Countries are "pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world," wrote Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, in 1898. Nothing has changed. The shopping mall massacre in Nairobi was a bloody facade behind which a full-scale invasion of Africa and a war in Asia are the great game. The al-Shabaab shopping mall killers came from Somalia. If any country is an imperial metaphor, it is Somalia. Sharing a common language and religion, Somalis
have been divided between the British, French, Italians and Ethiopians. Tens of thousands of people have been handed from one power to another. "When they are made to hate each other," wrote a British colonial official, "good governance is assured." Today, Somalia is a theme park of brutal, artificial divisions, long impoverished by World Bank and IMF "structural adjustment" programmes, and saturated with modern weapons, notably President Obama's personal favourite, the drone. The one stable Somali government, the Islamic Courts, was "well received by the people in areas it controlled," reported the US Congressional Research Service, "but received negative press coverage, especially in the West." Obama crushed it, and in January, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, presented her man to the world. Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States government, " effused President Hassan Mohamud, "thank you, America." The shopping mall atrocity was a response to this, just as the attack on the Twin Towers and the London bombings were explicit reactions to invasion and injustice. Once of little consequence, jihadism now marches in lockstep with the return of unfettered imperialism. Since Nato reduced modern Libya to a Hobbesian state in 2011, the last obstacles to Africa have fallen. "Scrambles for energy, minerals and fertile land are likely to occur with increasingly intensity," report Ministry of Defense planners. They predict "high numbers of civilian casualties", therefore "perceptions of moral legitimacy will be important for success." Sensitive to the PR problem of invading a continent, the arms mammoth, BAE Sustems, together with Barclay and BP, warn that "the government should define its international mission as a managing risks on behalf of British citizens". The cynicism is lethal. British governments are repeatedly warned, not least by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, that foreign adventures beckon retaliation at home. With minimal media interest, the US African Command (Africom) has deployed troops to 35 African countries, establishing a familiar network of authoritarian supplicants eager for bribes and armaments. In war games, a "soldier to soldier" doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. The British did the same in India. It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black colonial elite whose "historic mission", warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the subjugation of their own people in the cause of "a capitalism rampant though camouflaged". The reference also fits the Son of Africa in the White House. For Obama, there is a more pressing cause, China. Africa is China's success story. Where the Americans bring drones, the Chinese build roads, bridges and dams. What the Chinese want is resources, especially fossel fuels.