IMF and US African Command Join Hands in the Plunder of the African Continent

by Nile Bowie
Global Research
January 9, 2012

Lagos Dissents Under IMF Hegemony

Nigeria: The Next Front for AFRICOM

On a recent trip to West Africa, the newly appointed managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde ordered the governments of Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Ghana and Chad to relinquish vital fuel subsidies. Much to the dismay of the population of these nations, the prices of fuel and transport have near tripled over night without notice, causing widespread violence on the streets of the Nigerian capital of Abuja and its economic center, Lagos. Much like the IMF induced riots in Indonesia during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, public discontent in Nigeria is channelled towards an incompetent and self-serving domestic elite, compliant to the interests of fraudulent foreign institutions.

Although Nigeria holds the most proven oil reserves in Africa behind Libya, it’s people are now expected to pay a fee closer to what the average American pays for the cost of fuel, an exorbitant sum in contrast to its regional neighbours. Alternatively, other oil producing nations such as Venezuela, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia offer their populations fuel for as little as $0.12 USD per gallon. While Lagos has one of Africa’s highest concentration of billionaires, the vast majority of the population struggle daily on less than $2.00 USD. Amid a staggering 47% youth unemployment rate and thousands of annual deaths related to preventable diseases, the IMF has pulled the rug out from under a nation where safe drinking water is a luxury to around 80% of it’s populace.

Although Nigeria produces 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day intended for export use, the country struggles with generating sufficient electrical power and maintaining its infrastructure. Ironically enough, less than 6% of bank depositors own 88% of all bank deposits in Nigeria. Goldman Sachs employees line its domestic government, in addition to the former Vice President of the World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is widely considered by many to be the de facto Prime Minister. Even after decades of producing lucrative oil exports, Nigeria has failed to maintain it’s own refineries, forcing it to illogically purchase oil imports from other nations. Society at large has not benefited from Nigeria’s natural riches, so it comes as no surprise that a severe level of distrust is held towards the government, who claims the fuel subsidy needs to be lifted in order to divert funds towards improving the quality of life within the country.

Like so many other nations, Nigerian people have suffered from a systematically reduced living standard after being subjected to the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Policies (SAP). Before a loan can be taken from the World Bank or IMF, a country must first follow strict economic policies, which include currency devaluation, lifting of trade tariffs, the removal of subsidies and detrimental budget cuts to critical public sector health and education services.

SAPs encourage borrower countries to focus on the production and export of domestic commodities and resources to increase foreign exchange, which can often be subject to dramatic fluctuations in value. Without the protection of price controls and an authentic currency rate, extreme inflation and poverty subsist to the point of civil unrest, as seen in a wide array of countries around the world (usually in former colonial protectorates). The people of Nigeria have been one of the world’s most vocal against IMF-induced austerity measures, student protests have been met with heavy handed repression since 1986 and several times since then, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths. As a testament to the success of the loan, the average laborer in Nigeria earned 35% more in the 1970’s than he would of in 2012.

Working through the direct representation of Western Financial Institutions and the IMF in Nigeria’s Government, >a new IMF conditionality calls for the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund. Olusegun Aganga, the former Nigerian Minister of Finance commented on how the SWF was hastily pushed through and enacted prior to the countries national elections. If huge savings are amassed from oil exports and austerity measures, one cannot realistically expect that these funds will be invested towards infrastructure development based on the current track record of the Nigerian Government. Further more, it is increasingly more likely that any proceeds from a SWF would be beneficial to Western institutions and markets, which initially demanded its creation. Nigerian philanthropist Bukar Usman prophetically writes “I have genuine fears that the SWF would serve us no better than other foreign-recommended “remedies” which we had implemented to our own detriment in the past or are being pushed to implement today.”

The abrupt simultaneous removal of fuel subsidies in several West African nations is a clear indication of who is really in charge of things in post-colonial Africa. The timing of its cushion-less implementation could not be any worse, Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan recently declared a state of emergency after forty people were killed in a church bombing on Christmas day, an act allegedly committed by the Islamist separatist group, Boko Haram. The group advocates dividing the predominately Muslim northern states from the Christian southern states, a similar predicament to the recent division of Sudan.

As the United States African Command (AFRICOM) begins to gain a foothold into the continent with its troops officially present in Eritrea and Uganda in an effort to maintain security and remove other theocratic religious groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, the sectarian violence in Nigeria provides a convenient pretext for military intervention in the continuing resource war. For further insight into this theory, it is interesting to note that United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania conducted a series of African war game scenarios in preparation for the Pentagon’s expansion of AFRICOM under the Obama Administration.

In the presence of US State Department Officials, employees from The Rand Corporation and Israeli military personnel, a military exercise was undertaken which tested how AFRICOM would respond to a disintegrating Nigeria on the verge of collapse amidst civil war. The scenario envisioned rebel factions vying for control of the Niger Delta oil fields (the source of one of America’s top oil imports), which would potentially be secured by some 20,000 U.S. troops if a US-friendly coup failed to take place At a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward then went on to brazenly state the priority issue of America’s growing dependence on African oil would be furthered by AFRICOM operating under the principle theatre-goal of “combating terrorism”.

At an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests. After the unwarranted snatch-and-grab regime change conducted in Libya, nurturing economic destabilization, civil unrest and sectarian conflict in Nigeria is an ultimately tangible effort to secure Africa’s second largest oil reserves. During the pillage of Libya, its SFW accounts worth over 1.2 billion USD were frozen and essentially absorbed by Franco-Anglo-American powers; it would realistic to assume that much the same would occur if Nigeria failed to comply with Western interests. While agents of foreign capital have already infiltrated its government, there is little doubt that Nigeria will become a new front in the War on Terror.

Rwanda: The Pentagon’s African Holocaust

Spanish High Court investigates genocide committed by US-backed dictatorship.

By  Gearóid  Ó Colmáin
Global Research
December 15, 2011

On November 29th investigative journalist and genocide expert Keith Harmon Snow testified before Spain’s Highest Court (Audencia Nacional) to support the indictments against 40 Rwandan officials for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity during the western-backed invasions of Rwanda and Congo/Zaire by Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF).

In 2005, the relatives of 9 Spanish nationals killed in Rwanda and the Congo in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2000, filed a lawsuit against the government of Rwanda resulting in the issuing of Interpol international arrest warrants for 40 Rwandan officials of Kagame’s régime.

On 6 February 2008, the Spanish Investigative Judge Andreu Merelles issued an indictment charging 40 current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials with serious crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism, perpetrated over a period of 12 years, from 1990 to 2002, against the civilian population, and primarily against members of the Hutu ethnic group.

While the investigations were initially based on complaints from families of nine Spaniards who were killed, harmed or disappeared during the period at issue, the indictment was subsequently expanded to include crimes committed against Rwandan and Congolese victims, based on the universal jurisdiction doctrine. The indictment rules out the prosecution of Paul Kagame, arguing that he may not be prosecuted as long as he holds the position of President of Rwanda.

According to Spanish lawyer Jordi Palou Loverdos:

“Spain’s Audencia Nacional was only met by silence when it duly and formally asked the U.N. to hand over the evidence of these crimes perpetrated against people in 1996 and 1997 or the evidence of the pillaging of valuable mineral resources conducted in these same years or earlier. The international media which had access to the UN report have made public the fact that the UN High Commissioner responsible for the report  keeps- separately from the latter- a confidential  data bank containing evidence that implicates individual Rwandan and Ugandan military officials.”[1]

In spite of threats and intimidation from agents linked to Western governments and from the United Nations, the Spanish High Court authorities are continuing to hear evidence against the Ugandan and Rwandan proxy forces of the United States in Africa.

Keith Harmon Snow has been researching the real facts of the tragedy known to the world as the “Rwandan genocide” (put in quotes?) since 1994, and has, along with many other experts, evidence to prove that the United States, Britain and Israel were responsible for the training, financing and covert military and logistic support of Kagame and Museveni’s forces.

On 6 April 1994, the UPDF/RPA proxy forces assassinated the Rwandan and Burundian presidents (Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira), their military chiefs of staff, and the French pilots of the plane they were flying on, thus provoking and participating in the extermination of hundreds of thousands of Hutus and Tutsis in one of the most violent civil wars in modern history.

Snow also presented detailed evidence of the war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity committed by Kagame and Museveni’s proxy forces, after they invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1996, again backed by the Pentagon, Israel and NATO allies. The Congo/Zaire invasion was commanded by generals Paul Kagame and James Kabarebe, and they involved an officer attached to Kabarebe named Hyppolite Kanambe — alias Joseph Kabila, the strongman in Congo today.

The ongoing Rwandan occupation and plunder of eastern Congo has resulted in the deaths of some ten million people, making this the worst war since the Second World War. The Central African holocaust has been largely ignored by the global mass media corporations who are calling for “humanitarian intervention” in Syria, much as they did to justify invading Libya, by the same countries responsible for supporting mass carnage in Africa.

In spite of orders from Laurent Désire Kabila (Congo’s interim president of 1998-2001), to disengage from the Congo, the RPA and UPDF re-invaded the Congo in 1998, resulting in the Second Congolese War. Although the war is said to have ended in 2001, mass killing of the populations in the mineral rich Kivu provinces of Eastern Congo under the leadership of these US-backed dictators has continued to this day.

Contrary to its stated “peacekeeping” mission, the United Nations Observers Mission for the Congo (MONUC) and its follow on dependent, Monusco, has been deployed in the Congo since 2000 and has been involved in sexual violence and contraband activities. MONUC has provided cover for the Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundi forces, USAID, the Pentagon’s new Africa Command (AFRICOM), and scores of Western mining corporations who are plundering the Eastern Congo.

Snow gave detailed testimony to the Audencia Nacional of the American, British, Belgian, German, Israeli and Australian mining corporations who have profited from the Pentagon’s holocaust in the Congo.  Many of these companies such as Banro Corporation, Barrick Gold and companies run by the Blattner dynasty.

Snow alleges that these corporations have direct links to the criminal networks run by Paul Kagame, who are plundering the Kivu provinces of the Eastern Congo and massacring the Hutu Rwandan refugees there.

Though the majority of victims have been from the populations of Rwandan Hutus, Rwandan Tutsis and Twa have also been targeted, both in Congo and Rwanda, and many Congolese ethnic groups have been targeted in the Congo. The Kagame regime is determined to eliminate all possible opposition to its rule and to occupy and annex eastern Congo to create a “Republic of the Volcanoes” controlled by Rwanda and populated with sattelite US military bases.

Snow told the Spanish court that details collected by the UN Panel of Experts report of 2001 to 2010, detailing the illegal occupation, plunder and war crimes in the Congo, have been watered down by special interest groups linked to Western governments, thus shielding Western corporations and governments from scrutiny by the International Criminal Court and the Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda.

Trained in the notorious Fort Levenworth, Kansas (USA) and advised by former British prime minister Tony Blair, Paul Kagame is without question one of the most evil dictators in modern history. The scale and intensity of his atrocities dwarf those of Pinochet, Suharto and Somoza combined.

Rwanda and the Congo belong to the ninth circle of global capitalism’s Dantesque inferno . It is the circle of betrayal; betrayal of the high ideals of the United Nations to uphold the rule of law and work towards the goal of international peace and stability; betrayal of the trust that ordinary citizens of the world have in media corporations to tell them what is really happening in the world, so that leaders and potentates can be held to account.

In spite of expertise gained on the ground throughout Central Africa spanning 20 years,  expert testimony to the US House of Representatives in 2001, extensive work as genocide consultant to the United Nations and numerous meticulously documented reports, Keith Harmon Snow’s work continues to be ignored by the corporate media and many outlets who claim to be ‘progressive’ and ‘independent’ .

According to  Snow,

“U.S.-based groups fronted by the intelligence and defense establishment and pretending to be ‘grass roots non-government organizations’ — such as the ENOUGH project, Raise Hope for Congo, Resolve, STAND and Save Darfur — have co-opted the grass roots movement and are whitewashing the issues and controlling the media, academic and public spaces to prevent the true grass roots voices for Central Africa from being heard and to prevent the deeper issues from being understood.” [2]

In preparation for a documentary film to be released next year on the African holocaust, Keith Harmon Snow has just completed a series of interviews with distinguished scholars, investigative journalists and lawyers from France, Spain, Germany, Camaroun and Rwanda. The film, as yet untitled, is expected to be aired in film festivals throughout the world and will also be available online for mass viewing.

Rwanda and the Congo belong to the ninth circle of global capitalism’s Dantesque inferno . It is the circle of betrayal; betrayal of the high ideals of the United Nations to uphold the rule of law and work towards the goal of international peace and stability; betrayal of the trust ordinary citizens of the world have in media corporations to tell them what is really happening in the world, so that leaders and potentates can be held to account.

Uncovering the truth about the role of Western imperialism in the violence that has beset Central Africa since the fall of the USSR to the present day, is of vital importance, as the obscene and racist myth of an African genocide America “failed to prevent” constitutes the mendacious and  insane basis for the Orwellian “responsibility to protect” doctrine.

Western governments and their pro-Kagame lobbies in the mainstream media are prompt to smear as ‘genocide deniers’ those who challenge the lies and distortions of the official genocide narrative of the current Rwandan régime by exposing the inconvenient and politically incorrect facts. In the case of Rwanda and the Congo, it should now be abundantly clear who those genocide-deniers are.

Libya: U.S. Government Propaganda and Media Lies

by Brian Becker
Global Research
August 24, 2011

Libya is a small country of just over 6 million people but it possesses the largest oil reserves in all of Africa. The oil produced there is especially coveted because of its particularly high quality.

The Air Force of the United States along with Britain and France has carried out 7,459 bombing attacks since March 19. Britain, France and the United States sent special operation ground forces and commando units to direct the military operations of the so-called rebel fighters – it is a NATO- led army in the field.

The troops may be disaffected Libyans but the operation is under the control and direction of NATO commanders and western commando units who serve as “advisors.” Their new weapons and billions in funds come from the U.S. and other NATO powers that froze and seized Libya’s assets in Western banks. Their only military successes outside of Benghazi, in the far east of the country, have been exclusively based on the coordinated air and ground operations of the imperialist NATO military forces.

In military terms, Libya’s resistance to NATO is of David and Goliath proportions. U.S. military spending alone is more than ten times greater than Libya’s entire annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which was $74.2 billion in 2010, according to the CIA’s World Fact Book.

In recent weeks, the NATO military operations used surveillance-collecting drones, satellites, mounting aerial attacks and covert commando units to decapitate Libya’s military and political leadership and its command and control capabilities. Global economic sanctions meant that the country was suddenly deprived of income and secure access to goods and services needed to sustain a civilian economy over a long period.

“The cumulative effect [of NATO’s coordinated air and ground operation] not only destroyed Libya’s military infrastructure but also greatly diminished Colonel Gaddafi’s commanders to control forces, leaving even committed fighting units unable to move, resupply or coordinate operations,“ reports the New York Times in a celebratory article on August 22.

A False Pretext

The United States, United Kingdom, France, and Italy targeted the Libyan government for overthrow or “regime change” not because these governments were worried about protecting civilians or to bring about a more democratic form of governance in Libya.

If that were the real motivation of the NATO powers, they could start the bombing of Saudi Arabia right away. There are no elections in Saudi Arabia. The monarchy does not even allow women to drive cars. By law, women must be fully covered in public or they will go to prison. Protests are rare in Saudi Arabia because any dissent is met with imprisonment, torture and execution.

The Saudi monarchy is protected by U.S. imperialism because it is part of an undeclared but real U.S. sphere of influence and it is the largest producer of oil in the world. The U.S. attitude toward the Saudi monarchy was put succinctly by Ronald Reagan in 1981, when he said that the U.S. government “will not permit” revolution in Saudi Arabia such as the 1979 Iranian revolution that removed the U.S. client regime of the Shah. Reagan’s message was clear: the Pentagon and CIA’s military forces would be used decisively to destroy any democratic movement against the rule of the Saudi royal family.

Reagan’s explicit statement in 1981 has in fact been the policy of every successive U.S. administration, including the current one.

Libya and Imperialism

Libya, unlike Saudi Arabia, did have a revolution against its monarchy. As a result of the 1969 revolution led by Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was no longer in the sphere of influence of any imperialist country.

Libya had once been an impoverished colony of Italy living under the boot heel of the fascist Mussolini. After the Allied victory in World War II, control of the country was formally transferred to the United Nations and Libya became independent in 1951 with authority vested in the monarch King Idris.

But in actuality, Libya was controlled by the United States and Britain until the 1969 revolution.

One of the first acts of the 1969 revolution was to eliminate the vestiges of colonialism and foreign control. Not only were oil fields nationalized but Gaddafi eliminated foreign military bases inside the country.

In March of 1970, the Gaddafi government shut down two important British military bases in Tobruk and El Adem. He then became the Pentagon’s enemy when he evicted the U.S. Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli that had been operated by the United States since 1945. Before the British military took control in 1943, the facility was a base operated by the Italians under Mussolini.

Wheelus had been an important Strategic Air Command (SAC) base during the Cold War, housing B-52 bombers and other front-line Pentagon aircrafts that targeted the Soviet Union.

Once under Libyan control, the Gaddafi government allowed Soviet military planes to access the airfield.

In 1986, the Pentagon heavily bombed the base at the same time it bombed downtown Tripoli in an effort to assassinate Gaddafi. That effort failed but his 2-year-old daughter died along with scores of other civilians.

The Character of the Gaddafi Regime

The political, social and class orientation of the Libyan regime has gone through several stages in the last four decades. The government and ruling establishment reflected contradictory class, social, religious and regional antagonisms. The fact that the leadership of the NATO-led National Transition Council is comprised of top officials of the Gaddafi government, who broke with the regime and allied themselves with NATO, is emblematic of the decades-long instability within the Libyan establishment.

These inherent contradictions were exacerbated by pressures applied to Libya from the outside. The U.S. imposed far-reaching economic sanctions on Libya in the 1980s. The largest western corporations were barred from doing business with Libya and the country was denied access to credit from western banks.

In its foreign policy, Libya gave significant financial and military support to national liberation struggles, including in Palestine, Southern Africa, Ireland and elsewhere.

Because of Libya’s economic policies, living standards for the population had jumped dramatically after 1969. Having a small population and substantial income from its oil production, augmented with the Gaddafi regime’s far-reaching policy of social benefits, created a huge advance in the social and economic status for the population. Libya was still a class society with rich and poor, and gaps between urban and rural living standards, but illiteracy was basically wiped out, while education and health care were free and extensively accessible. By 2010, the per capita income in Libya was near the highest in Africa at $14,000 and life expectancy rose to over 77 years, according to the CIA’s World Fact Book.

Gaddafi’s political orientation explicitly rejected communism and capitalism. He created an ideology called the “Third International Theory,” which was an eclectic mix of Islamic, Arab nationalist and socialist ideas and programs. In 1977, Libya was renamed the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. A great deal of industry, including oil, was nationalized and the government provided an expansive social insurance program or what is called a welfare state policy akin to some features prevalent in the Soviet Union and some West European capitalist countries.

But Libya was not a workers’ state or a “socialist government” to use the popular if not scientific use of the term “socialist.” The revolution was not a workers and peasant rebellion against the capitalist class per se. Libya remained a class society although class differentiation may have been somewhat obscured beneath the existence of revolutionary committees and the radical, populist rhetoric that emanated from the regime.

As in many developing, formerly colonized countries, state ownership of property was not “socialist” but rather a necessary fortification of an under-developed capitalist class. State property in Iraq, Libya and other such post-colonial regimes was designed to facilitate the social and economic growth of a new capitalist ruling class that was initially too weak, too deprived of capital and too cut off from international credit to compete on its own terms with the dominant sectors of world monopoly capitalism. The nascent capitalist classes in such developing economies promoted state-owned property, under their control, in order to intersect with Western banks and transnational corporations and create more favorable terms for global trade and investment.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the “socialist bloc” governments of central and Eastern Europe in 1989-91 deprived Libya of an economic and military counter-weight to the United States, and the Libyan government’s domestic economic and foreign policy shifted towards accommodation with the West.

In the 1990s some sectors of the Libyan economic establishment and the Gaddafi-led government favored privatization, cutting back on social programs and subsidies and integration into western European markets.

The earlier populism of the regime incrementally gave way to the adoption of neo-liberal policies. This was, however, a long process.

In 2004, the George W. Bush administration ended sanctions on Libya. Western oil companies and banks and other corporations initiated huge direct investments in Libya and trade with Libyan enterprises.

There was also a growth of unemployment in Libya and in cutbacks in social spending, leading to further inequality between rich and poor and class polarization.

But Gaddafi himself was still considered a thorn in the side of the imperialist powers. They want absolute puppets, not simply partners, in their plans for exploitation. The Wikileaks release of State Department cables between 2007 and 2010 show that the United states and western oil companies were condemning Gaddafi for what they called “resource nationalism.” Gaddafi even threatened to re-nationalize western oil companies’ property unless Libya was granted a larger share of the revenue for their projects.

As an article in today’s New York Times Business section said honestly: “”Colonel Qaddafi proved to be a problematic partner for the international oil companies, frequently raising fees and taxes and making other demands. A new government with close ties to NATO may be an easier partner for Western nations to deal with.”

Even the most recent CIA Fact Book publication on Libya, written before the armed revolt championed by NATO, complained of the measured tempo of pro-market reforms in Libya: “Libya faces a long road ahead in liberalizing the socialist-oriented economy, but initial steps— including applying for WTO membership, reducing some subsidies, and announcing plans for privatization—are laying the groundwork for a transition to a more market-based economy.” (CIA World Fact Book)

The beginning of the armed revolt on February 23 by disaffected members of the Libyan military and political establishment provided the opportunity for the U.S. imperialists, in league with their French and British counterparts, to militarily overthrow the Libyan government and replace it with a client or stooge regime.

Of course, in the revolt were workers and young people who had many legitimate grievances against the Libyan government. But what is critical in an armed struggle for state power is not the composition of the rank-and-file soldiers, but the class character and political orientation of the leadership.

Character of the National Transition Council

The National Transitional Council (NTC) constituted itself as the leadership of the uprising in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city. The central leader is Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who was Libya’s Minister of Justice until his defection at the start of the uprising. He was one of a significant number of Western-oriented and neoliberal officials from Libya’s government, diplomatic corps and military ranks who joined the opposition in the days immediately after the start of the revolt.

As soon as it was established, the NTC began issuing calls for imperialist intervention. These appeals became increasing panicky as it became clear that, contrary to early predictions that the Gaddafi-led government would collapse in a matter of days, it was the “rebels” who faced imminent defeat in the civil war. In fact, it was only due to the U.S./NATO bombing campaign, initiated with great hurry on March 19 that the rebellion did not collapse.

The last five months of war have erased any doubt about the pro-imperialist character of the NTC. One striking episode took place on April 22, when Senator John McCain made a “surprise” trip to Benghazi. A huge banner was unveiled to greet him with an American flag printed on it and the words: “United States of America – You have a new ally in North Africa.”

Similar to the military relationship between the NATO and Libyan “rebel” armed forces, the NTC is entirely dependent on and subordinated to the U.S., French, British and Italian imperialist governments.

If the Pentagon, CIA, and Wall Street succeed in installing a client regime in Tripoli it will accelerate and embolden the imperialist threats and intervention against other independent governments such as Syria and Venezuela. In each case we will see a similar process unfold, including the demonization of the leadership of the targeted countries so as to silence or mute a militant anti-war response to the aggression of the war-makers.

We in the ANSWER Coalition invite all those who share this perspective to join with us, to mobilize, and to unmask the colonial agenda that hides under the slogan of “humanitarian intervention.”

Pentagon Carves Africa Into Military Zones

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Global Research

Last year the commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), General William Ward, said the Pentagon had military partnershipsafricomwith 35 of the continent’s 53 nations, “representing U.S. relationships that span the continent.” [1]

That number has increased in the interim.

As the first overseas regional military command set up by Washington in this century, the first since the end of the Cold War, and the first in 25 years, the activation of AFRICOM, initially under the wing of U.S. European Command on October 1, 2007, then as an independent entity a year later, emphasizes the geostrategic importance of Africa in U.S. international military, political and economic planning.

Africa Command’s area of responsibility includes more nations – 53, all African states except Egypt, which remains in U.S. Central Command, and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara), which is a member of the African Union but which the U.S. and its NATO allies recognize as part of Morocco, which conquered it in 1975 – than any of the Pentagon’s other Unified Combatant Commands: European Command, Central Command, Pacific Command, Southern Command and Northern Command (founded in 2002).

The U.S. is alone in maintaining regional multi-service military commands in all parts of the world, a process initiated after World War Two as America pursued its self-appointed 20th century manifest destiny as history’s first worldwide military superpower.

Until October 1, 2008 Africa was overwhelmingly in the European Command’s area of responsibility, with all African nations assigned to it except for Egypt, Seychelles and the Horn of Africa states (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan) overseen by Central Command, and three island nations and a French possession off the continent’s eastern coast (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion) placed under Pacific Command.

The month before AFRICOM began its one-year incubation under U.S. European Command in 2007, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Ryan Henry said, “Rather than three different commanders who have Africa as a third or fourth priority, there will be one commander that has it as a top priority.” [2]

The Pentagon official also revealed that Africa Command “would involve one small headquarters plus five ‘regional integration teams’ scattered around the continent” and that “AFRICOM would work closely with the European Union and NATO,” particularly France, a member of both, which was “interested in developing the Africa standby force”. [3]

The Defense Department official identified all the key components of Africa Command’s role and adumbrated what has transpired in the almost three-year interim: By subsuming nations formerly in the areas of responsibility of three Pentagon commands under a unified one, the U.S. will divide the world’s second most populous continent into five military districts, each with a multinational African Standby Force trained by military forces from the United States, NATO and the European Union.

Later the same month, the Pentagon confirmed its earlier disclosure that AFRICOM would deploy regional integration teams “to the northern, eastern, southern, central and western portions of the continent, mirroring the African Union’s five regional economic communities….”

The Defense News website detailed the geographic division described in Defense Department briefing documents issued in that month:

“One team will have responsibility for a northern strip from Mauritania to Libya; another will operate in a block of east African nations – Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania; and a third will carry out activities in a large southern block that includes South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola….

“A fourth team would concentrate on a group of central African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Congo [Brazzaville]; the fifth regional team would focus on a western block that would cover Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger and Western Sahara, according to the briefing documents.” [4]

The five areas correspond to Africa’s main Regional Economic Communities, starting in the north of the continent:

-Arab Maghreb Union: Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

-East African Community (EAC): Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

-Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS): Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.

-Southern Africa Development Community: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Africa’s far northeast, in and near the Horn of Africa, is in a category of its own, having long been subordinated to the U.S.’s Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) based in Djibouti where the Pentagon has approximately 2,000 personnel from all four branches of the armed services. The Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa area of operations takes in the African nations of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda as well as Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to Seychelles, the CJTF-HOA is expanding its purview to include Comoros, Mauritius and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Three years ago it was reported that the Pentagon had already “agreed on access to air bases and ports in Africa and ‘bare-bones’ facilities maintained by local security forces in Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.” [5] That is, in northern, eastern, western, central and southern Africa.

The U.S. has maintained its military base in Djibouti, Camp Lemonnier, since 2003, established a naval surveillance facility in Seychelles last autumn, and has access to base camps and forward sites in Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Mali, Rwanda and other nations throughout the continent.

AFRICOM, as noted above, plans a central headquarters on the continent – its current headquarters remains in Stuttgart, Germany, although Djibouti’s Camp Lemonnier functions as a de facto one in Africa – with five regional satellite outposts in northern, southern, eastern, western and central Africa.

The African Standby Force is nominally under the control of the African Union, but its troops are being trained and directed by the U.S., NATO and the military wing of the European Union.

The website of the African Standby Force (ASF) contains links to the following sites:

-ASF Headquarters (Addis Ababa)
-Eastern
-Western
-Southern
-Central
-Northern [6]

The African Union’s secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is also one of the nations – Liberia and Morocco are others – that has been discussed as a potential site for AFRICOM main headquarters on the continent.

African Standby Force: Trained By U.S. Special Forces, Modeled After NATO Strike Force

Each of the five geographical units listed above is to supply a contingent of up to brigade size (4,000-5,000 troops by NATO standards) for the African Standby Force that is projected to be launched this year.

Two days before U.S. Africa Command was established on October 1, 2007, the American armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes reported that “The command, scheduled to become operational this week, will focus much of its activity on helping to build the fledgling African Standby Force.

“It is hoped the force, being organized by the Ethiopia-based African Union, or AU, will be ready by 2010. It would consist of five multinational brigades based in the giant continent. Each brigade would perform missions in its given region, such as peacekeeping when the need arose.

“Gen. William E. Ward, nominated to become the first AFRICOM commander, last week told the U.S. Senate in writing that U.S. troops would help the brigades come to life.”

Ward, earlier head of NATO’s Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia in 1996, said in his own words, “AFRICOM will assume sponsorship of ongoing command and control infrastructure development and liaison officer support. It would continue to resource military mentors for peacekeeping training, and develop new approaches to supporting the AU and African Standby Forces.” [7]

This February a NATO website detailed the North Atlantic military bloc’s role in complementing AFRICOM efforts to build the African Standby Force:

“NATO began providing support to the AU Mission in May 2005 based on specific requests from the AU. NATO nations supported [the] AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) by providing airlift for 32,300 personnel….NATO continues to support the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through the provision of strategic sea- and air-lift for AMISOM Troop Contributing Nations on request. The last airlift support occurred in June 2008 when NATO transported a battalion of Burundian peacekeepers to Mogadishu.

“Joint Command Lisbon is the operational lead for NATO/AU engagement, and has a Senior Military Liaison Officer at AU HQ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. NATO also supports staff capacity building through the provision of places on NATO training courses to AU staff supporting AMISOM, and support to the operationalisation of the African Standby Force – the African Union’s vision for a continental, on-call security apparatus similar to the NATO Response Force.” [8]

The NATO Response Force (NRF) completed what was described at the time as its final validation in the two-week, 7,000-troop Steadfast Jaguar military exercises in the African island nation of Cape Verde in 2006.

Africa was the testing ground for the NRF and the NRF is the model for the African Standby Force:

“Since June 2007, NATO has assisted the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by providing airlift support for AU peacekeepers. This support was authorized until February 2009 and the Alliance is ready to consider any new requests from the AU. NATO also continues to work with the AU in identifying further areas where NATO could support the African Standby Force.” [9]

“NATO is also providing, at the AU’s request, training opportunities and capacity building support to the African Union’s long term peacekeeping capabilities, in particular the African Standby Force.” [10]

Since the Berlin Plus agreements between NATO and the European Union in 2002, the military components of both organizations not only overlap and complement each other, but are being integrated at a qualitatively higher level for overseas missions like those in and off the coasts of Africa.

Three years ago French General Henri Bentegeat, then Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, met with EU defense ministers in Germany and an account of his comments included: “The European Union’s drive for a stronger global military role includes an upgrading of ties with the United Nations, NATO and the African Union….In addition to last year’s military mission in Congo and logistical help for African Union forces in Darfur, Bentegeat said the EU wanted to help an ambitious AU programme to create a standby force for peacekeeping missions.” [11]

Even before AFRICOM was activated as a separate military command in the autumn of 2008, U.S. European Command was conducting large-scale multinational military maneuvers in various regions of Africa to train units for the five regional brigades that will form a unified, continental African Standby Force.

Starting in 2006 U.S. European Command (and subsequently Africa Command) has conducted annual Africa Endeavor multinational communications interoperability exercises – frequently in nations on the strategic Gulf of Guinea – with the participation of the armed forces of African, NATO and European Union nations. Africa Endeavor 2007 was held in Ghana and the contributing countries were the U.S., Algeria, Angola, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Lesotho, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda and Zambia. It was jointly run by U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command and the nascent U.S. Africa Command.

“AE [Africa Endeavor] fosters better collaboration in the Global War on Terrorism and supports the deployment of peacekeepers in Sudan and Somalia.

“Furthermore, AE assists in establishing critical communication links to enhance the African Standby Forces’s developments in command, control, communications and information systems (C3IS) and strengthens national, regional, continental and partner relationships….” [12]

Africa Endeavor 2008 was held in Nigeria and included military personnel from 22 African and European nations as well as the U.S.

“During the course of the exercise, participating nations and organizations also continued their efforts to develop standard practices and procedures for the African Union and its African Standby Force.” [13]

In 2005 the U.S. launched the first of regular Flintlock multinational military exercises to initiate and expand the Pentagon’s Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI), formed in the same year, to train the military forces of Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. Washington’s NATO allies Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are also involved in the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative.

The exercises are run by U.S. Special Operations Command Europe. (In 2007 NATO announced that its Special Operations Coordination Center would be headquartered at the same Kelley barracks on the U.S. base in Stuttgart where AFRICOM headquarters are located.)

An account of the initial 2005 operation divulged that “The U.S. government reportedly plans to spend $500 million over five years to make the Sahara Desert a vast new front in its war on terrorism….During the first phase of the program, dubbed Operation Flintlock, 700 U.S. Special Forces troops and 2,100 soldiers from nine North and West African nations [participated].” [14]

This year’s 22-day Flintlock 2010, launched on May 2, includes 600 U.S. special forces and 150 counterparts from Britain, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Spain.

“The objective of Flintlock 10 is to develop military interoperability….Centered in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, but with tactical training conducted in Senegal, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria, Flintlock 10 will begin 2 May and end 23 May, 2010….Flintlock 10 looks to build upon the successes and lessons learned during previous Flintlock exercises, which were conducted to establish and develop regional relationships and synchronization of efforts among the militaries of the Trans-Saharan region.

“This exercise will take place in the context of the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP). Supported by the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and the Special Operations Command (SOCAFRICA), the exercise will provide military training opportunities….” [15]

AFRICOM recently announced that the Special Operations Command Africa “will gain control over Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara (JSOTF-TS) and Special Operations Command and Control Element – Horn of Africa (SOCCE-HOA),” [16] to centralize special forces activities in Africa.

Efforts to create the proposed African Standby Force brigade in the north of Africa have floundered for several reasons. Egypt is not member of the Maghreb Union nor is it in AFRICOM’s area of responsibility. Libya is one of the most vocal opponents of AFRICOM. There is residual tension between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara, which Algeria recognizes as an independent nation. But Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia are all members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership program.

AFRICOM’s plans for regional military intervention contingents are proceeding more favorably in the east, west and south. In June of 2008 the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conducted a military exercise, Jigui 2008, in Mali with its fifteen member states, and “for the first time, the regional force exercise involved the African Union, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the multinational Standby High Readiness Brigade based in Denmark (SHIRBRIG) and the Ethiopia-based Eastern African Standby Force (EASTBRIG).

“All the exercises were supported by the host governments as well as France, Denmark, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union.

“Jigui 2008 is consistent with previous training programmes of ECOWAS and is within the framework of the African Union (AU) Standby Force, which seeks to have ready by 2010 one force by each of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa.

“The ECOWAS target is to create a 2,770-man Task Force of the 6,500 troops of the regional force which will be available under the control of the AU [African Union].” [17]

A year before Senegal hosted military maneuvers with several other West African nations – Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, the Republic of Guinea (Conraky) and Mali – to “test the (troops’) deployment ability” with military aircraft, vehicles and ships provided by France “ahead of the planned creation of an ECOWAS standby force.”

The participating states were trained to “form the western battalion of the 6,500-men intervention force which ECOWAS wants to set up by 2010.

“Army chiefs of ECOWAS member countries agreed in June 2004 to create the permanent 6,500-man force, including the 1,500-strong rapid reaction unit for troubleshooting missions.” [18]

Jigui 2009 was held in Burkina Faso with the participation of U.S. Army Africa, the Vicenza, Italy-based Army component of AFRICOM.

Last month ECOWAS held a field training exercise in Benin, Exercise Cohesion Benin 2010, which “aimed to evaluate the operational and logistics readiness of the Eastern Battalion of the ESF, which is part of the overall preparation for the operationalisation of the African Standby Force by December 2010.” [19]

In October of last year the Kenyan press reported on Western involvement in building the African Standby Force brigade on the eastern end of Africa:

“Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish officers will assist the region in the ongoing establishment of a united military force to deal with conflicts on the continent.

“Once functional, the East African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) will be deployed to trouble spots within 14 days after chaos erupts, to restore order….The brigade will have troops from 14 countries.

“The experts from the European countries…are based at the EASBRIG headquarters, at the Defence Staff College in Karen, Nairobi.

“Vice-Chief of General Staff Julius Karangi said the foreign experts would help fast-track the process of setting up the standby brigade.” [20]

EASBRIG consists of troops from Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and through the Eastern African Standby Brigade Coordination Mechanism is moving toward the consolidation of the eastern wing of the African Standby Force.

The East African Standby Brigade is to be headquartered in Kenya, and last November a field training exercise was held for it in Djibouti where the U.S. has its main military base in Africa and France has its largest anywhere abroad. A Rwandan news source wrote of it months afterward: “The historical exercise brought together approximately 1,500 troops, police and civilian staff from 10 countries working side-by-side for the first time.” [21]

The most immediate site for the use of the East African Standby Brigade is Somalia, where member states Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya are already involved. EASBRIG will also be available for operations in Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic as well as against Eritrea. In March of last year AFRICOM chief General William Ward “cited three areas of current conflict on the continent, including border disputes between Eritrea and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and in North Africa [with] the Western Sahara, and clashing in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Speaking of the command he heads, Ward added, “the United States was able to lend assistance to Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and to a lesser degree…the Central African Republic.” [22]

The European Union, already involved in the first naval operation in its history, European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta, in the Horn of Africa, has deployed a military mission to Uganda to train 2,000 Somali troops to defend the Western-backed Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

Africa Partnership Station: U.S. Warships Patrol African Coasts

In recent years U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa has developed the Africa Partnership Station (APS) as a naval component of AFRICOM. Its first deployment took the APS to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo, all on the Gulf of Guinea except for Senegal which lies to the north of it.

In the same year, 2007, NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1, with one warship each from Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the U.S., started a circumnavigation of Africa with stops in the Gulf of Guinea and ending with “exercises in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Somalia….” [23]

At the time Admiral Henry Ulrich, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe, said, “The Global Fleet Station concept is ‘closely aligned’ with the task to be provided by the still-developing U.S. Africa Command,” [24] and later announced the departure of the USS Fort McHenry and the High Speed Vessel Swift for a seven-month deployment to the Gulf of Guinea in November of 2007 as part of the Navy’s Global Fleet Station program. The Africa Partnership Station is one of several Global Fleet Stations recently set up by the U.S., others being assigned to the Caribbean Sea and Oceania. “As a dock landing ship, the Fort McHenry is designed to help get U.S. personnel onto ‘hostile shores,’ according to the Navy.” [25]

Phil Greene, director of Strategy and Policy, Resources and Transformation for U.S. Naval Forces Europe, added that the USS Fort McHenry would have a multinational staff, “partnering with nations such as France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and others who have an interest in developing maritime security in that region.” [26]

In fact the USS Fort McHenry first arrived in Spain “to take on passengers from several European partners – Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Germany, among them – before heading to the Gulf of Guinea,” where it was joined by the High Speed Vessel Swift to “transport students as well as trainers during visits to Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.” [27]

In 2007 U.S. warships visited Mozambique for the first time in 33 years and Tanzania for the first time in 40.

As part of Africa Partnership Station port visits last year, the guided-missile destroyer Arleigh Burke traveled to Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania and South Africa, in the last case holding a week of joint exercises with one of the nation’s warships.

In February of 2009 “for the first time the U.S. Navy [had] warships on each side of the African continent as part of Africa Partnership Station’s ongoing teaching mission with African nations.” [28] To wit, a frigate in Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania and an amphibious transport dock in Senegal.

The month before a U.S. frigate became the first Navy warship to anchor off  Equatorial Guinea’s mainland city of Bata “as part of the Navy’s Africa Partnership Station initiative,” after visits to Cape Verde,
Senegal, Benin and Sierra Leone on its way to Tanzania and Kenya.

The U.S. charge d’affaires in Equatorial Guinea was quoted as offering one reason for the visit: “It’s the third largest oil- and gas-producer in sub-Saharan Africa, with a significant foreign investment footprint….” [29]

“The October 2007 initial deployment of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) to the Gulf of Guinea and the coincident rollout of A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower signaled a strong American commitment to leveraging U.S. sea power….The APS is a Global Fleet Station (GFS) sea base designed to assist the Gulf of Guinea maritime community in developing better maritime governance….The Global Fleet Station, born out of a need for military shaping and stability operations…is a proven concept for this mission in such areas as the Gulf of Guinea and the Caribbean basin.” [30]

Currently AFRICOM is leading the Phoenix Express 2010 maritime counter-insurgency exercise in the Mediterranean Sea with Morocco and Senegal among other African nations.

Paralleling NATO’s almost nine-year Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean which patrols the northern coast of Africa from the Suez Canal to the Strait of Gibraltar, the U.S. Navy now regularly roams the African coastline from where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean down to the strategic oil-rich Gulf of Guinea and all the way south to Cape Town, then north again along the entire Indian Ocean coast to the Red Sea. Africa is encircled by U.S. and NATO warships.

Pentagon Builds Surrogate Armies To Control Africa Region By Region

On the mainland, the Pentagon has transformed the armed forces of Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia into military surrogates on both ends of the continent. Since 2006 “a U.S. State Department-led initiative…has completely rebuilt the military in Liberia,” according to AFRICOM. [31]

Last October the commander of U.S. Army Africa, Major General William B. Garrett III, visited Rwanda (whose military is a U.S. and British proxy) and “stressed that the US army is interested in strengthening its cooperation with the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF).” Garrett confirmed that the U.S. was ready to send more advisers and trainers for the Rwandan army and added, “Likewise, we hope that the Rwandan Defence Forces can also participate in our exercises. So we are hoping to increase the level of cooperation between the US and the Rwandan Defense forces.” [32]

Earlier in the year AFRICOM’s General Ward also visited Rwanda, where he “met with Rwandan defense leaders and watched displays of Rwandan Defense Force (RDF) capabilities during a two-day visit April 20-21, 2009.” [33]

Late last year Ward visited Morocco, a U.S. military partner for several decades, where he had paid two visits the preceding year, and “discussed bilateral military cooperation and opportunities to strengthen
partnership between the Royal Armed Forces and the U.S. Army.”

Recently U.S. Marines trained Moroccan troops in Spain ahead of 12-nation naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea.

This April 28 Ward paid his third visit to Botswana, “where he discussed ongoing regional security efforts and potential future military-to-military activities with the BDF [Botswana Defence Force]….The BDF and U.S. military conducted 40 cooperation events together in 2010.”

The following day the AFRICOM chief paid his first visit to Namibia where “he met with Namibia’s National Defense Force officials to discuss potential future cooperation activities.” [34]

On April 27 Brigadier General Silver Kayemba, chief of training and operations for the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF), visited Washington to meet with Major General William B. Garrett III, commander of U.S. Army Africa.

The Ugandan general was quoted saying on the occasion, “This visit strengthens our relationship with the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly with U.S. Army Africa. We are looking forward to even closer cooperation in the future.” [35]

Under an Africa Partnership Station program, a 130-troop Security Cooperation Marine Air Ground Task Force has been training military forces in Ghana, Liberia and Senegal. The marine commander in charge, Lieutenant Colonel John Golden, said, “This is the cutting edge of phase zero counterinsurgency,” an aspect of “military-to-military training in a very austere environment in areas where there hasn’t been a lot of U.S. military presence in the last 235 years.” [36]

A report by the Stars and Stripes on May 2 disclosed that “At a remote military base in the jungle city of Kisangani, an elite team of U.S. troops is attempting to retrain a battalion of Congolese infantrymen.”

The feature laid emphasis on the humanitarian facet of the operation as reports on AFRICOM activities generally do, but also contained these excerpts:

“There are economic and strategic incentives to bringing more security to the Congo, which is rich in natural resources such as cobalt, a key component in the manufacturing of cell phones and other electronics. The country contains 80 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves….An April 2009 report to Congress by the National Defense Stockpile Center made clear that ensuring access to mineral markets around the world is of vital interest to national security.” [37]

The U.S. is not dragging almost every nation in Africa into its military network because of altruism or concerns for the security of the continent’s people. AFRICOM’s function is that of every predatory military power: The threat and use of armed violence to gain economic and geopolitical advantages.

Notes

1) U.S. Department of Defense, March 18, 2009
2) Agence France-Presse, September 12, 2007
3) Ibid
4) Defense News, September 20, 2007
5) Xinhua News Agency, May 28, 2007
6)
http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/AUC/Departments/PSC/Asf/asf.htm#]
7) Stars and Stripes, September 30, 2007
8) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
February 24, 2010
9) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, March 11, 2009
10) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, February 18, 2010
11) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, February 28, 2007
12) United States European Command, April 18, 2007
13) United States European Command, July 29, 2008
14) United Press International, December 28, 2005
15) U.S. Africa Command, March 31, 2010
16) U.S. Africa Command, April 30, 2010
17) Ghana News Agency, June 23, 2008
18) Agence France-Presse, November 29, 2007
19) Afrique en ligne, April 19, 2010
20) The Nation, October 29, 2009
21) The New Times, May 4, 2010
22) U.S. Department of Defense, March 18, 2009
23) Business Day (Nigeria), July 25, 2007
24) Stars and Stripes, June 14, 2007
25) Stars and Stripes, October 16, 2007
26) Stars and Stripes, June 14, 2007
27) American Forces Press Service, October 15, 2007
28) Stars and Stripes, February 1, 2009
29) Stars and Stripes, January 20, 2009
30) Afrique en ligne, April 13, 2010
31) U.S. Africa Command, April 29, 2010
32) The New Times, October 20, 2009
33) U.S. Africa Command, April 22, 2009
34) U.S. Africa Command, May 1, 2010
35) U.S. Africa Command, April 30, 2010
36) Marine Corps Times, May 3, 2010
37) Stars and Stripes, May 2, 2010