Skip to comments.Mandela picks Iraq over U.S.
Posted on 10/11/2002 4:40:23 PM PDT by knighthawk
DURBAN - In an extraordinary twist to the current tensions between the United States and Iraq, former South African president (and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Nelson Mandela has not only sided strongly against President George W. Bush, but appears on the point of being recruited to a stratagem by Saddam Hussein to block U.S. military intervention.
Mandela has uttered stronger and stronger statements critical of Bush. Originally he attempted to telephone the U.S. President to communicate his views, but Bush did not take his calls, so Mandela phoned ex-president George Bush Sr. to complain about his son and ask for his criticisms to be passed on. When this failed to move Bush Jr., Mandela declared the U.S. threat of pre-emptive war to bring about regime change in Iraq meant that the United States, not Iraq, was now "a danger to world peace." He followed this up by announcing that "some people" were saying that the United States was flouting the United Nations' authority because Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, was a black man.
Last week Mandela went further still, no longer putting such allegations in the mouths of "some people," but openly charging that the Bush administration was acting out of racist and white supremacist motives in not "obeying" Kofi Annan. "No country, however powerful it may be, is entitled to act outside the UN. When UN secretaries-general were white we never had the question of any country ignoring the United Nations, but now that we have got black secretaries-general like Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan certain countries that believe in white supremacy are ignoring the UN for racist reasons."
At the same time, Mandela has declared himself willing to serve on a panel of "12 wise men" proposed by Saddam Hussein to oversee the UN inspectors, provided this plan finds acceptance with the UN. The panel is quite clearly intended to create a supra-national body that will interpose itself between Iraq and possible Anglo-American intervention. Quite clearly, the idea would be to pack the panel with personalities likely to oppose U.S. action. Already Saddam has mentioned ex-president Jimmy Carter as a possible member, clearly in anticipation that Carter would share Al Gore's critical attitude towards the Bush position.
Moreover, Saddam is hoping to push onto such a panel figures whom he can covertly influence or control. One such is former president Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. Kaunda, who progressively ran the Zambian economy into the ground during his 28 years in office, also ran seriously short of dollars by the end and Saddam stepped in to provide aid. Kaunda's friendship with Saddam blossomed as Kaunda discovered that they shared the same birthday, and was then afforded a diplomatic coup when Saddam released a British prisoner, Daphne Parish, to him -- allowing Kaunda to present her back to a grateful Britain. Kaunda happily had one of the main streets in Lusaka, Zambia's capital, renamed as Saddam Hussein Boulevard.
Naturally, Saddam's leverage with Kaunda increased immensely after he fell from power in 1993. Kaunda, suddenly bereft of the state patronage and funds he had relied on, needed Saddam's subventions all the more. In return he has been a frequent, albeit somewhat gloomy, attendee at state functions in Baghdad. Naturally, in putting forward Kaunda's name as one of the "wise men" Saddam makes much of his role in supporting the cause of African freedom: There is no mention of these ties which would make it extremely hard to imagine Kaunda taking any other side but Saddam's.
Mandela's case is more complex. He shares the general Third World nervousness at the new doctrine of "regime change" -- for if the United States is to start deposing Third World dictators on general principle, many of Mandela's friends and donors would be at risk. In the run-up to the 1994 election in South Africa, Mandela raised prodigious sums of money for his African National Congress -- including from such undemocratic regimes as Libya, Saudi Arabia, Suharto's Indonesia -- and Saddam's Iraq.
Moreover, South Africa's apartheid regime had sold Iraq hundreds of thousands of giant 155mm howitzer shells in the 1980s, big enough to contain poison gas or chemical/bio-weapons. Saddam probably still has many of these and unlike his Scud missiles, they are not vulnerable to being shot down by Patriot anti-missile missiles. Once Mandela came in, further such arms deals were done, including -- or so strong rumour within the South African military community has it -- a shipment of depleted uranium in 1995 which, while unusable for the construction of nuclear bombs, could be used to give extreme penetrative power to projectiles. This relationship was consolidated by a series of oil deals from which there was generally a rake-off to ANC party funds.
All of which means that the United States is unlikely to pay much heed to Mandela's criticisms, let alone to entertain the "12 wise men" proposal. Its use would, rather, be to embarrass the United States, to win sympathy for Iraq throughout the Third World, to strengthen the pro-peace camp in the European Union and perhaps also appeal to black Americans among whom Mandela remains a magic name.
It appears that the recpients of Nobel "peace" prize are only people who are against us --- Mandela, Arafat, Annan, and Jimmy Carter.
Ah yes, the old "some people" trick that the left has perfected. Hey, Kofi, "some people" thought Hitler was a good guy.
Mandela will rue his preposterous imbecility some day, assuming that whatever condition is afflicting him doesn't remove whatever remaining powers of reasoning he currently exhibits by then.
Mandela sounds like a paranoid racist kook here.
Too bad the former (and superior) So. African gov't didn't kill this commie bastard.
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