Saturday, July 16, 2011

South Sudan's New Oil Marketing Partner

Mark Rich, infamous founder of infamous Glencore 
International, the world's largest commodity trader and 
South Sudan's new oil marketing partner. 

KPFA Weekend News, Saturday July 16, 2011:

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (L) 
and Sudan’s President Omar Hassan 
al-Bashir attend the Independence 
Day ceremony in South Sudan’s 
capital Juba July 9, 2011
KPFA Weekend News Anchor David Rosenberg: The newly independent nation of South Sudan celebrated its independence from Sudan last Saturday and Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir traveled to the new nation’s capitol, Juba, to congratulate the Southern Sudanese people. Fighting continues in the border states, however, and many fear that South Sudan’s Independence Day may have been the calm before the storm, because negotiations about sharing oil revenues and the demarcation of borders, broke down before the celebrations. The North has threatened to cut off oil pipelines from the South to Port Sudan in the North and the South responded by threatening to build its own pipeline to the Indian Ocean through Kenya. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: South Sudan has fertile farmland, timber, copper, uranium, and other mineral reserves, and much of the world’s gum arabic, which is essential to making soda pop and ice cream, but its most contested resource is oil. Prior to the independence of North and South, Sudan was the third largest oil producer in Africa, but seventy-five percent of its known oil reserves were in what became, on July 9th, South Sudan. Pipelines controlled by the Sudanese government in Khartoum transport the oil in the South to refining infrastructure in the north, and to Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, for export. 

U.S. AID Map of Sudanese oil pipelines
President Omar Al-Bashir threatened to shut down the pipelines before talks on oil sharing broke down, and the South responded that it might bypass Khartoum and connect its oil to a new East Africa pipeline running through Uganda and Kenya to the Indian Ocean. If built, this pipeline would unify what Ugandan American Milton Allimadi, editor of the New York City-based Black Star News, describes as a vast oil field in Southern Sudan and Northwestern Uganda, all of which is now secured by the U.S. military and its African partners:

Milton Allimadi: Southern Sudan borders Northern Uganda, and going from that region into Western Uganda, that’s a vast oil field. So if you look at it as a continuous region, starting from Western Uganda sweeping into Northern Uganda into Southern Sudan. . .very rich oil fields. . . which, considering the U.S. presence in the region right now, is much more secure than some of the oil fields in the Middle East.

KPFA: Within days of its independence, the Government of South Sudan announced the formation of PetroNile, its joint venture with Glencore International, a public limited corporation traded on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, and registered in Jersey, a British Crown Dependency in the English Channel, which serves as a corporate tax haven. Glencore was founded by international commodities trader Mark Rich, who was indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and making illegal oil deals with Iran during the late 1970s-early 1980s Iran hostage crisis. Rich was in Switzerland at the time of the indictment and has never returned to the U.S., although President Bill Clinton pardoned him on January 20, 2001, Clinton's last day in office.

Investigative journalist Keith Harmon Snow says that Southern Sudan’s joint venture with Glencore is the conclusion of years of U.S. covert operations financed by U.S. taxpayers:

Keith Harmon Snow: The American public has been hoodwinked into believing that the situation in Sudan is independent, and that there’s now an autonomous, independent country. What’s been pulled over the American public’s eyes is all of the corporate interests, all of the killing that’s been done by the American military interests on the ground, the private military companies connected to the United States, and by our proxy forces. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudan Liberation Army are funded by the United States, all covertly, and this is what the American taxpayers are paying for.

KPFA:  For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

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