Awards and Angola

We here at CIMSEC are excited to announce that our NextWar blog has been nominated for “Most Promising New Blog” in the 2014 OAIS Awards. One of our posts from last year, “American Defense Policy: 8 Reality Checks,” by Martin Skold is also up for Best Blog Post. If you have been enjoying our writing we humbly ask you request a ballot and vote (ends Feb 7th). Our friends at Grand Blog Tarkin and War on the Rocks are also up for honors – thankfully in other categories.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to fill your interesting naval developments fix we suggest looking to Angola. Rumored earlier in the year to be in the market for West Africa’s first aircraft carrier, Angola saw the tanker MT Kerala drop all contact on Jan 18th in its waters. On Sunday the shipowner announced that communications had been restored, that the vessel had its cargo stolen, and that one crew member suffered injuries. But the Angolan Navy says the crew faked the attack. gCaptain and Reuters cover possible motivations behind both sides of the story.

If the attack is true it would represent a marked increase in the range of West African piracy, in this case likely emanating from southern Nigeria.

 

The opinions and views expressed in this post are his alone and are presented in his personal capacity. They do not necessarily represent the views of U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Navy.

LT Scott Cheney-Peters is a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve and the former editor of Surface Warfare magazine. He is the founder and vice president of the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC), a graduate of Georgetown University and the U.S. Naval War College, and a member of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council.

One thought on “Awards and Angola”

  1. Angola’s Carrier Ambition
    Two Comments:
    1. That deal fell through on advice from the Spanish Navy that it was ‘a ship too far’.
    2. Angola has three issues in mind iro defence:
    – Internal security: They have not kept most of the promises made to Unita supporters when the war ended, and are beginning to realize that there might actually be some risk of renewed insurgency in the interior, particularly if the DRC becomes even more unstable than it is.
    – The security of Cabinda. The Cabinda enclave, separated from Angola by DRC territory is geographically, ethnically and historically part of the wider Congo; thee Congo kingdoms asked Portugal to establish a protectorate rather than fall into the hands of King Leopold of Belgium. The Portuguese then appointed the same official who was the governor of the colony (later province) of Angola as governor of the Protectorate of Cabinda. From 1061 onward the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave (FLEC) fought a guerrilla war for independence. In 1975, when Portugal abandoned its colonies, they thought they had won – until they were occupied by Cuban troops backing up MPLA officials. Another 20 years of guerrilla war followed, until Angola managed to place its men in the capitals of the two Congos (Kabila junior and Denis Sassou-Nguesso) by military means (a simple invasion in the latter case) and then forced FLEC into a ceasefire once it no longer had a friendly border. But the insurgency still flickers, and both Congos would like to incorporate Cabinda. But Angola needs the oil fields of Cabinda – and there is no overland connection; the only way Angola can get troops into that very small enclave, is by sea. Hence, in part, the new interest in a Navy. To be fair, there was piracy in Angolan waters in the 1990s and they see it coming back south, which is a real concern.
    – The third aspect is that Angola wants to play a political role commensurate with its growing economic strengh, but realises that this means becoming involved in regional security, and that means being able to deploy troops and also play the maritime role that South Africa has effectively declined to take up.

    As a closing comment, a former chief of the Angolan Navy had a very nice way of summing up the problem of armed forces and politicians: :The politicians always talk about the cost of a navy; they never ask the cost of not having a navy”.

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