Friday, June 03, 2005


A Riddle

Which country has recently drawn attention from the Pentagon, Israeli arms dealers, and British businessmen connected to the government, in part because of its prodigious oil wealth?

If you guessed Iraq, you'd be wrong, because I'm talking about Equatorial Guinea. That's right, Mark Thatcher's favorite place (or I guess it would be "favourite" wouldn't it?). Here is a link that I put up on the blog here a while back, regarding the Pentagon's connections to a failed coup plotted by British businessmen (Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher's son, among them). But what brought this story back to the front of my mind this morning was this story in Ha'aretz: Israeli firms to train Equatorial Guinea presidential guard.

Private Israeli arms dealers and producers are looking to set up a lucrative deal with the president of Equatorial Guinea so that he'll feel a bit more secure (a coup attempt has a way of shaking your confidence, I suppose). However, these dealings are not taking place without criticism.
International human rights organizations said that if Israelis train Equatorial Guinea's presidential guard, it would help bolster one of Africa's most corrupt and tyrannical presidents.

They said that he could take advantage of the training to conduct a deadly campaign against rivals and opponents.
Yes, I suppose every rose has its thorn. But why are all these whiners always focusing on the bad. Let's think of some of the positives for a moment or two:
Equatorial Guinea, located in west Africa between Gabon and Cameroon, is a former Spanish colony and until a few years ago was considered one of the most under developed states on the continent. Following the discovery of large quantities of oil a few years ago, it has become one of Africa's largest oil producers. American, British, South African and Malaysian oil companies are operating in the country. IMI's [Israel Military Industries] boats are intended to secure the oil rigs at sea.

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