I received this on my email today and I highly suggest everyone to read this, truly amazing:
ON THE POLITICAL FRONT, given the
political upheaval in Egypt and other countries, we thought it might be worthwhile to note the relative“ages” of the regimes across northern Africa. Moving from West to East, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, has been in power since 1999 and he assumed the throne of this constitutional monarchy in July of that year following the death of his father, King Hassan II, who himself had ruled the kingdom since 1961,assuming the kingship from his father, Mohammed V.
King Mohammed VI is rather well liked by his people, and although there are reports from time to time of troubles within the Kingdom, we do not expect to see this monarchy overthrown.
It will survive.
There were reports yesterday in the Spanish media that Morocco’s King Mohammed had organized his military to oppose protests that might develop. The official Moroccan news agency has taken issue with those reports… obviously.
Moving to the east and Algeria, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been in power since 1999, having come to power in an election that year in which he won 74% of the vote. We should remember that there were elections to have been held in ’92, but were cancelled
by the military when it became clear that the Islamist oriented Salvation Front was going to win.
The military took control and Bouteflika assumed the Presidency in what most perceive to be reasonably free elections. President Bouteflika has battled al-Queda in the Islamic Maghreb for years and the organisation remains an active, although obviously a small minority force there. AQIM can be expected to ramp up its anti-government activities as a result of the Tunisia/Egypt situation but the military is strong enough and anti-Islamist enough to retain control of the situation.
COMMENTS ON THE CAPITAL MARKETS THE WAGES OF SIN ARE RICHES
ABROAD IN EXILE:
We here in the US and many in Europe really do need to understand just how amazingly corrupt so many of the world’s dictators and
regimes have been in the past fifty years. Kleptocracy is a word now rather common, but not so long ago few really knew what a “Kleptocrat” was, nor did they know just how corrupt these people were... or could be.
The sums of money stolen from nation’s everywhere around the world is mind-numbing, and a reason for the rising anger made evident by the toppling of the regime in Tunisia, the soon-to-be-toppled regime in Egypt, and the not-soon-far-off-toppling of regimes in the Persian Gulf, in the Middle East and across the rest of Africa.
The Financial Times had a recent article noting the high and low range of estimates on the funds stolen by dictators and autocrats around the world, and we thought it worthy of reporting here this morning. These are stunning sums, and in order to be simple, we’ve taken the average of the range of the low “Guesstimate” to the high in order to rank these thieves (to make things right, the FT has issued these figures in ’09 dollars, to account for inflation over the years): Firstly, and standing head-and-shoulders above all others, was the former Shah of Iran, Mohammed Pahlavi, who “stole” $35 billion. Given the present day population of 65 million people, that is approximately $540/capital that the Shah stole… and remember, that is from every single person in the country. This is not an inconsiderable sum.
Next on the list if the always popular Saddam Hussein who “stole” $25 billion. That’s roughly equivalent to $910/capita, so although he stole less money than did the Shaw, he stole nearly twice as much per capita and he shall reign as the champion long into the future. But remember, records are always meant to be broken.
Next is Suharto of Indonesia, who stole just a bit less than $25 billion from the country, but because Indonesia’s population is so much larger than it that of Iran or Iraq his per capita theft was much smaller… "only” a bit more than $105. Suharto then is almost a
gentleman when compared to the other two just above. Houphouet-Boigny of the Cote D’Ivoire had a much smaller county with far fewer economies within the country to steal from, but he still stole plenty. The FT has his “theft” at approximately $8 billion but he stole from a country with only 18 million people, so his per capital theft took him to just under $450/person.
Houphouet-Boigny gave it the “old college try” but just can’t compete with the “Big Boys” like Saddam and the shah.
This then brings us to Ferdinand Marcos and his infamous, shoe-loving wife, Imelda, whom The FT thinks stole approximately $7.5 billion from the people of the Philippines. Given the size of the population there, the Marcos’ were almost humanitarian in their stealing, taking “only” a little more than $80/person from their fellow citizens. A few shoes less and Ms. Marcos might have been an candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize given how readily the Nobel committee gave out the award two years ago to our President who had been in office less than two months. Moving right along then, Mobuto Sese-Seko was always one of our favourite despots, capable of the
most amazingly inhumane tactics against his enemies, killing tens of thousands of his fellow Zairians…. And he robbed the country blind in the slaughtering, stealing $6 billion. Apparently there was just not that much more he could steal at the time, so he succeeded in stealing “only” $90/person, but as a percentage of total GDP, Mobuto is probably the leader of this felonious pack.
The family of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Angola has plundered that state, stealing $5 billion and given that there are only a few more than 12 million Angolans, this small sum is sufficient to push Dos Santos into the upper echelons of per capita theft. Dos Santos stole very nearly $420/person from his fellow
citizens. However, we look for President dos Santos to move up the scale over time for he is still in power and Angola is swiftly becoming a petro-power given the huge new oil finds off her coast. Give dos Santos time; we think he has the talent and the inclination to steal another $5 billion in the next few years, pushing him up
the total and the per capital steps.
Then we have Sani Abacha, the former President of Nigeria, who according to the FT’s data stole about $4 billion from that oil rich nation’s coffers. Abacha could have stolen more, but the population of Nigeria makes its life off of corruption, with some many levels of
society stealing from itself the very top simply did have the opportunity to steal what it felt was rightfully its but there was less there to steal than Abacha thought he deserved. Given Nigeria’s huge population, Sani Abach’s “performance” in per capita terms is really verysmall.
He stole “only” $30/person from his fellow Nigerians. We here are almost prepared to give him a Nobel Prize for his honesty in office, for certainly he could have stolen more if he really wanted too… but he died in office of a heart attack after only serving 5 years
as the country President.
Had he had the time in office that the Shah had, or that Saddam had, we are certainly Abacha could have achieved a new record. Sadly, we’ll never know; he was snatched away before his true kleoptocratic skills could be properly honed.
Finally, we have Daniel Arap Moi, the President of Kenya who The FT figures stole “only” $3 billion while in office. This was, however, sufficiently large at just over $80/person to tie him for the 2nd least klepotcratic of those noted here this morning, tied with President and Mrs. Marcos. And where were these sums of money secreted too? Switzerland primarily of course, followed hard upon by
the Isle of Man; Monaco; the Caymans; and several central and South American countries who have tried their hand at offering the world’s criminals safety and sanctuary.
Very long read I know but once you read it you will see why the people in the region are PISSED OFF at their leaders.
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