From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Nov 03 2008 - 10:45:38 EST
Africom: The Most Unwelcome U.S. Intervention in Africa
Dawit Andebrhan, Nov 4, 2008
One of the main topics that have been making world headlines is the
formation of the United States Africa Command (Africom). The Command was
launched on October 1. However, despite a 19-month effort to win African
acceptance, the headquarters of Africom remains in Stuttgart, Germany.
Major political states and regional blocs of the continent rejected the
formation of the Command. History tells us that African states hardly
agreed on any major issue except in rejecting the formation of the most
unwanted American military command, the Africom.
The only base for U.S. operations in the continent is Camp Lemonier in
Djibouti that existed since 2002, when the Bush administration put
greater emphasis on the Horn of Africa, claiming that.. "Islamic
terrorists" were utilizing neighboring Somalia as an area of operation
(Abayomi Azikiwe: Editor, Pan-African News Wire). This provides the
United States strategic control of the maritime zone through which a
quarter of the world's oil production passes. The Djibouti base is also
in close proximity to the Sudanese oil pipeline.
Prior to the creation of Africom, the U.S. military command structure in
Africa was divided among three other regions: the Central Command, which
was responsible for Eritrea, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia
and Kenya; the European Command, which covered other states on the
continent; and the pacific Command, with responsibility for Madagascar,
the Seychelles and the Indian Ocean area.
According to political analysts of the continent, U.S. has attempted to
cover its imperialist objectives and to promote Africom as another
assistance program to that end. Some believe that the number one
priority of Africom was the so-called war on terrorism. An article
published on BBC's web site stated that the U.S. has no faith in those
states it has funded to work toward eradicating the purported influence
of al-Qaeda and other organizations that are targeted as a threat to
imperialist interests. America has launched a number of airborne attacks
on suspected al-Qaeda personnel in Somalia without success, of course.
Other analysts believe that the second priority of Africom is to secure
oil resources for U.S. markets. With the increasing levels of resistance
in Iraq and the Middle East region, the transnational oil corporations
are looking to Africa to supply greater amounts of petroleum to the U.S.
and other Western imperialist countries. Due to the emerging resistance
against American dominance and resources exploitation, Latin America is
not also conducive to the U.S. strategic interests anymore.
Africa has been the growing oil market to the United States and China.
The U.S. gets about 20 percent of its oil supplies from West Africa and
it is committed to increase oil supply from the continent to 25 percent
by 2015. What the U.S. solely needs is strengthening its presence in the
continent at any cost. For Africans the worst would come, while the
Americans try to meet their demands.
Since October 2007 Africom was operating under the auspices of U.S.
European Command, but since October 1, it officially became the Defense
Department's tenth unified combatant command. With the formation of
Africom, the potential for wider military conflicts in the continent
would involve direct and indirect U.S. conspiracy. The political
situations in Sudan, Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, all oil-rich
countries, involves American intervention. In Somalia, a U.S.-backed
invasion by Ethiopian troops has created the worst humanitarian crisis
on the continent. In Sudan, the conflict in Darfur has been utilized to
push for the arrest of that nation's head of state and for U.S.
intervention through a purported U.N. peacekeeping force.
Another reason that the BBC identified, as far as U.S. imperialism is
concerned, is the emerging influence of the People's Republic of China
in Africa. Thomas M. Skypek, a Washington-based analyst described the
current situation on the continent as "The Grate Game in Africa."
According to him, the continent is quickly becoming a proxy battleground
for Washington and Beijing. "China's burgeoning influence in Africa is
now squarely on the Pentagon's radar screen," he said. China has
established military relationships with states such as Sudan, Zimbabwe,
Over the last decade, China has been steadily increasing its diplomatic,
military and economic involvement in Africa. Sino-African trade in
recent years has shown dramatic expansion. Stephanie Hanson of the
Council on Foreign Relations reported in mid 2008 that from 2002 to
2003, trade between china and Africa doubled to $18.5 billion and by
2007 it reached $73 billion. During the 1990s trade between China and
Africa increased by 700 percent in which Africa possesses both the raw
materials and new markets Beijing needs to continue its steady economic
growth. Washington is worried about this.
Once fully staffed, Africom will have a staff of 1,300 personnel. In
terms of defense appropriations, the Command was budgeted for $75.5
million for fiscal year 2008. The defense Department requested nearly
$400 million in fiscal year 2009 for its newest unified command.
U.S. military operations in Sub-Saharan Africa-increased its activities
in West Africa, centering on those states with substantial oil
production and/or reserves in or around the Gulf of Guinea (stretching
roughly from the Ivory Coast to Angola). The U.S. military's European
Command now devotes 70 percent of its time to African affairs, up from
almost nothing as recently as 2003. (John Bellamy Foster: Global
Research, February 9, 2007)
As pointed out by Richard Haass, now president of the Council on Foreign
Relations, in his foreword to the 2005 council report entitled 'More
Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa: "By the
end of the decade sub-Saharan Africa is likely to become as important as
a source of U.S. energy imports as the Middle East." West Africa has
some 60 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Its oil is the low
sulfur, sweet crude prized by the U.S. economy.
U.S. agencies and think tanks project that one in every five new barrels
of oil entering the global economy in the latter half of this decade
will come from the Gulf of Guinea, raising its share of U.S. oil imports
from 15 to over 20 percent by 2010, and 25 percent by 2015. Nigeria
already supplies the United States with 10 percent of its imported oil.
Angola provides 4 percent of U.S. oil imports, which could double by the
end of the decade.
Therefore, whether it is a proxy battleground or a diplomatic strategy,
Africom is the most unwanted foreign intervention to the continent that
Africans have to stand against. Because, U.S. "military involvement in
Africa can mean only greater instability and underdevelopment on the
continent."(Abayomi Azikiwe: Pan-African News Wire)
Sources: by John Bellamy Foster (Global Research, February 9, 2007;
Review, February 2007)
* Abayomi Azikiwe: Editor, Pan-African News Wire
* Thomas M. Skypek
----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----