2012-06-13 by Glen Ford, Editor, Black Agenda Report [blackagendareport.com/content/us-escalates-military-penetration-africa]:
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.
According to the Army Times newspaper [armytimes.com/news/2012/06/army-3000-soldiers-serve-in-africa-next-year-060812/], the United States will soon deploy a brigade of about 3,000 troops – “and likely more” – for duty “across the continent” of Africa. The “pilot program” has all the markings of a permanent, roving presence, joining the 1,200 U.S. soldiers stationed in Djibouti and the 100-plus Special Forces dispatched to Central Africa by President Obama, last October.
As always and everywhere, the U.S. is looking for bases to occupy – although the U.S. military command in Africa doesn’t call them bases. Rather, “as part of a ‘regionally’ aligned force concept,’ soldiers will live and work among Africans in safe communities approved by the U.S. government,” said AFRICOM’s Maj. Gen. David Hogg.
The First Black U.S. President, who in 2009 lectured Africans that “corruption” and “poor governance,” rather than neocolonialism, were the continent’s biggest problems, has made the U.S. military the primarily interlocutor with African states [telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/5778804/Barack-Obama-tells-Africa-to-stop-blaming-colonialism-for-problems.html]. Functions that were once the purview of the U.S. State Department, such as distribution of economic aid and medical assistance, are now part of AFRICOM’s vast portfolio. In Africa, more than anyplace in the world, U.S. foreign policy wears a uniform – which should leave little doubt as to Washington’s objectives in the region: Africa is to be dominated by military means. Obama’s “good governance” smokescreen for U.S. neocolonialism is embedded in AFRICOM’s stated mission [africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=1644&blog=all]: “to deter and defeat transnational threats and to provide a security environment conducive to good governance and development." Translation: to bring the so-called war on terror to every corner of the continent and ensure that U.S. corporate interests get favorable treatment from African governments.
AFRICOM’s array of alliances and agreements with African militaries already embraces virtually every nation on the continent except Eritrea and Zimbabwe. All but a handful of Black African states routinely take part in military maneuvers staged by Americans, utilizing U.S. command-and-control equipment and practices. The new, roving U.S. brigade will further institutionalize U.S. ties with the African officer class, part of AFRICOM’s mission to forge deep “soldier-to-soldier” relationships: general-to-general, colonel-to-colonel, and so forth down the line. The proposed network of “safe communities” to accommodate the highly mobile U.S. brigade is a euphemism for joint bases and the most intense U.S. fraternization with local African militaries. Regime change will never be farther away than a drink at the officers club.
According to the Army Times article, the composition of the new brigade, in terms of military skills, is not yet known. However, the brigade is conceived as part of the “new readiness model,” which “affords Army units more time to learn regional cultures and languages and train for specific threats and missions.” This sounds like special ops units – Rangers and Special Forces – which have been vastly expanded under President Obama (and are quite capable of carrying out regime-change operations on their own or in close coordination with their local counterparts).
In most cases, coups will be unnecessary. Regional African “trade” blocs like ECOWAS, the 16-member Economic Community of West African States, and IGAD, the six-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development, in East Africa, have provided African cover for U.S. and French military/political designs in the Ivory Coast and Somalia, respectively. These blocs will doubtless become even more useful and compliant, as U.S. military commanders and their African counterparts get cozier in those “safe communities.”
Americans, no matter how bloody their hands, have always liked to think of themselves as “innocents abroad.” “As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory,” said AFRICOM’s Gen. Hogg. Not really. The Americans are following a European chart in Africa that goes back centuries, and their own long experience in the serial rape of Latin America, where the close fraternization of U.S. and Latin American militaries in recent decades smothered the region in juntas, dirty wars, torture-based states, and outright genocide.
The U.S. and its African allies perpetrated of the worst genocide since World War Two: the death of six million in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda, which acts as a mercenary for the U.S. in Africa, is complicit in mega-death in Congo and Somalia. As Milton Allimadi, publisher of Black Star News, reported [amsterdamnews.com/opinion/we-must-reject-kony-the-pro-africom-propaganda/article_813cb8a2-745d-11e1-8f08-001871e3ce6c.html]: “In 2005 The International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Uganda liable for the Congo crimes. The court awarded Congo $10 billion in reparations. Uganda's army plundered Congo's wealth and committed: mass rapes of both women and men; disemboweled pregnant women; burned people inside their homes alive; and, massacred innocents.”
Naturally, as a henchman of the United States, Uganda has not paid the $10 billion it owes Congo. Ugandan leader Yoweria Museveni, who became Ronald Reagan’s favorite African after seizing power in 1986 with a guerilla army packed with child soldiers, and who for decades waged genocidal war against the Acholi people of his country, now plays host to the Special Forces continent sent by President Obama, ostensibly to fight the child soldier-abusing Joseph Kony and his nearly nonexistent Lord’s Resistance Army.
Rwanda, the Pentagon’s other hit man on the continent, has been cited by a United Nations report as bearing responsibility for some of the millions slaughtered in Congo, as part of its ongoing rape and plunder of its neighbor [blackagendareport.com/content/us-achieves-deep-penetration-african-armed-forces].
Gen. Hogg says AFRICOM’s mission is to combat famine and disease. Yet, the AFRICOM-assisted Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in late 2006 led to “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa – worse than Darfur,” according to United Nations observers [blackagendareport.com/content/us-starves-children-somali-war]. The 2007 humanitarian crisis and the escalating U.S.-directed war against Somalia made the 2010 famine all but inevitable.
Ugandan soldiers, nominally working for the African Union but in the pay of the Pentagon, kept watch over western interests in the starving country, as did the 1,200 soldiers stationed at the U.S. base in neighboring Djibouti – a permanent presence, along with the French garrison.
There’s nothing “uncharted” or mysterious about AFRICOM’s mission. The introduction of the 3,000-strong mobile brigade and a network of supporting bases prepares the way for the arrival of much larger U.S. and NATO forces – the recolonization of Africa. Gen. Hogg swears up and down there are no such plans. “For all the challenges that happen and sprout up across Africa, it really comes down to, it has to be an African solution,” he said.
That’s exactly the same thing they said in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
"U.S. Achieves Deep Penetration of African Armed Forces"
2009-10-05 by Glen Ford, editor of "Black Agenda Radio" [blackagendareport.com/content/us-achieves-deep-penetration-african-armed-forces]:
Supporters of African independence are generally pleased that the U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM, has not yet established an official headquarters on the continent, for fear of igniting anti-imperialist passions. But AFRICOM does have a major base on the continent, and more than half the militaries of Africa are at this moment being trained by AFRICOM units.
AFRICOM, the U.S. military's Africa Command, has forged deep ties to a growing number of militaries on the African continent. And, contrary to popular belief and official U.S. proclamations, Africom has established a base on the African continent. The base is located in Djibouti, the former French colony in the Horn of Africa on Somalia's northern border. The huge American base in Djibouti, from which the United States coordinates military actions in the region, including operations in Somali territory, is under AFRICOM command. It is, therefore, a fiction to maintain that AFRICOM has no bases on African soil. The U.S. Africa Command has simply opened no new bases, or relocated its official headquarters from Germany – a move that might ignite a wave of protest on the continent.
But the Americans may not have to stage a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a formal AFRICOM headquarters to accomplish the militarization of Africa under U.S. domination. A massive, U.S.-led military exercise is just winding down in the west African nation of Gabon. Dubbed “Africa Endeavor” the training mission involves military units from nearly 30 African countries under the auspices of the Americans: the U.S. Africa Command [africanews.com/site/African_armies_begin_training_in_Gabon/list_messages/27220]. It is by far the largest joint exercise with African militaries, and the third in so many years; the first two involved South Africa and Nigeria.
The African American who commands AFRICOM, Gen. William Ward, claims the latest exercise in Gabon, which began last week and ends October 8, is designed to improve the ability of armed forces from various African nations to communicate with each other in peace-keeping operations. They are without a doubt learning how to communicate with and operate alongside the United States military. The current focus of U.S. AFRICOM activities appears to revolve around preparing African troops to operate under American command-and-control procedures. In early September, 50 Ugandan military officers were sent to the U.S. military base in Djibouti for training [allafrica.com/stories/200909080437.html]. A spokesman for the Ugandan Armed Forces told reporters the objective was to train Africans to fight with international forces. That is clearly a euphemism for operating alongside the Americans.
If the U.S. can turn the militaries of sovereign African nations into appendages of American forces, operating under American command-and-control, then there is no need to draw attention to the US. military presence in Africa by formally designating an AFRICOM headquarters in, say, Kampala, Uganda, or Monrovia, Liberia. Once the U.S. has subverted the officers corps of Africa's armies and made them dependent on U.S. equipment, procedures and logistics, American military domination becomes a fait accompli.
For its part, the U.S. Africa Command says the military exercises are meant to develop “standard procedures” for the operation of an all-African “Standby Force,” under the African Union. What they are in fact creating is a force that cannot operate without the assistance of the Americans. And, of course, such a force could never resist the Americans in battle. The U.S. will never give Africans the tools to defend themselves from... the Americans.