Fierce battles took place in early January in two states of oil-rich South Sudan — Unity and Jonglei states, not far from Juba, the capital of the recently formed country.
The Ugandan military had crossed the border and was involved in the fighting on the side of the forces of President Salva Kiir.
The intervention of Uganda, a close political and military ally of the United States, may indicate which side in the conflict has Washington’s support. There has been increased military and political pressure on the rebel forces of ousted Vice President Riek Machar to drop demands for the release of political prisoners and to declare a ceasefire.
On Jan. 12, the State Department announced that a special U.S. envoy had met with Machar to urge him to reach accommodation with Kiir. (BBC, Jan. 12)
South Sudan split away from the Republic of Sudan to become independent in July 2011, after years of imperialist sanctions and hostility toward the Sudanese government in Khartoum.
Republic of Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir visited Juba for talks with Kiir on the factional power struggle that erupted on Dec. 15, causing many casualties and refugees.
CAR gov’t removed as France sends more troops
In the neighboring Central African Republic, the government of interim President Michel Djotodia was forced to resign during a meeting with regional leaders on Jan. 10 in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. The entire regional council appointed by Djotodia last year was flown to Chad, where France and Chad played a central role in removing Djotodia.
The imperialist media present the struggle in the CAR as a Christian versus Muslim conflict.
Although the various groups pledged to work together to repair the damage done to the country since last March, there were reports of fighting during the Jan. 11-12 weekend. Some mosques were reportedly looted as Christian youth sought to exact revenge on what was perceived as the pro-Muslim Djotodia regime. Some 15 percent of the country’s 4.7 million people are Muslim.
France has deployed 1,600 troops to the CAR in a move opposed by the Muslim community. Paris has continued to appeal to the U.N. Security Council for additional soldiers. A report has surfaced that the European Union might also send a contingent of troops to the CAR.
These stuggles in both the CAR and South Sudan are a reflection of the crisis in the postcolonial and neocolonial states in Africa, where the imperialist powers still dominate the economic relations of production. Washington is supporting French President Francois Hollande’s military interventions in its former colonies, while both imperialists seek broader avenues of economic exploitation on the continent.
U.S. admits to sending military advisers to Somalia
The Pentagon revealed on Jan. 10 that it secretly sent military advisers to the Horn of Africa nation of Somalia in October 2013. This comes as no surprise to anti-imperialists who have followed the situation inside the country for the last two decades.
Even though U.S. Marines were forced to withdraw from Somalia during 1993-94, they have maintained a presence there through the Central Intelligence Agency and Special Forces. The CIA maintains an office in the capital, Mogadishu, and a drone station elsewhere in Somalia which coordinates with similar operations throughout the Horn of Africa region, reaching out to the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean.
More than 20,000 foreign troops are occupying Somalia with the full financial, intelligence, diplomatic and military support of Washington. The African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) is staffed largely by troops from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Sierra Leone, states closely aligned with the U.S. and Britain.
The ongoing factional conflicts in Central and East Africa provide the U.S. and other imperialist states and their allies with a rationale for deepening military involvement. The Kenyan Defense Forces, with several thousand troops in southern Somalia, is reported to have carried out aerial bombardments in the region where the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance organization has bases. (BBC, Jan. 10)
These interventions will continue until an anti-imperialist foreign policy is adopted by the majority of African Union member-states. The genuine independence of Africa cannot occur as long as its various military apparatuses are controlled and directed by the imperatives of imperialism.
However, interventions by the imperialist states in Africa and in other parts of the world are not a reflection of their strength, but their weakness. The crisis in world capitalism provides them very few alternatives to war abroad and increasing economic exploitation and repression within their own borders.