Culprits Of The 14-Year Civil War: Profiteers Or Tribalists?

By J. Yanqui Zaza


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
April 19, 2006


In Washington, District of Columbia, the capital city of profiteers and the Headquarters of the World Bank, Dr. Boima Fahnbulleh again repeated his view that profiteers and not ethnic feud/hatreds triggered the civil war in Liberia. A large section of Liberians, for various reasons, do not discuss the April 12, 1980 events (i.e., the beginning of the civil war) except in saloons or in kitchens. The elites, apparent associates of the business world, prefer to say nothing. But unlike Dr. Fahnbulleh, those who organized the controversial Memorial Service to honor the 13 officials that were executed did not only blame indigenous people (i.e., the official version), but they demanded an apology from those they accused. Regrettably, other Liberians have continued to discredit any versions other than the rumor that 17 indigenous men planned the April 12, 1980 coup.

Recently, an anonymous correspondent to the “Liberian Chart Room,” commenting on the article “Tolbert and Doe, different assassins, but same architect,” did question the veracity of some of the assertions of Mrs. Victoria David Tolbert’s narrative of the events of the coup. The late Mrs. Tolbert, wife of William R. Tolbert, president of the Republic of Liberia, claimed in her book that non-Liberians killed her husband. I surmise that in addition to the organizers of the memorials service, many Liberians might be surprised to read president Tolbert’s prophecy. While addressing the US Congress in 1976 (i.e., about four years before his assassination), he stated that profiteers such as the armament industry’s desire for excessive profits was usurping the goal of development, thereby destabilizing developing countries.

Is it far fetched to conceive that the armament industry benefited from the 14-year civil war in Liberia? More so, is it not because of profits that profiteers carried out the slave trade and have continue to engineer coups, plant, and embellish stories in local newspapers, and finance fake demonstrations to replace honest and patriotic leaders? Should we assume that personnel at the US Embassy in Monrovia knew little or nothing about the events of April 12, 1980? If so, why did US Embassy personnel refuse to give a diplomatic refuge to A. B. Tolbert and Clarence Simpson, assuming that such rumor is true? But even if one were to accept the benefit of deniability of the knowledge of the coup, US officials could have used their military presence and stop the killing of government officials. Liberia was the headquarters for US military in Africa. (NY Times, April 26, 1994). In fact a US military base near Roberts Field is locally known as “Smell No Taste.” Residents within the vicinity gave the name because they did smell food of the soldiers but ate none.

What would have happened if the thirteen officials were airlifted to another country just as similar arrangements were made for former leaders of countries such as Baby Doc of Haiti, Idi Amin of Uganda, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, Mobutu Sese Sekou of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Alberto Fujimori of Peru, etc? So, how come about ten years later a similar error was made? Okay Doe was recalcitrant and he didn’t want to leave. But did it make any sense to allow a leader of one armed rival ethnic group to kill the leader of the other armed ethnic group? In 1985, these two ethnic groups plunged the country into a mini-civil war after the late General Quiwonkpa, another son of Nimba County attempted to kill president Doe, a son of Grand Gedeh County. Did the deceptive role played by the mediators contribute to the prolongation of the war?

In fact numerous documents published by both former CIA agents and US officials such as John Perkins continue to expose the deception and implicate profiteers for many of the unrests in developing countries. In the case of Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Robert H. Johnson said the former US president Dwight Eisenhower directly ordered the assassination of the Prime minister. A documentary film of the British Broadcasting Corporation showed in August 2004 a US document in which the president was accused. While officials of both Britain and the US were searching for a hoax, Belgium eliminated Lumumba, whom the western officials had referred to as a Soviet puppet. To create an environment for the mission, Belgium did provoke the army mutiny in mineral rich province of Katanga and instigated the fight for Katanga to secede.

The idea to manufacture lies in order to occupy or control a sovereign country has always been used. For example, in order for the Bush Administration to build four military bases in Iraq to protect its interest, US officials planted stories, cajoled foreign leaders in accepting the hoax that that Iraq did possess Weapon of Mass Destruction. In addition, when the Bush Administration was losing the propaganda war that Saddam Hussein had Weapon of Mass Destruction, it decided to provoke the Iraqi leader. Mr. Don Van Natal, in a story aired in Britain in February 2006, said president George W. Bush presented three possible ways of provoking Iraq, which would be used as pretext for the invasion. One of the scenarios was that the US would intentionally violate Iraqi airspace by flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft, painted in U.N. colors, and if Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach of U.N. laws.

The idea of provoking is not limited to countries in the third world. Just as provocations were carried out in Tulsa, Oklahoma and other Southern States in America, profiteers, in 1886, instigated a racial riot in North Carolina and drove a wedge between professional blacks and liked-minded whites. (Brent Staples, NY Times, 01/08/06). Mr. Staples said that profiteers did fear the coming of "…a progressive government to power both in the city and at the state level."

Profiteers are also applying the same logic in the Middle East. For the moment, let us forget about our biblical beliefs and racial reasons of the conflict in the Middle East. Rather, let us review why enormous money is being ditched out to the armament industry and miniscule amount is allocated toward social programs. In the case of Israel, a country with a population of about 6 million and with a $74 billion dollars debt, spent a significant portion of its budget on armaments. (Magazine on Middle East Affairs) For example, American Free Press reported that Israel spent about $10 billion a year on military equipment. So, wouldn't profiteers entice extremists from both sides of the conflicts to provoke and prolong any conflict in any country, be it a third world country or be it in Los Angeles, California? Therefore, before we point our fingers at Congo people, indigenous people, Grand Gedeans, Mandingoes, Nimbanians, let us remember that disunity affects everyone, except for the arm manufacturers and arm dealers.