CIWARS Climate and Conflict Newsletter 27 June 2016
27 June 20016 CIWARS Report
17.6.16 1.1 Horn of Africa: Eritrea and Ethiopia What is Really Happening?
17.6.16 1.2 Southern Africa: Have the Wheels Come off Africa's Economic Engine?
17.6.16 1.3 Venezuela: WTF Is The truth?
Sign up for Newsletter
Editor's Note: CIWARS (the Centre for Infrastructural Warfare Studies) has returned to public analysis after nearly a decade of privately contracted analysis. Our focus is still on the infrastructure and infrastructural warfare with the added emphasis of the impact of Climate Change/Extreme Weather/Changing Weather Patterns on social and political structures. The issues surrounding Climate Change are only valuable to CIWARS, from an intelligence analyst view, in order to determine the placement of the deck chairs as the Titanic sinks.
Our focus is the practical application of climate affects in the short term and long term and its ability to create, or aid in social and political change. CIWARS is not a policy organization. CIWARS is not an academic think tank. CIWARS functions as an intelligence service providing views from as many perspectives as possible. In this effort, CIWARS begs your patience as we get back up and running again with our limited start-up staff.
Finally, our view has been shaped by practical experience. I have worked for the United Nations Security Council so truly have a view of how truth is sacrificed for politics; I have taught at three different national intelligence schools so I have a good idea of how various intelligence agency form analysis, and I have worked for or with a wide variety of national intelligence agencies providing detailed analysis.
In conclusion, it is best to view these reports as an intelligence or diplomatic cable that has landed on your desk and not as final analysis. CIWARS will leave that to our readers. Our goal is to ask questions and raise awareness.
1.1 Horn of Africa: Eritrea and Ethiopia What is Really Happening?
The Horn of Africa is a stew of conflict made from inherent structural problems and regional rivalries. The structural problems deal with ever recurring food insecurity from drought and regional disputes over borders and and access to sea ports.
Reference MaterialEthiopia Food Reserves Under Pressure
Human Rights Watch Ethiopia Crackdown during drought
Government Crackdown During Drought
Tsorona Border Conflict
Eritrea and the EU
NY Time Editorial Defending Eritrea After UN Human Rights Report
1.2 Southern Africa: Have the Wheels Come off Africa's Economic Engine?
Food insecurity has gripped half of the 41 million people in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) with a 9.6 million-metric-tonne cereal production shortfall, which is 28 percent of the total need. As if that wasn't the bad news, La Nina, El Nino's sister, will extend the drought with peak food insecurity hitting after October this year. In Namibia, usually the region's reliable grain exporter, there are over 500,000 people in need and the Namibia Red Cross has estimated it has only raised 15 percent of the funds needed to alleviate food insecurity.
South Africa, the economic engine of the region, has been devastated by drought.
The drought affected hydroelectric production forcing wide spread service reduction in the form of daily rolling black outs. In addition, maize prices have increased by 20 percent and 2.7 households in South Africa face water shortage. This combined with extreme political corruption within South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), rising crime, and a failing legal and political infrastructure at all levels has set off a wave of daily protests, that some have estimated at 30 a day, as displayed in the following map.
|Provided by ISS Africa|
All of this has taken a dire total on the economy. First quarter of 2016 the economy slipped by one percent of GDP growth. The mining sector, highly dependent on stable electric supply, shrank by 18.1 percent and agricultural production hit by the drought dropped by 14 percent. Imports dropped by eight percent because of reduced consumer spending and more importantly exports, a source of US Dollars, dropped double digits to 12 percent.
Finally, a court has ruled the President Zuma must stand trial on corruption charges.
The Link Between Drought and Protests
South Africa is the perfect case study to provide a view in the role of Climate Change Conflict. It is a picture of a nation whose entire political, social, services infrastructure has stopped working; therefore, it almost seems impossible to assign a quantitive value to one isolated factor like a drought or electric production. However, what our studies do indicate, as well as the two above maps, some of the most intense rioting and demonstrations coincide with areas of drought.
As an analyst, I invoke my prime principle. "The life you live with is the life you die with." Preparation for Climate Change must be systemic. All systems must function to survive.
Considering a 70 percent chance of La Nina extending food insecurity into 2017, rampant corruption, broken political and governance structures of education and municipal services, CIWARS forecasts that South Africa will see increasing political protests and violent demonstrations. Eventually the lack of hard currency and the spreading contagion of US dollar shortage will drag down the GDP even further. This has been confirmed by some estimates of increasing reduction of South Africa's GDP.
Zimbabwe and Mozambique
Both Mozambique and Zimbabwe have been hit by the same drought, but Zimbabwe is a special case study. Its economy had barely recovered from the mass confiscation of white-owned farms for Zimbabwe veterans which crashed food production for nearly a decade then the drought hit.
At the same time, Zimbabwe's self-proclaimed president for life, Robert Mugabe, is nearly at the end of his physical and political life. Recap of Political Dissent in Zimbabwe. Mugabe once controlled the political space with an iron fist now talks of his rule ending and there is a growing call for his impeachment.
Zimbabwe's financial structures having been caught in the US dollar shortage with Zimbabwe creating a surrogate internal currency and in some cases the adoption of the South African Rand as their official currency. In the end, this will lead to the return of hyper-inflation and will deliver the final blow to Mugabe's leadership. Unfortunately, that is the bad news not the good news for Zimbabwe, a nation without a functional political system, on the edge of financial and food insecurity.
Mozambique is also suffering from food insecurity driven by the drought and has never resolved its armed conflict with Renamo. On the plus side, Mozambique does have a reasonably functioning political and financial system.
Migrants on the Move
As reported above Ethiopian migrants are heading to South Africa and they are being joined by a growing number of migrants from Zimbabwe. ISS Africa's protest map can serve as an effective harbinger of their likely hostile welcome with a significant number of protests against migrants from other African nations.
1.3 Venezuela: WTF is the Truth?Working in Latin America is like working in a conspiracy theory factory. However, the truth about conspiracy theories is that there is always a strong element of truth that runs through them. At one point in my career I taught classes at the Argentine Intelligence School and at lunch we played our most routine game: Name the Latin American countries that the United States has either invaded, assassinated their leader, politically overthrown or just plan messed with for sport. Usually we tired very quickly and just decided to name the much shorter list of countries the United States has not overthrown. That includes...uh and...that country I forget the name of and ...I hope you get my point.
So lets start with the basics. Between Chavez and Maduro there are decades of mismanagement of the economy which would be hard to blame the United States. Under Chavez, it was a workers' paradise. Petrol was 6 cents a liter, healthcare and education became universal and Chavez followed the Castro playbook (which the United States did mess with) with one small exception: Corruption was rampant among the Chavistas.
Chavez had one major problem. The military played a key role in his government and controlled more than a third of the ministries, and anyone like me who has worked for and with Latin American militaries knows they consider corruption as a perk of the job. Maduro inherited this mess willingly and that brings us to today.
Everything would have been great except for one small problem: the price of oil crashed and with it the Venezuela workers' paradise and corruption gravy train. It is no secret that the United States did not care for the Chavismo spirit spreading in Latin America.
The current popular view is as follows:
The budget got tight because of overspending and the drop in oil prices. Then suddenly Climate Change messed up the works with a drought. Electricity production dropped because water fell below the turbine level at Lake Guri. This forced the government into austerity measures with a two day a week work level, failed crops produced hunger and a drop of exports, and out of no where people were starving, rioting, and looting and Maduro lost control. The military was called in to suppress the protests and last week the Organization of American States (OAS) finally decided they may have a good case to intervene and remove Maduro (and the Chavismo dream) from power. Raul Castro responded, "the OAS is an imperialist machine of domination" and refused to rejoin the OAS which it had been expelled from over 50 years ago. Obviously, Climate Change caused this problem.
So CIWARS asks: WTF is the Truth? Is the truth ever this obvious?
CIWARS will let you decide. Here are some different views:
The first piece is by Gabriel Hetland who teaches at University of New York Albany and has researched Venezuela in the past. His work has been supported by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation and others.
How Severe is Venezuela's Crisis?
The next article is by Roger Andrews who appears to be a very seasoned energy consultant.
More Revelations About Venezuela's Drought
William Church, Managing Director of CIWARS
Contact William Church