30 Nov 2006

Somalia Cooks Up Trouble

The reports of 3 suicide car bombs detonated in the Somali town of Baidoa bring a new and ominous escalation in the growing threat of Islamism in Eastern Africa. Though fanatically brave and careless of their lives in battle, Somalis have never been known as methodical suicide jihadis. Newswire suggestions than non-Somalis were captured at the site indicate Al-Qaeda involvement. As is usual with Somalia, the situation is endlessly opaque and confusing, with the ICU going so far as to invite the USA to officially visit Mogadishu for talks!

Kenya is a non-aggressive nation, known for the excellent professionalism of it's armed peacekeepers in Bosnia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere with a foreign policy that stresses regional dialogue and agreed solutions. Kenya has been instrumental in helping end the genocidal Southern Sudan conflict, among many. For years Kenya coaxed the quarrelsome and boisterous Somalis into forming their Provisional Government. All that work is undone by the advance of the shadowy, sinister Islamic Courts Union forces.

The Guardian and other leftist MSM outlets repeat the clueless canard that somehow, when the US gave cash to non- ICU warlords in a futile attempt to stem the ICU takeover of Mogadisu last summer, this "exacerbated" the Islamist advance. Such thinking blames America-as-usual, forgetting that the groundwork of trained forces, superior weapons, advanced tactics and foreign cadres of the ICU took months, if not years, of careful planning. The blame game also ignores the most likely cause of the Islamist assault: it coincided with and would plainly forestall, the final establishment of the internationally backed, African Union approved Provisional Somali Government.

While ideologues look to their bogeyman in the USA, others note that Islamism in Somalia could revive the murderous regional violence of the 1960's and 70's when Somali nationalists tried to take over territory in Kenya and Ethiopia. These have large ethnic Somali minorities. There are uncomfortable signs that "Greater Somalia" is longed for by some of the ICU top leadership. It's hard to see how the ICU will not eventually go for the racial expansion of Somalia, which would have disastrous repercussions in Kenya's north east, heavily populated by native and refugee Somalis. Throw in the ICU acting as proxies for Eritrea, Ethiopia's belligerent refusal, backed by a huge army, to countenance Islamist takeover, Iranian mischief, Al-Qaeda elements, mystery arms flights into Mogadishu, new suicide bombers and one has a cauldron of bitter ingredients that could scald an entire region.

Kenya meanwhile tries to play the peaceful middleman, desperate to avoid being caught in any situation that would demand it abandon perceived neutrality in face of a need to balance acute national interests. It's something Kenya diplomats are very skilled at, but for how much longer before somthing lights the fire and the Somali pot finally boils into open regional conflict?

20 Nov 2006

Koffi's Klimate Kalamity

One of my biggest problems with the climate change doomsayers is that they try and couch global warming in terms of morality, when actually it's all about money. Environmentalism is becoming the new moral touchstone. Anyone who questions that the developing world is being made to suffer disproportionate devastation by greedy rich nations spewing carbon into the atmosphere is looked upon about as badly as someone who grabs a megaphone and starts hollering the "n" word in public.

Yet green is the
new colour prejudice, whereby everyone who is not a shade of Ireland is an ignorant,selfish,dangerous and wicked person.

Morality is a subject that is endlessly relative: one man's probity is another's perversion. However money is something that, at least since the collapse of Marxism, we can all more or less agree upon. It's hard to argue that more government equals less economic growth, that free markets trump closed ones, that wealth must be generated before it can be shared and so on. Except when it comes to global climate change and environmentalism.

Ron Bailey asks the excellent question: Is global warming worse than what governments might try to do about it? If the UN joins in, as with the recently concluded Nairobi UN Conference on climate change, we should pause. When Kofi Annan delivers yet another one of his
passive aggressive lectures along the lines of "the debate is over, we are all going to die and rich people are the cause of that", then global warming should give over to global worrying.

He has the UK government's Stern Review to back him, showing how little,supposedly, it will take of world GDP to stabilize greenhouse emissions over the next 100 years. Only 1% per annum to avoid the ecological apocalypse that awaits us all! It all sounds so reasonable. However most developing countries cannot gain GDP increase over their population growth.

Kenya has hardly managed more than 1.5% annual growth in GDP vs +3.5% population increase for two decades. Imagine Kenya sustains 4% GDP growth over the next 20 years. Adding 1% cost of "environmental management" actually will mean that Kenya will remain considerably poorer two decades hence than it is now, on paper at least.

Yet poor countries maintain, not unreasonably, than they cannot affcord any cut in their already precarious GDP growth, so the green management costs would have to be borne by the developed world. This will put the actual cost to developed countries at something more like 2-3% of their annual GDP. However, various developed countries like many in Europe and Japan for years, have managed less that 2% GDP increase per annum. What sounds reasonable suddenly becomes politically impossible.

These are the sort of sobering facts that should enlighten the climate change debate, not as at present a cross between a scientific Inquisition and a morality play.

The realm of climate change and the infamous
Kyoto Protocol abound in similar perversities. For example, Kyoto gives rich countries carbon credits for preserving forests which soak up carbon dioxide, but no incentive whatsoever for developing countries to do the same. That helps account for the incineration of the tropical forests in Indonesia,Malasia and Borneo which are, you guessed it, adding to global warming.

Ron Bailey asks if the hundreds of trillions of dollars that the Stern Report "modest proposal" actually means in GDP terms was put to use on building wealth and technology, what would be the result? Arguably that poor countries could grow richer and therefore afford to handle the results of global warming (the way Holland manages rising sea levels with an economy worth only $500 billion a year).

Unlike what Kofi Annan says when using the UN Climate Change Conference as a moral wedge for more power us by the United Nations, the debate is far from over. It is in fact just beginning.

14 Nov 2006

IFAW's Eurocentric Conservation

I welcome "Lynn" who comments on my "Wildlife Woes" blog:
'I was surprised to read your misrepresentation of IFAW as an organization of "extremist weirdness." You clearly are unaware of IFAW's unusually moderate approach to issues of wildlife and habitat protection. The truth is that IFAW is NOT against all consumptive use of animals, nor opposed to scientific research. It is IFAW's position on a number of highly complex issues, however, that consumption and science must be sustainable.'
The trouble is, for IFAW consumptive use is always "unsustainable", at least in Africa. For a useful overview of these issues, other scientists have opposing and valid points.

However, "Lynn" has not answered why
IFAW continues to block, by any means fair or foul, all attempts to re-introduce limited sports hunting into Kenya? This would benefit marginal wildlife areas that cannot compete for tourist dollars, yet have, as local people see it, a problem with "useless" wild animals that the Kenya government protects by law, but does nothing to protect them from.

It is obscene for foreign conservationists to insist on hugely expensive,
Eurocentric conservation programmes like "elephant contraception" and "helicopter herding" of animals, whose budgets run into millions of Kenya shillings, when peasants could build entire primary schools and clinics from the licensed proceeds of a few hundred animals shot on a "Campfires"

IFAW does promote many interesting conservation programmes world-wide,but it's insistance on non-consumption (perhaps not yet of chickens and beef), it's absolute stand against controlled sport-hunting (itself recognised by the WWF and IUCN/WCU as a conservation tool if properly used) certainly qualify it for "weirdness".

As a 3rd generation tourist professional who lives in Africa, I see the dwindling wildlife numbers outside and inside National Parks. I know the attitudes of local tribes to the wildlife they do not own, but the government and conservationists mysteriously do. And I also know that it is common knowledge in Kenya conservation and tourism circles that IFAW spends immense efforts and cash in ensuring any attempts to introduce even the most modest type community sports hunting programme. This would as effectively control animal numbers and profit local people.
pilot scheme of sustainable sports hunting are blocked time and again. This is patronizing, racist and arrogant.

For just one example of a
World Wildlife Fund successful community hunting programme of immense benefit to local people, "Lynn" should go here.

IFAW opposes sports-hunting and even government culling in Africa. The results are devastating in some areas, for example
Kruger National Park in South Africa which has a superbly monitored culling programme = now elephant overpopulation is wrecking Kruger. Contraception for elephants, at perhaps $5000 cost per animal, while next door to the park Africans die of AIDS and poverty, is something IFAW would no doubt support. A humane bullet costs about $1 and better yet, sports-hunting would actually pay African villagers about $5000 per elephant.

Why does one of the largest and most respected conservation bodies , the
World Conservation Union (formerly IUCN), deny IFAW membership? I think we know.

12 Nov 2006

More Climate Emissions

Nairobi is hosting the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is meant to be looking into about a post-Kyoto Protocol world and what is to be done about it. Already the meeting has been an enormous success on two fronts. Foreign activists managed to rent members of Kenya's colourful tribes, in some cases probable pre-literate ones and parade them around with "Wanted, George Bush The Toxic Texan" placards. This will guarantee more fauxphoto opportunities for the MSM. Next, every news media in Kenya and internationally has been able to spin stories about Bush "renouncing Kyoto" to stoke anti-Americanism.

Of course, it was
Bill Clinton who shelved the Kyoto Protocol in 1999, before Bush was even elected, after the US senate voted 95-0 that they would never ratify it. True, Clinton, in a typically showbiz gesture, signed an intent of the Kyoto Protocol in Rio in 1998. Democratic senator Byrd, from Clinton's own party, co-sponsored the motion in the senate.

The good news is that
China will surpass the USA as the world's largest emitter of CO2 sometime in 2009. Will anyone in the world media notice?

There is no doubt that climate change has been damaging Africa's human viability for the past 14,000 years of inter-glacial warming, and also no contention that such warming has quickened and will have a devastating effect on marginal Africa. The grand irony is that African countries are
queuing up to sell all the CO2 laden oil and mineral products they can to China, who will soon be polluting them out of existence.

African environmentalists might be doing wise things like insisting that any energy and minerals sold to China as raw materials be subject to verifiable lower CO2 emissions. Instead most of them are too busy blaming America.

No wonder the US
senate resolution that passed so resoundingly in 1999 repudiating the Kyoto Protocol said it:
"would not ratify the Protocol unless rapidly developing countries such as China were included in its requirements to reduce greenhouse gases. The Clinton Administration announced it would not send the treaty to the Senate for ratification."
Meanwhile The Guardian, haven of America-bashing, announces that the oh-so-Green Europeans have totally failed to meet their Kyoto obligations. We can say one thing for George Bush, he sure gets around.

9 Nov 2006

Wildlife Woes

More evidence that foreign wildlife extremists completely control Kenya's policies came today as Vice President Moody Awori sang loudly from the International Fund for Animal Welfare song-book. He was inaugurating a wildlife fence partly funded by IFAW in north Kenya.

IFAW, who have
not been allowed to join major bodies like the IUCN/World Conservation Union due to their extremist weirdness, are completely against any consumptive use of animals, including scientific culling. The "F" in IFAW stands for "fund", and the huge financial clout of these urban eco-huggers means they can buy their way to influence in many countries. Kenya is the foremost of those and IFAW pays journalists and politicians to support it's ideology,some say.

Thanks to IFAW, elephants are now
devastating South Africa's Kruger National Park again. IFAW forced a ban on the successful Kruger culling programme. Bowing to IFAW, Awori announced Kenya will not re-introduce sport hunting. Thus we remain the sole major wildlife destination in Africa without a regulated sport hunting industry.

The reasons Awori gave are pure IFAW-speak. Sport hunting is "elitist" ( yet exclusive luxury tourism in Kenya is not) he said. It cannot "benefit the local community" (dozens of studies in Africa say exactly
the opposite). Sport hunting will make controlling "bushmeat trades" more difficult (those wealthy hunters come here to eat mouldy old bull buffalo meat). It would be "difficult to control" (investors earning a good return from sports hunting just can't wait to exterminate all their animal capital). And more.

The oddest idea expressed was when Awori said allowing animals to "regulate themselves" as in former times was the best way and would help the environment in a time of climate change.

Kenya's animals are being "regulated" to alarmingly low levels by unremitting poaching and bushmeat trade , undertaken by those who have zero personal or community incentive to preserve animals on private or communal land. A regulated
hunting industry is one of the ways of combating such wildlife attrition. Though IFAW does some useful projects in conservation, their hidden agenda is to stop all consumptive use of animals, regardless of consequences to local people.

Respectable conservationsists know this, but IFAW is more renowned, some say, for buying their way to the top of the policy ladder in traditional African fashion.