What's The Real Motive For U.S. Military Deployment In Central Africa?

-A +A

[Black Star News Editorial]

Ugandans Today More Concerned With Ejecting Museveni, Than LRA

What are the real reasons behind the announced U.S. "limited" deployment of armed forces in Central Africa today?

The official reason is to assist African countries --Uganda, Congo, Southern Sudan and Central Africa Republic-- to defeat the vicious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

Yet, an earlier U.S. military co-involvement with Uganda’s army –operation Lighting Thunder—in December 2008, was a disastrous failure, leading to the massacres of Congolese civilians; both the discredited Uganda Army and the brutal LRA accused each other of the massacres.

More troubling is that there's not a single place in Africa where U.S. military intervention has resulted in a favorable resolution and restoration of peace and stability.

The current involvement in Libya, has turned a country that, while ruled by a strong man who had overstayed in office, was relatively stable and prosperous into a country that now is beginning to resemble Somalia or Afghanistan. The most powerful commander, in Tripoli, Abdul hakim Belhadj, is a former Al-Qaeda fighter.

Also recall that U.S. intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s ended with disastrous consequences, captured in the movie "Black Hawk Down," with the deaths of American servicemen. Meanwhile conditions in Somalia are much worse than during the original U.S. intervention. The U.S. has now outsourced Somalia intervention to Uganda's dictator, Gen. Yoweri Museveni, who faces popular discontent at home, especially since the economy plunged after he printed millions of shillings to buy votes in the February presidential election which he stole.

Recently, the U.S. has been seeking to establish bases for the so-called Africa Command (AFRICOM), which is now based in Germany because every African country has refused to host it. The U.S. hopes to blunt Chinese economic penetration in Africa; the Asian giant continues to gobble up African resources to fuel its dynamic economy.

There was initial speculation that a post-Muammar al-Quathafi Libya would provide haven for AFRICOM. This increasingly appears more uncertain. The NTC government imposed by NATO on Libya does not appear to be popular. The Wall Street Journal reports that the nominally allied militias that make up the NTC have started turning their guns at each other. There's no guarantee that the NTC regime will survive once NATO departs the scene.

Many legitimate questions have to be raised concerning the U.S. deployment in Africa.

Why now? Why is the U.S. suddenly interested in being militarily involved in the pursuit of the LRA's Joseph Kony, when in fact the most vicious period of LRA rampage are years behind?

Why now when in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) worst atrocities occur daily; committed by militias far more brutal than the LRA, which were created and sustained by Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda's Paul Kagame.

These two U.S.-backed dictators have been able to siphon billions of dollars of Congo's wealth by sponsoring mayhem -- massacres, mass rapes, and mutilations-- in the vast country through their allied militias. Rwanda still harbors one of the most sadistic of these killers, Laurent Nkunda.

Uganda's army, with Museveni as commander in chief,  was in fact being investigated for possible crimes against humanity and war crimes in Congo, when it occupied parts of the country, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal on June 8, 2006. Luis Moreno Ocampo might have halted that probe at some point; The Journal reported that Museveni had called then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and asked that he block the investigation.

The U.S. intervention could also be designed to bolster the newly independent Southern Sudan Republic. The new nation, although oil-rich, is still militarily weak and fears outright invasion from Khartoum, which stands to lose access to the oil wealth which is concentrated in the south.

Ugandans also fear that the U.S. intervention could extend a lifeline to dictator Museveni, who has been using his own troops --now "partners" with the U.S. military personnel deployed there-- to suppress the opposition. As reported in The New York Times today, security agents have even killed people protesting his 25 -years rule, since the bogus February elections.

Now the Obama Administration has provided political capital to Gen. Museveni, amidst the mass Uganda protests, including a popular "walk to work" campaign to protest runaway inflation.

Currently, the Museveni regime is paralyzed as its parliament seeks the ouster of Museveni's closest aide, Amama Mbabazi, over allegations that he accepted millions of dollars in bribes from Tullow Oil company, for favorable access to newly discovered fields. Charges of bribes being paid to Ugandan officials by oil companies were first mentioned by the U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, in a memo leaked by Wiki leaks last year.

Once echoed in parliament last week by Ugandan lawmaker Gerald Karuhanga, it lead to the resignation of foreign minister Sam Kutesa; he and former energy minister and current internal affairs minister Hillary Onek, also allegedly accepted bribes, including from ENI. The Uganda member of parliament, Karuhanga, displayed documents he said itemized the up to $25 million paid out in bribes; the ministers, Kutesa and Onek, claimed they were forgeries.

Gen. Museveni himself had to deny last week in a press conference that he too accepted bribes.

Of course the LRA must be quelled and Kony, indicted by the ICC, brought to justice. Yet, given the laundry list of woes, competing regional interests, ongoing Congo atrocities where more than six million people have perished, and political intrigue, the Obama Administration will need to answer many questions about the deployment, and its timing and duration, before well deserved skepticism is dispelled.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

Also Check Out...

Lincoln Center and Interfaith
Sounding the Alarm about
Interfaith Leaders Confront World