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02/13/2020

On the eve of a new African coup: what the US fears in Guinea

On the eve of a new African coup: what the US fears in Guinea

Recent events in Guinea may indicate that the US is planning another coup d’état in order to advance its economic interests. On February 7, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concern over the situation in the African country after 81-year-old President Alpha Condé announced a possible constitutional referendum. Condé’s mandate ends in December, but the outcome of the referendum could allow him to extend his mandate for a third term.

“The United States is concerned about the Government of Guinea’s current plans to hold legislative elections and a constitutional referendum on March 1.  We question whether the process will be free, fair, and transparent and accurately reflect the will of all eligible voters.”

Pompeo referred to a personal interview with Conde in September 2019, hinting that Conde should leave – he said the US “strongly supports regular, democratic transitions of power.”

Following that, on February 11, the US embassy website posted a warning about the dangerous situation in Guinea in connection with the protests.

Why are Americans so concerned about the situation in a small West African country?

Guinea: resource wealth and human poverty

A typical problem for most countries on the African continent is the incalculable natural resources and the poverty of the local population watching their lands profiteer from the few billionaires.

Guinea is rich in a variety of natural resources: more than a third of the world’s bauxite resources are used to produce aluminium (about 40 billion tons), iron (about 20 billion tons), uranium, oil, gold and diamonds. These resources (as well as petroleum gas and food products) are the main content of exports.

At the same time, the country remains predominantly agricultural and remains one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world.

Competition

It is no wonder that the major world powers are fighting for the African Eldorado. The main export destinations from Guinea are China, India, Ireland, Spain, the importers are Côte d’Ivoire, China with India, as well as the Netherlands, Belgium and France (Ships, machinery, refined oil, tech, medicine, etc.).

In the case of both exports and imports, US is in the top ten, but far inferior to its competitors.

Exports in general look truly terrifying for the US  according to Trading Economics, 87% has been taken by China.

Guinea was also interested in Saudi Arabia, as confirmed by the meeting in Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, received President Alpha Condé. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, received President Alpha Condé. Saudi Arabia is interested in energy projects along the African coasts at least.

Turkey, which has settled in the Autonomous Port of Conakry through Albayrak, a company that benefits from a concession granted in August 2018, is not far behind.

China, as we have shown above, is already in the lead regarding the main indicators and is now particularly stepping up its efforts to control the country’s bauxite mines.

In regard to these bauxite mines, Russia has long strengthened its position in this field with Rusal in Kindia, plus the Dian-Dian deposit. This is particularly irritating to Washington, given that the US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions against Oleg Deripaska and eight of his companies, including Rusal. Accordingly, any cooperation of the Guinean president with “sanctioned” companies will cause negative comments from the White House.

Elections: protest mechanism

If the situation does not escalate into chaos, March should see a parliamentary and consensual referendum with presidential elections taking place in October. However, given the destabilization of the situation and the activation of the opposition (largely pro-Western), elections and the referendum could come into question.

According to some experts, during Condé’s September visit to the US and then the November meeting of the president with Ambassador Henshaw and Power Africa Program Coordinator (USAID) Andrew Herscowitz, the parties were unable to agree on any serious preferences for the US, after which a wave of destabilization immediately began, with Washington’s approval.

The classical technologies of “color revolutions” were used: the US’ statements of concern about the situation, their support for those protesting, the demonization of the ruling power and so on.

It is worth noting that the disparate opposition in the majority managed to unite in the bloc National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), where President Condé became a common target.

The bloc endorsed the critical statements made by Washington and Brussels against the Guinean government, and even welcomed the Western bloc’s idea of “proposing to facilitate a dialogue between all the players.”

“if the government is not receptive to these various recommendations from Washington and the European Union, they will move up a gear [to constitutional reform],” the President of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) Cellou Dalein Diallo said.

There are other leaders of opposition:

-The head of the Liberal Bloc party Faya Millimono (who, by amazing coincidence, spent three months before the summer protest wave in the United States)

-Sidya Touré of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea party

– Bah Oury, who also supports the US in their statements of concern, joined the campaign.

-former Minister of the Republic Abdourahmane Sano.

The protests are actively covered by Amnesty International. When the authorities arrest protesters, the organization immediately reports that human rights violations will not be tolerated.

The protests were supported by some prominent public figures, such as the leader of France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Melanchon.

But there are other opinions which are not broadcast by the Western media: part of Guinean society is sharply against foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the country, while many Africans are fundamentally critical of Western influence in politics, including Paris as part of the Francafrique colonial policy.

“We are tired of French coups, rebellions and civil wars in Africa, and we are tired of political and ethnic manipulation and youth unemployment. If young people are the future of Guinea, as they say, then we must create positive conditions for their education, development and employment, but not manipulate them for selfish political ends.

We also say no and denounce the manipulations and underground ethnic divisions by France to sow a civil war because of the Bauxite of Guinea.”

Conclusions

Like many African countries, Guinea suffers from its resources being looted by foreign powers. However, President Condé’s efforts to diversify foreign trade ties are to be commended, and can be seen as a first step towards a multipolar world. That is why the US is supporting the protest wave and the opposition. Washington-based “democracy” should be understood as pro-American colonialism, not multipolarity. Guinea’s task is to outline the country’s strategic goals and try to gradually establish win-win relations with the world. The ideological basis should be pan-Africanism, while in practice, the country should continue to diversify external partners and cooperate to create vital infrastructure and jobs in the country.

 
United World International

Independent analytical center where political scientists and experts in international relations from various countries exchange their opinions and views.

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