On April 15, Al Jazeera released a report entitled “Russia in Africa: Inside a military training centre in CAR | Talk to Al Jazeera In The Field“. The video report provides Al Jazeera’s look at the Russian presence in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The report demonstrates that there is nothing secret in the Russian presence in the CAR. All relations between the two states are formalized on the high and highest levels: interstate treaties and agreements between departments of the states. A group of Russian political advisers and a notable group of military advisers operate in the CAR.
Valery Zakharov, a former Russian intelligence official, who stepped in as adviser to the CAR’s president, gave Al Jazeera access to the military base where CAR personnel are undergoing training under the supervision of the Russians. He also openly described goals and agenda of his presence in the country.
“My job is to deal with national security, I help restore the army, police and all sorts of questions regarding national security,” Zakharov said. “The Russians came here to bring peace. To arm government troops is one of the tasks so in the future these soldiers can occupy the borders and peace can be brought here in the end, and police take care of internal security.”
It is obvious that the Russian presence in the CAR is wider than just an attempt to bring peace to this unstable region. Russia also pursues own geopolitical and economic goals. It would be strange if one of the leading actors of the international relations does not seek to strengthen its position around the world.
Al Jazeera attempts to show its report as a “neutral” allowing various sides to express their attitude. Nonetheless, the wording and style of the report demonstrate obvious anti-Russian sentiments.
The reports starts with a map showing arrows from Ukraine, Russia’s Republic of Chechnya and Syria to the CAR. It’s an absurdity to show Chechnya as a “unstable” region. There were no active military actions in the republic for about 15 years. At the same time, the scale of anti-terrorist operations in Chechnya is tens times lower than in the modern France, for example. When Al Jazeera shows Ukraine, it likely means the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). As to Syria, the video likely means the Russian military group dispatched to the country. Do Al Jazeera authors really believe that all Russian military potential are deployed there? This is absurd in terms of formal logic. But such a shot is a useful tool to exploit the “Russian threat” narrative.
Al Jazeera also interviewed an ‘opposition leader’, who came with a fierce speech Russian actions. The video report describes him as Seleka fighter Nimery Matar Djamous aka ‘General Force’ and mentions that he is accused of war crimes including torture, rape, and extortion, and has evaded arrest by the United Nations security forces.
“The Russians are not here to help, they want our gold, diamonds and minerals. They are here to exploit and replace the French. What they want is obtain France’s position here,” he claimed.
The bandit surrounded by child fighters excites disgust and the entire part with him looks strange.
At the same time, the Al Jazeera video demonstrates a more or less real situation on the ground in the CAR, including mass poverty and a wide spread of weapons. It becomes clear that the government does not control the entire territory of the country. It also becomes clear that the reckless behavior of three liberal Russians, that had allegedly come to the CAR as ‘journalists’, had no chances to end up well.
We recommend all to watch the video and make own conclusions.
Western states have been declared that they are helping Africa tens of years, but the situation is deteriorating. Similar situation can be seen in the Middle East.
First results of the Russian presence in the CAR, if there are some results, will likely become noticeable not earlier than in 1.5-2 years.