THE US AFRICA COMMAND (AFRICOM) MISSION IS A ‘BLACK AGENDA’ OF THE FIRST BLACK AMERICAN PRESIDENT
by Syarif Hidayat
The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) is a highly sophisticated force for domination of the continent. AFRICOM is adept at “manipulating news and commentary on the Internet, especially social media,” portraying itself as an ally in “the fight for Africa’s liberation from the grip of terrorism.” Don’t believe the hype. The U.S. Africa Command, becomes more entrenched on the continent by the day. American drones bases dot the landscape and U.S. troops interact constantly with their African counterparts. Africa has collaborated in its own occupation. “There has been increasing cooperation between African militaries and U.S. forces, and it has allowed AFRICOM to gain a more secure foothold on African soil.”
Barack Obama’s American ideals: “Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire; what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young women and young men to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom’s cause. Hope is what led me here today–with a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas; and a story that could only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have courage to remake the world as it should be.” – BARACK OBAMA, speech, Jan. 3, 2008.
“America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal. And we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words, within our borders and around the world. We are shaped by every culture. Drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept, E pluribus unum: Out of many, one.” – Barack Obama, speech, Jun. 4, 2009.
The reality: It seems that Barack Obama, the first Black American president, has now already forgotten his roots that makes his situation is worse than merely a Zionist puppet. Had he not forgotten his roots, this Afro-American president would still have some empathy toward the Zionist and Imperialist oppressed people like Libyans, Bahrainis, Yemenis, Palestinians, Africans, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Syrians.
I am very sorry for the Africans who mostly experienced being oppressed and many of them also being tortured inhumanely by White western imperialists and colonialists and now it seems their sufferings are also simply being forgotten by their westernized new black generation. Some of the new African generation who have become leaders especially in the west – they even themselves become oppressors!
U.S. neo-colonialism in Africa
Under the guise of hypocritical declarations of the “humanitarian” war to “save” the Libyan people from the West so-called Dictator Gaddafi that turned out to be the killing of hundreds of innocent Libyan people indiscriminately the U.S regime has been and are in fact aiming to occupy Africa by their military powers (and ultimately the whole world).
U.S. neo-colonialism is, in many respects, not that different from the old European colonialism. The goal of American policy in Africa is to turn African states into black Gunga-Dins, “fighting and dying for western interests in the coming colonial wars against Africa.” Already, the U.S. Africa Command exerts immense influence over African militaries.
“The one thing that’s become clearer than at any time in the past is that U.S. intervention creates spreading destabilization and chaos,” said Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition. “It’s designed to do that. We can see the immediate results in South Sudan, a country that came into existence under U.S. protection in order to put this oil-rich region directly under the control of U.S. and U.S.-led forces,” said Flounders. “A quarter of all the oil that is consumed in the U.S. comes from Africa. Washington has no interest at all in democracy, development and freedom” – only in power and profits.
The Obama brand has worked wonders as the face of U.S. imperialism and rule of the rich. Black America is the brand’s “most prized” consumer. “The Obama brand has used the media to pervert the history of the Black struggle for justice by using the dead-end, ideological conclusion that the first so-called ‘Black president’ is ‘racial progress.’”
Abdi Ali Diriye in his article titiled “Is AFRICOM Preparing for Another “Humanitarian” Military Intervention?” appeared in Pambazuka News, wrote “The Anglo-American imperialists would like to eliminate competition for Africa’s bountiful resources.”
US President Barack Obama has been carrying the AFRICOM ball down the field after the directive was launched under George W. Bush in 2007. Washington DC, led by Africa Secretary Jonnie Carson, speaks to its public at a level deserving of an uninformed, Helen Keller-esque populace, claiming that Somalia was “a big success” because Washington spooks spent $500 million backing an African proxy force that allegedly “drove out al Qaeda” in that country. And it is no coincidence that massive untapped oil reserves in the Puntland region in north-eastern Somalia were announced in early 2012.??
Just as Washington’s corporate interests are hidden behind “humanitarian interventions,” the UK Prime Minister David Cameron will run the same facade. In February he hosted an international conference on Somalia, where he pledged more aid, financial help and measures “to fight terrorism” in Somalia. Cameron does not tell you that those so-called terrorist forces are funded and supported, and ultimately steered by the Western intelligence agencies – whereby they control all sides of the local conflict.
Note they are using the same recycled narrative in Mali now, fighting “Islamic extremists” there – promoting freedom and democracy in the region, etc.?Mali’s vast potential wealth lies in mining, agricultural commodities and oil. And these proven reserves are not currently exploited. Interestingly enough, Ghana and Mali together account for 5.8 percent of total world gold production. These assets are the true focus of US and UK interests in Africa – not humanitarian concerns.?
“Mali’s vast potential wealth lies in mining, agricultural commodities and oil.” The 2012 Somalia Oil Conference was a mere pre-negotiation meeting to discuss how oil assets would be divided up between the US, UK and other remaining energy players – demonstrating what is the real agenda with AFRICOM. Obama supporters will naturally give this president a free pass on Africa because he is partly of African descent, not realizing that he is running the exact same agenda as his Republican predecessor. What corporate agents like Jonnie Carson do not tell electorate plebs is that the US has recently pushed itself into Libya, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere, and now has its eyes set on Mali.
The initial goal of US domination of Africa is outlined in the AFRICOM documents, and names the eviction of China from the continent as task number one.Africa Pulse spells it out: “Strong economic growth in the past decade among African countries rich in oil and minerals has failed to make a significant dent on their poverty levels, according to a World Bank report.”?In other words, the Anglo-American imperialists would like to eliminate competition for Africa’s bountiful resources, continuing a centuries-old policy of raping the Dark Continent and leaving nothing but perpetual internal strife and poverty behind.
President Obama claims he’s off to Africa in search of trade. But the Chinese have eclipsed the U.S. in that arena by offering “far better terms of trade and investment than the Americans.” Obama talks trade for public consumption, while the U.S. military locks Africa in a cage of steel. The U.S. anti-war movement must adjust its focus to the realities of U.S. imperialist war policies. That means paying more attention to Africa, which “is a focal point for military intervention by the Pentagon, the CIA and NATO.” Diana Johnstone writes: “Humanitarian” military intervention under the dubious doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is designed to negate international law regarding the sovereignty of nations, in order to justify aggression. “War is transformed into a chivalrous action to rescue whole populations from ‘genocide.’” – (Diana Johnstone’s blog).
The White House has put in writing its policies for sub-Saharan Africa. The problem is, there’s hardly a word of truth in the document, and not a single mention of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command on the continent. The presidential paper repeats Obama’s 2009 lecture to Africans on “good governance.” He also warned that they avoid the “excuses” of blaming “neocolonialism” and “racism” for their problems. Meanwhile, AFRICOM is “positioning the U.S. to launch coups at will against African civilian, or even military, leaders that fall out of favor with Washington.”
The Americans are preparing to establish a network of bases in Africa, initially to serve a 3,000-troop roving brigade to be deployed on the continent, next year. The brigade has all the markings of a permanent presence on African soil, while the bases are euphemistically called “safe communities.” U.S. influence over African militaries is already pervasive. With the establishment of joint bases, “regime change will never be farther away than a drink at the officers club.” All but a handful of Black African states routinely take part in military maneuvers staged by the Americans.
Black Americans and the Genocide in Congo
Black Americans have failed to use their political power to relieve the suffering of people in the Congo and elsewhere in Africa, said two spokespersons for Friends of the Congo. “Today, we have Black leaders who are in high positions, who could do something to stop the suffering of Blacks in Africa,” said Kambali Musavuli, student coordinator for Friends of the Congo. Instead, Musavuli told Black Agenda Television executive editor Glen Ford, “we have Black faces here providing cover for dictators in Africa, and no one is challenging them for that.”
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice “is watering down UN reports documenting atrocities” committed by Rwanda and Uganda in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Can you imagine,” asked Musavuli, “how difficult it is for me as a Congolese to share with the American people the policies she is making that are causing the suffering of Black people in Africa, specifically in Congo?”
U.S. policy has contributed to the deaths of six million people in Congo – the worst genocide since World War Two – since Uganda and Rwanda first invaded the mineral-rich country, in 1996. “These leaders have the blood of millions of Africans are their hands,” said Friends of the Congo co-founder and executive director Maurice Carney. “U.S. policy is presenting these war criminals, who have committed crimes against humanity, to the world as renaissance leaders of Africa.”
Uganda and Rwanda, close allies of the United States, control much of the mining regions of eastern Congo, the source of strategic metals such as coltan, which is vital to the electronics industry. “In order for us to have our cell phones, our laptops, our DVD players, six million Congolese have to die,” said Musavuli. Half the dead are children under the age of five. “So we have three million children that had to die so that our phones can vibrate, so that we can watch TV, so that we can use our game consoles, because we are benefiting from the suffering of the Congolese.”
Late last year, a host of African American politicians and organizations voiced unqualified support for UN Ambassador Rice when she was a contender for the Secretary of State job, despite her role in the Congolese genocide. Asked what this said about the actual state of Black American relations with Africa, Musavuli replied: “I believe we’ve lost what Dr. King and others fought for, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The lives of Black people around the world are devalued.”
US pursues capitalistic agenda in Africa’
An Iraq war veteran tells Press TV that the US has initiated the AFRICOM to secure its own interests in the richest continent of the world and to make African courtiers dependant on itself to further its agenda’s in the black continent. The comments come as the Pentagon has set up an army brigade consisting of 3,500 combat troops to its Africa Command, to be deployed to as many as 35 African nations to train local forces.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Michael Prysner, Iraq war veteran from Florida to further discuss the issue at hand. He is joined by two additional guests on Press TV’s News Analysis program: Omowale Rupert, with the Pan-African Society from London and Lawrence Freeman, with the Executive Intelligence Review from Baltimore. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Michael Prysner, General Carter Ham, commander of the United States’ Africa command or AFRICOM would disagree with our guest Lawrence Freeman there; because he has said that the US military is not an independent actor in Africa and its efforts support larger US government objectives and shared security interest with African partners. Now what stands out here is, when he says larger US government objectives. What are they?
Prysner: Well, first of all I think it is absolutely turning reality on its head to say that somehow the British government and a gone President [Prime Minister] Tony Blair is dictating US policy in the region or that these are the actions of a particular president or a particular politician or even a particular group within the US establishment.
The entire US establishment is united on expanding in Africa not because of being dictated by NATO or the UN or the British monarchs, [but] because the US is the largest empire on the planet and anytime you have an imperialist country it must continue to expand and as it is expanding its territory and resources and trade routs, it must expand in the richest continent on the planet, which is Africa. And so just by the very name of AFRICOM, African Command, that raises the question why does the United States have a command center for Africa?
And it is because this is the method by which the United States government and US capitalism will try to dominate the entire resources and markets of the entire continent for no other reason than to enrich those in the Unites States who have a lot of investments to be made and a lot of profits to be made on that continent and now of course Africa…, you know US does not have a great history of relations with Africa. “Africa has emerged from anti-colonial struggles over the years, I mean…, today the United States government is scrambling to try to figure out how they can seize control of certain areas, manipulate sectarian conflicts, so they come out as the big financial winners.”
Press TV: Well, Michael Prysner, let us put China and US in the same context since we have spoken about both and China does not have this announcement made, does not need to put troops there but the US feels like it does. So I am making a 360 degree turning you back to score one, my first question, why does the US need to have troops in 35 nations, be it that it is going to start out small? I mean what is the difference between the US and china with the US having this approach?
Prysner: Well, what we are seeing is a scramble for territory between imperialist countries, particularly the United States and France. “Especially in East Africa right now where we have the US government being a main supporter of [President Paul] Kagame in Uganda, which is the main base of US interest on the continent, and they are supporting Kagame’s expansion, potential expansion, into Rwanda and this is an area where, truly, the United States and France, which are competing for who is going to control the area.”
So this is essentially an inter-imperialist conflict here and so the US by creating this brigade to be able to send troops to 35 different countries, I mean this is saying that those troops are available, so if they need to go in and train and use puppet forces, reactionary militias and things like that, to act in their interests, they have this brigade prepared to do that and the other part of the policy is making those governments in Africa that are friendly to US’ interests, making them completely financially dependent on the US government so they have no choice but to follow its dictates.
And so we will see some clashes, I think, between those powers who are trying to scramble for the country but I think to highlight what is needed, that we need to develop economically in Africa and so forth, what needs to happen is Africa needs to be given the right to self-determination.
It is insane to say that the United States or France or Britain, the great enslavers of Africa, the great colonizers of Africa, can have any positive influence on the continent. What needs to happen is breaking this centuries-long history of colonization and enslavement and saying that the resources of Africa belong to the Africans.
‘US militarizing Africa in pursuit of oil’
An analyst says Washington’s military plans to set up a base for US drones in Northwest Africa coincide with Africa’s ‘increased significance as a supplier of oil, natural gas and other vital resources.’ The comment comes as US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that the US military command in Africa (AFRICOM) is preparing plans to establish a base for unmanned aircraft, which would likely be located in western Niger, in order to increase its spying operations in the region.
The officials also said the base would be used for flying reconnaissance drones only, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point in the future. Press TV has conducted an interview with Emira Woods, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus Think Tank in Washington to further discuss the issue. What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Many thanks for joining us here on Press TV Miss Woods. This command center for drones in Niger is part of the so called Africa Command of the US. This Africa Command also includes stationing numerous US forces in different countries in Africa under the pretext of ‘training African militaries against insurgency and terrorism.’ What do you make of this increasing militarization of the continent by America?
Woods: Well, we have to begin by saying that AFRICOM, the US Africa Command was created under the Bush administration and continued and strengthened under the Obama administration it represents an expanded militarization of US Africa policy. It coincides with Africa increasing its significance as a supplier of oil to the United States. AFRICOM stood up in October 2008 just as Africa was actually reaching over 25 percent of the oil input that come to the US from Africa, so Africa was increasing its significance not only for oil, natural gas but for other vital resources so we have seen the steady increase in the militarization.
Now AFRICOM is headquartered in Stuttgart Germany because of tremendous opposition on the continent particularly from governments in the region from South Africa to Nigeria to Algeria that refuse to host AFRICOM and encourage a continental stab against hosting headquarters for AFRICOM although AFRICOM actually established itself in Stuttgart Germany where it remains till today. “Now the programs of AFRICOM have extended from training and equipping African armies to as we see now the increased use of drone technology not only for intelligence gathering but also for what we see particularly in places like Somalia for more lethal purposes.
So I think what you see is an extended US military footprint in and around the African continent that coincides with the increased significance of resources from Africa over the past few years. “
Press TV: Well Miss Woods if the ultimate objective here is to secure African natural resources whatever happened to investing within the economy opening it to foreign market and investment?
Woods: “Well, I think what we see is a thirst for key resources for the global economy and access and control of those resources have often been the key determinant of foreign policy. So it is not a new phenomenon. Remember back in the days of colonialism where the colonizers look through the resources of Africa to drive their economies but the quest to dominate would often express most directly through military power and military might. “
So it’s not a new phenomenon but it is increasingly worrisome in this twenty-first century that the dependence on vital resources particularly the natural resources coming from the African world, it’s not only the US but Europe and China and many other countries that are looking to Africa’s resources as a means of growing their own economies…
Press TV: Miss Woods let me just interrupt you we are running out of time. What do you think this means for democracy as far as Africa goes the US as you’ve also pointed out is propping up militaries across the continent. These militaries are notorious for staging coups against democratically elected governments. This is going to see a depletion of democracy if anything in Africa, isn’t it?
Woods: Well, I think we have to look at Mali as the best example you have a US-trained military officer Capitan, Capitan Sanogo has been trained by the military. The US and has gone through training programs in Mali now for quite some years. It is recorded that in the last eight years at least seven times Capitan Sanogo and other military officers from Mali have participated in the US military training program and yet it is that US-armed and trained military have launched a coup back in March 2012 that actually created this downward spiral for the country.
So one month before the elections in Mali you know this military trained and equipped by the US decided that they could do it better than the civilian leaders and so they launched a coup that has created a political vacuum that has led to both a political as well as a security and humanitarian crisis in the country that is spilling over throughout the region. I think we have to look at the consequences of this effort to train equip and strengthen military…
Africans question US AFRICOM goals
Many Africans have expressed concern over the US move to establish a new unified combatant command, AFRICOM, in the oil-rich continent. “Just a few years ago, the US military was rarely seen in the oil-rich waters of West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea. This year, it plans to be there every day,” writes AP correspondent. The US Defense Department has created a new unified US military command, AFRICOM, for the continent. “Africans have a feeling AFRICOM represents something more than what is being sold to them,” said Wafula Okumu, an analyst at South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies.
With the strategic importance of Africa being on the rise, Africans wonder if AFRICOM is meant to protect America’s competitive stake in African oil and other resources that are increasingly sought by rising powers like China and India. There have also been concerns among some Africans that the new command could draw the continent deeper into the global war on terrorist groups.
US Africom for Liberia?
Despite other African nations unwillingness for a US presence, Liberia is ready to house the new African US military command, know as Africom.
The issue has sparked a debate in Liberia and despite the government’s support for Africom security analysts are wondering about such a command’s usefulness. James Makor, a human rights activist in Monrovia, says he does not know if it is even in the interest of Liberia to host Africom headquarters adding that previous US military assistance to Liberia did not help prevent civil wars.
At the end of his five-nation tour to Africa on Thursday, President George W. Bush praised Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who took office in 2006 as Africa’s first elected female leader. Before .watching a parade of US-trained Liberian troops in Monrovia along with Johnson-Sirleaf, Bush pledged US backing to help Liberia heal the social and economic wounds of the 1989-2003 war that killed 200,000 people. Some Liberians complain that Washington ignored the West African country during the civil war. Some said Bush’s arrival was prompted by concern at China’s growing commercial presence on the continent.
Keeping Africa Command in Germany costly for US
Relocating US Africa Command to the United States would save the government about $65 million annually and create thousands of new stateside jobs, according to a government report that questions the wisdom of a Pentagon plan to keep the command in Germany. Earlier this year, the Defense Department opted to keep AFRICOM in Stuttgart following an internal review that examined the costs and benefits of operating in Europe versus relocating to the US.
Then AFRICOM chief Gen. Carter Ham and DOD concluded that the benefits of Germany’s proximity to Africa outweighed the costs of the location. However, the Government Accountability Office now argues that DOD’s analysis failed to fully explain the operational benefits of staying in Germany and didn’t balance those factors against the multimillion-dollar cost saving advantages of relocating to the US. “Until the costs and benefits of maintaining AFRICOM in Germany are specified and weighed against the costs and benefits of relocating the command, the department may be missing an opportunity to accomplish its missions successfully at a lower cost,” the GAO reported on Monday.
Although a 2012 study by DOD determined that a move to the US would provide annual savings of roughly $65 million, create an additional 4,500 US jobs and inject about $400 million into the local economy, it is unclear how those factors weighed into DOD’s decision to stay in Stuttgart, according to the GAO. The majority of savings comes from reductions in housing and cost of living allowances, which add up to about $80 million for AFRICOM, according to GAO. Those costs would range from $19 million to $25 million in the US.
Meanwhile, the top factors for DOD in its 2013 decision to keep AFRICOM in Stuttgart were access to its area of responsibility and to Europe-based service components. “However, little support exists showing how the factors were weighted relative to each other,” the GAO stated. “Moreover, the study describes how a small, forward-deployed headquarters element such as the ones employed by other US-based combatant commands might mitigate operational concerns, but the study is silent about why this mitigation plan was not deemed a satisfactory option.”
In addition, about 70 percent of AFRICOM staff travels infrequently. “As a result, these staff could be relocated in the United States without negative effects,” the GAO stated. “This is because the AFRICOM staff includes many support personnel – accountants, personnel specialists, information technology experts, and planners, among other staff – who do their jobs primarily at the headquarters.” The GAO’s review is the latest chapter in a seemingly endless saga for AFRICOM, which has been plagued by repeated questions about the location of its headquarters since it was launched in 2007. Many have argued that AFRICOM should have been located in Africa, but there was too much resistance from African countries.
There also were concerns about the additional costs of locating on the continent, which also would have involved establishing schools and basing infrastructure for military personnel and their families. However, over the years there have been calls from lawmakers to move AFRICOM to the US. Politicians from Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, eager for an economic boost, are among those who have been pushing for AFRICOM to set up shop in their home states. The GAO review also comes on the heels of reports that DOD is considering a sweeping overhaul of its combatant command structure, including the possibility that AFRICOM could be merged back into European Command, which had responsibility for most of Africa prior to AFRICOM’s becoming a separate command.
According to the GAO, the Defense Department also considered such a merger in 2011, but dismissed the idea at that time. In its response to the report, DOD stated that it will consider a “wide range of options” to meet the requirements of the Budget Control Act, which resulted in the so-called sequestration – long-term budget cuts. “If any of those options require additional analysis of the location of AFRICOM headquarters, the Department will conduct a comprehensive and well-documented analysis,” DOD responded.
The GAO report said DOD should conduct a new study to more thoroughly probe the operational and cost-saving benefits of alternative locations for AFRICOM. “These options should include placing some AFRICOM headquarters personnel in forward locations, while moving others to the United States,” the report recommended. Stars and Stripes. (HSH)