It may seem like just proper politics – wait until one government is gone to endorse another. But, as usual, it’s more complicated then that.
For people who don’t know who South African President Jacob Zuma is, his only autobiography, from the 1980s, should be a place to start.
(7) Political or special education:
Had political ed. at the beginning of 1960’s. Began with Labour Theory and General politics with emphasis on our struggle, and late I was put in study group where we were taught M/L [Marxist/Leninist] theory. In 1978 I received military training in the Soviet Union.
The attached introduction to this reproduced document is from Paul Trewhela, a former South African Communist Party (SACP) member himself, explains it a little clearer: “At the time of writing he was a member of the Central Committee of the SACP, had received military training in the Soviet Union and – at the time of a subsequent note, dated 1989 – was Head of Intelligence in the ANC’s feared Department of Intelligence and Security, known as NAT. By this time he had been a member of the SACP and of Umkhonto weSizwe, the ANC’s military wing, for well over 20 years, ten years of which he had served in prison on Robben Island.” If there is still confusion, Joe Slovo’s daughter clears it up: “In 2004, I was with my sisters in Mozambique to commemorate those fighters of the ANC’s army, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK for short), who had been killed in the Matola raid. Matola, a suburb of Maputo, was the base for a group of young, black South Africans, many under the command of our father, Joe Slovo, then MK’s chief of staff. He ran a special unit and the Matola men were his elite. … Zuma had worked in the Maputo underground.”
Final note on this organization, and then we move on. From Frontpagemag.com:
Joe Slovo did not come from South Africa or anywhere else on that continent. He was born in Lithuania and came to South Africa as a child with his parents, fleeing anti-Semitism in the Baltic. Supposedly inspired by Soviet gallantry in World War II, Joe became a Moscow loyalist during the Stalin era, when the regime was sinking into its own anti-Semitism, not to mention other mass atrocities. None of that bothered Slovo, who married the daughter of a South African Communist official and rose through the ranks to become General Secretary of the South African Communist Party.
The SACP, like the CPUSA, was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union. According to recently revealed files from Soviet intelligence, the USSR sustained the SACP through the KGB. As those files have it, Joe Slovo commanded Umkhonto we Sizwe, a special operations force which, in June 1980, launched four simultaneous attacks on oil storage tanks and a refinery at Secunda. Slovo didn’t carry out the attacks. He sent black Africans to do the heavy lifting and take the risks.
(If you want more info on Joe Slovo, check out Ron Radosh’s piece on him)
Anyway, what does this have to do with Gadhafi? Aren’t they on the complete opposite ends of the continent? Yep, and that was the point.
In 1973, Leonid Brezhnev told his then ally Somali leader Siad Barre: “Our aim is to gain control of the two great treasure houses on which the West depends–the energy treasure house of the Persian Gulf and the mineral treasure house of central and southern Africa.” (It should be noted that Brezhnev was talking to a North African leader, which would explain his limiting his Middle Eastern target to the Persian Gulf, but former top ranking Soviet bloc intelligence defector Ion Mihai Pacepa makes clear that their target was the Middle East as a whole.) Toward this end, according to investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein, based on an interview with legendary former CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, “When Quadaffi came to power in 196, [old KGB hand Karl] Hanesch was transferred from the East German intelligence service to the Libyan Intelligence Service where he became their key security adviser. It was, according to communication intercepts, a part of the Soviet bloc arrangement to provide intelligence aid to Libya.”
Angleton is quoted as explaining that “It may be politically convenient to assume that Soviet bloc intelligence services act independently of the Soviet Union, especially when it concerns an assassination, but what we don’t really know, or perhaps want to know, is what is the nature of the relationship between the KGB and other Communist intelligence services.” Epstein continues: “He pointed out that the issue could not be peremptorily disposed of. Golitsyn and other defectors had described an extraordinary degree of coordination between these services, guaranteed by a systematic Soviet penetration of the top ranks of satellite services by the KGB’s Second Chief Directorate. One role assigned the satellite services, according to these defectors, was to afford the Soviet Union cover, distance, and deniability in potentially embarrassing operations.”
So what we had was two seemingly different forces on the complete opposite sides of the continent being run by the same people – people on an entirely different continent.
These two conflicts became farther entwined as the plot almost succeeded. As Epstein explained in a separate article:
The magnitude-and direction-of Soviet foreign
aid changed dramatically in the 1970’s. From
1953 until 1973, the combined military and economic
aid to non-Communist countries supplied
by the Soviet Union, which was almost entirely
in the form of loans, averaged just under $1 billion
a year. In 1974, it leaped to $7 billion; by
1979, it had exceeded $10 billion; and by 1982,
it had reached nearly $20 billion. At the same
time, the subsidies that the Soviets supplied to
the Communist bloc, much of which were readvanced
as foreign aid to further Soviet objectives,
increased more than tenfold.
This quantum leap in foreign aid was accompanied
by a commensurate increase in the willingness
of the Soviet Union to confront the West.
… In Africa, it provided the military
wherewithal to establish and entrench client
regimes in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia.
In the Middle East, it turned the pro-Soviet government
in Syria into a formidable regional
power, supported Libyan incursions into Chad
and Sudan, and became the dominant supplier
of weapons for Iran, Iraq, South Yemen, and
This new phase in Soviet expansion was made
possible economically in the winter of 1973 by
the explosion of world oil prices.
ALTHOUGH Russia has been a major producer
of oil since czarist times, its
earnings from exports were limited until the early
1970’s by a combination of high transportation
costs and low world prices. … [Since] the Soviets believed,
with some justification, that oil prices
were being artificially depressed by a
cartel of Western oil companies, they
attempted to break this control of marketing and
refining … Despite falling prices, the Soviet Union
developed new fields in the Urals and Siberia in
the 1960’s that more than trebled its oil production.
By October 1973, it had become the world’s
largest producer-surpassing both Saudi Arabia
and the United States.
The Soviet pricing problem was solved by the
wave of oil shocks, beginning in 1973, that collapsed
the Western cartel and panicked the market.
The first crack in the cartel’s solid front
actually had come [three] years earlier  in Libya which
had granted a concession to [Soviet agent] Armand Hammer’s
Occidental Petroleum, … [which was] well outside the cartel’s purview. In the negotiations over Libya’s share, Hammer
agreed to Qaddafi’s terms. The Persian Gulf nations,
led by Iran, then demanded that the cartel
match these terms; this gradually ratcheted up the
price to $2.18 a barrel, and weakened the cartel’s
control over the marketplace.
Then, in October 1973, came the first real
shock: the Egyptian and Syrian attack on Israel.
The Yom Kippur War was accompanied by the
declaration of an embargo by Saudi Arabia and
four other Arab producers on the delivery of oil
to the United States and other Western nations,
which sent prices spiraling upward to $16 a barrel
by the end of the year. In the turmoil that followed,
the OPEC oil producers effectively nationalized
the concessions that had been controlled
by the Western cartel and, auctioning off their oil
to the highest bidder, turned the oil market into a
The next oil shock came in Iran in 1977, when
riots against the Shah closed down that country’s
oil fields, and prices soared to $30 a barrel. And
when in 1980 Iraq invaded Iran, causing another
round of frantic buying as Japan and Europe
sought to stockpile oil, prices were driven up to
$40 a barrel.
Whether by design or willy nilly, the Soviet Union
played a role in the events which had precipitated
the 2000-percent rise in the value of its
chief export. The policy of undermining the
Western cartel, … was
brought to a successful realization by its client
state in the Middle East, Libya. As U.S. intelligence
learned from its intercepts of the traffic in
messages between Tripoli and Moscow during
Libyan negotiations with Armand Hammer, the
Soviet Union was not uninvolved in the outcome.
After the Western cartel’s control over prices was
weakened, the Soviet Union provided Egypt with
the mobile surface-to-air missiles, anti-tank weapons,
and canal-bridging equipment that made the
Yom Kippur War possible. The Soviet Union also
later furnished Iraq with the armaments to invade
The only reason this plan failed was because the Reagan administration was able to undermine the Soviets’ control over oil prices. As uncovered by Big Peace’s very own Peter Schweizer, Reagan and the CIA were able to arrange a deal with the Saudis in which were to pump more oil and drive oil prices down in return for for our guarantying the Saudis safe passage through hostile waterways. Thus, the Soviets could do nothing but sit idly by and watch as the sole basis of their economy collapses with every passing ship.
The Cold War is over, but the bonds of friendship are not easily broken. Zuma and Gadhafi were on the same side, taking part in the same conspiracy. Like the old saying goes – the more things change, the more things stay the same.