Why Is Obama Deploying U.S. Troops Against rag-tag Bandits, Unless....
Could it be that Museveni has always had an incentive for the prolongation of the LRA's existence since it secures military and financial benefits from the West to "combat" the LRA?
[U.S. Military In Africa]
The Obama administration has announced that it has dispatched
about 100 armed U.S. troops to Central Africa --Uganda, South Sudan,
Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC)-- purportedly to apprehend the leader of the Lord’s Resistance
The LRA is an anti-President Yoweri Museveni insurgency which started
in Uganda and had since moved to the large swath of land between DRC,
CAR and South Sudan after the failure of the Juba Peace talks between the LRA and Museveni's government, in
The Museveni regime has in the past attempted --or claims it did-- to defeat the LRA,
including through scorched earth tactics to decimate them. Yet Museveni has also used the LRA for
political and financial propaganda purposes when it suits him. The U.S.
has also been supporting the Museveni regime all along: militarily,
financially, logistically, politically, technically and diplomatically
culminating in the botched attack on LRA camps, operation "Lightening
Thunder" that fell like a dud on December 14th, 2008.
Since then, the
Uganda government has claimed that it has terribly degraded the LRA to
the point that it is no longer a serious threat. The rag-tag LRA is variously estimated to number 200 to 500 fighters.
Contrast this with the combined national troops of Uganda, CAR, DRC and
South Sudan, which number almost a quarter of a million troops:
Central African Republic, 2,150; Democratic Republic of the Congo, 151,651; South Sudan, 45,395 and; Uganda, 45,000. Additionally, there are militias in the four countries
numbering in thousands.
Furthermore, the United Nations has deployed about 50,500 peace keeping troops in this region: Sudan/Darfur, UNAMID, 26,000; South Sudan, UNMISS, 7,000 and; Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, 17,500.
Given the staggering numbers of these troops compared to the rag-tag LRA rebel fighters, one would expect the LRA to have been eliminated
by now. Could there be that there other motives at play, with the U.S. deployment? How has the LRA managed to survive when faced against the overwhelming "opposition" from tens of thousands or troops; 45,000 from Uganda alone? Could it be that Museveni has always had an incentive for the prolongation of the LRA's existence since it secures military and financial benefits from the West to "combat" the LRA?
Neither the rationale nor the timing of the announcement of the
deployment of 100 U.S. troops in Central Africa makes sense.
Why is the U.S. deploying now?
Looking at the balance of power, it is obvious that the four
countries together with the UN have an overwhelming superiority over the
rag-tag LRA rebels. The LRA has been reported to have continued to commit heinous crimes and must face justice. What about the crimes under Museveni? Clinging to power:
by deceit, corruption and suppression of dissent frequently; by arrests, jailings, torture and killing opponents with impunity. Why single out only the LRA while bestowing blessings on Museveni? Shouldn't both be brought to justice?
The announcement has also come at a time when the American people are
suffering from war fatigue having been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan
for the last 10 and 8 years respectively. It also comes at a time that
the U.S. economy is in the dumps and the budget deficit is at an all time
high. It seems inexplicable that the U.S. would want to start yet another
war as Americans are looking forward to an end of the Iraq and
understand the real reasons, we need to think outside the usual LRA
narrative by looking at what has happened recently in the world or in
the region that could have prompted President Obama to deploy troops in
First, the overriding national U.S. concern is terrorism directed at
America and its allies. The hot spots in Africa include Somalia and
Northern Nigeria. Recent events in Libya have magnified the urgency to
control the unintended consequences of the Libyan war; dangerous weapons
such as heat guided shoulder fired missiles and crude uranium materials
falling into the hands of terrorists.
In a small way, the concern about
the LRA is that it could act as a conduit to export the weapons to be
used elsewhere like in Somalia. Alternatively, the LRA narrative is
simply a ruse to cover up the real reason for the deployment of U.S.
troops in the region.
Second, the announcement could help relieve
internal pressure on President Museveni being mounted by citizens who
are tired of being abused by the Museveni regime. On the one hand, it is
a familiar pattern that whenever President Museveni is under pressure,
he uses controversial issues like the LRA threat to security or his
threat to give away the venerable Mabira Forest for growing sugar cane.
On the other hand, the announcement could be an appreciation for
President Museveni’s waging of a proxy war on terror in Somalia on behalf of the
Third, the long-term goal of the U.S. in this region is to secure the vast
natural resources including oil in South Sudan and Uganda, and critical
minerals including uranium and coltan from the DRC. In this respect,
the LRA does not pose a significant threat to the American effort to
secure these resources.
Fourth, this is an election season in the U.S. Due to the bad economic
situation, President Obama is not doing as well among the electorate as
he did in 2008. Some analysts have speculated that this is merely a
symbolic act to placate the youth who have been actively calling for the
elimination of the LRA. By so doing, the President hopes to mobilize the
youth for his re-election campaign. If true, it reflects the pettiness by which
the presidential power can be used and it is not acceptable.
Lastly, in spite of their alliance, the relationship between the Obama
administration and the Museveni regime is riddled with embarrassment,
unfriendly and insulting comments, suspicion and mistrust.
according to WikiLeaks, former U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier gave
President Museveni a failing grade in governance. Most recently, a
member of Parliament revealed that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
gave him documents alleging kickbacks paid to senior ministers for
facilitating oil contracts in Uganda.
On his part, President Museveni denounced the people who originated the allegation of
bribery as "idiots." There are rumors of an impending army takeover should the allegedly corrupt ministers not step down and allow investigations. Could it be that the announced deployment is in anticipation of a regime change in Uganda, as a way to
pre-empt the country from catching the Arab Spring virus?
While these are reasonable speculations, the official rationale by Washington for the deployment of the 100 troops in Central Africa
does not make sense is not credible.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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