Angola: March 19, 2003


: The Angolan government reported on new military action in oil-rich Cabinda province. At least 10,000 Angolan troops are in now in Cabinda. StrategyPage has reported on the troop buildup, including an offensive operation last fall against the rebel Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC). Now Angolan sources assert that the offensive has driven the 1500 to 2000 FLEC fighters into the DRC and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). UN sources, however, say that the UN will be investigating reports of Angolan military crimes in Cabinda, including rape and looting. One UN estimate says the Angolan offensive created 45,000 refugees from Cabinda. Some of the refugees are living in Cabindas jungles, others have moved into the DRC. This implies the offensive employed a scorched earth strategy. The new war in Cabinda looks like one of those conflicts that is off the international communitys radar though a couple of humanitarian NGOs have filed reports (one dating from December 2002). Cabinda produces about 900,000 barrels of oil a day and earns Angola over $4.5 billion a year. One on-line source estimates the US receives four to five percent of its imported oil from Angola. Since Cabinda provides about 90 percent of Angolas oil exports, that means the vast majority of Angolan oil shipped to the US come from Cabinda. FLEC wants to make Cabinda an independent country. Check the map it is separated from the rest of Angola by a narrow slice of the DRC. If Cabinda were a separate country it would become a west African equivalent of a Gulf emirate: tiny, rich, and vulnerable to attack by greedy neighbors. Protection by the large Angolan Army (when it isnt engaged in destroying Cabindan villages) has a potential upside. On the other hand, Cabinda has not received a fair share of its oil revenues most of the people are impoverished. The enclave has put cash in the hands of the Angolan government (and that means cash in the accounts of kleptocrats). Arguably, Cabindan oil financed the Angolan military (the MPLAs military) during the Angolan civil war. (Austin Bay)


Article Archive

Angola: Current 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2001 2000 1999



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close