2012: Year Of U.S. Africa Command Juggernaut
August 28, 2012
AFRICOM juggernaut comes to town
Edited by RR
Windhoek: The US already has more than 2,000 troops at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti to combat “terrorism and piracy”.
America also has agreements with Gabon, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia for use of local military bases, dubbed “lily pads”, as and when it needs.
Since 2007, Washington has made a concerted push to permanently house AFRICOM in Africa.
The US believes 2012 is the year that the dream becomes a reality.
In 2010 Peter Pham, a neoconservative African policy “expert” and US military advisor, said Africa was a “neglected stepchild” of Washington’s foreign policy.
“Myself and a few other academics had been kicking around the idea of a combatant command for Africa since the late 1990s, without much success.
“When the (George W.) Bush administration suddenly saw these ungoverned spaces as a cause for concern, I thought, if you are looking for ungoverned areas, porous borders and weak states, then look no further than Africa.
“That created a buzz,” Pham said.
The following year, Pham told the US Congress: “This natural wealth makes Africa an inviting target for the attentions of the People’s Republic of China, whose dynamic economy, averaging nine percent growth per annum over the last two decades, has an almost insatiable thirst for oil as well as a need for other natural resources to sustain it.
“It seems AFRICOM is off to a strong start as the opposition to China in Africa.
“The litmus test will be who Obama selects as his Africa person and whether he tries to weaken Congo President Joseph Kabila in favour of backing Nkunda’s death squads, naturally in the name of ‘restoring democracy.’”
And then in July last year, as previously reported by The Southern Times, a US Congressional Research Service paper for members and committees said AFRICOM would have an African home in 2012.
The paper, “AFRICOM: US Strategic Interests and the Role of the US Military on Africa”, was presented by Lauren Ploch, an American “expert” on African affairs.
She said, “A decision on AFRICOM’s final headquarters location has been postponed to 2012 to allow the command to gain greater understanding of its long-term operational requirements.”
The “humanitarian” card has already been used to deploy the military in Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, East Africa and the Horn of Africa in the last year alone.
Lysias Dodd Gilbert and Christopher Isike – doctoral candidates at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa – have said the US is being driven by resource greed in Africa.
In a research paper titled “USAFRICOM: Security for Whom?”, which they co-authored with Ufo Okeke Uzodike (Associate Professor of International Relations and head of the School of Politics at KwaZulu Natal University), they said: “Can a military command of an imperial power be truly as benign and contributive (socially and economically) as suggested by the American declarations about AFRICOM?
“Why did Africa suddenly become an area of ‘vital interest’ to the US, deserving the creation of a full-fledged military command?
“Was AFRICOM established for the development, and alleviation of vulnerabilities and human security challenges in Africa or was it created for the pursuit of US hegemonic and state-centric security interests?
“A cursory understanding of the imperialistic and hegemonic inclinations of the US explains vividly the reasons why AFRICOM was established.
“Put simply, AFRICOM was introduced to further America’s national security objectives…
“(T)he US has demonstrated increased readiness to use its power unilaterally in pursuit of its national interests as evidenced by its invasion of Iraq despite non-endorsement by the UN.
“AFRICOM was unilaterally created for the furtherance and consolidation of US state-centric security interests but packaged in human security paraphernalia for the twin purpose of credibility and acceptability by African statesmen.”