By Abayomi Azikiwe
Feb 11, 2014
Pan-African News Wire and Global Research
Growing instability in East and Central Africa will be the focus of Washington’s intervention
Over the last two months developments in Central and East Africa has dominated the news coverage of the continent. The split within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA), a close ally of Washington, and the deployment of French and African troops in the Central African Republic, has brought the escalation of Pentagon troops in these states.
Recently the Department of Defense announced the formation of an East African Response Force. This new unit is part of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) which has been strengthened and enhanced under the administration of President Barack Obama.
A recent drone attack in southern Somalia is representative of the growing aggression of Washington in Africa. The government of Djibouti, a former French colony where the U.S. has a military base with over 4,000 soldiers at Camp Lemonnier, released a statement saying that such strikes are “vital” in the so-called war on terrorism.
The drone strike was launched from the Pentagon military installations in Djibouti. Prior to the creation of the East African Response Force Washington operated in the region under the framework of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).
U.S. Brigadier-General Wayne Grigsby, who is the commander of CJTF-HOA, says that his forces are in East Africa only to assist governments in their military campaigns to defeat the so-called terrorist threat posed by Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based guerrilla organization which has fought the Washington-backed regime in Mogadishu for the last six years.
“Our mission here is to enable our East African partners to actually neutralize violent extremists throughout eastern Africa,” Grigsby said. Yet if this was the case then why would it be necessary to have such a formidable military force in the Horn of Africa region that conducts periodic bombings and commando raids in Somalia. (Shabelle Media Network, Feb. 7)
However, Brigadier-General Grigsby does say that “It also enables strategic access and freedom of movement. The purpose is to protect the United States and its interests abroad.”
Consequently, even the military leaders themselves must acknowledge that the underlying reasons for the build-up in Africa are clearly related to the economic and class interests of Washington and Wall Street. East and Central Africa is a vast repository of oil, natural gas and strategic minerals.
The U.S. Role in South Sudan and the Central African Republic
The East Africa Response Force has been utilized in the current conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. A contingent of the unit was deployed to the country to evacuate U.S. embassy personnel and to guard their economic interests.
One of the most significant factors in the present outcome of the conflict inside South Sudan has been the intervention of the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) which sided with the government of President Salva Kiir. The Ugandan government is a very close ally of the U.S. and its military has benefited for years from Pentagon training programs and direct assistance in the purchase of weapons.
On January 23 with the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement between the SPLM/A and the SPLM/A in Opposition, the faction represented by ousted Vice-President Riek Machar, this document called for the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from South Sudan. However, according to the dissident SPLM/A in Opposition, the UPDF is carrying out aerial bombings and ground operations in contested areas in Unity, Jonglei and Lakes states.
A helicopter gunner was reportedly shot down by the opposition forces in Lakes state on February 7. In an article published by the Sudan Tribune it states that “The military spokesperson for the rebels, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, said on Friday (Feb. 7) that the gunner was shot dead and fell off the helicopter after serious damage was inflicted on one of the three helicopter gunships that carried out the bombings.”
This same article continued noting that “‘Our air defense artillery opened fire on the three warplanes seriously wounding one and killing the gunner,’ Koang said. The collected passport and ID of the dead gunner identified him as Jona Abuduku Alfred, a Ugandan national with military ID No. 21883, passport No. 11180 and a Lance Corporal in military rank. His hometown is Mbale in Uganda and joined the Ugandan Air Force in 1997, the documents obtained show.”
With respect to events in the Central African Republic (CAR), the U.S. has been assisting with the transport of French and African troops into the country where the recent forced resignation of interim President Michel Djotodia and the Seleka Coalition and his replacement by Catherine Samba-Panza has not stabilized the political and security situation. At present anti-Muslim mobs both within the CAR military and among Christian militias known as the Anti-Balaka, have engaged in attacks on Islamic communities where numerous people have been seriously injured and killed.
A spokesman for U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was quoted by a military publication as saying “Minister Le Drian requested … airlift support to enable African forces to deploy promptly to prevent the further spread of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic,” Pentagon Assistant Press Secretary Carl Woog announced Dec. 9.
“The United States is joining the international community in this effort because of our belief that immediate action is required to avert a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe in the Central African Republic, and because of our interest in peace and security in the region.” (Stars and Stripes, Jan. 22)
Yet the intervention of both France and the U.S. has only worsened the conditions for people in the CAR. With the dislocation of tens of thousands of Muslims who are fleeing out of the country to neighboring Chad, divisions are becoming more pronounced based upon religious differences and perceptions of political power.
The only solution being advocated as a next step in the process is the deployment of more troops from the European Union (EU). The United Nations Security Council has authorized the deployment of EU troops but there is no evidence to suggest that this will stabilize the situation.
Military Build-up Designed to Secure Influence and Resources
The growing French, U.S. and EU military involvement in Africa is designed to secure western imperialist dominance over the oil, diamonds, gold and uranium that exist in abundance in both the CAR and South Sudan. These western states are creating the conditions for the deterioration of the societies involved, and consequently through their false propaganda about humanitarian assistance, will only provide a further rationale for an even heavier military occupation.
By framing the discussion about their intervention as being “humanitarian”, the imperialists are attempting as well to remove these issues from public debate and scrutiny. During the State of the Union address in January, President Obama only spoke about the impact of military policy from the standpoint of supposedly honoring the sacrifices made by seriously injured and disabled veterans.
No discussion or analysis of the impact and effectiveness of U.S. interventions in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia is conducted. Nonetheless, these military invasions and occupations are not only destroying the lives of people on the ground in these various geo-political regions but are killing and maiming its own soldiers which the Veterans Administration is incapable of adequately addressing.
Anti-War and anti-imperialist organizations in the U.S. must oppose these so-called “humanitarian interventions” because they are acts of war and military occupation. Resources utilized for these imperialist operations would be better served in putting people in the U.S. back to work with jobs that pay a decent wage and make significant contributions to the society.
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Xinhua News Agency
January 26, 2014
Germany considering troops increase in African missions
BERLIN: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is considering increasing the international engagement of German national defence forces, or Bundeswehr, local media Spiegel reported Sunday.
She said the Bundeswehr could provide a helicopter to evacuate wounded soldiers in Central Africa, where “a bloody war between Christians and Muslims unfolds.”
“We cannot allow that the conflict sets the entire region in flames,” said Von der Leyen.
The minister also said she was considering increasing the German contingent in Mali.
“Currently, the mandate upper limit is 180 men with 99 soldiers on site. We could strengthen this commitment, which is also expected from our allies, especially the French government. I could imagine that the mandate will be increased up to 250 men,” said Von der Leyen.
She replied “yes” when asked whether Germany should assume more international responsibility, suggesting the replacement of national armies in the European Union by united European forces in the long run.
However, the minister admitted that there is still a long way to go before reaching the goals, and the requirement of parliamentary approval needs to be considered as well.
“But I think unified armed forces will be a logical consequence of an ever-increasing military cooperation in Europe,” said Von der Leyen.
Jan 3, 2014
The sectarian slaughter in the Central African Republic has reached a vicious new level according to the UN. Reports are emerging even children are being lynched by marauding mobs.And that’s despite France’s military intervention as RT’s Maria Finoshina reports.
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November 22, 2013
nsnbc , - French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius announced that France is planning to deploy troops to the Central African Republic (CAR), if the U.N. Security Council votes for a U.N. Intervention in December. Despite many common denominators with Ivory Coast and Mali, Fabius claims that “this intervention will be different from that in Mali”.
Fabius stressed that “there is an absolute disorder in the CAR, and that “action must be taken as soon as possible to avoid tragedy”. France has been pressuring the United Nations for authorizing an intervention in the Central African Republic for months, and has increased the number of French troops in the country, that is plagued by clashes between a number of foreign-backed militias to almost 600.
French Eagerness to “Intervene” and Non-Humanitarian Common Denominators with Ivory Coast and Mali.
The Central African Republic has several features in common with Ivory Coast and Mali, where France has “intervened” since 2010.
- The CAR is rich in resources and holds considerable reserves of gold, diamonds and uranium.
- The CAR is a member of the UMEOA, uses the CFA-Franc, and has to deposit 65 % of all of its foreign currency reserves in France.
- Each time the CAR earns more on export than it spends abroad, it is creating a debt in France, rather than accumulating wealth for its population.
- France is “lending” the interest of the 65 % of the foreign currency reserves the CAR “has to deposit” in France, on which France earns about 3 % interest, back to the CAR and other UMEOA member states, at 5 – 6 % or more as “development aid”.
- The CAR has to deposit all of its gold reserves in the French “Tresor Nationale” against zero percent interest as a guaranty for the value of the CFA-Franc. Given the refusal of the French government to make any information available about its gold reserves, it is uncertain whether France could deliver the gold back, even if its government should decide to do so.
One of the conditions for “granting its former African colonies independence” was that “France installed commissars with veto rights” in the region’s three central banks, the, B.E.A.C., the B.C.C., and the B.C.E.A.O.
A detailed article about the virtually absolute French control over the 15 Central African nation’s economies has been published by Christof Lehmann under the title:
The confidence of French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, that the UN will give permission to intervene under a UN mandate may in part be based on a statement by U.N. Secretary General Ban Kyi-moon, last Monday, that “he may be prepared to send peacekeepers”. The Secretary General stressed that further tensions between communities might well lead to uncontrollable sectarian violence with untold consequences for the country, the sub-region and beyond.
The country, with its population of 4.6 million, has descended into chaos since March, when the predominantly Muslim Seleka insurgents, many of them mercenaries from neighboring Chad and Sudan, ousted the country’s president, Francois Bozize.
The Seleka insurgents relied on the support of a loose coalition or local warlords, militia and criminal networks who have begun fighting each other for control since September. The renown Africa expert Alexander Mezyaev argues that the “failed state concept” with regards to the instability in the CAR may be related to the covering-up of international crimes. Recently, attacks were also launched against Magistrates in the capital Bangui.
U.N. Mission a French Attempt to assert French Control, countering African Initiatives.
The French push for an intervention at the U.N. is by many analysts understood as a French attempt to assert control over the CAR and to maintain French hegemony over its former colonies. Although the USA ultimately may be “pulled into another French military adventure”, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry has made it clear that Washington would prefer that the African Union intervenes.
Considering the political economics it is understandable that France much rather would see a French led “intervention” under a U.N. Mandate, than an initiative that asserted African countries control of the African continent.
The African Union (A.U.) has already deployed 2.500 troops and is discussing to strengthen the mission with additional troops.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, pledged USD 40 million towards the African Union, sending a signal to Fabius and France, that the USA is not particularly interested in getting involved in a CAR mission, while it has more than enough to do with managing the subversion of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and the involvements it already has on the African continent.
The result of French involvement in the 15 UMEOA member states, and how it manifests with regards to the Central African Republic, which with its richness in gold, diamonds and uranium, fertile, prime agricultural land and a population of no more than 4.6 million could be more prosperous than any of the European nations, is best understood by considering the CAR ranks 180th of 186 on the United Nations Human Development Index.
Ch/L - nsnbc 22.11.2013
For a detailed breakdown of the French control over the national economies of the 15 Central African U.M.E.O.A. member states, and the impact on the development of these countries as well as on regional stability and peace, please read Christof Lehmann’s article:
Other related articles:
by Nile Bowie
June 21, 2012
Nile Bowie is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Nile Bowie
Youth Movement Promotes US Military Presence in Central Africa.
March 8, 2012
Invisible Children has partnered with two other organizations, Resolve and Digitaria, to create the LRA Crisis Tracker, a digital crisis-mapping platform that broadcasts attacks allegedly committed by the LRA. On its list of corporate sponsors, Resolve lists Human Rights Watch and the International Rescue Committee. Digitaria’s website boasts commercial clients such as CBS, FOX, MTV, ESPN, Adidas, NFL, Qualcomm, NBC, National Geographic, Hasbro and Warner Brothers. While KONY 2012 attempts to portray itself as an indigenous activist movement bent on bringing justice to African children, its parent organization is affiliated with the upper echelon of the US corporate media and a network of foundation-funded pro-war civil society groups with a long history of fomenting pro-US regime change under the banner of democratic institution building.
Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. DRC is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony. The US may further mobilize group forces, in addition to the use of predator drones and targeted missile strikes, inevitably killing civilians. In a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward stated that AFRICOM will further its regional presence by “operating under the principle theatre-goal of combating terrorism”. During an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared AFRICOM’s guiding principle as protecting “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests.The crimes of the Lord’s Resistance Army have been documented in the past and they are truly despicable actions. Presently, the operations of the LRA have nearly dissolved and their presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is difficult to verify. While the pro-war filmmakers behind KONY 2012 naively call for the US military to assert its place in the conflict, an independent fact finding mission would be far more effective in assessing the seriousness of the LRA threat in the present day.
Editor’s Note: Please also read about verified Western atrocities carried out in Uganda on behalf of the same corporate neo-imperial profiteering dressed up as “feel-good” activism.
Press For Truth
March 8, 2012
Today we discuss the Kony 2012 viral marketing campaign which was launched by an organization called “Invisible Children” which calls for military intervention in Africa in order to arrest the leader of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) Joseph Kony. Millions of people all over the world are jumping on the Kony 2012 bandwagon and so today we ask the question Cui bono (who benefits?). Children in Africa? Or the military industrial complex?
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