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Imperialists escalate aggression, maneuvers in Africa

Published Oct 10, 2011 9:26 PM

On Sept. 30 Pentagon/Central Intelligence Agency drones assassinated Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, two U.S. Muslim citizens. The same day came news that U.S. drones targeted southern Somalia, killing 21 people, injuring many more and forcing many to flee the Qooqani and Taabto districts.

Somalia is among at least six countries where the U.S. has carried out drone attacks that have killed many civilians. These aerial strikes take place regularly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. (Press TV, Sept. 30)

Although the White House and the Pentagon claim that the strikes target State Department-designated “terrorist” individuals and organizations, reports repeatedly show most people harmed by the attacks are unarmed and are not a threat to the U.S. government and its allies.

To justify Al-Awlaki and Khan’s targeted assassinations, President Barack Obama stated that their purported group, Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, “remains a dangerous, though weakened organization.” (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 30) He claimed that Al-Awlaki “called on individuals in the U.S. and around the globe to kill innocent men, women and children.”

Even the corporate media have admitted that “[Al-Awlaki] was not believed to be a key operational leader, but a spokesman.” (Fox News, Sept. 30)

Yet it is the U.S. military and the CIA that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people since the so-called “war on terrorism” began a decade ago. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Palestine and Libya, the bulk of U.S. military action — with client states’ support — has destabilized those states and regions more than any other forces in these areas.

AFRICOM completes joint military exercises in Eas t Af rica

In the aftermath of the seizure of Tripoli in Libya and the ongoing struggle for control of this oil-producing state, Gen. Carter Ham, commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), said that this special regional force will build upon its Libyan operations to extend military involvement in other areas of Africa. The fighting continues in Libya in several areas.

The NATO-led National Transitional Council rebels who are recognized by the imperialist states as the government in Tripoli, have failed repeatedly to subdue Libyan regions that are still loyal to the Gadhafi government and have abandoned efforts to create a provisional government. Growing resistance in Tripoli has been reported recently, with emerging anti-rebel demonstrations and the hoisting of Gadhafi loyalists’ green flag.

Nonetheless, in East Africa on Sept. 16, AFRICOM began joint military exercises with East Africa Community states in Zanzibar off Tanzania’s coast. Code-named Natural Fire 11, the AFRICOM-EAC exercise brought together 300 military personnel from member-states Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. James Owens stressed, “This collaboration between the EAC defense forces and the U.S. is another positive step towards a more stable and secure region.” He said those gains should “have a lasting impact on” the EAC defense forces’ ability “to respond to [current] and [future] challenges.” (Kenya Daily Nation, Sept. 17)

Echoing AFRICOM statements, Tanzanian Defense and National Service Minister Dr. Hussein Mwinyi said, “Peace, security and stability are the lynchpins for accelerating socio-economic development. … [The] EAC partner states recognized that collective defense enhances regional peace and security.”

Yet in neighboring Somalia, U.S. intervention has fostered instability for more than three decades. That the people haven’t been able to form a viable government of national unity is largely the result of Washington’s interference in their internal affairs.

Even though the Pentagon and other military forces maintain a substantial presence in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and at the U.S. military base in neighboring Djibouti, hundreds of thousands of people need food assistance in southern Somalia. This military presence has not brought food security or lessened hostilities on land or in the waterways surrounding the Horn of Africa.

At the same time that the Natural Fire 11 AFRICOM-EAC military exercises took place, a workshop was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, of the National Nuclear Security Administration and AFRICOM on cooperative border security. The workshop involved seven East African governments, the African Union, South Africa as well as the U.S. State Department, Homeland Security, the U.N. Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, and other international organizations,

Lt. Col. Kevin Balisky, chief of the Office of Security Cooperation, said, “The Department of Defense and other U.S. Government agencies are cooperating with their counterparts in East Africa to facilitate a comprehensive approach to counter illicit trafficking. Together, w e have opened a door for deeper exchanges of assistance among regional partners.” (AFRICOM, Sept. 16)

Behind U.S. security offensive in Africa

In September a security conference held in Algeria raised border patrols and the purported threat of weapons proliferation in North Africa. Gen. Ham described the region as a “powder keg” that threatened the United States and other Western nations. (The Hill, Oct. 3)

The Pentagon calls the Polasario Front, the liberation movement in Western Sahara, an impediment to U.S. objectives in the region. The Hill says the Algerian government’s failure to support the U.S.-NATO war against Libya has hampered Washington’s interests in North Africa.

The oil industry’s and transnational corporations’ growing reliance on Africa’s petroleum and other natural resources is fueling increased militarization of the continent. The people of Africa and the entire Middle East will inevitably oppose this intervention. The U.S. anti-war and peace movements must fashion their programs and demands to address these enhanced threats against the people of the region.