Africa 2011: U.S. & French imperialism on the continent
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published Dec 14, 2011 9:06 PM
Washington and its NATO allies have intensified their military operations on
the African continent. Nevertheless, the unequal distribution of wealth and
economic power between the imperialist states and the oppressed postcolonial
nations has continued to spark mass demonstrations and rebellions in various
geopolitical regions on the continent.
The war against Libya represented the first major operation of the U.S.
Africa Command, which was formed in 2008. The people of this oil-producing
North African state put up formidable resistance to this intervention. It
took six months for the war to drive the Libyan government from the capital
of Tripoli and another two months to take the Jamahiriya strongholds of
Sirte and Bani Walid. (Translation of Jamahiriya from Arabic means "the
state of the masses.")
Rebel forces patched together under the banner of the National Transitional
Council could not have toppled Col. Muammar Gadhafi's government without
U.S.-NATO's combined airstrikes, naval blockades, economic sanctions,
intelligence operatives, special forces and their regional allies. Even this
massive bombing, the murder of thousands of Libyans and the seizure of its
national wealth cannot ensure its stability for imperialism. Resistance to
these neocolonial designs continues.
U.S.-French base in the Horn of Africa
In former French colony Djibouti, the U.S. and France maintain a 6,500-troop
military base. Both imperialist countries operate in neighboring Somalia,
leading a combined effort to liquidate the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance
movement they call a "terrorist" al-Qaida affiliate.
The Kenyan Defense Forces have ground troops in Somalia supported by
Ethiopia, African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) troops and Transitional
Federal Government soldiers. Washington finances these African troops, and
the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency and the French military
support them from the air and sea. Israel deploys drones.
Despite French and U.S. troop presence in Djibouti, its people erupted in
February with widespread social unrest. Mass demonstrations and rebellions
resulted in government repression leaving several people dead and injured.
The military alliance between Djibouti's government and the U.S. and France
has brought no economic benefits to this country of less than 1 million
people with a gross domestic product of only $982 million. The country's
location on lucrative Red Sea shipping lanes gives it a strategic interest.
In November, it was announced that Djibouti will become more directly
involved in the current war against Somalia, with the possible deployment of
so-called peacekeeping troops to join AMISOM in Mogadishu. The country has
also been the location for training the U.S.-backed Somalia TFG military
forces as well as hosting "reconciliation" talks for the country that has
not had an internationally recognized government in over two decades.
Defense Professional website says, "Djibouti is seeking to play a
stabilizing role in the frequently tense regional politics of the Horn of
Africa." (Nov. 8) Objectively the imperialists are using Djibouti's
government to establish their broader political and military influence in
Burkin Faso & Ivory Coast
Two other former French colonies in West Africa, Burkina Faso and Ivory
Coast, illustrate the impact of the world economic crisis and increased
In Burkina Faso between February and April, President Blaise Compaore's
Western-allied regime was forced to place the country under curfew after a
mutiny within the armed forces and the police accompanied nationwide
protests in response to the rising cost of living.
"Koudougou, located 100km west of Ouagadougou [the capital], was the
birthplace of a wave of protests in the country two months ago, placing
growing pressure on Compaore, who has been in power for 24 years. The first
protest in Koudougou took place on Feb. 22 when students took to the
streets, saying a school pupil said to have died of meningitis was in fact
tortured and killed in police custody." (AFP, April 28)
This same AFP article also pointed out: "Allegations of police impunity,
torture and cover-ups and the high cost of living have fueled mounting
protests by all sectors of the population against Compaore's regime. The
country is also beset by woeful social conditions, with much of the 16
million-strong population living on barely $1 a day, while prices of basic
goods continue to rise."
Following unrest, President Compaore dismissed his government's cabinet.
Nevertheless, without a major restructuring of political and economic
relations with France and the imperialist states in general, there will be
no real progress for the majority of Burkina Faso's workers, farmers and
Developments in Ivory Coast exposed escalating French military aggression in
Africa. The imperialists took advantage of a months-long dispute over the
results of a run-off presidential election between Alassane Ouattara and
Laurent Gbagbo. Paris and Washington sided with Ouattara and sought to
remove Gbago, the incumbent, from office under the guise of following
After French paratroopers overthrew and captured Gbagbo in April, he was
subsequently kidnapped and transported to a detention facility first in
Ivory Coast and eventually to The Hague, Netherlands. There he is slated to
be tried for alleged war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
The ICC has focused exclusively on the harassment, persecution and
indictment of African leaders. These include President Omar Hussein
al-Bashir of Sudan and the martyred Col. Muammar Gadhafiof Libya and members
of his family and government.
Following the massive bombing of Libya and the government's overthrow, the
ICC suddenly abandoned plans to place Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, Moammar
Gadhafi's son, on trial. The Western-backed rebel forces had arrested him in
November. The ICC chief prosecutor's recent visit to Libya resulted in an
announcement that the imperialist-installed rebels would be allowed to
prosecute Seif and to also seek the death penalty in the event that he is
found guilty of purported "war crimes."
Governments and mass organizations in Africa have condemned the ICC for
targeting continental leaders and organizations and for its refusal to hold
the imperialists accountable for numerous war crimes in Africa and
throughout the world. Over the last year the U.S., France, Britain, other
NATO states and Israel have killed thousands of Africans in Libya, Somalia,
Ivory Coast, Egypt and Sudan.
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Received on Wed Dec 14 2011 - 06:13:47 EST