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ICG Risk Blog - [ Where we care, where we don't -- where oil and AIDS creates a shift ]

Where we care, where we don't -- where oil and AIDS creates a shift

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The VOA (Voice of America) is always a treasure to mine. Our Unified military commands show where we care:

  • NorthCom, or Northern Command -- the newest, coordinating military responsibilities in North America, including the defense of U-S territory
  • SouthCom, covering Central and South America
  • EuCom, or the European Command covering East and West Europe including Russia
  • PaCom, responsible for the Asia-Pacific region
  • CentCom, or Central Command, covering the Middle East and Southwest Asia

Where don't we care, or haven't we cared? Africa, no surprise. There is no Africa Command as coordinating military matters there is split between EuCom and CentCom. (CentCom picks up the Horn of Africa where areas such as Somalia and its littoral waters are areas of interest in antiterrorist interdiction.

It is interesting that when the Pentagon Africa chief Michael Westphal appeared before reporters as late as 2002 to discuss the DoD's military-to-military programs, the event was unprecedented. "As one African magazine reporter who attended the briefing said, when he first heard it was taking place, he did not believe it."

But it's changing for two reasons. The first reason is Sub-Saharan African oil and gas production. Fifteen percent of US imported oil is lifted there and will increase significantly. This oil is also known as sweet crude in that it has less low ends and so is more easily refinable.

The second reason is the depopulation due to AIDS which are on the verge of creating ungoverned regions in hollowed-out states. (The military, police, and backbone of trucking, and some state infrastructures are the hardest hit.) Authority and commerce die in a single stroke. I would go so far as to say that AIDS was viewed in some circles as 'their' problem, until the realization struck that AIDS could create swaths of new Afghanistans open to criminal and terrorist intent. The Blood Diamond trade in Central Africa is a readymade partner along with its associated smuggling and money laundering.

VOA BACKGROUND REPORT
4/18/02
PENTAGON/AFRICA
5-51450
ALEX BELIDA

Al-Qaeda 'traded blood diamonds'
BBC News Online
By Lucy Jones
Published: 2003/02/20 14:10:04 GMT

Gordon Housworth



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