" ... anytime Wagner enters a country, death and destruction follows" Matthew Miller - US State Department - 26 June 2023 _ _ _
Direct conflict between US & Russia's now leaderless Wagner forces in Africa, looms
... the Wagner group suddenly and rather dramatically found themselves under attack on multiple fronts. They were sandwiched between forces attacking Belgorod in western Russia, and Ukrainian forces to the east. Recent strikes in Syria ostensibly targeting the Islamic State, did real damage to Wagner's forces. In Africa, the subject of a recent surge in US and NATO forces, Wagner's forces are now over stretched, poorly supplied, demoralized, and increasingly being hunted down. Several African autocrats, who depend on Wagner forces to protect them from from their own citizens, are starring at the end of their brutal regimes and reigns.
While a Republican congress, oblivious to rather seismic changes in geopolitical realities continues to focus on Trump, overlooking his role with Putin in allowing Wagner forces to be so widely present in what the loser in 2020 referred to in terms unfitting for one in high office. It should not go unnoticed that a former Trump administration official, obviously schooled by Trump in the handling of sensitive information, announced that her husband was being dispatched to an area that makes him a prize target for not only Russian mercenaries, but also for a host of Jihadi militia operations in that area of the world.
When did Trump learn that Putin had asked his chef, Prigozhin, to set up the Internet Research Agency to help with the propaganda assistance to the Trump campaign of 2016? When Trump asked:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,”
This statement by Trump came about, because an egotistical Prigozhin and his Internet Research Agency, wanted Trump to publicly ask for their help, which he did. It is this episode of Barr's utterly fake rendition of the Mueller report, an attempt to hide the role the indicted Prigozhin played in the Russian meddling in 2016 election that is most egregious.
And, notice how little attention the press has played to the fact that, Prigozhin leader of the Wagner group, which is responsible for the brutal deaths of thousands, including some Americans, was indicted by Mueller for his role in meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, including meetings with Trump operatives, and at least, one meeting between Putin, Prigozhin, and Trump.
Some have argued that the more press savvy way of stating the previous sentence, is to suggest that all three, Putin, Prigozhin and Trump were in attendance, at one and the same meeting.
E LaMont Gregory MSc Oxon
... Russia's Wagner Group operates in Africa, Syria, Ukraine, and Venezuela, and in the 1990s the group was active in Bosnia
Russia's private military companies, PMCs
On the continent of Africa, during and since the wave of independence movements, military assistance has been a major instrument used by external powers, who seek influence on the continent.
During the Cold War era, for example, the Soviet Union was recklessly extravagant in supplying billions of dollars in weapons and training, including thousands of aircraft to garner African partners, and in the ubiquitous extraction industries, such as oil, diamonds, gold, uranium and manganese, as well as, in businesses engaged in products primarily for domestic consumption.
Naturally, military assistance is in addition to forging political alliances.
Although, on a much smaller scale in comparison to that era, Russia continues to exert influence in Africa through arm sales, and increasingly the use of PMCs, private military companies, such as, Russia's Wagner Group, and the group's subsidiaries.
The Russian PMCs are the current equivalent to the Russian use of Cuban soldiers in the civil war in Angola to bolster MPLA forces in that civil war.
Africa presents a wide range of complex local military and terrorism conflicts, and although Russian private military and security companies, such as the Wagner Group, purport to redress these kinds of complex conflicts with which many African governments have and continue to struggle, the Wagner group is bogged down in a quagmire in Mali, and failed miserably in its counter insurgency efforts in Mozambique, and faces real challenges to its gold mining operations in the Sudan in the mist of a civil war.
Not only is the Wagner Group now sandwiched between the forces attacking Russian border towns, the FRL and the RVC, and regular Ukrainian forces in pre-offensive mode, but they are potentially and increasingly coming into close proximity to the current surge of US and allied forces intent on their removal from the entire continent of Africa.
Some reports suggest that skirmishes between allied forces and Russian private military companies, especially in Northern Africa, are not infrequent occurrences.
If nothing else, the days of Russia's Wagner Group having free reign in the many theaters in which it operates, is at an end.
As shown in the map above, which is a reasonable, but not exhaustive illustration of where Russian PMCs are currently deployed on the African continent today, it is obvious that the deployment is of scale.
European Intelligence estimates the number of Russian PMCs in Africa as greater than 50,000.
The Wagner Group in Mali has strengthened Salafi-jihadi groups
The Wagner Group began its deployment in Mali in the last few months of 2021, as French troops began to drawdown. And almost immediately found themselves in direct conflict with members of al Qaeda’s Mali branch, Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen (JNIM).
In the broadest view, a geopolitical perspective, Russia's Africa policy, in general, stands in opposition to US policy interests on the continent.
And, it must be noted that in the broadest view, Jihadi movements in Africa, for the most part, stand in opposition to both US and Russian interests in Africa.
Russian strategy in Africa, to a large extent, is driven by a desire to frustrate US policy objectives, often irrespective of the intended outcomes of those objectives.
Africa clearly is an important foreign policy priority for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In part, Russian structures assistance to create African states that are dependent on Moscow’s military assets, and in exchange Russia demands access to state resources. Therefore the observable tendency for Russia to target countries that have fragile governments, and that have abundant important raw materials.
Those with ports are especially valuable to Russian strategic interests, while at the same time extraction resources such as oil and gold make landlocked states equally attractive.
the Russian blind spot
... Zbigniew Brzezinski & Vladimir Putin's folly, and why, the white nationalist, pro-Putin Michael Flynn, and Putin decorated Sec of State Rex Tillerson are clear and present dangers to the US
What's wrong with this picture?
The Reagan Doctrine, argued that support for anti-Communists would topple Communist regimes, and help win the global Cold War, without blowback, that is, without retaliatory consequences to the United States
When the external or foreign affairs of one nation, involves the physical presence of their nationals in another country, the foreign nationals are leaving and entering into both a physical, as well as, a social environment, a geography as it were, that is, the realm of inhabitants and lands with all their complexities and uncertainties.
The physical environment provides the essential resources that humans need to survive, such as air, water, food, and shelter.
Any miscalculation as to the nature of the physical surroundings that one is entering into, will influence the ability to survive, often dramatically and rather quickly. Entering a very cold environment, for example, without provision for proper clothing, shelter and fuel for heating can cause death in as little as a few hours, while a lack of potable water can prove fatal in just three days or less. (1)
1. E. LaMont-Gregory. C.J.K. Henry. T.J. Ryan. Evidence-based humanitarian relief interventions. Published: July 29, 1995 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736 (95)92199-0.
Any miscalculation as to the true nature of the social environment into which one enters, can also weigh heavily on whether or not one survives their initial encounters with the local inhabitants. And in human relations, miscalculations are often the result of preconceived notions of the host population that are biased, discriminatory, or hostile.
For example, consider a 1998 Le Nouvel Observateur interview with former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in Paris, and what can be gleaned from his statements about his social worldview about race, religion, and ethnic nationalism.
Brzezinski wrote that in his opinion the United States was too democratic, and it is well documented that he believed that some races and religions were inherently better, more advanced, than other races and religions. Race used here as can be traced to the use of white, as a race descriptor, which had its origins in the 17th century.
The interviewer wanted to probe Brzezinski about the role the US played in a strategy to get the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, and then support for Islamic fundamentalists groups to battle against the Soviet invasion, once it occurred.
Question: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski : What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Question : “Some agitated Moslems”? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today...
Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West has a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid: There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner, without demagoguery or emotionalism. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, moderate Morocco, militarist Pakistan, pro-Western Egypt, or secularist Central Asia? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries... (2)
2. Source: Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Les Révélations d’un Ancien Conseiller de Carter: ‘Oui, la CIA est Entrée en Afghanistan avant les Russes...’” Le Nouvel Observateur [Paris], January 15-21,1998
The fallacy of Brzezinski's chessboard is evident, as Arafat donned Soviet era, Castro-like military uniform, thinking was that an Islamic Revivalist Jihadi movement in the West Bank and Gaza would help destroy Soviet influence in the Palestine/Israel arena, and the concept of blowback, defines this attempt to sponsor Jihadi movements as anti-Soviet fighters. Afghanistan, and then Syria, were both US financed anti-Soviet campaigns in which Islamic Revivalism inspired Jihadi Movements were employed as pieces on an anti-Soviet chessboard.
The answer to the question as to what is more important in world history, factually depends on whether we are inquiring as to the Taliban's historical significance in the short, medium or long term. Remembering, that the Soviet Union, existed for a mere 69 years from 1922 to 1991.
The stirred-up Moslems, those groups that still operate today, whose origins were in the Jihadi movements that grew out of Egypt, during the time in the 1950s when Sayyid Qutb and Ayman al-Zawahiri, steeped in the writings of al-Banna and the emerging Muslim Brotherhood, were both in Egypt, and agitating Moslems to organize around Jihadi movements.
In fact, the Jihadi movements that began in Egypt, with the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood, have now lasted longer than the Soviet Union did, as they are now more than 95+ years old.
The influence that Salafi-Jihadi movements and their allied militant groups in any area shown on the map below, varies significantly between and even within countries, and how they structure and carry out operations, of which recruitment is not an insignificant one.
In general, however, on the continent of Africa, these militant groups exert actual control over more people and territory in rural as opposed to urban areas. Although they most often launch attacks in urban areas from their rural base, nonetheless they appear equally successful in recruiting in both town and country settings.
After two rather spectacular failures in counter insurgency against Jihadi fighters in Mali and Mozambique, Russia's Wagner group has largely retrenched to act as security forces for unpopular authoritarian leaders, in exchange for extraction operation rights, which the Wagner group carries out themselves.
The Sewa Security Services (Sewa), a Central African Republic based security company controlled by the Wagner Group, provides protection for senior CAR government officials, in exchange for a rather expansive extraction operation.
... the most destabilizing factions on the African continent
the map, left, shows the location of Wagner forces, the numbers on the Wagner group locations map are troop level estimates in 2021; map on right, illustrates the distribution of Salafi-Jihadi movements in Africa, at the end of 2022
It is obvious, from the maps above that Salafi-Jihadi movements and their militias operate in a wider arena on the continent than the Wagner group.
From this fact, some important conclusions can be drawn, such as in which countries Russia has little or no strategic influence, and the countries that are sufficiently capacitated not to need an outside force to protect an unpopular authoritarian leader from their own people.
It is counter productive to have private military companies, fighting insurgencies on the African continent. The insurgency problem has to be dealt with, but the use of forces which do not, as a rule, abide by the rules of war, international humanitarian law, is not the way to go about it.
Lawlessness, cannot be countered by lawlessness.
But the situation for the Wagner group forces is most precarious in the Sudan. First, The Wagner groups is under intense pressure from Putin to move troops from Africa to the Ukraine, and the surge in US and European forces is not good news for the Wagner group's labor-intensive extraction operations that are the raison d'etre for their presence in the Sudan.
Guarding their highly profitable extraction operations, while simultaneously fending off US intentions to disrupt them at every level, beginning with their already precarious logistical requirements, may prove a bridge too far for these operations to continue.
It is time for the African Union to invite the Wagner Group to leave Africa, and to propel their exit from the continent, the crimes against humanity that they have committed, that are much talked about, should now become earnest investigations by the International Court of Justice.
Arrest warrants should be issued for the leaders of the Wagner group, and their subsidiaries. The troops should be offered a chance to put down their arms, return to barracks, surrender, and face deportation from the African Union.
Otherwise, given the fact that they cannot resupply themselves to defend themselves, all they can do is circle the wagons, and from that point, their options are few.
... French and American initiatives take aim to drive Wagner out of Africa
Wagner in Africa, next front in Ukraine - Russia war
Both France and the US have stepped up their multi-faceted efforts to hasten the Wagner group's departure from the continent.
The US, has designated the Wagner group as a 'significant transnational criminal organization' that is responsible for widespread and well-documented human rights abuses in the Central African Republic as well as Mali.
Wagner personnel, according to a recent statement by US Department of Treasury officials, have engaged in an ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity, including mass executions, rape, child abductions and physical abuse in the CAR and Mali.
The leader of the Russia's Wagner group, recently boasted that the group had extracted some $2.7 billion dollars from its gold operations in the Central African Republic, which it uses to finance its war in the Ukraine. The 2.7 billion matches US Treasury Department estimates as well as those several European nations.
The CAR has thus become another front line in the Ukraine-Russia war.
France has warned the regime in Mali about its intention to allow another 1,000 Wagner soldiers into that conflict-stricken country.
And at present, with the upheaval which has befallen the Wagner leader, Wagner forces are leaderless, suffering significant supply chain disruptions, and are being driven out of their once dominant positions in the hierarchy of the regimes they serve.