Sunday, December 02, 2012

Africom widens its grasp

The U.S AFRICOM command relies on Uganda and Rwanda for carrying out its missions in East and Central Africa. The US gives them arms, equipment and training. The UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, once Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, now defends the two with a passion at the UN. Jason Stearns of the International Crisis Group, who also has been a member of the UN Panel of Experts, said Susan Rice delayed the publication of UN Group of Experts' interim report, insisting that Rwanda be given a chance to see the report first and respond. Her latest step was to block the explicit naming of Rwanda and Uganda in the UN Security Council resolution, condemning the M23 occupation of Goma. As in previous statements, the body demanded that ‘any and all outside support to the M23 cease immediately.’ Other Council members had wanted to name Rwanda explicitly, but Rice argued against  that this.

 Britain has been blocking European sanctions against Rwanda -- in fact shamelessly went back on its word. The former British Secretary for International Development Andrew Mitchell told MPs that he had decided to resume Britain’s £16m aid package to Rwanda after two out of three conditions set by the UK - a ceasefire in the Kivus region and an end to practical support from Rwanda to militias - were met. The Congolese people, in fact the whole world, aren’t aware of such a ceasefire. The biggest donors to both Rwanda and Uganda are Britain and America. Britain contributes over £30 million a year to Rwanda's budget. Tony Blair now acts as personal adviser to Mr Kagame, while one of his charities, the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), employs about 10 people inside the Rwandan government, helping it to run more effectively

America has been fighting wars in Africa since the 1950s – in Angola, the DRC, Somalia, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Morocco, Libya, Djibouti to name but a few counties. In some countries they used US troops, but in most cases the US financed, armed and supervised the support of indigenous forces. In its support of the anti- MPLA forces in Angola it sent arms and equipment to the UNITA opposition. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Larry Devlin of the CIA was an unofficial Minister of Mobutu’s government.

 The record shows the US armed forces intervened in Africa forty-seven times prior to the current Lord’s Resistance Army endeavour. The countries suffering one or more US military interventions include the Congo, Zaire, Libya, Chad, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Under the Clinton regime, US militarized intervention in Africa took off. Between 1992 and 2000, seventeen armed incursions took place, including a large scale invasion of Somalia and military backing for the Rwandan regime. Clinton intervened in Liberia, Gabon, Congo and Sierra Leone to prop up a long standing troubled regimes. He bombed the Sudan and dispatched military personnel to Kenya and Ethiopia to back proxy clients assaulting Somalia. Under Bush Jr. fifteen US military interventions took place, mainly in Central and East Africa.  The Bush Administration announced in 2002 that Africa was a ‘strategic priority in fighting terrorism’.

The Pentagon has military ties with fifty-three African countries. US foreign policy strategists moved to centralize and coordinate a military policy on a continent wide basis forming the African Command (AFRICOM). The latter organizes African armies, euphemistically called ‘co-operative partnerships,’ to conduct neo-colonial wars based on bilateral agreements (Uganda, Burundi, etc.) as well as ‘multi-lateral’ links with the Organization of African Unity.

 In the midst of a major drive to increase security in Africa’s Saharan and Sahel nations, American, African and European military forces combine to engage in a version of Operation Flintlock; a series of multinational military exercises designed to foster and development international security cooperation in North and West Africa. The latest exercises were part of the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP).

1200 soldiers participated in the latest manoeuvres, including 600 US Marines and Special Forces, units from France and Britain and smaller European contingents from Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. African countries with military representation included Mali, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, Nigeria, Chad, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco. The exercises were headquartered out of a Multinational Coordination Centre set up at Camp Baangre in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou. Malian Special Forces received training in responding to hostage-taking operations (as carried out by AQIM). Many of the Malian participants were veterans of fighting Tuareg rebels in northern Mali.

 These ‘Flintlocks’ are the model replicated in Central Africa.

Taken from here

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