*********There is a wealth of information to take in but this will catch my reader up on the little reported American situation in Africa.*********
The US is not the only nation flexing its muscle in Africa….an old colonial power is back and extending its arm of power….France.
Nearly twenty-five years later, there are still no convictions for the assassinations that turned first Rwanda, then the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), into a vast killing ground. Not in the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR), where two investigations of Kagame were shut down, and where a judge told defense attorney Tiphaine Dickson, “We don’t investigate plane crashes [or Tutsis, only Hutus].” And not in the French or Spanish courts, where French and Spanish citizens claimed jurisdiction because their relatives died in the plane shot down or in the ensuing massacres.
The subtext of the Rwandan War and the Congo Wars was competition between the US/UK and France. France, which was then the dominant power in the region, had been the patron of Habyarimana’s Hutu government; the US and UK backed Kagame’s invading Tutsi army, which emerged victorious in 1994, declared that English would from thereon be Rwanda’s international business language, then invaded and occupied French-speaking Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) two years later.
Not much is said these days about Africa even though the US has troops operating all over the continent…I try to keep up with the events in Africa for they are no less important than others…..
Our troops that are operating in Africa fall under the leadership of AFRICOM……the sad part is that in some cases the US troops appear to be an occupation force under the guise of advise and support…..
It should be noted that the US has been involved in the Sahel region going back to the early years of the George W. Bush administration, even before the establishment of AFRICOM, which was later greatly expanded by the Obama administration.
After 9/11, the United States began to grow its military footprint on the African continent under the guise of a ‘War on Terror’, selling this notion to a United States gripped with fear of terrorism. With programs such as the Pan-Sahel Initiative, later broadened into the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative, Washington managed to provide military and financial assistance to compliant countries in North Africa – a policy whose practical application meant that the US military became the dominant force in the Sahel region, supplying the human and material resources for which the governments of the region were starved. Naturally, this meant an implicit subservience to US military command.
AFRICOM is operating in Africa proper……and most of it is secret to top secret to higher……
As the Pentagon was in the midst of reviewing new plans for special operations missions in Africa reducing overall troop numbers on the continent, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis designated three new named contingency operations.
The most recent quarterly report from the Department of Defense Inspector General notes the creation of Operation Yukon Journey, a counterinsurgency operation in Yemen, and counterterrorism operations in both northwest and east Africa.
Those were named in February, according to the report. The report covered activities in Operations Inherent Resolve from July to September.
With that said….2019 and the Trump administration has a new African strategy……
I speech by NatSec adviser Bolton gave to the Heritage (go figure…if you want to spread BS then Heritage is your starting point)…..
Well, Kim, thanks very much, and thanks to you and Kay for inviting me here. I’m delighted again to be here at the Heritage, an institution that really has contributed so much to the public policy debate for many decades now in the United States. And I’m particularly pleased to be here to unveil the Trump administration’s new Africa Strategy, which the President approved yesterday, and which the administration will begin executing immediately.
This strategy is the result of an intensive interagency process, and reflects the core tenets of President Trump’s foreign policy doctrine. Importantly, the strategy remains true to his central campaign promise to put the interests of the American People first, both at home and abroad.
This new strategy is all about China and less about Africa…..
President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton outlined the US administration’s new Africa strategy in a speech last week at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC. The main tenets of the strategy, including the prioritisation of trade and investment, combatting of terrorism, and better-targeting of US foreign aid in Africa, are on the whole sensible. The US has already increased the promotion of private sector engagements in Africa as a key lever for development and should continue to support US investment in Africa.
Unfortunately, the positive aspects of the strategy were a little lost in the speech because the new US Africa strategy is not really about Africa. It’s about China.
Few African nations see this as an Africa strategy…more like trying to hedge all policies to confront China…..
The strategy calls for an end to the dissipation of aid across a multitude of projects and in the name of many causes. The US is the largest provider of development assistance world-wide and to Africa, spending $8.7 billion on the continent alone in 2017. USAID maintains more than two dozen regional and bilateral African missions. Nothing much amiss with this idea either. As Ambassador Bolton correctly noted, one of the comparative strengths of the Marshall Plan was in its targeting of key economic sectors. Yet problems in the operational ineffectiveness of aid is not only confined to Africa. It is also at least as much a donor problem as one of the recipients. The high transaction costs of aid reflect the multiple domestic constituencies in the donor countries that need to be assuaged, highlighting institutional priorities and politics that are seldom African in origin.
As usual the US African policy has very little to do with Africa and everything to do with the US and its desires for plunder.
But don’t tell anyone…US Troops expand their mission in Africa……
While the election in Congo was relatively quiet, the US is expecting that there will be protests when the results are announced. The anticipation is enough that President Trump has ordered to send troops to neighboring Gabon, and is warning the Congolese not to protest.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is reporting that the US sent about 80 troops and “appropriate combat equipment” to Gabon for the fight, President Trump has said more troops will deploy as needed to Gabon.
The election is between the ruling party’s candidate Ramazani Shadary, and opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who is backed by the Catholic Church. The Catholics appear to be anticipating a Fayulu win, and have warned of an “uprising” if an untrue result is released.
Shadary is backed by long-standing dictator Joseph Kabula’s family, and has accused the Catholics of being “irresponsible and anarchist” in their attitude toward the election.
While American troops are deployed in Gabon because of situation in Congo….a coup breaks out in Gabon…..
Soldiers from Gabon’s Republican Guard have appeared on state television saying they have launched a coup “to restore democracy” in the West African country. Early Monday a soldier who identified himself as Lt. Obiang Ondo Kelly, commander of the Republican Guard, read out a statement saying the military has seized control of the government. He was flanked by two others holding weapons and all were dressed in camouflage uniforms and green berets, the AP reports.
A curfew has been imposed over the capital, Libreville, and the internet has been cut. The city is being patrolled by military tanks and armed vehicles, but no violence has been reported. President Ali Bongo, in power since 2009, has been out of the country since October amid reports that he had a stroke. He recently addressed the country in a New Year’s message that was filmed in Morocco, where he has been receiving medical treatment. In his brief New Year’s speech, the 59-year-old Bongo declared that the country was “indivisible” and acknowledged his health problems without giving details. “A difficult period,” he called it, and a challenge that he surmounted “thanks to God.”
US Troops seem to always be in the wrong place at the right time…..hopefully this will not get uglier.
Need we say more?