Remember the story about the mysterious cache of arms found in Lagos Port, Nigeria? Well, turns out the story goes beyond Nigeria. FP reports that there is reason to believe that the arms from Iran were destined for The Gambia. Authorities in Banjul expelled the Iranian officials in the country, increasing speculation that the arms were meant for rebel groups linked to last year’s coup attempt against President Yahya Jammeh who by the way, cures AIDS on Thursdays.
Just as Libya is retreating from its bad habit of financing and arming rebellions all over the Continent Tehran appears poised to assume this role, especially in Muslim sub-Saharan Africa. There is not a clear strategic reason for this kind of involvement by Iran in The Gambia, although theories abound out there. To add to these, I think it might be that someone within the Iranian government is involved in the global drugs trade and wanted to use The Gambia as a transit to Europe. On November 19th Nigeria discovered US$ 10 million worth of heroine shipped from Iran.
West Africa plays a major role in the global drugs trade. Barely afloat West Africa states, particularly Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, are key transit points for drug shipments from Latin America and Asia into Europe.
Macharia Gaitho, one of my favorite columnists at The Daily Nation captured my exact sentiments in his column today. I hope the American ambassador in Nairobi, and whoever it is that briefs Washington on matters Kenyan took note of this piece.
And in other news, Guinea has serious problems. The junior army officer who took over in a coup last year to “establish peace and democracy” has decided that he wants to hang on to power, inviting protests from Guineans not into such ideas. We’ve heard this story before, and we know how it ends.The Guineans should start reading on Samuel Doe, Jerry Rawlings, Idris Deby, Obiang, Museveni, Yahya Jammeh and the many others. Coups are the strongest predictor of future coups. A history of civil violence is also a strong predictor of future violence. Endemic poverty, an economy’s reliance on the export of commodities and weak to poor trade ties with the international community compound matters even more. The odds are stacked against the poor Guineans. They are in this for the long haul. And it sucks that the international community (including Sarkozy’s France) does not care about Guinea, as long as the generals keep exporting Bauxite.
Fun fact about Guinea: Guinea is a leading bauxite exporter, but most of its people live on less than $1 a day (courtesy of the BBC).
I am no fan of sensationalist journalism. But this one was absolutely irresistible. Here I give you His Excellency President Professor Dr Al-Haji Yahya Jammeh, leader of The Gambia, a West African country. If you are a keen follower of absurdities on the Continent, he is the one who claims to cure HIV/AIDS – but only on Thursdays. And how he is after witches, perhaps out of boredom. Please read on…