Making Modern Mittelafrika
For decades, Germany has had ambitions for a Euro-African economic bloc. Back as far as the 1890s, this strategy was referred to as Germany’s Mittelafrika (Middle Africa) policy.
The idea was to split Africa down the middle through its holdings of German Southwest Africa (Namibia), German East Africa (Tanzania) and Cameroon. During World War i, Germany planned to acquire all European holdings in Africa after conquering the European countries. Such action would have weakened or removed the British hold on sub-Saharan Africa and given Germany access to the vital metals, minerals, labor and other resources inside the heart of the continent.
Germany’s devastating defeat in two world wars left this objective unmet. But plans for Mittelafrika did not go away.
Notice this startling statement from the May 1961 Plain Truth magazine describing Germany’s continued aspirations for Africa: “A captured document circulated from the Nazi geopolitical center in Madrid in 1950 outlined plans for the first few turbulent years of the post-war period. ‘It should prove possible for Germany to build up a new political bloc out of Europe, Africa and Latin America. The economic advantages and the political possibilities in such a new power combination would put the United States against the wall.’”
The Plain Truth then referenced a top-secret document issued by the same Madrid group in October 1951, which stated, “For its industrial development Germany requires—much more than in the past—raw materials, sources of energy and a market with strong purchasing power. All this it can attain only in a unified Europe and through the simultaneous development of Africa in a common European undertaking.”
Such discussion, so consistent with the Mittelafrika strategy, was not only taking place behind closed doors and in underground meetings. Notice this public statement by then-Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on May 20, 1950, recorded in Rheinischer Merkur: “Germany has again become a factor with whom others will have to reckon in international affairs. … There is also a long-range economic goal: the colonization of Africa. … If we Europeans colonize Africa, we create at the same time a supplier of raw materials for Europe which will be of the greatest importance.”
German plans to unify Europe as a means of rebuilding its power base after World War ii are well documented. Hindsight shows how this goal was realized by degrees—first using seemingly innocuous economic measures and progressing gradually through political and now military unification. Today we see in nearly full bloom how Germany has acquired through softer means much of what it sought to take by force in World Wars i and ii.
The question is, has today’s Germany relinquished its old desire to acquire African wealth to feed its growing global ambitions? Current events could be providing us some very telling clues as to the answer.
Since decolonization, Africa has become a political and economic disaster. Post-colonial history has been filled with rank corruption and nearly non-stop bloody war on both political and tribal fronts. Much of the continent has been reduced to a basket case—easy pickings for any nation or group of nations with the wit, will and diplomacy to plunder its rich resources.
Generally speaking, the Western world has not paid serious attention to African conflicts. However, the Soviet Union supported African insurgence forces with guns, armaments, training and Marxist indoctrination in many sub-Saharan nations in an effort to overthrow their colonial mentors following World War ii. The United States, in turn, supported various regimes in order to check the growth of communism. Communist support slowed to a trickle after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Rwanda and Somalia debacles in the 1990s sent the U.S. packing from Africa licking its wounds.
Since 9/11, however, America has been forced to upgrade its involvement within certain African regions in the context of its war on terror. Northern Africa, in particular, is a hotbed of intrigue in terrorist circles and provides numerous training grounds for terrorist cells.
But the U.S. is not alone in its new-found interest in the continent. Increasingly, the European Union is focusing attention on Africa, involving itself in peacekeeping missions under the umbrella of the United Nations. With the German Navy already deployed off the Horn of Africa in addition to its regular visits to South Africa, the EU has now moved into Central Africa, in a “peacekeeping” role.
Called upon by the UN, almost 2,000 of the EU’s 60,000-strong rapid reaction force have entered their inaugural mission without nato logistical and arms support. The French-led military force is deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Hema and Lendu tribal militias are battling for the mineral-rich Ituri region in the northeast of the nation—the latest round of fighting in Congo’s four-year civil war, which has killed an estimated 3 million people so far.
Javier Solana, high representative for the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, explained the EU peacekeeping mission as a short stopgap measure to stabilize the situation that would only last until UN reinforcements are in place in September. That is the EU’s public line on the matter.
But what is in it for the EU? Is going into the Congo a purely selfless act?
On June 8, an article in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag pointed out that intelligence reports had unambiguously labeled the Congo situation hopeless. Germany has been reunited 10 years, it said, and it’s high time that German economic interests played a role in its efforts to provide humanitarian aid. In other words, put soldiers on the ground in the form of humanitarian aid and security only where it will lead to strategic and economic benefits for the Fatherland.
This type of thinking cannot be far from the minds of the Eurocrats planning the Congo venture. The problem is, to derive real strategic or economic benefit from the mission would require maintaining a long-term presence, which Solana has already stated is not the mission’s intent—or is it?
A look into the Official Journal of the European Union reveals that the EU does have plans to be involved in the Congo for the long term (“Council Common Position 2003/319/CFSP,” May 8). Article 5 states that the EU will work for rapid disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement of combatants of armed groups. Far more than a three-month undertaking! The document further states that the EU will support the transitional government in its reconstruction and development of the country.
The week of June 23, the European Union website (www.europa.eu .int) posted an article with recommendations from the International Crisis Group (icg) regarding the Congo mission. “This intervention … is on the face of it totally insufficient,” the icg report said. “Only a more forceful and geographically more extensive [EU-led] UN intervention maintained for much longer … can lead to sustainable peace.”
The icg report said this should be combined with a push toward establishing a transitional Congolese government: “Anything less is likely to leave the Congo divided, insecure, and a source of further instability throughout Central Africa.” The article then referenced a statement by German Defense Minster Peter Struck, who said that Germany is willing to provide hundreds of additional troops to support the Congo peacekeeping operation if ethnic tensions continue to mount.
The article also stated, “The icg would like to see the EU-led multinational force—which is made up largely of French troops—to have its mandate extended far beyond the current September deadline. The force should also possess ‘the physical capability’ and international ‘political backing’ that would allow it to deal with potential armed resistance and ‘be geared towards restoration of Congolese state sovereignty’” (emphasis mine).
Carefully observe! It appears Germany is positioning itself to use this Congo crisis exactly as it used the Balkans crisis. As time wears on without resolution to the crisis, the EU will be justifiably and legally able, by UN mandate, to keep and even increase a military presence in the “mittel”—in the heart of—resource-rich Africa.
Is this the mustard-seed beginning of a modern version of Germany’s Mittelafrika policy?
Vital Strategic Resources
No nation can achieve or sustain superpower strength without access to vital strategic resources. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is, potentially, one of the richest countries in Africa. In addition to diamonds and gold, it contains 34 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves and over 10 percent of its copper.
It is estimated that Africa holds approximately 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves. It produces over 60 metal and mineral products. It is a major producer of a number of the world’s most precious metals, including gold, diamonds, uranium, manganese, chromium, nickel, bauxite, cobalt and platinum group metals.
But the most vital of its strategic resources, which is being discovered in ever increasing abundance, is crude oil.
With Iraq going further into crisis, Iran a heartbeat away from becoming a nuclear power and militant Islam continuing to rise, Europe must acquire a stable, inexpensive source of vital crude oil and precious metal and mineral resources. German planners, even back in the 1890s, knew that such vital resources would be plentiful and easily accessible in Africa.
The Corporate Council on Africa (cca) reports that Africa contains over 90 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, representing 9.1 percent of the world’s total reserves. More than 11 percent of the world’s current oil production takes place in Africa, and the cca reported last year that it expects Africa’s oil production to expand by an amazing 57 percent by 2007.
In a newly released in-depth report on Africa’s oil boom and the poor, Ian Gary of the Catholic Relief Services (crs) assembled facts on the overwhelming oil reserves of the continent. The report said that most of Africa’s current oil growth is in the Gulf of Guinea region, which covers much of western and central Africa. Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer, is planning to top 3 million barrels per day in output, and Angola, the second-largest sub-Saharan producer, is working to double its current 1 million barrels a day output.
Angola’s deep water discoveries have been called the “oil jackpot of the 21st century,” and its proven reserves increased 600 percent between 1995 and 1999, representing the largest increase for any oil-producing nation on the planet for that period. Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to jump oil production from 3.8 million barrels per day to 6.8 million by 2008. Total, the fourth-largest oil company in the world—comprised of Belgium’s Petrofina and Elf, and France’s Total—has approximately half of its worldwide reserves in the Gulf of Guinea area.
It is not hard to see why Europe would be so interested in tapping this resource-rich continent for its own use.
Under the Cotonou Agreement, ratified in February, nations in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (acp Group), through the European Development Fund, will be beneficiaries of an additional 13.5 billion euros in aid by 2007. These European development funds support, among other things, development in infrastructure and transportation, particularly within Africa.
In addition, the European Investment Bank will support economically and technically viable projects within the private sector in the acp countries with 3.9 billion euros’ worth of low-interest loans between 2003 and 2008. These loans are also designed to help stabilize the assisted nations.
In Angola, Germany is making its desire for stronger economic ties known through investment overtures. In an interview with Angola Press Agency on May 17, German Embassy First Secretary Hans-Ulrich Von Schroeter announced the upcoming implementation of an investments protection accord between Angola and Germany. He said, “With the absence of war, potential German investors are in a position to apply in Angola some of their financial and technological resources” (Africa News, May 18).
These offers of stability, aid and investment will assist in endearing African nations and governments to the rising world power in Europe.
Following on from their military presence in the Congo, will Germany and the EU choose to intervene in other resource-rich nations such as Liberia and Uganda—both rife with bloodshed and instability? Will the EU plow greater investment into the rich oil fields, infrastructure and mining sectors of African nations? Time will show.
Keep your eye on EU efforts in Africa. Bible prophecy describes this European combine at the height of its power—in the time just ahead of us—as possessing great “merchandise,” clearly procured by exploiting the resources of those nations it conquers (Rev. 18:11-13). The nations of Africa will be among those.
Watch events in Africa. Watch the EU. Watch for the forging of diplomatic and economic links between the two. Watch for Germany’s long-held desire to dominate Mittelafrika to come to fruition!