AFRICANGLOBE – Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of the militarist policies of the United States and the European Union (EU) is the growing intervention of these former colonial and currently neo-colonial states in the internal affairs of the African continent.
Since 2008, both the US and EU member countries have been heavily involved in the region under the guise of fighting a so-called “war on terrorism.”
According to the narrative advanced by the ruling elites in the imperialist states, Africa is a major source of “international terrorism” and that if the West does not intervene to monitor and track down these elements they will eventually attack the US as was done on September 11, 2001. These same arguments were also put forward in the beginning of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and the lead up to the intervention in Iraq.
With specific reference to the war against Afghanistan, the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces have been occupying this Central Asian country directly for nearly thirteen years. Moreover, if we examine the origins of the war in Afghanistan it can be traced back at least until 1979 when Soviet troops entered the country to defend the socialist government that had come to power the previous year.
The al-Qaeda network was actually encouraged and facilitated by the US beginning under the Carter administration in 1979-80 and thereafter by two successive Reagan terms (1981-89) and eventually the one-term rule of George H.W. Bush between (1989-1993). It was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon that provided training, weapons, funds and diplomatic cover to the “Mujahideen” in Afghanistan to counter the influence of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of Afghanistan.
After the collapse of the Comecon sector and the Soviet Union between the late 1980s and 1991, the much-touted “end of the cold war” was actually a myth. There was of course new enemies for imperialism to target, challenge and defeat.
In 1990-1991 there was the massive military build-up in the Persian Gulf in response to the Iraqi annexation of the Kuwait monarchy. The massive aerial bombardment and ground invasion of 1991 led to an ongoing series of military operations against this Middle Eastern state.
The utilization of sanctions, the continued presence of Pentagon warships and fighter aircraft led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Twelve years after the first [Persian] Gulf War, the George W. Bush administration after occupying Afghanistan, then went into Iraq despite massive public opposition inside the US and around the world.
Even though the allegations that were made by the Bush administration suggesting a direct link and even alliance between al-Qaeda and the Arab Baath Socialist Party (ABSP) government in Baghdad was absolutely absurd, there was still a concerted attempt to sell this to the public. This false linkage served as an underpinning for the fake “weapons of mass destruction” fabrications that were promoted not only by the Bush administration but picked up and publicized by the corporate media including the New York Times and the then “pre-liberal” MSNBC television network.
A review of these arguments enunciated by the ruling class to justify war in the Middle East and Central Asia are strikingly similar to what is being said about the current situation in Africa. One major exception, however, is the greater utilization of national and regional governmental troops as surrogates in the imperialist interventions.
Nigeria and the Central African Republic: Islam and Regional Security
Over the past several weeks, events in the West African state of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous, have drawn the attention of people throughout the world. The abduction of over 270 female high school students in the village of Chibok in Borno State in the northeast of the country even prompted the intervention of … Michelle Obama.
Nonetheless, the war between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Boko Haram has been raging for nearly five years when the military and police stormed the headquarters of the sect and killed its founder Mohammed Yusef and dozens of his followers in 2009. Since that time, the tactics of Boko Haram become more deadly every year.
In 2011, the organization was said to have been behind the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in the political capital of Abuja. Christian churches have been bombed in the northern and central regions of the country, security personnel are being murdered more frequently and improvised explosive devices are being planted even in Abuja that have resulted in the deaths of dozens of people over the last few months.
The character of corporate media coverage of the Nigerian crisis conceals the strategic alliance between this country and the US ruling class. Nigeria is the largest exporter of oil from Africa into the US
Recent announcements have been made that the re-basing of key indices by western financial publications and institutions has resulted in Nigeria being designated as the leading economy on the continent. At the same time as the country is being championed for its tremendous investment-led economic growth, both France and the US are moving their intelligence and military apparatuses into the country to battle the Boko Haram insurgency.
Earlier in the year when the Nigerian government was commemorating the centenary of the consolidation of British colonial rule over the country in 1914, French President Francois Hollande attended the events surrounding the 100-year anniversary. Hollande pledged to assist Nigeria in the so-called “fight against terrorism” and then traveled to the Central African Republic, a former French colony now undergoing the greatest internal security crisis during the post-colonial period of its history.
The CAR is also a country that contains strategic resources that are of interests to multi-national mining corporations from both Western Europe and North America. A rebel coalition led by elements within the minority Muslim population took control of the country in March 2013 and held it until January 2014, when the government of interim President Michel Djotodia was forced to resign largely under the aegis of Paris.
Once the Seleka Coalition was forced from power after a regional conference held in neighboring Chad, a Christian-based anti-Balaka militia group went into action attacking Muslim-owned businesses, mosques and neighborhoods. By April, tens of thousands of Muslims had been forced to leave the CAR for what was perceived to be safer areas in neighboring Chad and Cameroon, both of which have a history of French colonialism.
France has sent at least 2,000 troops into the CAR. This occupation is being supported and facilitated by the Pentagon which flew in troops and equipment during the initial stages of the intervention. Special Forces have been operating in the CAR at least since late 2011 when the Obama administration deployed military personnel in pursuit of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) that was founded in the East Africa state of Uganda over two decades ago.
The imposition of another Christian-based government in the CAR under interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has not created the conditions for normalization. Although hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been forced into internally displaced camps and exile, at present a resurgent Muslim resistance movement has surfaced.
In addition to the enhanced intervention of France and the US, the EU forces (EUFOR) have also entered the country in the aftermath of an EU-Africa summit held in April in Brussels. This summit generated tremendous controversy since it deliberately bypassed the African Union (AU) and extended or denied invitations to individual states and leaders in direct contravention of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC).
Troops from several African states are operating as well inside the CAR. The African troop presence is mandated by both the regional … Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) as well as the UN Security Council.
Moreover, the United Nations Security Council several months ago approved the deployment of some 12,000 foreign troops into the CAR. Their mandate appears to be designed as a peacekeeping force which is allowed to engage in military operations ostensibly geared toward stabilizing the troubled state.
If these various foreign military forces are added up they will constitute an occupying presence of at least 20,000 troops. The degree of US presence in the CAR cannot be fully determined in light of the role of Special Forces and air force units that are providing logistical and intelligence support for the French-EU-CEMAC-UN deployment.