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Scrutiny
 
OIL POLITICS: AMERICA’S NEW POSTER BOY
Barack Obama’s Kony capitalism
Ugandan Joseph Kony’s past is reason enough to target him as a crime perpetrator; but the grand involvement of United States in such a myopic issue clearly seems to be only with an objective to capture oil resources in the Ugandan region than for any other altruistic reasons
Issue Date - 30/05/2012
 
Joseph Kony. By some accounts, he’s a raving lunatic. By other accounts, he’s purely a cult religious fanatic. By almost all independent and reliable accounts, the man is a cut-down-to-size erstwhile extremist on the run who might previously have had fair resources under his command, engineering random killings, ethnic cleansing and abductions not only in Uganda – his former homebase from where he used to lead the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – but also in South Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. But by no sane account is the man currently worth the title of a global terrorist.

Of course, two decades ago, Kony was a different man, with a larger-than-life persona, commandeering armed men under the LRA umbrella ostensibly fighting for “freedom”. But over the years, the LRA – which sources claim had above of 100,000 fighters during the 1990s, including a significant number of children – has been decimated quite impressively by Ugandan forces. As of date, some estimates mention that the LRA – if it at all exists anymore as an entity – couldn’t have more than a hundred so-called fighters, and those too operating discretely without any central command. And the reason for that is that Kony’s been on the run for quite a long time; and his motley LRA crew – which Uganda strongly claims is being ‘supported’ by Sudan – wouldn’t even have been known in countries outside Africa had the US not decided to get in their spin doctors into the act and brand Mr. Kony as the new Osama bin Laden.

In other words, Kony – who is often now referred to even as a plain vagabond criminal – is not worth betting your grandmother’s Edward shilling on. Far lesser is he worth creating a Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (which Mr. Obama created in May 2010) or demanding more funding from Congress primarily to target Kony and his coterie (which the US President again did in November 2010) or sending “combat-equipped” US defence forces into Uganda with a prime objective to remove Kony and destroy LRA (which Mr. Obama again managed in October 2011). And to top it all, the spin doctors even released a Youtube video called Kony 2012 in March 2012 (it’s been viewed more than 100 million times on Youtube and Vimeo as this magazine goes to print). The video documents Kony and LRA’s various ‘atrocities’ and demands action.

The gaumless ridiculousness of Mr. Obama’s so-called altruistic moves got highlighted to worse levels when on March 21, 2012, the US Senate passed a resolution against “the ruthless guerrilla group” and backed efforts to target Kony and LRA. Seriously, is all of this for a man who has, as per the US government’s own admission (Donald Yamamoto from the US State Department revealed the figures), just 150 fighters left? Kony had been operating for decades and the US did nothing. Then why now, when Kony is already almost extinct?

Curiously, these ‘timely’ American moves come in the backdrop of a 2011 discovery of 2.5 billion barrels of crude in Uganda. Going by estimates, Uganda is estimated to have more than 10 billion barrels of unexplored oil trapped in its soil, with Heritage Oil claiming to have found more than 400 million barrels in the Lake Albert region alone. Even in the past, under the pretext of combating genocide, US has sent NATO and US special forces to Sudan, where numerous American oil companies are operating. With China increasing its foothold in Africa, Kony is an extremely shrewd totem to fortify America’s hold over African oil.

And of course, then there is the upcoming US Presidential election and Obama needs some patriotic gain beyond the Osama kill to consolidate his gains over Mr. Romney, the Republican nominee. What better moment to grab/kill Kony than just before voting starts? Here’s to Kony capitalism.

 

Sray Agarwal           

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