AFRICANGLOBE – Not since the peak of the colonial era has Western interventionism in African affairs been so intrusive and so damaging to the long-term interests and well being of the peoples and their lands.
Moreover, while during the colonial era the foreign forces were both legally and morally responsible for, and beholden to, the consequences of their undertakings, the U.S.-led West is presently invoking the “cause” of the independence of African states in order to disown the dire consequences the West’s actions have wrought.
The current crisis highlights the stark contrast between the deteriorating security and stability in Africa, mainly the greater west Africa, and the growing importance of the riches of Africa to the long-term economic recovery of the industrialized Europe/Eurasia. The growing importance of Africa’s riches to the well being of the West is sending the U.S.-led West — with France playing a distinct role of a self-anointed past-and-future colonial power — to actively intervene in African internal affairs, dictating to sovereign governments how they should handle their own affairs.
The Obama White House’s excuses — that it is supporting and furthering human rights, as well as fighting one Al Qaida offshoot or another — only aim to placate a reluctant Congress.
Ultimately, Western (and, increasingly, Eastern) interventionism aims solely to secure and further its trade or security interests. The price which Africans pay, and will continue to pay because of this intervention, matters little to outside societies.
That said, furthering the self interests of the West, particularly interests of immense importance such as facilitating the long-term economic recovery and re industrialization of the West, is seen as warranted and should be encouraged. In principle, the pursuit of these interests merits Western interventionism in Africa in order to secure safe access to the energy, ore and mineral resources, as well as the venues and routes for their transportation to markets.
However, where catastrophes loom is in implementation. The U.S.- and French-led interventions throughout Africa have been conducted in such a manner in recent occurrences as to exacerbate regional eruptions. In turn, these eruptions will spark a myriad of fratricidal conflicts. At this point, the West will ultimately be deprived of the safe access to the riches of Africa by the crises the West itself will have provoked.
At the root of the catastrophe is the reality that U.S.-led Western interventionism is focused on “feel-good, instant-gratification” in the Western media and political arenas. This is manifested in the declared objectives of these interventions and the demands made of the local governments and leaders, which often include such explicit or implicit demands as:
1. Cease hostilities immediately and at all cost. This effectively rewards those who provoked and unleashed the hostilities and those who use civilians as human shields;
2. Immediately implement Western-style democratic reforms, human rights, and swift elections. This undermines local governments, rooted in local customs and practices, and prevents them from addressing the real crises; and
3. Establish weak governments totally dependent on Western patronage and protection for survival –both for security and economically — and then extort them for access to local riches under most favorite conditions.
Unfolding interventions throughout Africa — most notably in South Sudan and the Central African Republic — highlight the West’s penchant for instant-gratification cessation of hostilities and regime changes. These interventions continue as if the recent West-orchestrated “regime changes” in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria (attempted), and even Mali worked or benefited the public at large. Undaunted, the U.S. and France continue to lead the West in self-destruct policies in Africa because of blatant disregard of the facts and realities on the ground while pursuing feel-good, instant-gratification interventionism.
In the Central African Republic (CAR), Western political and public discourse is based on the continued accusation of the Muslim Seleka for atrocities and near genocide. Altogether, half-a-dozen mass graves were discovered with a total of about 200 dead (hardly genocide). All of the dead were Muslim civilians: victims of the France-supported Anti-Balaka Christian militias. However, this did not prevent Washington and Paris from escalating their outcry for punishing the Michel Djotodia Administration for the ostensible humanitarian catastrophes.
The campaign peaked during, and in the aftermath of, the Dec. 19, 2013, visit to Bangui by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power. Ambassador Power sided with the zealots among the Christian clergy (adherents of liberation theology) in denouncing Djotodia’s “Muslim power” and refusal to commit to reforms when he had already committed by then to every Western demand short of resignation.
And so, on Jan. 9, President Michel Djotodia was dragged to N’Djamena to face the leaders of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC). It was a show orchestrated by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and implemented by his protégé, Chad President General Idriss Déby Itno (who, by the way, rose to power in December 1990 as the head of a military rebellion against then President Hissène Habré). Nevertheless, Fabius and his protégé had difficulties forcing the other leaders to decide against President Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiengaye (who was also forced to resign).
All African leaders in attendance now know and dread that if they misbehave, they would be the next to be toppled by Paris. The breakthrough in the N’Djamena Summit took place only after French troops in Bangui rounded up and effectively detained all 135 members of the CAR Parliament, put them on an aircraft to N’Djamena so that they could vote their no-confidence in their President and Prime Minister should they refuse to surrender and resign. Both Djotodia and Tiengaye resigned before such a vote took place.
Throughout, both Paris and N’Djamena made no effort to conceal their blatant disregard of CAR laws which stipulate that Parliament votes only in the National Assembly Building in Bangui.
When the news of Djotodia’s resignation reached Bangui, people poured to the streets to celebrate. However, the celebrations in the streets were more in anticipation of lavish foreign aid than over the collapse of the Djotodia Administration. This was not by accident.
When in Bangui, Amb. Samantha Power promised that massive U.S.-Western economic aid would flow the moment Djotodia was gone. Irrespective of what Obama’s Washington presently claims, this was the clear and unambiguous message comprehended by all of Power’s interlocutors in Bangui.
The Bangui political establishment was urged to tolerate the toppling of national leaders by foreign intervention solely because this drastic move would “open the floodgates” of foreign aid from the West.
Indeed, when foreign diplomats asked celebrating people in Bangui why they were spending huge sums on foreign beers and alcohol, they (the diplomats) were told that everybody was confident that there was no reason to worry about expenditures since torrents of money were about to reach Bangui.
Come daybreak, violence resumed because the reign or resignation of Djotodia have had no impact on the root causes of the ethnic revolt, lust for rewards, and consequent fratricidal violence. Violence in Bangui escalated as clashes between rival militias continued to intensify despite an ostensible curfew. Anti-Balaka vigilantes torched and burned Muslim homes and looted their shops with the French and Francophone African forces standing by and not intervening.