US Africa Military Plans Denounced

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TransAfrica Forum, the nation’s oldest African-American organization which focuses on US foreign policy in Africa, denounces President George W. Bush’s decision to create an Africa Command (Africom) on the continent by September 2008. 

The US government perceives the continent of Africa as increasingly important for defense and military interests. By 2008, the Bush budget calls for a new Africa Command to be developed to oversee “security and defense support to non-military missions and, if directed, military operations on the African continent.�

While the Bush administration claims this development will build partnerships with African governments that will lead to “greater peace and security to the people of Africa� nothing could be further from the truth.  This newest incursion follows a pattern of extraction of minerals and aiding factions in some of Africa’s most bloody conflicts: thus further destabilizing the continent.

This operation will strengthen the US military’s presence in the Gulf of Guinea, to aid oil extraction processes and will work to further militarize the Horn of Africa in support of the administration’s “war on terror�.  US troops are already on the Horn of Africa carrying out operations within Somalia and on its border with Kenya. 

This is a very serious moment.  This new Bush plan is an expansion of a policy that has brought destruction and terror to the peoples of the Middle East.  Any plans to set up a command in Africa should be met with harsh criticism and decisive action by people of good will.  This is nothing short of a sovereignty and resource grab.

There are many opportunities for the administration to provide support and cooperation to the peoples of Africa.  Trade rules that are fair and just, development assistance and respect for sovereignty are important benchmarks for a good relationship.  Expanding the US military onto the continent is neither wise nor productive.

Nicole Lee is the Executive Director, TransAfrica Forum. For more information contact Joia Jefferson Nuri, office 202-223-1960 ext 131

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