Warship Watch. Canada deploys two warships to West Africa

By TONY SEED

Canada has deployed two warships, HMCS Kingston and HMCS Shawinigan, to West Africa  – “to work with partners & allies to enhance maritime security + stability” in the Gulf of Guinea,” in the words of Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd. Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) stated the aim of “ West Africa today, is to work with African nations to build partner capacity, promote maritime security, and foster relationships in the region.” None of this has to do with the defence of Canada.

The warships departed from Halifax on January 22 on the eve of Black History Month for a three-month deployment with a military spectacle involving families and dignitaries such as Mayor of Halifax Mike Savage. MARLANT broadcast the ceremony live on Facebook. It overlooked informing the worried families that the deployment is part of the expansion of the aggressive NATO bloc into a self-appointed global police force. The next day, a US puppet Juan Guaidó declared himself “interim president” in Venezuela, having being given a green light by the US and Canada for a coup d’état of the constitutionally-elected government. Canada has been a main actor in the permanent political-economic-media aggression of Venezuela, which is supported by the African Union. The threats by the Canadian government are real and not rhetoric.

Now, in the context of the 2011 aggression against and the destruction of Libya in North Africa and the feverish expansion of its new African Command (Africom, based in Stuttgart, Germany), Washington has its sights set on making West Africa a military outpost, from which to exploit Africa, as well as a naval-military bridge to South America, especially Brazil and Argentina, now in the hands of pro-American ruling cliques.

NATO member France occupied Mali in 2013. Canadian C-17 transport aircraft ferried French troops from Istres-le-Tubé-Air Base, northwest of Marseille to Mali. (“Canada sends C-17 to Mali,” Castanet. January 14, 2013) Its military intervention is being perpetuated by a UN “peacekeeping” force in which Canada is participating. [1] While the government presents its UN mission in Mali as something new, it in fact represents an expansion of Canada’s military involvement in Mali and the region.

The Gulf of Guinea, naturally by coincidence, is also on the maritime map of the Canadian Forces. Naval deployment to West Africa has become an annual affair. This is the second, successive deployment to Africa of the NATO fleet in just the past year. In 2018,  and  deployed to West Africa, visiting Cape Verde, Senegal, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Benin “on behalf of Global Affairs.”

The deployment of NATO naval units to Africa began 13 years ago in 2006. From June 15-28, 2006 the newly-formed NATO rapid response fleet (SNMG 1), under the operational command of Canadian Commodore Denis Rouleau, HMCS Athabaskan, headed up the massive war game, Operation STEADFAST JAGUAR 06, along the west coast of the Cape Verde Islands, in the Gulf of Guinea. The exercise involved 20,000-25,000 naval personnel, 12 warships and about 2,500 ground troops from the NATO bloc. Its aim was “to demonstrate the NRF concept (i.e., NATO rapid response fleet–TS) and prove that it is viable.” The scenario involved a future combat engagement against rebels in the coastal areas of West Africa. NATO at the time denied any future concrete war plans.

In 2007 Canada sent the warship HMCS Toronto to participate in an unprecedented two-month circumnavigation around Africa of the newly-formed NATO rapid response fleet. The departure took place in the midst of the 200th anniversary of the “abolition” of the slave trade, and on the heels of a UN decision to deploy 12,000 troops to Darfur. The deployment of this one warship to Africa cost an estimated $8 million.

Today the NATO fleet is directed to “get an idea of the maritime activities” off the coast – the next step to concretely preparing combat operations. The NATO measures in the Gulf of Guinea are not being described as exercises but as “presence operations.”

france_guerre_maliThe West African countries may be amongst the poorest in the world, but they are very rich in prime materials – coltan, uranium, gold, oil and many others – exploited by transnational companies based in the USA, France and Canada, who are increasingly afraid of the competition from Chinese companies who offer African countries much more favourable conditions. The deployment of warships by the Government of Canada, which talks a lot about “a rules-based international order,” is part of a “new scramble” for Africa, in which there is contention between the big powers, including China, for Africa’s resources, markets and labour.

2018.03.28-GhanaAccra-DemandUSMilitaryDealwithGhanabeAnnulledCr

A demonstration in Accra, the capital of Ghana, demanding the cessation of the US military deal with that country

One does not have to look very far to see how the military power has becomes an instrument to serve private monopoly interests in the name of “maritime security + stability”  –  all in the name of high ideals.

The president of the US-NATO-led Halifax International Security Forum (HISF), funded by the Department of National Defence, is involved in one of the many Canadian mining companies seeking to exploit these resources. Jonathan Weisstub was appointed in June 2008 to be Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Gabriel Resources, a Canadian gold monopoly then aiming to build the largest open cast cyanide leach gold mine in Europe in the Rosa Montana and Corna Valley in Transylvania, Romania. On August 7, 2013 he was appointed a Director of Oromin Explorations Ltd. by the Teranga Gold Corporation, a Canadian-based gold company created to acquire the Sabodala gold mine and a large regional exploration land package encompassing approximately 212.6km of land. The Sabodala gold project is located in southeastern Senegal, West Africa and on the western border of Mali, the target of the ongoing France-US-Canada military intervention commenced in January 2013. Oromin is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Teranga headed by Alan R. Hill from Gabriel Resources. In attendance at the 2018 HISF war conference was Richard Young, Chief Executive Officer, President and Director, Teranga Gold Corporation. [2]

Notes

1.For a discussion of Canada’s peacekeeping deployment and mining interests, see Enver Villamizar, “New Scramble for Africa: No to expanding Canada’s military presence in Africa,” TML Weekly, April 7, 2018 – No. 13

2. The Sabodala gold project is on the upper left hand corner of this map:

2012Mali-NatResourcesCanadaMapGoldMinesProspects

Natural Resources Canada 2012 map of major mines and gold deposits in Mali and neighbouring countries.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Americas, Canada, Caribbean, United States

One response to “Warship Watch. Canada deploys two warships to West Africa

  1. Pingback: Warship Watch. ‘Fun in the sun’? | Tony Seed's Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s