by Scott A Morgan
Over the last year that has been growing concern in both Africa and amongst the activist community here in the United States about the role of AFRICOM (Africa Command). Since January of this year there has been a plethora of activites that the country has been involved in.
The US began this year by intervening diplomatically in the Violence plagued Kenyan Elections. Working in conjunction with the EU and AU a Government of National Unity was agreed upon. The year began also with the APS (African Partnership Station) in place in the Gulf of Guinea. That region which is where 20% of the American Oil Imports Originate from has a problem with Militants, Drug Trafficking and Piracy. So this program was an effort to train Regional Military Forces to conduct such Operations.
The National Security Strategy Document published in March 2006 states that the United States “recgonizes that our security depends on partnering with African States to strengthen failed and failing states and bring ungoverned areas under the control of effective democracies. This statement can be seen as a base for the US efforts to bring about a regime change in Zimbabwe, restore the rule of law to the Kivu Provinces in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and limit the Influence of Al-Qaida in the Sahel Region of West Africa.
This Strategy has had its failures as well. The US Proxy efforts to restore a Strong Centralized Government in Somalia by Ethiopian Arms continues to muddle on. A report that Addis Ababa is considering withdrawing will be seen as a failure of US Policy. The Situation in Darfur with the apparent unwillingess of the US and its European Allies to take any action smacks of hypocrisy.
So why is the Pentagon taking the lead in this? They are not the only US entity that is formulating policy. There have been several instances where the CIA has taken steps to investigate the status of Militia Forces Operating in the African Great Lakes Region. The easy answer is that currently the State Department is in a weakened state. After all they did put out conflicting signals during the Kenya post-election crisis.
In General it is bad policy to have the Soldiers make Key Foreign Decisions. With the inability of the State Department to articulate what the goals of the United States are someone has to do it. There are some that would like to have AFRICOM to have some sort of accountability. Well as a DOD Command it does have to request funds from the Congress. After all the easiest way to force change on someone is to impact the flow of funds.
Whether it comes to Energy Supplies, Radical Islamists or even the Rogue Military Officer that cannot be reined in by his Country the US will have interests in Africa. This means US Diplomats and Soldiers will be seen as both Friends and Targets. There will be chances for both Praise and Criticism of US Activities as well. And in January a New President will be the one taking the heat.
The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at morganrights.tripod.com