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Monday, June 27, 2016

So Africa Disaster! Zimbabwe End Days! Venezuela What is The Truth?

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?
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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.

The Government of Ethiopia has supplied 627,000 metric tons (MT) of food aid to affected areas since the outbreak of the current drought and 222,000MT of food aid in the second phase of relief response. People in Oromia, Amhara, Southern Nations and Nationalities, Afar, Beshangul Gumuz and Gambella regions have benefited from the food aid, according to official sources. However there appears to be a need for an additional two million tonnes in the current year.

One aspect of reduced internal conflict from Climate Change  is a form of food for work program in  Ethiopia, which has been credited with stopping a repeat of earlier drought disasters. Although, it appears that these relief services are stretched beyond its limit, none the less, they were and are functional.

The situation in Eritrea is cloudy. CIWARS has checked with a number of sources in Eritrea and consistently there is denial of an extended food insecurity; however, the findings among independent agencies have found wide spread food insecurity.

In terms of conflict, Human Right Watch has reported widespread crackdown on protesters in Ethiopia and killing of 400 of the Oromia Tribe over a land dispute with the government, which appears to be more closely linked to a government land grab than Climate Change. In Eritrea, the UN Human Rights Commission reported drastic and systemic abuses and one of the Eritrea flash points is the forced conscription in Eritrea.

The Tserona Conflict

In June 20016 there was a military confrontation at Eritrean border town of Tserona, like other issues,it is unclear who started the short-lived battle or the current cause of this conflict. Some field experts linked the border dispute to the Oromia Tribe conflict within Ethiopia, but there may not be evidence to support that position.  CIWARS has speculated that Ethiopia was harassing Eritrea to gain access to the container port of Massawa because of the limited capacity of other ports and an urgent need to provide famine relief.

Former US Ambassador Cohen supported this view in a recent article in March 2016, but then in April Ethiopia signed an agreement with Somiland to use its Berbera Port.  However, since that April 2016 agreement, CIWARS has discovered that Ethiopia has found that the Berbera Port is not an immediate solution because of the condition of the port and the roads through Ethiopia; therefore,  Ethiopia has been forced back to the Eritrea solution. If this scenario is accurate then the current Tserona hostilities might be seen as Climate Change related.

On counter balance, in the past Ethiopia had rejected Eritrea's offer to use Massawa; however, that offer may have come with political strings that Ethiopia did not find attractive at that time.

Beyond this border conflict, CIWARS believes the issues with the Oromia Tribe are not related to Climate Change.  The real danger is the outflow of migrants from both countries.  Both Ethiopia and Eritrea migrants appear to be fleeing oppressive governments and not the drought-caused-famine. Though some of the migrants may head north to the traditional route of Europe, CIWARS believes the most conflict-prone migration route is the one headed to South Africa.

In Southern Africa--Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa--these migrants are walking into a caldron of food insecurity, electric services reduction, political corruption, xenophobia, and violent daily demonstrations. 

Reference Material

Ethiopia 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
Last week this culminated in violent demonstrations in Pretoria over election issues and general dissatisfaction with the ANC. In a stunning decision, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) established a black-out policy on reporting future demonstrations, in effect censoring the news and hindering a more in-depth view of South Africa's political scene.

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

African Migrants’​ Transatlantic Route Floods Tiny Costa Rica

SAN JOSÉ — A troubling new sea-bound migration route has opened up, as some 20,000 migrants from African countries are believed to have flocked to Costa Rica, according to a recently released International Organization for Migration (IOM) report.
La Nacióna daily in the Costa Rican capital of San José, reports that the figure of 20,000 greatly exceeds the estimate of 9,000 made last month by the Organization of American States (OAS), and is set to expand further as people fleeing economic hardship and state repression in Africa seek an alternative to the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.
The transatlantic trafficking routes tend to bring African migrants primarily to Brazil, before transiting through South and Central America to reach their final destination: the United States.
The migrants board ships from West African countries like Senegal, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast, or further north from Spain and Portugal, to reach the shores of Colombia and Brazil.

Read the full article: African Migrants'​ Transatlantic Route Floods Tiny Costa Rica 
Worldcrunch - top stories from the world's best news sources 
Follow us: @worldcrunch on Twitter | Worldcrunch on Facebook

Sahel rainfall recovery linked to warming Mediterranean

A new study, just published in Nature Climate Change, suggests this recovery has been prompted by rising temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea.
Looking ahead, the study suggests continued warming could make reliable rainfall more likely in the future. But climate change won't be beneficial for the Sahel – or Africa – overall, another scientist tells Carbon Brief.

Decline and rise

The Sahel region stretches from the Atlantic coast of Mauritania and Senegal through to Sudan, Eritrea and the Red Sea. It gets almost all of its rainfall in one wet season between June and September. The rain is delivered by the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), a huge belt of low pressure that encircles the Earth near the equator.

Zimbabwe Coming Apart. Open Challenge to Mugabe

HARARE – Former Zanu PF politburo member and ex-Energy minister, Dzikamai Mavhaire, savagely tore into President Robert Mugabe on Saturday, referring to the increasingly frail nonagenarian as a "spirit".
Addressing thousands of former Vice President Joice Mujuru's Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) supporters who gathered in Harare for her maiden rally in the capital, Mavhaire threw barb after barb at Mugabe.
"Ndakati rimwe gore ndiri ndega ndikati munhu uyu waakupenga uyu, imi mose mukandirambira imi ... zvakanzi izvo kubva
kare nakare mapato akasiyana siyana ezvamatongerwo enyika aitaura iwo kuti vatungamiriri vanoenda, misangano ichienda asi vanhu vanoramba varipo.
"Saka tichitaura kuti kana munhu akapuwawo mukana akaitavo baba, akaitavo sekuru, kuti azosvika kuita tateguru zvinozonetsa achingovapo (I once said Mugabe is now mad and people refused to believe that. Political parties have always known that leaders and parties come and go, but people will always be there. That is why we say if a person is given an opportunity to be a leader, it is not proper for him to rule forever)," he said to deafening applause. 

Venezuela one step away from disaster | The Herald

The misery and impending chaos in Venezuela have prompted an international response that seems almost laughably disproportionate: a special meeting of the Organization of American States merely to present a report about Venezuela. It feels feeble and futile – but it's just this kind of patient diplomacy that stands the best chance of containing and repairing Venezuela's disaster.
Citizens of the country with the world's biggest oil reserves are rioting for food and dying for want of basic medicines. Meanwhile, President Nicolas Maduro is doing all he can to neuter the opposition in the legislature that wants to recall him from office. Public frustration threatens to metastasize into violent unrest, with repercussions for neighbors near and far. Venezuelan applications for asylum in the United States are spiking.
Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez have routinely used the bogeyman of U.S. intervention to justify their repression, so imposing broad economic sanctions won't necessarily make him more open to dialogue. And not only is Venezuela's economy already in tatters, but Maduro's willingness to sacrifice the well-being of ordinary Venezuelans to keep his Rolex-clad clique in power is all too clear.

Venezuela Getting Worse

Venezuela faces a disaster. Over the past month, food riots have broken out across the country as mostly empty supermarkets are looted. Its capital, Caracas, is now the most violent city in the world. The economy is in a tailspin, set to contract 10 percent this year. Oil production, the country's lifeblood, has plummeted as the neglected state-owned energy sector crumbles. The government lacks the money to print its money. Inflation may top 700 percent this year. Severe medical shortages, of even the most basic equipment and medicines, may be causing thousands of deaths. In April, the government mandated a two-day workweek for state employees to save electricity. Embattled President Nicolás Maduro rules largely by decree, and dozens of political prisoners are held behind bars.
The country's problems seem so profound, complex, and unpredictable that something, it seems, has to give. But precisely because of the convoluted nature of the deepening crisis, the most likely scenario is continued stalemate between offsetting forces. Anything else may not yet be possible.
The biggest obstacle to change is political: The government still holds nearly all the cards. Maduro, Hugo Chávez's hand-picked successor, has his predecessor's bent to concentrate power behind the chavista movement, including the military. In fact, the military is a fundamental part of his government. Almost one-third of ministries are controlled by current or former military officers.

USA FEMA Contractor Sees Riots from 359% food hike

he US national security industry is planning for the impact of an unprecedented global food crisis lasting as long as a decade, according to reports by a government contractor.
The studies published by CNA Corporation in December 2015, unreported until now, describe a detailed simulation of a protracted global food crisis from 2020 to 2030. 
The simulation, titled 'Food Chain Reaction', was a desktop gaming exercise involving the participation of 65 officials from the US, Europe, Africa, India, Brazil, and key multilateral and intergovernmental institutions.
The scenario for the 'Food Chain Reaction' simulation was created by experts brought in from the State Department, the World Bank, and agribusiness giant Cargill, along with independent specialists. CNA Corp's Institute for Public Research, which ran the simulation, primarily provides scientific research services for the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Held from November 9-10 in 2015, the "game" attempted to simulate a plausible global food crisis triggered by "food price and supply swings amidst burgeoning population growth, rapid urbanization, severe weather events, and social unrest."

A dramatic increase in heat records is coming, new study says | Local | azdailysun.com

This week's brutal heat wave across the Southwest is nothing compared to what we'll see in 45 years, if a new study's forecast is accurate.
The new report predicts that summers in the Southwest and many other regions of the world have a 90 percent chance of breaking heat records in a given year between during the period 2060 and 2080, if the level of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions rises significantly.

But if nations can take measures in the next few decades to clamp down on their carbon dioxide emissions even moderately, the odds of record-setting heat waves will diminish considerably although they won't be eliminated, the study found.


Zimbabwe tyrant Robert Mugabe faces impeachment

Mozambique: Attorney-General Reports Nine Per Cent Increase in Crime - allAfrica.com

Maputo — The number of crimes recorded in Mozambique rose by over nine per cent in 2015, according to the annual report on the state of justice in the country, delivered on Wednesday by Attorney-General Beatriz Buchili to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.
42,622 crimes were reported in 2014, but the figure rose to 46,530 in 2015, an increase of 9.2 per cent. The number of murders increased from 1,223 in 2014 to 1,754 in 2015.
There was an increase in crime in all provinces, except for Nampula and Zambezia where there was a slight drop. Maputo city and Maputo province (essentially the city of Matola) accounted for 45.5 per cent of all crimes.

Nigeria: Aisha Buhari Gives Ekiti Governor Five Days to Retract Allegation -

The wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, has given the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, five days to retract his bribery allegation against her or face legal action.
Fayose had recently alleged that Mrs Buhari was implicated in the Halliburton bribery scandal, in which she transferred $170,000 to an account linked to US Congressman Williams Jefferson.
Jefferson was in 2009 found guilty and convicted of corruption and is at the moment serving a jail term in the US.

Zimbabwe: Cash Crunch Hits Importers - allAfrica.com

Money transfer agents have taken over the role of banks by making payments at a fee for companies that want to pay for raw materials and other imports, a move that is set to increase costs to companies.
The development follows delays by banks in processing payments via telegraphic transfers, which has seen some transactions going for four weeks without being cleared.

Ethiopia, Somaliland Sign Accord to Use Berbera Port

Ethiopia signed a deal to boost trade through Somaliland's Berbera port amid congestion at a facility in neighboring Djibouti, officials said.
Tariffs have been revised and a committee established to manage joint operations as part of the agreement signed on March 31, Sharmarke Jama, an economy and trade adviser for the foreign ministry in the semi-autonomous Somali region, said on Monday.
The committee will work on the "smooth implementation of the bilateral agreement and for improved facilitation of transit trade along the corridor," he said in an e-mailed response to questions.
Landlocked Ethiopia more than doubled its cereal imports in the last 12 moths as a drought left almost one-fifth of its population of around 100 million people needing food aid.
On March 24 there were 10 ships waiting to unload 450,000 tons of wheat at Djibouti.
Ethiopia wanted 30 percent of its trade to go via Berbera by July last year, according to a five-year growth plan published in 2010. As much as 97 percent of shipments are still going through Djibouti because of problems with the capacity and condition of Berbera's port, the poor state of roads to Ethiopia and the lack of international recognition for Somaliland's statehood claims, said Ethiopia's Transport Minister Workneh Gebeyehu.
"Now we have really negotiated the issue and decided to go very fast to use Berbera port," he said by phone. "The only thing that is left is the operational issues."
It isn't clear how many ships carrying Ethiopian cargo Berbera will be able to deal with, although there is a plan for coal imports to go through the port, Workneh said.
Port Sudan is already receiving fertilizer for northern areas of Ethiopia, he said.
The Berbera Port Authority held discussions with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) officials about aid imports, Jama said. The facility delivered 40,000 metric tons of wheat in February through Berbera for the UN World Food Programme to distribute to Ethiopians, according to the UN.
Somaliland's government has shortlisted Bollore SA, P&O, which is owned by DP World, MSC Group's Terminal Investment Ltd, and Prime Africa for a Berbera renovation project, Jama said.

Eritrea's Ports and Ethiopia's Famine

The severe Ethiopian famine that is just over the horizon will require the use of Eritrean ports to handle the massive arrival of food relief from the international community. The sheer volume of food for 40 million people cannot be processed solely by the port of Djibouti and the railway from Djibouti to Addis Abeba.
It is important that Ethiopia and Eritrea start making arrangements immediately for the opening of the Eritrean ports of Asab and Masawa so as to receive the ships carrying the famine relief. These ports have easy access to northern Ethiopia where most of the need exists.
While they are making arrangements, I recommend that the two governments discuss how to make Ethiopian access to these two ports permanent. At the same time, cross-border trade should be resumed.
This would be a win-win result for both countries.


In late March 2000, Assistant Administrator of USAID, Hugh Parmer, formally asked President Isaias Afwerki whether Eritrea would allow the delivery of international humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia through the port of Assab in view of the grave famine situation looming over the drought-stricken northern and southern parts ofEthiopia and relative geographic proximity of the port.
The President responded positively based strictly on humanitarian ground. At that time, the massive drought in Ethiopia has starved as many as 8.1 million Ethiopians and in need of urgent assistance. However, Ethiopia rejected the U.S. proposal as " bizarre" and "absurd." A statement from the Ethiopian foreign ministry states "it would be absurd to entertain such an idea."
Exactly 16 years later, another [informal] proposal brought in but this time from the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Herman Cohen. He proposed on using the port of Assab to handle the massive arrival of international food aid as Ethiopia, once again, is facing its worst drought in 50 years and put the lives of up to 40 million people at risk of starvation.
Will Ethiopia consider such strictly humanitarian gesture as "acts of humiliation", if a formal proposal to brought in humanitarian food aid through the Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa happen to come from the internationalcommunity, for the second time?
As to discussions to make the two Eritrean ports accessible to Ethiopia being conditional, there is no such thing called "Permanent" access since the issue will be of strictly business.

Ambassador Herman Cohen was the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1989-1993 and served in the U.S. Foreign Service for 38 years.