sudan’s umbrella organization for intelligence agencies. Under former President Bashir, the Operations Corps was armed with heavy weapons, armored fighting vehicles, and helicopters. It was a sort of a palace guard within a palace guard. Such arrangements are not unusual in Arab states where the military and security forces are more often then not positioned against domestic rather than foreign foes.

Under al-Bashir Sudan’s security services and defense forces included multiple forces with overlapping jurisdictions. Many of these forces were staffed with officers loyal to the National Congress Party – the former party of al-Bashir which was formally disbanded last year. (For those really interested in the background behind Sudan’s politics  this paper is highly recommended). 

At the party’s final national congress in 2017, Bashir put forward a firm vision for the future and even called for reunification with the south but, he would be gone just two years later.

Sudan’s transitional government blamed the uprising on Salah Gosh, who was twice former head of the intelligence services and is believed to be in hiding.  Gosh resigned his post two days after al-Bashir stepped down from power. NISS agents loyal to Gosh have supposedly helped him avoid an arrest attempt and he is believed to be in Egypt. Meanwhile his beloved NISS was renamed the Directorate of General Intelligence Service last year. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced this summer that the State department had placed Gosh under sanctions which bars him and his family from travelling to America. Gosh now finds himself in the position of being a pariah vis-a-vie the United States. It was once far different; in 2005 Gosh traveled to the United States to assit the American intelligence community 

The defeat of the mutiny and the signing of a preliminary peace deal with Sudanese political groups gave Burhan and those loyal to him the confidence to push for diplomatic breakthroughs on the international stage. 

With his flank secure for the moment, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the sovereign council, has moved quickly this past week as he met with Israel's embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pledge a future normalization of ties.  It is unclear if either leader has the authority to make such a historic agreement. Sudan’s communist movement, long one of the strongest in the region, was quick to criticize the deal as were some in Burhan’s own government.

“I think Sudan needed a meeting like this, it is time for Khartoum to deal directly with [Israel] like other countries in the region,” said Mekki El Mograbi a former Sudanese diplomat who is not involved with the current Sudanese government,”This is better than to have other countries broker deals on Sudan’s behalf. It is not an issue to speed up or to slow down the process of normalization but the issue to start talks directly.”

U.S. Lays Out Welcome Mat For Middle Eastern And “Extra-Continental” Migrants While Mexico Blocks Them: A Crazy Immigration Policy Disconnect

From the Center for Immigration Studies

TAPACHULA, Mexico – The matronly Mexican entrepreneur bustling to and fro in her seedy downtown restaurant is roud the legacy embossed on the walls of her first eatery next door, but especially of the nickname – “Mama Africa” – that still has customers along a global underground railroad seeking her out when they hit town. 

A tacked-up Eritrean dollar and a “Thank you Mama Africa” are among the inscribed memorabilia appreciating her cheap and often free food, floor space for sleeping, and reputed smuggling connections (a U.S.-Mexico operation recently netted a Bangladeshi human smuggler who Mama Africa said worked for her in the restaurant).

Names, nationalities, and dates of travel indisputably evidence a kind of U.S.-bound migration often denied in the United States among liberal no-borders activists but referred to among better-informed U.S. homeland security personnel as “extra-continentals” because homelands span the globe. These are U.S. asylum hopefuls from Ethiopia, Somalia, Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Nepal, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and many other bloody hotspots. 

There are more Africans coming now than I have ever seen before,” Mama Africa said in mid-January as her restaurant filled with Bangladeshis, Haitians, and Nepalese. 

That observation tracks with that of homeland security officials who worry about it in a very different way. U.S.authorities see this elevated human traffic as a unique national security threat because they can’t easily determine if migrants are victims of atrocities and persecution, as they will almost all certainly claim at the U.S. border – orthe perpetrators in homelands brimming with Islamic terrorists, atrocity-committing tribal militias, war criminals, government torturers, and mass rapists.

U.S. Lays Out Welcome Mat for Middle Eastern and “Extra-Continental” Migrants While Mexico Blocks Them: A Crazy Immigration Policy Disconnect
Click Image above for video on extra-continental migration from the Center for Immigration Studies

But, as I found during and after a 10-day reporting trip to the Mexico-Guatemala border for CIS, American officials high and low say extra-continental migrants are being waved right into the United States when they reach the border. They are exempt from the stew of new policies President Donald Trump has implemented mainly to push back Central Americans into Mexico or their homelands.

Senior and lower-ranking DHS officials confirm that President Trump’s much-credited “Wait in Mexico” and “Safe Third Country” policies, requiring push-backs from the American border are not being applied to extra-continental migrants for unknown reasons. 

Are extra-continentals being pushed back to Mexico or other countries to claim asylum as a deterrent, as are Central Americans, I asked one U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services officer in a border asylum office?

“Nope,” the official confirmed. “We wave ‘em all through, every last one of them.”

Two senior DHS policy officials not authorized to speak on record confirmed the broad Trump policy exemption for extra-continentals and did not know, exactly, why.

U.S. Border Remains Open to Extra-Continentals and from countries of terror concern 

Mama Africa’s observation about sky-high traffic in extra-continentals tracks with my own first report of a surge of at least 35,000 extra-continentals spotted by eye-witnesses last summer moving through the Darien Gap jungle passage between Colombia and Panama. 

Much more recently, Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan confirmed the surge as “an increased issue.” 

“What we are seeing… is a change in the demographics,” from Spanish-speaking migrants reaching the U.S. border,Morgan told the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in December. That’s what we refer to as ‘extra-continental,’ other than Northern Triangle countries.”

“Overall, those numbers relatively are fairly manageable,” Morgan said. “But when you start combining it, and then again you start seeing it as an increased issue, we need to get out in front of it.”

U.S. apprehension figures by nationality for 2019 have not yet been released, but, for instance, Mexican officials here report nearly 6,000 migrants from African countries in 2019, up from 460 in 2007. 

One early 2019, phasing-out and legally contested policy called “metering,” by which a few extra-continentals at a time last year were let over from Mexican camps, did delay some entries, to keep things orderly during the migration crisis. 

But eventually, almost every non-Spanish-speaking extra-continental gets allowed in on their asylum claims and eventually released into the American interior to await distant backlogged asylum hearings, when they could be pushed back into Mexico to await their asylum adjudications there.

Failing to apply push-back policies to extra-continentals while they wait inside the country presents a profound missed opportunity for the United States to use new immigration-control tools to reduce risks that some of these migrants might be deployed terrorists, unreformed war criminals, or violent militia fighters with blood on their hands and predisposed to victimizing American citizens.  

It is also true that many will be victims of such perpetrators, albeit whose asylum claims could have been lodged at many countries they had to transit on the way to the humming American economy. Among extra-continentals are those from some 35 countries where Islamic terrorist groups operate, known to homeland security as special interest aliens.

The problem in waving special interest aliens and other extra-continentals through the American border turnstile is the extent to which U.S. homeland security can very thoroughly vet them before they are released into the interior of the country to wait, in many cases, for years before their asylum hearings.

For instance, a Pakistani “special interest alien” who gave his name as Asef Khan said he was an engineering school graduate from Peshawar, that he flew to Brazil and then had himself smuggled north through Central America to southern Mexico. In an interview on a Tapachula street, he proved evasive about his background, offering only “I had some problems” with Pakistani authorities when he decided to go the U.S. border.

And quite unlike most extra-continental migrants I’d spoken to, Khan said he had evaded new Mexican requirements that he formally register with the government and apply for Mexican asylum. He was off-grid here, hoping to find a smuggler before the Mexicans forced him to surface in an official way. 

“I’m waiting for something good to happen and then I’ll go to America,” Khan explained.

Should Khan ever reach the U.S. border, American intelligence officers should want to learn as much about Mr. Khan as possible before he is waived into the country on a probable asylum claim. From 2015 through 2018, Border Patrol apprehended about 900 Pakistanis at the U.S. border, CBP data shows

Bangladeshis, which also are classified by homeland security as special interest aliens, were ubiquitous on the streets of Tapachula and in Mama Africa’s restaurants. Border Patrol apprehended at least 1,200 Bangladeshis in 2018 alone and thousands over previous years.

Not much is publicly known about the extent of security and background vetting going on now. But some reportingalready suggests that DHS intelligence officers do not put all Middle Easterners through enhanced vetting paces, or simply can’t. Because some hail from countries, such as Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo,where record-keeping systems are either off-limits to Americans, or don’t exist for Americans to check.

Releasing anyone from such a country based only on the migrant’s unverified assertions about their personal histories becomes tantamount to gambling with public safety.

U.S. Practice Undermines Powerful Mexican Dragnet 

Under President Donald Trump’s tariff threats, in June 2019, Mexico deployed 6,000 National Guard troops to stop a mass migration through its territory of mainly Central Americans. Mexico began deporting anyone who didn’t want to apply for Mexican asylum, and making those who did wait in southern Mexico, forced to complyand prevented from easily advancing north by those National Guard at interior roadblocks. 

For the first few months, the Mexicans allowed non-Spanish-speaking migrants to continue north to the open U.S. border to claim asylum. 

But no more. Now, Mexico’s policies envelope all the extra-continental migrants, who can plainly see and hear that the American border is still open to them just beyond reach.

Riots and disturbances among acutely frustrated Africans followed Mexico’s decision. But the Mexicans have held fast.

The result of unaligned Mexican and U.S. policies on extra-continental migrants is, is motivating some to hire expensive professional smugglers for trips that can end in quick returns back to Tapachula, a successful U.S. border entry in Laredo, Texas, for instance, or in catastrophe such as a fatal boat capsizing.

Mexico can’t readily deport special interest aliens and Africans because home countries have to agree to take them, and Syria, Iran, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo don’t keep diplomatic staffs on hand in Mexico. 

But unlike the Americans evidently, at least the Mexicans are figuring it out as they go. Recently, in an “unprecedented” action, Mexican began repatriating Indians all the way to New Delhi by air.

There’s some evidence that just Mexico’s policy is starting to reduce the influx of extra-

continentals, a harbinger of what might happen if the Americans boarded the same wagon.

Claudia Bresenio, head of the Mexican agency COMAR, which registers newly arrived migrants in Tapachula, the number of Africans dropped noticeably in December for the first time in a year.

“In December, it went down. Nigeria, Congolese, Cameroonians…,” she said. “Because now Mexico is full of checkpoints.”

One Cameroonian named Peter was emblematic of this trend. He said he paid $9,000 to be smuggled this far but then Mexican National Guard stopped his bus as it was going north, pulled him off, and put him in a detention center until he agreed to grudgingly apply for Mexican asylum.

With no money to go home, he said he had no choice. 

“They say it takes six months to get the asylum,” Peter told me in English. “I don’t even want to be here one month!”

But what Peter said next shows why fewer Cameroonians appear to be coming now, with just Mexico stopping them. He is telling all of his friends and family back home: 

“I tell them never to attempt to come here. This is another nightmare. I can’t advise no one to come. If I knew I couldn’t pass through, I wouldn’t have come here.”

One can only imagine the impact if the United States likewise closed its border to extra-continentals.

Follow Todd Bensman on Twitter @BensmanTodd

The King's Speech Boasting Employment In Morocco

US President George W. Bush talks with His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco in the Oval Office Tuesday, April 23 2002

Flashback to last October when Morocco's King Mohammed VI made an important speech to the nation's parliment. In that speech, the king decried the lack of funding for recent university graduates and SMEs in the kingdom.

"I, therefore, urge our banking sector to show greater commitment and to be more effectively involved in the country's development dynamic, particularly with regard to financing investment projects and support for productive activities that create jobs and generate income."

On Monday, King Mohammed VI took a more decisive role in a meeting with the Minister of Economy and Finance, the head of the Morocco's Central bank and the head of the Professional Association of Moroccan Commercial Banks which is known by its French acronym -- GPBM. At that meeting, the Moroccan financial industry agreed to new measures to increase employment in the kingdom

The Central Bank of Morocco (Bank Al-Maghrib) in association with the government and commercial banks annouced a new plan to get money into the hands of new businesses. The plan will see the government and commercial banks set up a fund worth $6 billion Morrocan dirhams or $620 million dollars.

The funds will be targeted at small loans for young entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises.

New regulations will result in the capping of bank interest ranks for small and medium-sized businesses – known as SMEs-- in all sectors including agriculture and especially for young people. The rate is to be no more than 2%. Not surprisingly the 2% rate for SMEs is the lowest interest rate ever set by the central bank of Moroccan. The 1.75% for rural areas is even smaller still but, will serve a large part of Morocco's workforce. Agriculture is a significant source of employment. The Moroccan agriculture, forestry and fishing sector accounts for roughly 45% of the country's workforce. 

To support the measure the King's Hassan II Fund will provide a further 2 million dollars worth of support without interest. The effort is projected to create 27,000 new jobs and 13,500 new businesses in the kingdom.

Such a bold financial move might be impossible for other countries on the continent but, Morocco is increasingly an economic leader. 

The move comes as France's Minister of the Economy is set to visit Morocco. While France's influence on the continent, at least financially may be in decline, Morocco's is rising.

It is already the second-largest investor on the continent and the largest in West Africa. The Casablanca Finance City aspires to turn the city into an economic and financial hub akin to Hong Kong or Abu Dhabi – an essential bridge between the Global North and South.

The move comes as no surprise and shows the kings interest in finance and fiscal issues which are often overlooked by monarchs and politicians in the Middle East alike.

"I do not think one needs to point out that economic activity hinges mostly on the development of banking services," the king said in his October speech.

https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2019/10/284458/king-mohammed-vi-speech-opening-of-parliament/

Africa Beginning To Push Back Against China’s ‘Predatory’ Strategy

Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, recently made several stops in Africa to monitor Chinese interests and bolster bilateral relations on the continent.

Yang, the director of the Office of Foreign Affairs and a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo, also made sure to criticize those who accuse the Chinese regime of taking advantage of Africa and engaging in “neocolonialism...”

To read more visit The Epoch Times.

UPDATE: Africom Confirms Terror Attack On US Partner Base In Kenya...3 Killed Including 1 American

Africom Confirms Terror Attack On US Base In Kenya

Image Twitter

UPDATE: Three servicemen were killed in the attack, including one America. An additional two locals were wounded.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our teammates who lost their lives today,” said U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, the chief of Africa Command.

As we honor their sacrifice, let’s also harden our resolve. Alongside our African and international partners, we will pursue those responsible for this attack and al-Shabaab who seeks to harm Americans and U.S. interests. We remain committed to preventing al-Shabaab from maintaining a safe haven to plan deadly attacks against the U.S. homeland, East African, and international partners.”

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U.S. military command Africom confirmed an attack today on a small U.S. base in Kenya. The aggression was committed by the terror group al-Shabaab at Manda Bay Airfield.

Obviously security was not adequate at the airfield. One wonders if there will accountability which has been lacking in the U.S. military since the Obama administration.

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