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AFRICOM: US Military Occupation of Africa

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    AFRICOM: US Military Control of Africa s Resources Understanding AFRICOM Bryan Hunt http://www.moonofalabama.org/2007/02/understanding_a_1.html Student
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2007
      AFRICOM: US Military Control of Africa's Resources

      "Understanding AFRICOM"
      Bryan Hunt

      Student Researcher: Ioana Lupu
      Faculty Evaluator: Marco Calavita, Ph.D

      In February 2007 the White House announced the formation of the US
      African Command (AFRICOM), a new unified Pentagon command center in
      Africa, to be established by September 2008. This military penetration
      of Africa is being presented as a humanitarian guard in the Global War
      on Terror. The real objective is, however, the procurement and control
      of Africa's oil and its global delivery systems.

      The most significant and growing challenge to US dominance in
      Africa is China. An increase in Chinese trade and investment in Africa
      threatens to substantially reduce US political and economic leverage
      in that resource-rich continent. The political implication of an
      economically emerging Africa in close alliance with China is resulting
      in a new cold war in which AFRICOM will be tasked with achieving
      full-spectrum military dominance over Africa.

      AFRICOM will replace US military command posts in Africa,
      which were formerly under control of US European Command (EUCOM) and
      US Central Command (CENTCOM), with a more centralized and intensified
      US military presence.

      A context for the pending strategic role of AFRICOM can be
      gained from observing CENTCOM in the Middle East. CENTCOM grew out of
      the Carter Doctrine of 1980 which described the oil flow from the
      Persian Gulf as a "vital interest" of the US, and affirmed that the US
      would employ "any means necessary, including military force" to
      overcome an attempt by hostile interests to block that flow.

      It is in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa that the US military
      force is most rapidly increasing, as this area is projected to become
      as important a source of energy as the Middle East within the next
      decade. In this region, challenge to US domination and exploitation is
      coming from the people of Africa¬ómost specifically in Nigeria, where
      seventy percent of Africa's oil is contained.

      People native to the Niger Delta region have not benefited,
      but instead suffered, as a result of sitting on top of vast natural
      oil and natural gas deposits. Nigerian people's movements are
      demanding self-determination and equitable sharing of oil-receipts.
      Environmental and human rights activists have, for years, documented
      atrocities on the part of oil companies and the military in this
      region. As the tactics of resistance groups have shifted from petition
      and protest to more proactive measures, attacks on pipelines and oil
      facilities have curtailed the flow of oil leaving the region. As a
      Convergent Interests report puts it, "Within the first six months of
      2006, there were nineteen attacks on foreign oil operations and over
      $2.187 billion lost in oil revenues; the Department of Petroleum
      Resources claims this figure represents 32 percent of `the revenue the
      country [Nigeria] generated this year.'"

      Oil companies and the Pentagon are attempting to link these
      resistance groups to international terror networks in order to
      legitimize the use of the US military to "stabilize" these areas and
      secure the energy flow. No evidence has been found however to link the
      Niger Delta resistance groups to international terror networks or
      jihadists. Instead the situation in the Niger Delta is that of
      ethnic-nationalist movements fighting, by any means necessary, toward
      the political objective of self-determination. The volatility
      surrounding oil installations in Nigeria and elsewhere in the
      continent is, however, used by the US security establishment to
      justify military "support" in African oil producing states, under the
      guise of helping Africans defend themselves against those who would
      hinder their engagement in "Free Trade."

      The December 2006 invasion of Somalia was coordinated using
      US bases throughout the region. The arrival of AFRICOM will
      effectively reinforce efforts to replace the popular Islamic Courts
      Union of Somalia with the oil industry¬Ėfriendly Transitional Federal
      Government. Meanwhile, the persistent Western calls for "humanitarian
      intervention" into the Darfur region of Sudan sets up another
      possibility for military engagement to deliver regime change in
      another Islamic state rich in oil reserves.

      Hunt warns that this sort of "support" is only bound to
      increase as rhetoric of stabilizing Africa makes the dailies, copied
      directly out of official AFRICOM press releases. Readers of the
      mainstream media can expect to encounter more frequent usage of terms
      like "genocide" and "misguided." He notes that already corporate media
      decry China's human rights record and support for Sudan and Zimbabwe
      while ignoring the ongoing violations of Western corporations engaged
      in the plunder of natural resources, the pollution other peoples'
      homelands, and the "shoring up" of repressive regimes.

      In FY 2005 the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative
      received $16 million; in FY 2006, nearly $31 million. A big increase
      is expected in 2008, with the administration pushing for $100 million
      each year for five years. With the passage of AFRICOM and continued
      promotion of the Global War on Terror, Congressional funding is likely
      to increase significantly.

      In the end, regardless of whether it's US or Chinese
      domination over Africa, the blood spilled will be African. Hunt
      concludes, "It does not require a crystal ball or great imagination to
      realize what the increased militarization of the continent through
      AFRICOM will bring to the peoples of Africa."

      Update by Bryan Hunt

      By spring 2007, US Department of Energy data showed that the United
      States now imports more oil from the continent of Africa than from the
      country of Saudi Arabia. While this statistic may be of surprise to
      the majority, provided such information even crosses their radar, it's
      certainly not the case for those figures who have been pushing for
      increased US military engagement on that continent for some time now,
      as my report documented. These import levels will rise.

      In the first few months following the official announcement
      of AFRICOM, details are still few. It's expected that the combatant
      command will be operational as a subunit of EUCOM by October 2007,
      transitioning to a full-fledged stand-alone command some twelve months
      later. This will most likely entail the re-locating of AFRICOM
      headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany, where EUCOM is headquartered, to
      an African host country.

      In April, US officials were traversing the continent to
      present their sales pitch for AFRICOM and to gauge official and public
      reaction. Initial perceptions are, not surprisingly, negative and
      highly suspect, given the history of US military involvement
      throughout the world, and Africa's long and bitter experience with

      Outside of a select audience, reaction in the United States
      has barely even registered. First of all, Africa is one of the
      least-covered continents in US media. And when African nations do draw
      media attention, coverage typically centers on catastrophe, conflict,
      or corruption, and generally features some form of benevolent foreign
      intervention, be it financial and humanitarian aid, or stern official
      posturing couched as paternal concerns over human rights. But US
      military activity on the continent largely goes unnoticed. This was
      recently evidenced by the sparse reporting on military support for the
      invasion of Somalia to rout the Islamic Courts Union and reinstall the
      unpopular warlords who had earlier divided up the country. The
      Pentagon went so far as to declare the operation a blueprint for
      future engagements.

      The DOD states that a primary component of AFRICOM's mission
      will be to professionalize indigenous militaries to ensure stability,
      security, and accountable governance throughout Africa's various
      states and regions. Stability refers to establishing and maintaining
      order, and accountability, of course, refers to US interests. This
      year alone, 1,400 African military officers are anticipated to
      complete International Military Education and Training programs at US
      military schools.

      Combine this tasking of militarization with an increased
      civilian component in AFRICOM emphasizing imported conceptions of
      "democracy promotion" and "capacity-building" and African autonomy and
      sovereignty are quick to suffer. Kenyans, for example, are currently
      finding themselves in this position.

      It is hoped that, by drawing attention to the growing US footprint on
      Africa now, a contextual awareness of these issues can be useful to,
      at the very least, help mitigate some of the damages that will surely
      follow. At the moment, there is little public consciousness of AFRICOM
      and very few sources of information outside of official narratives.
      Widening the public dialogue on this topic is the first step toward
      addressing meaningful responses.



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