Iran and South Africa – Guns, Oil and Embargoes

South Africa supplies weapons to Iran in spite of UN sanctions

In spite of UN Sanctions, South Africa supplies arms to Iran. South African Deputy President's partner involved.

It was repulsive enough to find out that (yet again) South Africa is acting as a corridor for weapons to a country who really should not have any. Back then it was Zimbabwe. Now it is Iran. And goodness knows what went on in between Then and Now.

I truly hope that this was a once-off, but in my heart I know it is not. The entire operation is much too slick, and completely unlike the time the Chinese and South African governments conspired to smuggle heavy artillery into Zimbabwe in support of its genocidal Mugabe regime.

Guns and other military equipment shipped from South Africa to Iran

On this occasion US weapons were purchased by a Canadian Company, who exported the equipment to South Africa. Selling military grade weapons with South Africa as the end user on the certificate, is completely legal. It is once the weapons hit South African soil that – suddenly – everything starts resembling a marsh: smelly and murky, with several large alligators lurking below the surface.

Here, front-companies re-register the weapons. It seems that the partner of South African Deputy President  Motlanthe, had some

Iran and South Africa Weapons Trade - These are the victims of war

South Africa supplies weapons to Iran. This child could be the next victim.

involvement in terms of paying bribes. I am still trying to figure out WHO the companies are and to whom bribes were paid. The re-registered weapons are shipped to Iran on Russian Cargo Carriers.

It is not the first time of late that family members / spouses of the highest-of-high Brass in South Africa are caught with a smoking gun in the hand. One has to wonder at the coincidence…

I find it highly disturbing that the coverage of the blatant South African violation of sanctions against Iran is receiving so very little attention from the media and that – for some reason – they are not trying to unearth exactly who all the role players are. Guns kill. I have to wonder how many innocents will be killed by Iran with the guns South Africa supplied to them, before the world sits up and really takes notice.

The South African government’s reaction is that they will investigate. This is lip service. In my opinion, South Africa  earned their stripes as Merchants of Death.

South Africa is still buying oil from Iran

The UN has been exerting pressure on South Africa for a while now to stop importing oil from Iran. Late March 2012, it seemed as though the South African government finally paid heed.

To quote Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim at a news conference:

“To my knowledge, no Iranian oil is flowing into our country. If there is any, it is very little.”

Yeah, right.

Less than an hour ago, Reuters reported that South Africa imported $364 million in oil from Iran during February. Engen and Sasol are the two biggest buyers of crude originating in Iran.

Frankly, I did not expect the flow of oil from Iran to South Africa to miraculously disappear. These two countries are bedfellows in several joint ventures, such as the $900 million Polymer JV (Arya Sasol Polymer Company) with Pars Petrochemicals.

UN! Impose an Arms Embargo on South Africa

The government of South Africa cannot be trusted. They don’t respect their own signature on UN resolutions they voted in favour of. They don’t respect the rule of law (i.e. Pres. Zuma never stood trial for arms deal corruption charges). They don’t respect the population to whom they have a duty of care (i.e. look at the shocking state of health care and education in the country). They only respect their own pockets and serve their own greed.

I wish to see an arms embargo placed on South Africa until the trade of weapons with Iran is investigated and the culprits are tried.

If you have any information that could be helpful in my research, please contact me.

Zimbabwe: The Chinese Arms Saga Continues

The saga of the weapons cargo carried by the Chinese ship An Yue Jiang, continues after the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) announced yesterday that their members will neither unload the ship, nor transport the deadly freight to Zimbabwe. The Union also indicated that they were going to approach the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) for support. Indications are that a further Union may join they fray. The United Transport and Allied Trade Union, told reporters that their members were not happy about the arms shipment and that they will be taking a firm decision in this regard shortly.

In spite of the strong resistance offered by the unions and equally strong criticism from a variety of bodies inside the country, the South African government appears to be doing their level best to get the arms to Zimbabwe. To resolve the logistics, they will be using Armscor (SA government owned) to get the job done.

The SA Government acts as Mugabe’s Forwarding and Clearing Agent
Here are three glaring anomalies:

Anomaly 1
Normally, cargo cleared at a Port of Entry, is fetched and carried by the importer’s own devices and not fetched and carried by the government of the day. At the same time, Maseko sticks to his original story: “South Africa is not at all involved in the arrangement: it’s a matter between the two countries.”

Would you agree with Maseko that carting Mugabe’s weapons equals not at all involved with the arrangement? No reasonable person would…

Anomaly 2
Normally, well before cargo that consists of arms and weaponry is shipped, a conveyance permit will be sought by the exporter. No conveyance permit was requested by China before shipment because said shipment was rushed: it left China on the 15th of March and arrived in Durban on the 10th of April 10. An urgent conveyance permit was issued by Defence Secretary January Masilela (and herein lies the irony) in between sittings of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC). Then Maseko commented that “It would be possible, but very difficult for South Africa to start intervening and saying that we will not allow the shipment through.”

Would you agree with Maseko that he could not stop or at least seriously delay the shipment? Considering the lack of paperwork, BOTH Masilela and Maseko had every opportunity. Any reasonable person would have found a way to cause a delay…

Anomaly 3
The very same NCACC chaired by January Masilela has a policy NOT to export weapons, arms and ammunition into conflict areas or to countries (to quote there policy verbatim) where “systematic violation or suppression of humanitarian rights and fundamental freedoms” exist. Masilela still went ahead and issued the permit AND defended the decision by saying that the violence etc. in Zimbabwe was nothing more than allegations. He might as well have said ‘conjecture’.

Would you agree that Masilela ALSO had the ability, given the NCACC policy and the strife in Zimbabwe, to stop the shipment? Any reasonable person would say ‘Yes…”

Then what is the Low Down
Weapons kill. That is their only purpose in the hands of an army that is already perpetrating violence, intimidation, torture and murder. By allowing the weapons to land on our soil and facilitating its shipment into Zimbabwe, President Mbeki and his henchmen will be complicit to every life taken and for every person harmed by any one of these bullets and grenades on the cargo list.

The pride I feel to be South African in view of the preparedness of the Unions to make a stand and do the right thing, and the pride I feel to be South African as more and more Groups/Bodies/Parties step forward condemning the SA government’s handling of the Zim / China Arms Crisis, are in stark contrast with the feeling of shame I am filled with by our government’s shoddy behaviour: their blatant, wilful denial of the truth; the lies that are being perpetuated in defence Mugabe – who is nothing more than an ego-driven murdering maniac; and that now, when Mr. Mbeki’s leadership and moral fibre are needed most, all we as South African citizens are witnessing is his pathetic grovelling at the feet of his erstwhile comrade and mentor, Robert Mugabe.

It is a shame indeed…

Mugabe: Divide and Conquer Zimbabwe

Some people thought that I was crazy when I published my Blog: “Zimbabwe: A New Wave of Land Grabs?” yesterday. Quite frankly, even I was starting to doubt the Associated Press information I received…and wondering whether I was not becoming a sensationalist. Fortunately, it appears that I am still quite sane. The reports on land grabs were confirmed by the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7333918.stm)  just over an hour ago.

 

As I write this, there are goose bumps on my arms and heaviness in my heart.

 

Divide and Conquer

Mugabe’ traditional and unfailing modus operandi is to maintain his dominion by dividing the Zimbabwean population. He achieves this division by inciting hate between different races, ethnic groups, cultures and classes through classical means of disinformation. Disinformation is an easy objective for this dictator. He controls the printed and the broadcast media in the country, and does not hesitate to use these to fulfil his personal agenda.

 

The land grabs and the disinformation about the land grabs are collectively one of the tactics in a carefully constructed overarching strategy to regain his control over the prevailing Zimbabwean situation.

 

Mugabe’s current land grabbing tactic was executed as follows:

Violence: His militia (Green Bombers) was instructed to oust several white farmers in Masvingo, a province in the south of Zimbabwe. The latest count is the seizure of eight farms.  

Misinformation: He then (mis)informed the media via spokesman, Patrick Chinamasa, that Tsvangirai is “unleashing former white farmers on farms occupied by new farmers to reverse the land reform programme”. Mugabe was also personally quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper, as saying that: “Land must remain in our hands. The land is ours; it must not be allowed to slip back into the hands of whites. We cannot afford to retreat in the battle for land.”

 

Conquer by Force

Jabulani Sibanda, leader of the War Veteran’s Association (Green Bombers), which has been instrumental in the seizure of white owned farms since before the 2000 presidential elections, alleged on Friday that several farms have already been ‘confiscated’ from black farmers and restored to their previous white owners.

 

According to Sibanda the new black farmers were told to leave “or else face the wrath of an incoming MDC government’. He also told reporters that: “Those white people trespassing on the small-scale and medium-scale farms should know that it is an invasion of our country. We will defend our sovereignty. We will be compelled to repel that invasion.”

 

 

The Outlook

He may be old and he may be a raving lunatic, but Mugabe is both intelligent and cunning. This is exactly why he is such a dangerous man.

 

I expect pockets of violence to erupt as he orchestrates his latest offensive and executes on his latest strategy. I expect an increase in hate speech, which could see Zimbabweans turning on one another instead on him. I expect ‘Cleaning out the Filth’ operations in MDC strongholds, which will see many people – yet again – tortured, killed and homeless.

 

I expect all this, unless a miracle happens. Perhaps the miracle will come in the shape of a Zimbabwean High Court ruling favouring the MDC. Perhaps it will come in the form of South African intervention.

 

But then, perhaps is will never come at all.

 

Zimbabwe: A New Wave in Land Grabbing?

Harare, Zimbabwe: An hour ago, Associated Press reported that three white cattle farmers have been ejected from their land by some of Mugabe’s war veterans.  A fourth farmer is apparently still holding out against some 50 Zanu-PF militants, who are threatening to break through the gates of his farm.

 

The land grabs started yesterday and it is feared that it may herald the beginning of a new wave in land grabbing – similar to those faced by the already beleaguered Zimbabwean farmers in 2005.

 

On Friday, an increased presence of riot police in Harare, coupled with the ominous presence of the notorious Green Bombers, confirmed fears that Mugabe was preparing for a war on the people. The forced evictions could well be a part of the plan.

 

In its present state, the outcome of the presidential elections that took place a week and a day ago is estimated to substantially favour the MDC opposition. Mugabe is however preventing the release of the results and demanding a recount of the ballots cast. It is clear that he hopes to tweak the outcome to ensure that a presidential run-off takes place.

 

And, considering that Mugabe is adept at committing election fraud, there is no reason to believe that a run-off will not be the end result.  The run-up to the campaign will probably include the usually violent intimidation of the voting public. The incidences of land grabbing that is taking place now, could well be the first war cries of a new Mugabean terror campaign.

Zimbabwe: The Showdown Has Begun

It is not even two hours after I told you that Zimbabwe might be an option for investment from a property perspective, should Tsvangirai manage to oust the despotic, murdering Mugabe regime. Now it appears that this particular prospect may well be a pipe dream.

I suppose that only the naive could believe that the Zimbabwean president would heed the outcome of any election that he could not substantially rig in his favour. From news articles released (read: Mugabe begins Zim crackdown at http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Zimbabwe/0,,2-11-1662_2299749,00.html), it appears that this time is not an exception:

1) Tsvangirai’s proposed meeting with the current regime generals to reassure them of his honourable intentions under an MDC rule, were cancelled by the generals after being ordered to do so by Mugabe.
2) Mugabe sent his terror-inspiring Special Forces (CIO) and Police to raid the Meikles Hotel in Harare where the MDC had their temporary election offices. According to MDC officials, Tsvangirai is safe.
3) Mugabe declared that a presidential run-off ballot will, if necessary, take place within 90, instead of within the constitutional 21 days. Reliable sources on the ground seem to think that this delay will enable Mugabe to regroup his militia.
4) Foreign and local Journalists were arrested on pseudo-charges of practicing journalism sans licenses.

Where is this going to? For a great many years the rest of the world (and that includes South Africa), has stood by passively, watching how Zimbabwean citizens were being left to starve, and wilfully murdered by somebody who makes even some of the most notorious tyrannical rulers of the past, seem like saints. South Africa, I am afraid, bears the brunt of the guilt. Our president, Thabo Mbeki, has welcomed this political murderer and criminal into our country as a guest on many occasions, instead of censuring his actions as he should have.

The average South African has felt the impact of the influx of Zimbabweans into our country. There are not only a great many of these who come in seeking employment at the expense of the local population, but also a large amount of absconded Zimbabwean militia who come here to rob, rape and murder – something that is felt by everybody, from paupers to princes.

Perhaps, President Mbeki, you will come to your senses now and take the responsibility demanded from the leader of the strongest Southern African country.

Perhaps even, some other world powers will take pity on the people of Zimbabwe and step in to lend the support they so desperately need.

But then, perhaps not.

Like many other South Africans, my heart, my sympathy and my prayers are with you, the Zimbabwean people, right now.