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...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.