Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Millennial Opportunities: Petrochemicals, guns and Chat! Option Appraisal?

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity- www.globalbelai4u.blogspot.com

Re: The Horn's Deadly Triads: Petrochemicals, guns and Chat

The Americans, The Chinese and the African Union can make a difference in the new millennium.

In a region where ecological and economic poverty is raging, the triad of petrochemicals, guns and Chat make a deadly combination.

Petrochemicals give some hope of potential for investment and prosperity. But guns and Chat are the two biochemical and physical barriers for accessing the petrochemicals that could transform the region.

The Chinese are there to explore the petrochemical potential and the Russians and the Merchants of Death (Alqaeda Network) et al are there to ensure that the Horn is converted into the next battle zone.

The challenge is what will the locals choose? Death and destrcution which the Arabs and the Russians will offer or the potential of the petrochemical industry which will transform the region and the Chineses are ready to make it happen.

The Americans can provide the protective and preventive security cover via the new AfriCommand and the satellite intelligence that is acutely needed.

Ethiopia can use the unqiue American partneship for security and Chinese partnership for development and may be the local Millennial African Union for the peace keeping mission.

The Millennium can launch a new possibility if the leadership in the Horn know how to use the American, Chinese and European powers to keep the lunatic Arabs and Ethnic Somali Terrorists. The choice is clear.

Please read on this interesting news from the Horn for your considered review.

Dr B of GSE4p&p

Globalbelai@yahoo.com; Globalbelai4u.blogspot.com

. http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKL1726507720070917

2. http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Ethiopia_troops_heading_back_to_Jubba_regions_Military_sources_printer.shtml

3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/17/AR2007081701714.html

1. INTERVIEW-Ethiopia says deaths do not deter Sinopec
Mon Sep 17, 2007
Katie Nguyen

ADDIS ABABA, Sept 17 (Reuters) - China's biggest refiner and petrochemicals producer, Sinopec, is interested in energy production-sharing deals with Ethiopia in its troubled Ogaden region, a minister said on Monday.

State Minister for Mines and Energy Sinknesh Ejigu said initial talks began even after separatist rebels raided an oil field in April, killing 74 people including nine Chinese subcontractors working for Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau, part of Sinopec (0934.HK: Quote, Profile, Research).

The attack was one of the worst on Beijing's growing energy interests in Africa, which range from Angola to Sudan and Ethiopia.

"After this incident, the (Sinopec) vice-president came here and discussed with us, and they said they even wanted to directly enter into production-sharing agreements with us," Sinknesh told Reuters in an interview. "Nothing is concretised."

Under discussion were four out of 21 blocks in gas-rich Ogaden, which have not yet been allocated in a production-sharing agreement.

Zhongyuan had provided subcontractors to dig wells in the western Gambella region for Malaysian firm Petronas (PETR.KL: Quote, Profile, Research) and to carry out exploratory activity for a private firm, Southwest, in the Ogaden.

Sinknesh said the government had assured firms operating in the vast area bordering Somalia -- including Petronas and Sweden's Lundin (LUPE.ST: Quote, Profile, Research) -- that security would be stepped up.

In June, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced a military campaign to flush out the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which has warned foreign energy explorers to stay away.

"We're doing our part so that it will not happen again," Sinknesh said. "The companies believe in this government, and that full security will be undertaken."

The government believes the Ogaden basin covering 350,000 sq km contains gas reserves of some 4 trillion cubic feet.

It has also identified four other basins with energy potential, but Sinknesh said much more work needed to be done to determine if there were commercial reserves of crude and gas.

Last month, Ethiopia signed a deal letting Petronas develop the Kalub and Hilal gas deposits in Ogaden. Sinknesh said it will take time before Petronas could begin exporting.

"This needs very huge investment. They have to build pipelines. They have to dig additional wells in the Hilal area. It will take a substantial amount of time, two years something."


Source: Garoweonline.com, Somalia

Ethiopian troops heading back to Jubba regions: Military sources

Sep 15, 2007


Thousands of Ethiopian troops have amassed along the country's border with Somalia in preparation for military activities inside Somalia, military sources confirmed to Garowe Online.

An unconfirmed number of Ethiopian troops equipped with full military gear including tanks are preparing to deploy into Somalia to strengthen military operations against Islamist-led insurgents, who have turned Mogadishu into a virtual war zone with daily attacks.

The troops are expected to deploy within the next coming weeks.

Most of the troops will be dispatched towards the Jubba regions, in Somalia's deep south, according to our sources.

Ethiopian military sources who spoke to Garowe Online on the condition of anonymity confirmed preparations for the fresh deployment. Some of the troops would replace troops who have been serving in the Mogadishu region since the beginning of this year, the sources said.

The Ethiopian army's renewed interest to redeploy in the Jubba regions follows media reports that a senior Islamic Courts military commander has setup a base somewhere in the jungles of Lower Jubba region to train and arm anti-government fighters.

Ethiopian forces withdrew from the Jubba regions, and from the port city of Kismayo in particular, last March after relinquishing security control over to Somali government troops.

But the Somali soldiers turned on each other within a month after dividing along clan lines. Soldiers-turned-clan gunmen overpowered the government-appointed administration and assumed control of Kismayo and the wider Jubba regions since deadly battles in April.

Analysts believe the absence of government order in the Jubba regions has created ideal ground for the establishment of training facilities, especially in the region's forested areas.

In January, when Islamist fighters and leaders retreated from Mogadishu, they fled to Kismayo and the Jubba regions where they became targets for U.S. warplanes.


Source: Washington Post


3. Where Khat Is King, But Not Much Else Works

Anna Husarska

Sunday, August 19, 2007

GALKAYO, Somalia On a dusty street that runs through this town of 80,000 in central Somalia, a cluster of men sit on low stools, lost in their daily ritual -- chewing the green leaves of a mild narcotic called khat. Lethargic and stupefied, they seem oblivious to everything. Only when their cellphones jangle -- a surreal sound in this otherwise primitive place -- do they snap to life. Soon they've arranged the money transfers they've been waiting for and lapse back into their somnolent masticating.

Nothing much works in Somalia -- not water or sanitation, not health or education. But despite the absence of state structures (or perhaps because of it), three things function with amazing smoothness: the commerce of khat, an impressive system of cellphone networks, and the business of international money transfers.

Welcome to the paradox that is the failed state of Somalia. This nation of 9 million in the Horn of Africa hasn't had a functioning government since January 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted from power by the country's warlords. Over the past 16 years, a permanent clan conflict has engulfed most of the country. The United States tried to end the chaos in the 1990s but failed. That "humanitarian intervention" never lived up to its code name, Operation Restore Hope. It's better known by its unfortunate final chapter, Black Hawk Down, the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu.

A transitional federal government was formed three years ago and sat in Baidoa, in central-western Somalia. Last December, with external support, it took on the radical Muslims who had run ("governed" is not quite the right word) the southern and central portion of the country for six months. With tacit approval from Washington, which saw the move as part of the "global war on terror," Ethiopian troops forced the Union of Islamic Courts out of Mogadishu. Since then an urban guerrilla war -- complete with roadside explosive devices, mortar fire and suicide bombs -- has been raging in the capital, with no end in sight.

In the past six months, reports of unrest coming out of the Somali capital have been almost as dramatic and monotonous as those from the Iraqi capital, only on a smaller scale. In Mogadishu, a town that reporters have nicknamed "Baghdad-on-the-Sea," 30 people were killed last week, including two prominent journalists. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Somalis have had a compelling reason to flee their capital: It's awash in mayhem.

Yet somehow, despite the bloodshed, a few things work. The import and internal distribution of Catha edulis, or khat, from neighboring Kenya has endured all the "failed state" periods, with the exception of the months between June and December 2006, when the Union of Islamic Courts ran the country. The Islamists banned khat, along with alcohol and cigarettes, sparking protests. Yet it turned out that not only was it possible for Somali men not to chew khat, but all the locals I spoke to agreed that it was the first peaceful period in Mogadishu since 1991. Women mentioned that their husbands had even started working in the afternoons.

Khat, which is similar to amphetamines in its effects, is a narcotic, but it's not illegal in Somalia. Far be it from me as a humanitarian aid worker to praise the khat industry, but I can't help envying the clockwork precision of its operations. The flights taken by aid organizations like mine have to adjust their schedules repeatedly in response to fighting, but the planes that are used to import khat land with a promptness you can set your watch by. We need armed guards to escort us on our travels, so we have to rent an extra vehicle to transport them. We've never gotten our expensive private car on time. By contrast, the khat's armed escort is always impeccably punctual.

Here is how the khat delivery works. Every day, large cargo flights land from Kenya: three in Mogadishu, two here in Galkayo and one more in the south, in the town of Kismayo. As soon as the planes land in Galkayo, most of the khat is transferred to five vehicles that head north toward Bossaso -- a town on the Gulf of Aden-- under heavily armed guard, as befits a precious cargo. The cars -- Toyota Mark Twos and Toyota Hilux pickups -- are known locally as "missiles" for the speed with which they travel. The distribution schedule means that life grinds to a halt at various hours in various places. The munching starts just after 10 a.m. in Galkayo, around 1 p.m. in Garowe (180 miles to the north) and at 4 p.m. in Bossaso (360 miles to the north, over a very bad road).

Only men chew khat, but retail sales (and, in Galkayo, wholesale as well) are the exclusive task of women. And it's a serious business: a bunch of twigs to satisfy a man for a day costs the equivalent of $10. (Per capita income is roughly $130 a year.) If payment is made in Somali shillings, the banknotes fill a shopping bag.

Khat is a mild drug, but very addictive. The other Somali addiction is cellphones. They're everywhere. But the communications networks aren't uniform. Your tribal affiliation determines your area code. In Galkayo, there are two networks (with no way to call from one to the other) roughly reflecting the clan division that runs through the town from the south, where cell numbers start with a 4, to the north, where they start with a 7.

About 60 miles south of Galkayo, we came across Docol, a village where the only modern feature is a huge mobile phone tower. The owner of two cellphones (one 4, one 7) told me excitedly that he was expecting a third one soon. I tried to envision the advantages this would bring: Soon many of the 3,000 inhabitants of Docol will be able to call their cousins in Maine and complain -- in real time, at a relatively low cost of 45 cents a minute -- about the lack of latrines in Docol. They'll have the option of sending a text message to friends who emigrated to Sweden, describing the decline of their camel and goat herds because there's no functioning watering hole within a several-hundred-mile radius, or even take a digital picture of the primitive berked, or pond, with its filthy water.

Somalia may have a global wireless connection, but many of its people have nowhere to relieve themselves and no water to drink. According to the World Bank, Somalia has 1.5 more telephones per capita than Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia, but only one-third as many Somalis have access to safe water as their neighbors in those countries.

On an expedition to the field to survey water and sanitation needs, I went to peek into the dry wells in a camp for displaced former residents of Mogadishu. The women there immediately surrounded me, shaking their empty jerry cans. I didn't need an interpreter; I knew what they wanted.

Later, I met with the head of the camp committee, who complained about the lack of school and health facilities for the displaced. As he gesticulated toward the camp, I noted that he was holding a cellphone better than the one I'd just bought to accommodate our many clan-correct SIM cards.

It struck me as ironic, because I assumed that this man earned his income in a camp for the displaced. But he set me straight -- most of his income consists of money transfers from his wife, a refugee in Nairobi. Remittances from abroad are in fact the main source of income for countless Somalis, and the transfers work amazingly well. A 2004 World Bank study on Somalia, aptly titled "Anarchy and Invention," reports: "The hawala system, a trust-based money transfer system, used in many Muslim countries, moves US$0.5--1 billion into Somalia every year."

If Somalis can deliver khat on time, establish a nationwide cellphone system to coordinate its delivery and set up a functioning money-transfer system, why can't they bring water to their taps and build latrines for their people? It would be too easy to blame these failures on the effects of khat.

Reconstruction and development would require a minimum of unity and reconciliation. But is that possible among Somalis? More than a month ago, 1,300 delegates, clan elders and warlords from various parts of the country came together in Mogadishu. Their reconciliation mega-conference is still going on, but the main effect so far appears to have been a sharp increase in violence in the capital and a resulting exodus on an order not seen since the days of Barre's dictatorship.

A failed state doesn't fail because of khat-munching alone.

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