Africa and the Mid-East

Africa 1

Barring South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, sub-Saharan Africa is the Dark Continent again as plagues and famine have wiped out whole societies and created wars between tribes, between religions and between nations all across the continent. In the gaps created by failed states, terrorism and piracy thrive – as do corporate corruption and malfeasance. The Middle East has seen water-wars help fuel its meltdown into two decades of conflict from which the Greater Islamic Republic is rising as a new colussus, a Caliphate but governed under the tenets of Reformed Islam.


Between 2010 and 2050, Africa’s population more than doubled from one to over two and a half billion souls. The bulk of that growth was in sub-Saharan Africa, where population bloomed from 770 million to almost 2 billion, despite losing hundreds of millions in the plagues, famines and wars of the Collapse. Experts estimate that a third of the continent is starving.

Africa 2

The African continent is rich with treasure, it lush dense jungles are lusted after by logging and timber industries, its fertile grasslands and plains sought by agricultural corporations. Many of the countries have large deposits of gold, silver, uranium, diamonds, plutonium, oil, copper, coal, salt, and many other ores ripe for the plucking. Wildlife is an important resource for the genetic corporations, as many of the animals in Africa can be found no where else in the world – both the gorilla and the African elephant exist now only in labs and private zoos. To the African peoples of the north the most valued and rare resource is water, as the majority of northern Africa is a desert wasteland. The largest natural resource in Africa however, are its people. After years of poverty, disease, persecution, and starvation, Africa is the best place in the world to find cheap labor. The people will work for pennies. This exploitation is perhaps the greatest gift, and greatest atrocity granted the African people by the western world.

There are so many failed states following decades of war, plagues and famine that it could almost be called the first Failed Continent. South Africa holds on by the skin of it’s teeth but further North the continent has mostly become a bloody tapestry of tribal feuds and food wars, punctuated by proxy battles between clients of superpowers like india and China or between corporations scrabbling for scarce resources. Even Kenya and Nigeria, which have urbanized and industrialized on a massive scale with corporate help, can only hold onto their populations by near totalitarian government.

The politics of the African countries themselves is often so confusing as to be indecipherable. In fact the political arena of Africa closely resembles that of a feudal period, where wars are fought and alliances switch all too often. The largest cause of problems in these areas is usually poverty mixed with tribal conflict. Government corruption and military dictatorships are another key cause of conflict in the independent nations. The relations between these countries often more resembles schoolyard bullies fighting over turf than sovereign nations. Political disagreements almost always lead to open war between these neighbors, and inside their own walls tribal dissent often leads to bloody confrontations, in some cases genocide. Those in power are no better, as political leaders fight for control through any means necessary. Bloody coup’s and uprisings are common. The countries that seem to be fairing the best are the ones that keep a strict policy of Isolationism, like Egypt.

The Middle East

The story of the Middle East during and after the Collapse is the story of the rise of the Greater Islamic Republic.

The Islamic Republic of Iran announced in 2014 that it had achieved a “virtual deterrent” – the same capability as Japan or Belgium to construct a nuclear weapon rapidly in response to an attack. The West and Israel had been muttering about attacking that nuclear program for over a decade, with never any action taken because Iran always carefully stayed below the threshold of causing outright public alarm. Now, however, any Western attack would be met by a nuclear response. Like Pakistan and North Korea, Iran had moved into new geopolitical territory and the new Grand Ayatollah, an Iraqi brought up in Iran who had swiftly moved to unify Shiite Islam, didn’t waste time in taking advantage of the economic crash. He used Iraq’s hoard of oil cash to fund Unification in full with Iraq in 2017, despite a Sunni insurgency, and cut the Kurdish North loose as an independent nation and a divisive thorn in Sunni sides. Then he turned to Western Afghanistan, to Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Yemen and other nations with large Shia populations, fomenting rebellions and civil war. The objective was no less than a new Safavid Empire.

Gir troops

While Israel sat worried on the sidelines and the West looked on from afar, the Sunni nations of the region – led by Saudi Arabia – pushed back hard. They funded insurgencies and backed incumbent rulers whenever necessary, depleting their own hoards of oil cash. Brushfire proxy wars sprang up across the region, meeting global warming and failing oil incomes head on in a recipe for geopolitical disaster. The wars escalated until, on 11th August 2020, Saudi Arabia revealed it too had nuclear capacity – by striking Tehran, Basra and Tabriz with nuke-tipped cruise missiles believed to have been bought from Pakistan. The U.S. and Europe were dragged in, all unwillingly, and the Iranian counterstrike a month later aimed at Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Muscat was intercepted by Western missile defenses. A coalition of European nations put troops into the region as peacekeepers, mostly to secure remaining oil reserves and the Suez Canal, but too late to stop Israel being largely overcome by a tide of refugees who turned that small nation into a terrorist nightmare.

To the East however, Iran’s shakeup of Shia/Sunni rivalries in Afghanistan had even more horrific consequences. As the Eastern provinces of that country rebelled against the still-shaky and notoriously corrupt Kabul government, they appealed to Pakistan for help and troops were dispatched. India reacted strongly and the two regional nuclear powers were set on the course to a war which would wipe out Pakistan’s government and restore india’s boundaries to those of the time of the British Raj.

Back in the Greater Islamic Republic, however, the short but destructive nuclear exchange with the Saudis created a sea-swell of popular opinion which culminated in the Grand Ayatollah declaring in 2030 that he had had a revelatory vision, that henceforth he would be primarily the spiritual leader of the nation and that the Greater Islamic Republic would be ruled according to democratic principles under a President and his cabinet, with Grand Ayatollah Sadr as a kind of constitutional monarch with veto powers only. Over the next three years, the Grand Ayatollah and his new President, Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of a previous president, worked hard to stamp out corruption and nepotism within government, as well as to curb the influence of military factions and militias. Meanwhile, Sadr was expounding a new form of Islam, based upon his vision, which emphasized modernity, tolerance, reunification and liberty.

So successful was Sadr that in 2033 Sunni religious leaders met the Grand Ayatollah to call for, and get, a “Nur Ad-Din” of Reformed Islam which united the moderate members of both Sunni and Shia branches of that religion worldwide. There would be hold-outs for decades, and several short conventional wars, but the new reformed islam took hold quickly, seeming to offer Muslims worldwide a new and more prosperous future. In 2045 Turkey became the first majority reformed-Sunni nation to join the Greater Islamic Republic and others swiftly followed until the Greater Islamic Republic – a form of United Muslim States – by 2050 encompasses Eastern Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Lebanon. Other nations – primarily Morocco and Libya, are in negotioations to join. The Republic is primarily opposed geopolitically by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India, Nigeria and the “old” superpowers of Europe’s Northern Union and Russia.

Nowadays controlled by the relatively stable Greater Islamic Republic, the mid-East still sees more than its fair share of fundementalist terrorism, albeit now the Salafists aim at their reformed co-religionists. The ruins of the cities of Medinah, Tabuk and Doha are no longer lethally radioactive but stand as reminders of the United States’ swift vengeance. Israel has collapsed under the twin pressures of refugees and demographics, but the Jewish people of the Second Diaspora still have dreams of a return and know they’d have to fight for a homeland again.

(With credit to Deric “D” Bernier, much of who’s African Sourcebook for the CP2020 RPG can be adapted by GM’s for any cyberpunk campaign.)

Africa and the Mid-East

Edgerunners Langy Langy