Africa: Threat of U.S./NATO military intervention grows
Published Apr 9, 2006 11:02 PM
The United States and the former colonial
powers of Europe, under the auspices of NATO and the European Union, are taking
new steps to deepen their direct military intervention in Africa.
29, President George W. Bush publicly called for NATO military intervention in
Sudan. As justification, he repeated charges of government-sponsored genocide in
the Darfur region, without mentioning the long-time interests of the U.S. in the
country’s vast oil wealth, or the U.S. sponsorship of separatist
Bush has bipartisan support for his latest military threats
against Sudan. In the U.S. Senate, Democrat Joseph Biden and Republican Sam
Brownback are sponsoring a resolution calling for NATO troops to be sent in and
for the enforcement of a no-flight zone over Darfur.
al-Bashir, head of the national unity government created after the end of
Sudan’s 50-year north/south civil war in 2004, warned March 20 that the
U.S. “risked another Iraq” if non-African troops were sent into his
“We have witnessed what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan
and learned lessons that shouldn’t be repeated on the African
continent,” said Bashir. (Reuters, March 20)
Currently 7,000 African
Union peacekeepers are stationed in Darfur, along with 13,000 UN humanitarian
aid workers. Washington and London have been pressuring the AU to make way for
United Nations troops. Bush says he wants NATO forces to add muscle to a UN
U.S.-authored resolutions being push ed through the UN Security
Council are laying the groundwork for invasion— just as they did in
In the meantime, the U.S. is providing logistical support to Rwandan
army “peacekeepers” in Darfur. The Rwandan army has been implicated
in genocide during its U.S.-instigated invasion of the Democratic Republic of
Tens of thousands of protestors made their opposition to U.S.,
NATO and UN troops clear on March 8, when they rallied in Khartoum, the capital
city, chanting, “Down, down U.S.A.” and “UN peacekeepers,
bring your coffins.”
NATO war games
More than 7,000
troops from the new NATO Response Force (NRF) are scheduled to carry out
military exercises in the mountainous archipelago of Cape Verde, off
Africa’s northwest coast, from June 1 to July 12. It’s the first
time NATO has held war games in Africa, and the first time such maneuvers have
taken place at such a distance from Europe or North America.
to stage African show of force” was the blunt headline of a March 27
French News Agency report on the war games.
Countries of the nearby
southern Sahara region were racked by famine last year after a locust plague
destroyed crops in late 2004. The United States stood aside while children died
of hunger. But these exercises, insisted on by Washington, have a budget of
“tens of million of euros” accor d ing to AFP’s anonymous
Not coincidentally, Mauritania, one of Cape
Verde’s closest neighbors on Africa’s western coast and home of a
major oil discovery, was the site of a popular uprising that ousted a pro-U.S.
regime last year. In fact, the U.S. had initially proposed conducting the war
games in the Mauritanian desert.
U.S. Gen. James L. Jones, NATO’s
oper ational commander, complained March 31 that other NATO member countries
were not providing promised military personnel and materials for the Cape Verde
man euvers or the NRF, which is supposed to be fully operational by October
2006. Jones said there were shortfalls of 25 to 35 percent on troops and
material for the coming year.
NATO leaders agreed to create the
“rapid response force” at a summit in Pra gue in November 2002 -
before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and subsequent rise of an intransigent
Washington has groomed the NRF as another means of
rapidly deploying troops to “trouble spots” far outside the original
boundaries of the anti-Soviet North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
European capitalist powers may be dragging their heels when it comes to
U.S.-dominated NATO. But that doesn’t mean these former colonial overlords
want to be left out of the new “scramble for Africa.”
European Union is planning to send 1,500 troops, under German command, to
Central Africa this summer, allegedly to protect national elections scheduled
for mid-June in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It will be just the
second foreign deployment of German-commanded forces since World War II. The
first was in 1999, during the U.S.-led war against Yugoslavia.
Why are U.S. imperialism and its Euro pean
allies/rivals pushing for more direct military control in Africa now? What does
it mean for the long-struggling people of that continent, and for the anti-war
and progressive movements in this country?
The plan to recolonize African
countries liberated in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and to more openly dominate
neocolonies, has been taking shape since the early 1990s, with the Clinton
administration’s invasion of Somalia.
Then Workers World wrote:
“The U.S. occupation of Somalia under the auspices of the United Nations
is in many ways an experiment to test a new method for the recolonization and
domination of other African countries, prized by the United States either for
their strategic location or their fabulous natural resources and raw
“Washington feels free to pursue an aggressive policy
toward these countries now that the Soviet Union has collapsed. The mere
existence of the Soviet camp served African countries as a diplomatic, economic,
and military counter-weight to the designs of the U.S. and the capitalist powers
in Europe. ...
“The official U.S. line is that these countries must
be targeted for armed, outside (that is, U.S. and European) intervention because
civil wars or potential civil wars have made these countries
“That, of course, is a resort to the
racist, colonial position that Africa is ‘not ready for
independence.’ This line also conveniently obscures the fact that the CIA
has a hand in fomenting many of the same ‘civil wars.’” (WW,
June 24, 1993)
Clinton’s Somalian adventure ended in disaster. The
U.S. forces’ brutally racist behavior united the population in a
people’s war that drove out the invaders and their superior Black
Hawk-type technology -- just as Bush’s invasion of Iraq has provoked a
determined people’s resistance in that country.
U.S. ruling class is still determined to seize Africa’s resources
outright, and has steadily increased the pressure on debt-ridden and war-torn
countries to open their markets to U.S. corporations and their lands to U.S.
Sudan has been a particular target since it opposed the
first Gulf War in 1991. In Au gust 1998, then-President Clinton bombed
Sudan’s main pharmaceutical plant, using fabricated evidence of chemical
weapons manufacturing. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark led a
fact-finding delegation that reported first-hand evidence exposing this U.S.
Since 1999, Sudan has become a major oil exporter. Its main
customer is the People’s Republic of China.
With Big Oil’s
dreams of unfettered domination of Iraq going up in smoke, U.S. imperialism is
lashing out - and driven to desperate acts, it is targeting oil producing
countries that refuse to bow to its control, like Iran, Venezuela and Sudan.
The Bush cabal may feel that Sudan is an easy target. It is a poor
country, decimated by decades of civil war and divisions rooted in its colonial
history under Britain. Sudan’s government has been extensively demonized
in the media, and the country’s problems are not well understood or
appreciated by the progressive movement in the U.S. and
Progressive and revolutionary forces in the West must be on alert
and ready to act in solidarity against U.S./NATO intervention in Sudan, Congo,
Zimbabwe, and anywhere else on the continent. The heroic African people, who
have shouldered so much of the burden of struggle against imperialism and
HIV/AIDS, deserve nothing less.
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