ZAIRE: MOSCOW'S GOAL It is now obvious that the Russians and Cubans had a very dirty game plan in unleashing recent carnage in Zaire's southernmost Shaba Province.
The goal was to drive out as many of the skilled white European mining engineers and other professionals as possible. Why? Because the copper mines provide Zaire with about 70% of its foreign exchange earnings. Zaire is in very shaky economic condition. Without the mines in operation Zaire very likely could topple — a main Communist objective.
We know now that at least 170 whites met horrible deaths at the hands of the Cuban-trained Lunda tribesmen. Most of the other 2,500 Europeans have been airlifted to safety, nearly all vowing never to subject themselves and their families to such horror again. Said one refugee, upon his arrival in Brussels: "One thing is certain: No white will return to Kolwezi without a permanent European military force there."
The Soviets, of course, denied all involvement in the Shaba chaos. They blamed the bloodshed on France, Belgium and the United States. The Russians remind one of the old-time wrestler on television who always professed his innocence to the referee while the latter was looking. But when the ref walked around the other side, the poor guy on the mat got a thumb in the eye or a blow to the midsection.
SOVIETS EYE MIDEAST OIL What do the recent pro-Soviet coup in Afghanistan, the Red drive from Ethiopia into Eritrea and the Saudi Arabia purchase of advanced jets from the United States all have in common? The Soviet Union is casting lustful eyes on the oil fields of the Middle East.
Senator Abraham Ribicoff, D-Conn., warned during the Senate debate over the controversial sale of planes to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia that the Soviet threat to the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf was of "serious consequence" to the United States and the Western world because half the world's oil reserves are in this area.
He cited CIA estimates as saying Russian oil production will decrease in 1985 while demand will be higher, and "what the Soviets need and what they want" is control of Middle East oil.
Ribicoff said Soviets "know the value of the region they are surrounding," and asked: "Does anyone think they give a damn about Afghanistan or Yemen or Ethiopia?
"The point is," he said, "that while everyone is drawing attention to the confrontation states at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, we had better watch out for the back door and what the Soviets and Cubans are up to in the Arabian peninsula and the Persian Gulf.
"You can say what you want, whoever controls that oil will control the economic lifeblood of the West. Let the Soviets control that oil... and where will the United States be? "The Saudis are scared, and I think they ought to be scared because they have what the whole world wants. That is oil, and that is a mighty powerful package."