My earlier posts: Why we’re not winning1 deals with what’s going wrong in our war against terror, and covers my credentials for writing on the subject; Why we’re not winning 2 offers solutions; Why we’re not winning 3 links the war into Africa; Why we’re not winning 4 illustrates the underlying political attitude in Britain towards the military; and War against terror, Africa, Islam and Nigeria’s oil brings an update on how radical Islam is affecting both Africa and the world’s oil supplies.
On a seemingly lesser economic scale in world terms, we see in Southern Africa’s Zimbabwe and the effect of the 1980 win for terrorists on the people and its environment.  Rhodesia’s war against terror from the early 1970’s ended in defeat for the West by Chinese and North Korean trained and backed terrorists led by Marxist, Robert Mugabe in 1980.  In fact, this “defeat” was a spectacular “own goal” for the West brought about by British and American sponsored UN sanctions against Rhodesia.  Once called the “breadbasket of Africa”, Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe) has millions on the edge of starvation.  Inflation in this once stable country has reached – depending on who you listen to – over 2000%.  (At the moment, inflation there is impossible to establish accurately because Mugabe’s government has failed to publish the latest figures.)  The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported inflation at 1,193.5% in May.   The effect of this on ordinary people can’t be underestimated – most can’t afford to pay for the basics – see The New York Times report, so people have resorted to killing wildlife for food and cutting down forests for fuel.  This is an environmental, as well as a humanitarian disaster that’s getting worse by the day.
That’s sad for the people of Zimbabwe and for the environment in general, but what’s Zimbabwe to the West?  Not much at the moment, but it is of importance to China, which is increasing its influence there and elsewhere in Southern Africa.  As I outlined in my earlier post Why we’re not winning 3, Africa as a whole is immensely rich in a wide range of strategic minerals, and Zimbabwe is no exception: apart from the more high profile gold, coal and iron resources; Barium, Chromium, Scheelite, Tantalum and Wulframite are just some of the strategic minerals available, but barely exploited there.  China is changing all that, and providing arms to Mugabe’s regime in return.  Perhaps even more important, Zimbabwe is a gateway to Botswana and South Africa – both of which now have a growing Chinese presence.
That’s why Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa are important to the West.
About the Author:
Peter Davies was a territorial soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975.  Davies’ novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his experience in the war, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.  See http://www.peterdaviesbooks.com.

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