A Modern Day Scramble for Africa

January 22, 2013 2:30 am 1 comment

Children from the Natan School, which is receiving assistance from the Jewish Heart for Africa program. Photo: Jewish Heart for Africa.

The African continent is becoming the latest battlefield in the existential war between Iran and Israel. It would appear that both countries are engaged in a modern day scramble for a piece of Africa. This has nothing to do with the colonial aspirations of times past but rather it is a battle for the hearts and minds of the people and in the case of Iran, gaining a foothold on the African continent. The methodologies adopted by the two countries are somewhat different.

After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, relations between Israel and most African countries soured, and it was only in the 1980′s and 1990′s that Israel returned to Africa. There are strategic interests – countries situated in the horn of Africa have geographical significance not just for airspace but for their close proximity to Arab countries. Israel understands that Africa is a new frontier ripe for cooperation and has embarked on targeted diplomatic missions and has made great strides through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ MASHAV programme which has brought much needed agricultural and medical assistance to impoverished communities and countries across the continent. Examples of this include water purification projects, assisting in circumcision rituals in countries such as Swaziland which has significantly reduced HIV infection rates, as well as numerous agricultural projects. It was part of Zionism’s founding father, Theodore Herzl’s dream to help the oppressed in Africa.

Israel is helping to cure and feed Africa but has also extended her long military arm in the event of threats to her national security. This was evident in the alleged bombing of a munitions facility in the Sudan by Israeli F-15 jets in 2012. Israel has remained silent about the issue.

Enter Iran. The growing trail of bullets, missiles and other ammunition is leading back to Tehran. Iran not only sponsors its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, who have proven their intentions time and again with terror attacks on Israel and Jewish institutions around the world, Iran has become one of the primary sponsors of ammunition and firearms in some of Africa’s most violent conflicts zones, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Niger, Sudan and others. Iran is not only sponsoring Al Qaeda cells on the continent but rebel and guerrilla groups as well. There are well traveled munitions that cross the continent and somehow find their way back into Gaza and Iraq. It is no coincidence that Iran is carefully setting up their smuggling routes to their proxies in the Gaza Strip. They openly state their intentions to destroy the State of Israel, and they back it up it up with an aggressive nuclear program. If anyone still believes that Iranian nukes will be used for domestic power issues, then they are imbibing something hallucinogenic!

Iran is playing an interesting game of chess, setting up players that are traditionally anti-West, perhaps to bolster its support in the face of growing sanctions. What better way than to court members of the African Union and Non-Aligned Movement, most of whom are African countries?

It is not just instruments of war that Iran is supplying to the continent, it is oil reserves as well. Oil is a powerful tool for helping to curry favor and so is mutual anti-western sentiment. One case in point is South Africa. South Africa faces growing international scrutiny from the international community for its business dealings with Tehran. An example of this would be South African cellular giant, MTN, owning 49% of Irancell. It is ironic that a country that is not only a signatory to the international non-proliferation treaty and defeated its heinous Apartheid regime would continue to build relations with a regime that both parades its missiles through the streets of its capital and states its intention to “wipe cancerous Israel off the map”. Erm, how exactly do they think Iran aims to accomplish this? There has been no condemnation from South Africa for the profound racism in the form of Holocaust denial and anti-Zionist rhetoric coming from Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his ministers. Even more baffling is South Africa’s increasing hostility towards Israel. This has severely impaired any ability for the African state to broker any kind of lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Inviting Iranian ministers and Hamas leaders has also thrown a large spanner in any kind of peace works.

This modern day scramble for Africa between two hostile countries has shown that in some cases, the best intentions are utilized by countries that see the bigger picture and the benefits of working with countries like Israel who want to help. For others, anti- Western sentiment blinds them to reality and makes them vulnerable pawns in Iran’s stand off against the west.

1 Comment

  • african countries are not democracies, or even benign dictatorships. they are run, primarily, for the enrichment of their ruling groups. even south africa is saddled with the anc, which does not act for the benefit of the people.

    this puts israel at a serious disadvantage, because it cannot compete with iran’s petrodollars, or immoral arms dealings. water projects and circumcision expertise aren’t on the same level.

    iran has more to offer the average tyrant.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Education Haredim and Bedouin: A Tale of Two Communities Transformed by Vocational Education

    Haredim and Bedouin: A Tale of Two Communities Transformed by Vocational Education

    JNS.org – Low enlistment rates in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). High rates of poverty. Communal resistance to traditional schooling. Difficulty finding employment or a lack of motivation to be employed. These conditions are shared by two sectors of the Israeli population that the casual observer likely wouldn’t group together: haredi Jews and Bedouin. Through its operation of schools for each population, however, the Israel Sci-Tech Schools Network seeks to give haredim and Bedouin a brighter future in the Jewish [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.