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November 27, 2013

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sackcloth and ashes

A joke from Cold War days ...

Q: What's the largest country in the world?
A: Cuba. Its capital is Havana, its government is in Moscow, its population is in Miami, and its graveyards are in Angola.

The joke isn't quite fair, because when Castro sent combat troops to Angola in November 1975 he did so off his own bat, rather than being ordered to by Brezhnev. However, I have great fun with Fidel groupies comparing and contrasting Angola with Iraq.

Angola - Castro sends combat troops into the country as part of a grand scheme to promote revolution in Africa.

Iraq - Bush and Blair send combat troops into the country as part of a grand scheme to promote democracy in the Middle East.

Angola - Cuban troops become embroiled in a bloody insurgency, partly indigenous, partly backed by foreign powers.

Iraq - Coalition troops become embroiled in a bloody insurgency, partly indigenous, partly backed by foreign powers.

Angola - The indigenous government is incompetent, corrupt, brutal, and entirely dependent on foreign troops and arms.

Iraq - The indigenous government is incompetent, corrupt, brutal, and requests the departure of all foreign troops eight years after the initial intervention.

Angola - The Cuban troop presence is paid for by the proceeds of oil.

Iraq - The USA and Britain spend billions keeping troops in the country.

Angola - Thousands of civilians die.

Iraq - Thousands of civilians die.

Angola - After the Cubans leave, there is a bloody civil war, and the MPLA establishes a corrupt dictatorship which robs the country blind.

Iraq - After the Americans and British leave, there is terrorist violence, and Nuri al-Maliki establishes a corrupt and autocratic government.

Angola - Fidel Castro is praised as an internationalist.

Iraq - Bush and Blair are damned as war criminals.

Bob-B

Surely the predecessors of the Stop the War guys were busy calling for 'troops out', weren't they?

Brian

I remember being very surprised when both countries came up at once in a news story (a typically horrible news story):

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/africa/article2593048.ece


sackcloth and ashes

@ Brian - Angola and Zimbabwe have been allies since the DRC war.

Another conflict which has escaped our attention, owing to the absence of US, British or Israeli troops.

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