African Union


Although the timing and nature of the coup in Mali is surprising, that a coup occurred is not surprising. Mali’s GDP is around $9 billion. The annual US $167 million in military train and equip investment is a huge sum in relation to Mali’s GDP. The overwhelming emphasis on military training, arms transfers, and military assistance, is an incitement to create military governments wherever it occurs. The message is that the military knows how to run things, and you need the military to get things done. It would require robust and independent civilian institutions to counter that. Few developing countries enjoy that luxury. Mali was in a better position to maintain a civilian democratic government than most. The US may have had no direct involvement in the coup, or there may have been some knowledge, possibly even encouragement from US sources. I would hope that is not true, but there are plenty of unfortunate precedents. And Captain Sanogo has received a lot of US training, including at the coup school at Ft. Benning.

The following are more pictures of US train and equip activities in Mali, from 2009-2011.

GAO, Mali - A U.S. Navy SEAL advisor watches a Malian special operations vehicle unit run through immediate action drills for counter-terrorism missions during training February 26, 2010, near Gao, Mali. The Special Operations Command - Africa SEAL team spent several weeks in Mali working with a Malian special operations unit on advanced counter-terrorism skills training. Military training engagements such as this one are geared to build upon previously established relationships and help African partner nations develop capacities, achieve regional cooperation and improve security. These capacity-development events support the regional interagency objectives of the U.S. State Department's Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership program and the Department of Defense's Operation Enduring Freedom (Trans-Sahara). (Photo by Max R. Blumenfeld, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara)

MI Professional Course, Bamako, Mali, March 2011. Recently, U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) intelligence assets extended a helping hand to their African continent counterparts in Bamako, Mali. 18 students from various African nations took part in a Military Intelligence Professional Course (MIPC) recently. The six-week course was conducted in French and English. This six-week course was the first of two such MPICs slated for this year.

It is worth reviewing this article from 2009:
Counterterrorism’s blindness: Mali and the US
Vijay Prashad

BAMAKO, Mali - A French-speaking U.S. Special Forces NCO advises a Malian military counter-terrorism unit while training on raid tactics recently at a military installation near Bamako, Mali. Advanced counter-terrorism training is provided by U.S. Special Operations Forces under the authorities of the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership, a State Department-led interagency initiative designed to develop the capabilities of countries in northern and Western Africa. U.S. Special Forces teams provide capacity development training and advisement during more than 30 pre-scheduled military training engagements conducted annually in the Trans-Saharan region. Department of Defense TSCTP activities in the region are planned, coordinated and conducted as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (Trans-Sahara) and are managed by SOCAFRICA's Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara. (Photo by JSOTF-TS Public Affairs)

Mali: The Political Crisis – Taking Grievances Seriously by Brian J. Peterson fleshes out the story of what happened far beyond previous accounts.

When the protest movement of Malian women erupted in the town of Kati on January 30, few took notice. The women were mostly “war widows” of Malian soldiers recently killed in fighting against the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA).

The women were protesting the lack of government support, in particular the shortage of weapons and food, given to Malian soldiers. And they were enraged to hear reports that their husbands, sons and brothers had been massacred in the most dishonorable way by MNLA forces.

As the movement gained steam, the women began marching on Bamako, burning tires along the 12 km road from Kati, and heading for the presidential palace overlooking the city on the “hill of power.” Within days, the movement evolved into a more broad-based march in Bamako, soon spreading to Segou, the country’s second city.

Thousands of civilian protesters threw up barricades and burned tires, effectively shutting down the capital as President Amadou Toumani Touré desperately tried to restore order. Government security forces were dispatched with tear gas and blank bullets. As we have seen, this was only the beginning. But it provided the initial spark that eventually triggered the mutiny in Kati, which in turn evolved into the coup overthrowing the President.

This has led some to view the coup as “accidental” and “improvised.” But this improvised genesis of the coup still raises questions: to what extent is the junta expressing or reflecting the will of the people in the street? Is there any overlap between the junta’s populist rhetoric and the grievances of ordinary urban and rural Malians? Indeed, in assessing the crisis of Mali’s democracy, the world community must seriously address Malian popular grievances. And the main grievances I have in mind are ones that reach beyond dissatisfaction with the Malian government’s mishandling of the anti-separatist wars in the north.

… much has been said about the unintended consequences and spillover of the Libyan wars into the Sahel zone. Arms and mercenaries have flowed into northern Mali in the wake of Qaddafi’s overthrow, fanning the fires of Tuareg discontent. But these once-proud desert warriors have perennially opposed the state, leading to a series of rebellions against the post-colonial Malian government from the 1960s. Even during the pre-colonial and colonial periods, these nomadic groups existed largely outside state-spaces. Thus, a fundamental cause continues to be the unresolved tensions in the north, and the inability to convince the Tuareg that belonging to the Malian state is in their interests. Now, more recently, with ample arms, vehicles, and skilled fighters, they have stunned the Malian army with their rapid conquests in the north. At the moment of this writing, they are on the verge of even taking Kidal and Timbuktu. Again, they are mostly separatists, but not monolithically so.

The MNLA wants to carve out an independent nation of Azawad, free from the Bamako-based Malian government, which it views as tyrannical and unresponsive to northern concerns. Another group, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) appears primarily concerned with operating its smuggling and kidnapping-for-ransom business. And it should be noted that the MNLA has stated that one of its goals is to defeat AQIM, which has severely damaged the Tuareg economy by virtually ending tourism in the region. The third major group, Ansar Dine seeks to establish northern Mali as an Islamic state based on shar’ia law, according to leader Iyad ag Ghali. His group has been purportedly backed by Saudi Wahhabis. Taken as a whole, the “northern insurgency” has overwhelmed the Malian government and thrown it into a crisis that threatens to deepen and spread beyond its borders.

Back in Bamako the coup leaders saw a political opportunity in the run-up to the April 29 elections. While it is impossible at this stage to impute particular motives or intentions, we know of the military’s dissatisfactions as expressed by the newly formed National Committee for the Return of Democracy and the Restoration of the State (CNRDR). Furthermore, their stated and perceived intentions will be evolving in response to forces on the ground. Echoing the grievances of the women protesters, they state that they overthrew the government because of its “incompetence.” We’ve heard their rhetoric about defending democracy, fighting “terrorism,” restoring effective governance and such. And we’ve also been forced to contemplate the junta’s statements about returning to democracy once the country has been “unified” and “no longer threatened.” All of this is fairly familiar boilerplate reminiscent of African leaders, such as Mobutu and others who since the 1960s spoke of national unity while remaining clients of former colonial rulers or Cold War powers. In this light, U.S.-trained Capt. Amadou Sanogo, the head of the putschists, has neglected to count the presence of U.S. counter-terrorism forces, neoliberal economic policies or Franco-African neocolonial relationships as threats to “national unity” or “territorial integrity” alongside corruption, state paralysis and the northern insurgency.

The US seems primed to conflate MNLA with AQIM. This is a major mistake and needs to be countered and avoided. The US needs to listen to the local people, the people they call partners, but do not listen to and do not consult except those that have been trained by the US and say what the US wants to hear.

Mali is entering a season of food shortages, and Malians have reason to be dissatisfied with their democracy.

beyond environmental and agricultural vicissitudes, there is a widespread sense in Bamako that democracy has not been working for ordinary Malians. More educated urban-dwellers have grown impatient with the lack of economic opportunities, and the slow pace of improvements in education and the judicial system. Many have adopted jaded views of democratic institutions and commonly bemoan the corruption, nepotism, and patrimonialism associated with the Touré government. As one young migrant worker in Bamako said to me: “What is democracy? Democracy is about theft from the people. It is about SUVs hitting children on the road and never going to jail.” Or more broadly, as the Malian writer Moussa Konaté recently observed, it has meant the replacement of the military regime of Moussa Traoré by the mafia-like clique of ATT “for whom personal interests are above public interest.” Elections have become empty exercises and “parodies of democracy,” in which votes are purchased and governing elites are recycled.


To keep his hold on power, Capt. Sanogo has moved quickly to quiet the xenophobia and anti-Tuareg hysteria. In a recent interview, he stated that the “Tuareg people in the north, the Arab people, are our brothers,” while noting that the “door is open” for discussion and resolution of the crisis. This could be intended for a Western audience. But for his stated “total control” over the country to be fully realized he cannot risk Mali slipping further into chaos.

Of course, whether or not the CNRDR stays true to its commitments to democratic institutions and sundry reforms of the state remains to be seen, and depends on whether or not a counter-offensive ever materializes, which at this point is appearing less likely. In the short-term, the coup leaders will seek to clamp down on looting and prove their ability to govern. If not, expect a quick and furious civilian backlash. Tolerance and cooperation are central values in Malian society, and indeed the mostly bloodless nature of this coup is remarkable. But when their sense of “moral economy,” that is to say their popular notions of justice and fairness at a time of dearth, is threatened, Malians have proven themselves more than capable of mobilizing against tyranny and conditions that they deem intolerable, as seen in 1991. And, in the end, it will be for Malians to decide what they’re willing to tolerate. For outsiders to blindly rally behind the word “democracy,” without acknowledging what it means in local contexts, or even how “politics” operate in rural and urban Malian settings, is a disavowal of the risks Malians are willing to take for a better future.

Read the whole thing: Mali: The Political Crisis – Taking Grievances Seriously

Here is some current analysis of the coup in Mali. I’m including excerpts, but each of these articles is well worth a complete read.

Mali:  How Will Coup Impact Peace and Stability? (analysis)
Unfortunate Military Coup an Unnecessary Setback for Democracy
INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES, 24 MARCH 2012

As the first military coup in 2012 taking place 21 years after the democratisation process in Mali, this is certainly a major test for the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in force since February 2012. There is also sufficient grounds for the regional organization Ecowas to firmly condemn the coup and insists on the return of a constitutional order. The statement by Ecowas, condemning the misguided actions of the mutineers and warning that it will not condone any recourse to violence as a means of seeking redress was a major step in the right direction. The next step was a decision by the African Union on the suspension of Mali from continental and regional institutions in line the policy of zero tolerance for any attempt to obtain or maintain power by unconstitutional means. It is about time military coups are eliminated from the political culture of the continent.

Mali:  Is There a Route Back to Democratic Stability? (analysis)
CHATHAM HOUSE, 23 MARCH 2012

The putschists may seek to consolidate their power; but they are isolated. Their attempts to secure the endorsement of senior religious and political figures and the senior officer corps have been rebuffed. The Bamako establishment is well aware of what is at stake, and what the country stands to lose if the overthrow of democracy is confirmed.

Despite the mutineers’ complaints, there is a widespread recognition that the crisis cannot be resolved through military means alone. Some sort of understanding would have to be reached with the MNLA, which has begun to hint that it might be ready to talk. And a new president, with a fresh election mandate, would be better placed than Touré to embark on such a deal. This may be a best case scenario.

There is, of course, also a worst-case option: that the mutineers reject negotiation opportunities, seek to hunt down Touré and then try to resolve the northern crisis through force alone. The consequences of that hardly bear thinking about.

Mali:  Coup Makes Tuareg Rebellion At Its Heart Harder to Resolve (analysis)
AFRICAN ARGUMENTS, 23 MARCH 2012

Yet, that a coup should have occurred so close to the April 29th elections, when Touré was due to step down, is highly significant. It has been suggested that the seizure of power in this way is indicative of a sentiment among sections of the military, and their supporters in civilian society, who believe that politicians are unable to competently resolve the rebellion in the North. If true, then there is more reason to be concerned for Mali in the long-term.

That politicians are unable to competently resolve the rebellion or any other problems is a major part of the message sent by AFRICOM’s train and equip. It may or may not be intentional, but if you only invest in the military you are only preparing for military solutions.

These other articles are worth reading as well.

Mali:  Reversal of Fortunes – A Coup d’état Sets Mali Back
RADIO NETHERLANDS WORLDWIDE, 24 MARCH 2012

A previous military takeover ushered in democracy. This time around, the soldiers are taking Mali in the opposite direction. read more 

Mali:  Junta Courts Civil Society
INTER PRESS SERVICE, 23 MARCH 2012

Mali:  Rebellion Claims a President
UN INTEGRATED REGIONAL INFORMATION NETWORKS, 22 MARCH 2012

Mali:  African Union Suspends Mali Over Coup
THIS DAY, 24 MARCH 2012

It does look more likely the coup was spontaneous, and there are some positive developments.

Mali: Ecowas to Call for Interim President to Replace Toppled Touré

West African leaders may call for the speaker of Mali’s parliament to become interim president following last week’s military coup, Burkina Faso’s foreign minister has told RFI.

The Ecowas regional bloc is to send a delegation of six heads of state to the country to press for a return to constitutional order and elections.

As part of a “transition in keeping with constitution”, the delegation is considering proposing that national assembly speaker Dioncounda Traoré become president temporarily, Burkinabé foreign minister Djibril Bassolé said in an interview with RFI’s Christophe Boisbouvier.

That would mean deposed leader Amadou Toumani Touré bow out until elections are held.

“If that is the formula that can bring an end to the crisis, why not?” Bassolé said. “And I think that President Amadou Toumani Touré himself would have nothing against it. He has always wanted peace, democracy and stability.”


Thousands of people marched in support of the coup in Bamako on Wednesday, some carrying placards declaring “Down with France” or “Down with the international community”.

Meanwhile, 38 political parties and several civil society groups have set up an alliance to oppose the coup, calling on the military to “engage in dialogue without delay” and organise “regular, credible and transparent elections”.


The military government on Tuesday announced a new constitution that bans its members from standing in elections.

There are mixed signs. Even the supporters of the coup oppose outside interference, but that won’t stop the outside from interfering.

[T]he United States must employ its soft power to persuade African nations to work with it. The time to do so is now, before China’s inroads in African states become insurmountable. If the United States is to secure its resource needs from Africa in the future, it must be prepared to employ all elements of hard and soft power to meet the demands of future proxy conflict on the continent.

This passage comes from the Recommendations at the end of the paper Bipolarity, Proxy Wars, and the Rise of China (PDF) by Mark O. Yeisley, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF published in Strategic Studies Quarterly. The paper lays out the expectation of increasing proxy war in Africa. He anticipates decades of proxy wars with China on the African continent, using African soldiers, over African resources.

… proxy conflicts are those in which great-power hostilities are expressed through client states rather than between great powers themselves. These proxy conflicts occur between nations that disagree over specific issues but do not wish to engage in direct conflict …

From an earlier discussion comes this definition of proxy war:

Within the military realm, the terms proxy and surrogate are largely interchangeable. … a surrogate force is defined as an organization that serves the needs or interests of a secondary actor—the sponsor—by employing military power in place of the sponsor’s own forces. Implicit within this definition is the requirement for the sponsor to fund, equip, train, or otherwise support the surrogate. (Discussed in Obama’s African Rifles – Partners/Surrogates/Proxies)

Proxy war means real death and real suffering by other than the principal parties. Here is cartoonist Amin Amir on Kenya's war against the Somali people.

In his paper Lt. Col Yeisley describes how the Soviet US bipolar power balance led to proxy war on many continents from the end of WWII until the 1990s. He points out that China is the most likely threat to current American global hegemony, and suggests that proxy wars over resources in Africa are a likely future scenario. He points out that any of the BRIC, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, states may become great powers, but China is in the lead on that road at present.

He does not discuss the fact that the new wave of proxy wars in Africa have already begun, with Libya and Somalia being two of the most obvious current examples. These wars are partly maneuvering against China, but are also simply using and exacerbating conflicts to manipulate countries for the use of their resources.

The most likely challenger to US hegemony to emerge, at least in the foreseeable future, is China. Only China is close to possessing sufficient economic might leveraged into military spending and growth to soon rival the United States. It may well become the second great-power state in a new bipolar international regime.

… While direct conflict is indeed a possibility, it remains remote. A more likely outcome is subnational conflict as the United States and China engage in proxy wars over resource access in Africa. These conflicts will place great demands on all US instruments of power as involvement in foreign internal defense, particularly counterinsurgency operations in Africa, trends upward. Bipolarity and renewed proxy conflict will require rethinking of long-term national and military strategies now focused primarily on large-scale interstate wars. This will impact defense acquisition and military doctrine as US strategic focus shifts from conventional conflict to more low-end operations.

Yeisley describes how the Cold War:

… increased the incidence of subnational proxy conflict via two complementary mechanisms. It provided the superpowers a means to achieve geostrategic goals without the risk of nuclear war while also providing groups within client states the means to achieve their goals, through violence if necessary.

What it means is that other people fight and die, real fighting, real death, so that the manipulating powers can compete and acquire without suffering at home.

Yeisley also discusses:

Why did the United States and the USSR engage in Cold War proxy conflict? Realists of the period warned against doing so—involvement in
third-world conflicts was detrimental to US interests and did not enhance the all-important balance of power
.

… impressions of power were just as important as military equality; this resulted in strategies that depended on perceptions of a balance of power as much as the balance itself. Thus, US policy treated any Soviet gains as a threat that had to be countered in a zero-sum realpolitik game.

Cold War proxy conflicts usually took the form of aid provided to either insurgent forces or to those of the state—cash transfers, provision of weapons/technology, and advisory or combat support.

The rising incidence of subnational conflict during the Cold War and its decline in the current era were thus influenced by superpower policy decisions to pursue strategic goals by proxy within client states to avoid the high costs of nuclear war.

From Yeisley’s conclusion:

It is likely China will achieve economic and then military parity with the United States in the next two decades. … But why would China’s rising necessarily lead to geostrategic competition with the United States, and where would this most likely occur? Unlike the Cold War, access to strategic resources rather than ideology would lie at the heart of future US-Sino competition, and the new “great game” will most likely be played in Africa.

Africa is home to a wealth of mineral and energy resources, much of which still remains largely unexploited. Seven African states possess huge endowments of oil, and four of these have equally substantial amounts of natural gas. Africa also enjoys large deposits of bauxite (used to make aluminum), copper, lead, nickel, zinc, and iron ore, all of which are imported and highly desired by China.

Of primary interest is open access to Africa’s significant deposits of oil and other energy resources.

Africa is thus a vital foreign interest for the Chinese and must be for the United States; access to its mineral and petroleum wealth is crucial to the survival of each. Although the US and Chinese economies are tightly interconnected, the nonrenewable nature of these assets means competition will remain a zero-sum game. Nearly all African states have been independent entities for less than 50 years; consolidating robust domestic state institutions and stable governments remains problematic. Studies have shown that weak governments are often prime targets for civil conflicts that prove costly to control. Many African nations possess both strategic resources and weak regimes, making them vulnerable to internal conflict and thus valuable candidates for assistance from China or the United States to help settle their domestic grievances. With access to African resources of vital strategic interest to each side, competition could likely occur by proxy via diplomatic, economic, or military assistance to one (or both) of the parties involved.

The asymmetric nature of future conflict over African resources means defense acquisition must therefore focus on equipping and training military as well as civilian foreign internal defense teams. Both military and civilian doctrine must be altered to allow robust and effective interagency actions to meet the challenges of proxy conflict that will span the continuum of war from security forces assistance, counterinsurgency, information, and combat operations to peace enforcement and postconflict stability efforts.

While the United States should not reduce current preparations for conventional war-fighting dominance, prudence dictates that it also prepares for future proxy conflict management in Africa.

Yeisley’s paper is not a policy document, it is more predictive analysis, as the disclaimer states:

The views and opinions expressed or implied in the SSQ are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government.

The Pentagon is way out in front of this paper. The US Africa Command is already in place and already actively engaged in proxy war on the African continent, in Somalia, in Libya, in the Great Lakes regions, and in a less overt manner in a number of other countries. About a year ago General Hogg from AFRICOM was soliciting Ghana to participate in proxy war in Ivory Coast.

Yeisley tells us that China has 4,000 military personnel in Sudan to protect its interests in energy and mineral investments there; it also owns 40 percent of the Greater Nile Oil Production Company.

Lt. Col. Yeisley’s paper may not be a policy statement, but increased proxy war waged by the United States in Africa is already underway and already US policy.

Both African leaders and opposition groups can see what the United States is doing in both Africa and the Middle East. Many already have a gleam in their eyes aiming to be the next dictator of choice or favored freedom fighters. At the same time many Africans are profoundly offended by the manipulative violence sponsored by the US and its European allies. This was most recently expressed at the African Union summit January 2012, when Jean Ping failed to secure the necessary 2/3 votes to continue as AU Commission Chairperson, even after his opposition withdrew from the contest. Delegates were particularly troubled by his role in the Libya debacle and many saw him as a tool of French policy.

Sudan, its oil, land, and other resources is currently a major target of the interest of the US and its Africa Command. Proxy war is being funded and underway. Regarding South Sudan, Uganda, the Eastern DRC and other countries in the Great Lakes region:

… this whole area is prime real estate where the fierce battle between China and the Americans/Europeans plays out, centered on oil and minerals, all part of the Great 21st Century African Resource War. (from Obama, the king of Africa)

Sudan has long been the focus of the United States interest. The US promoted the separation of north and south, and pushed forward the referendum that separated the two into two different countries.

President Obama would have you believe that 100 elite U.S. Special Forces soldiers are running around in the African Bush looking for what’s left of the Lord’s Resistance Army. … The real target is South Sudan, where the United States is setting the stage for an African proxy oil war with China. … The Green Berets are in central Africa to coordinate military operations by Washington’s African clients. … The United States and Europe can no longer compete economically with China in Africa, and must now resort to raw force, through African puppet armies.

Reporter Thomas C. Mountain … points out in a recent article that the United States pays the salaries of South Sudan’s army, and also pays the costs of the thousands of United Nations so-called “peacekeepers” who have been sent to South Sudan to help contain the ethnic violence. Those UN peacekeepers are mostly soldiers from Ethiopia, a U.S. client state that, along with Kenya and Uganda, is waging a proxy war under U.S. sponsorship in Somalia. The Ethiopians worked very closely with U.S. Special Forces, right down to the company level, in the 2006 invasion of Somalia.

Now, in the heart of central Africa where South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Congo, and the Central African Republic meet – all of them U.S. client states – the U.S. needs its own Special Forces units in place to coordinate its puppet African armies, and to keep all of them focused on the larger mission … to destabilize northern Sudan and China’s oil operations, there. (from Coming Soon: Obama’s Big Move in Central Africa)

Dyncorp had a State Department contract to train the SPLA back in 2007, which may still be in effect or renewed since then. Mountain tells us, the:

US pays the salaries for the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA, the national army of South Sudan), over $100 million in 2011 alone. Does a country really have independence when a foreign power pays its army’s salaries? Whose orders is the army really going to follow?

And now comes word that the Obama regime presently occupying the White House in the USA is planning on “selling” advanced weaponry to the SPLA. As every day hundreds of children in South Sudan die from lack of clean drinking water, food, shelter and medical care the USA’s answer is to provide jet fighters and bombers, the better to see Sudanese kill Sudanese.

What this is all about is the Sudanese oil fields in the Abeye region, basically right on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. The Sudanese oil fields are the only majority owned and controlled Chinese developed oil fields in Africa.

The “USA/UN” plan is supposed to see up to 10,000 Ethiopian military personnel under cover of a UN “peacekeeper” mandate take up stations around the Abeye oil fields, the better to one day control that oil.

The one thing that should be expected is a continuing “crisis management” policy by the USA in South Sudan, as in create a crisis and then manage the murder and mayhem the better to exploit the wealth of the land, or if necessary, at least deny it to your enemy.

US AFRICOM Commander General Carter Ham (in gray camo, next to the man in the light blue shirt) in South Sudan August 26, 2011. South Sudan officially became independent in July 2011.

Mountain also says that:

In mid 2011 South Sudanese officials were reported to have said that the USA had told them they didn’t need oil money to survive, they could depend on western aid. A fore teller of things to come?

This sounds like the message the US was telling African countries immediately post independence in the late 1950s and 1960s, shorter version: Don’t worry, you don’t need to grow your own food or produce your own goods, trust us, we’ll take care of you. We all know how well that worked. Those African leaders who tried to steer a truly independent course faced western hostility, coups, and assassination, Nkrumah, Lumumba, Sekou Toure, Amilcar Cabral, Thomas Sankara, among others.

The African continent is a big place. There is US interest in proxy conflict in a number of other locations around the continent as well. An ongoing focus of US attention is Nigeria, with its huge oil reserves. The US Department of Homeland Security just declared Nigeria’s insurgent terrorists, Boko Haram, a threat to the US homeland, Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the US Homeland PDF. This opens the way to increased military interference (partnering) in Nigeria and its neighbors.

AFRICA ENDEAVOR 2011 NIGERIA - ABUJA, NIGERIA – Marine Forces Africa’s Sgt. Ryan Kish teaches ECOWAS Combat Forces Signal Squadron soldiers to properly set up and operate a Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite system as part of the train up to US Africa Command’s Africa Endeavor 2011 communications exercise which is taking place simultaneously in Banjul, The Gambia; ECOWAS in Abuja, Niger and the AU in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, 12 July 2011. (AFRICOM photo by Lt. Col. Steven Lamb)

You can view more pictures of AFRICOM activities all around the coasts of Africa in AFRICOM Along the Coasts and In the Creeks.

We have seen the devastation to lives, countries and economies that proxy war has created in Africa. In the beginning of this century it looked like Africa might be able to put that behind. Conflicts decreased. There was a surge in conflict in the 1990s, followed by a cessation between 2002 and 2006. With the decrease in violence, African economies began to take off. Chinese investment has been a great help, although one cannot always regard it as benign. African economies are growing a lot faster than either the United States or Europe at present. More war could put a stop to all that.

A 2007 Human Security Brief:

… describes and analyses the extraordinary, but largely unnoticed, positive change in sub-Saharan Africa’s security landscape. After a surge of conflicts in the 1990s, the number of conflicts being waged in the region more than halved between 1999 and 2006; the combat toll dropped by 98 percent.

° There has been a major decline in the scope and intensity of conflicts.
° Refugee numbers have shrunk substantially.
° The share of global humanitarian assistance going to Africa doubled between 1999 and 2006—from 23 percent to 46 percent

Between 2002 and 2006 the number of campaigns of organized violence against civilians fell by two-thirds. (Human security in Africa)

We know the effect of proxy war, of training and equipping client militaries.

From Congressional testimony by the Africa Faith and Justice Network, in July 2008:

The ‘train and equip’ idea is not new. In fact, it has a very bad history in Africa – a history that harkens back to the proxy wars of the Cold War and U.S. support for illegitimate or corrupt regimes.

In the 1980’s, the U.S. spent $500 million to train and equip Samuel Doe in Liberia. According to a report from the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute, “every armed group that plundered Liberia over the past 25 years had its core in these U.S.-trained Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) soldiers. There is thus a fear that when the United States withdraws support for its security sector reform program and funding for the AFL, Liberia will be sitting on a time bomb; a well-trained and armed force of elite soldiers who are used to good pay and conditions of service, which may be impossible for the government of Liberia to sustain on its own.”

AFRICOM’s value as a structure for legitimizing African armies should therefore be called into serious question.

That train and equip disaster continues to play out. Former fighters who needed jobs, experienced in the brutalities of the Liberian civil war, headed to Ivory Coast after the 2011 elections to work as mercenaries in the conflict there.

Escalating proxy wars in Africa will ultimately damage the United States. Proxy war will cut the United States off from the friends and resources it badly needs. Unfortunately the US does not seem to understand how much it needs friends.

R2P is the Rush To Plunder Africa. R2P protects Africans by killing them and stealing their resources. We have already lived through an earlier version of R2P known as the three Cs, Christianity, Commerce, and Civilization, now recognized as imperialism, racism, and economic self interest. R2P is the latest code name for the same imperialism, racism, and economic self interest. President Obama has joined with the President of France and the Prime Minister of Great Britain to once again take up the White Man’s Burden, another name for R2P, following the call of that original hymn to US imperialism:

To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride.

US/NATO veil the threat of terror by supporting terror, supporting al Qaeda sympathisers in Benghazi and calling them fighters for democracy. US/NATO will check the show of pride by destroying the infrastructure and economic success, the pride of the Libyan people, who are not beholden to the US or NATO for their success. The US and NATO seek to end Libyan independence and with it to undermine the African Union and African independence at the same time.

This building was destroyed by the NATO bombing of the North African state of Libya. It housed a civil society council with a school for special needs children next door.

If R2P had anything to do with protecting civilians, some of that protection would be given to the black Libyans and immigrants who are being massacred by the rebels. Ethnic cleansing committed by the rebel groups is a big risk for black Libyans and African migrants. Hundreds have already been murdered.

Boats adrift and filled with African families, men, women, and children, refugees fleeing from the violence, have been ignored and abandoned by NATO participants, left to drift until hundreds of passengers died of thirst and starvation. European participants in the assault ignored pleas for help, and the French Navy ship Charles de Gaulle sailed right by the sick and dying, ignoring even the babies held up in supplication as people begged for help. Many boats of refugees have been lost, including the one described below:

NATO ships, planes left African refugees stranded in Mediterranean to die
The wave of migrants fleeing Libya has intensified since the US, France, Britain and NATO launched their war against Libya on March 19.

The response of NATO and the European powers to the influx of African asylum seekers has been one of unadulterated hostility and racism.

On March 29 or 30, the boat drifted near an aircraft carrier—“so close that it would have been impossible to be missed,” writes the Guardian. The newspaper continues: “According to survivors, two jets took off from the ship and flew low over the boat while the migrants stood on deck holding the two starving babies aloft. But from that point on, no help was forthcoming. Unable to manoeuvre any closer to the aircraft carrier, the migrants’ boat drifted away. Shorn of supplies, fuel or means of contacting the outside world, they began succumbing one by one to thirst and starvation.”

The newspaper concludes from its investigation that the carrier was the French ship Charles de Gaulle

The US and NATO don’t even pretend to exert their responsibility to protect those civilians. Protection of civilians has nothing to do with the assault on Libya. Does anyone think the massive numbers of bombs dropped on the Tripoli area have left civilians magically untouched? There have been 9,183 sorties flown so far. Those bombs are not protecting civilians.

… targets are being bombed, and then hit again if BDA (Bomb Damage Assessment) reveals that total destruction was not achieved.

NATO bomb exploding

the Pentagon is the true epicenter of American policy toward the Arab Reawakening. Briefly paralyzed early in the year by the specter of resurgent Arab nationalism in the planet’s most vital energy reservoirs, Washington quickly launched a massive military assault on Libya in collaboration with European mini-imperialists to show the Arab world who’s really the boss. In the Persian Gulf region, the Saudi Arabian monarchy gathered up their fellow emirs, sultans and sheiks to safeguard the common patrimony of royal families against democratic or nationalist subversion.

Moammar Gaddafi was drafted as imperialism’s designated demon in North Africa

… the shock of seeing the empire’s death pass in front of its eyes in the form of a democratic – and, by definition, anti-U.S. imperialism – Arab nationalist oil dominion caused the Obama administration to kick the U.S. military’s Full Spectrum Dominance machinery into high gear. The world needed to know that this president will not allow American spheres of hegemony to shrink on his watch, and that he has the means and the inclination to kill at will (Black Agenda Report)

Oil and Arms, Libya and Europe (click to enlarge enough to read) A range of Libyan business and investment is deeply intertwined with both Europe and the US, including arms.

From the end of April:

The Murder of Muammar Qaddafi Is Planned For May 2, 2011. The linked article informs us that the Italian coalition government was about to fall apart over the bombing of Libya. It also informs us that the people of Benghazi are sick of the lawlessness of the rebels and are organizing against them. Keep in mind that the people in Libya have the right to own guns and carry arms. Failing support from Italy, and dissension in Benghazi put the heat on the coalition of the recolonizers. They need decisive action before the Italian government changes, and before it becomes clear that the residents of Benghazi are not united behind the “rebels”. Huge bombing raids targeted Gadaffi’s compound at the very beginning of May and killed his grandbabies. As Glen Ford points out:

The grandkids, ages 6 months to two years, were, of course, totally apolitical and, presumably, quite cute. But vaunted American “compassion” does not extend to the grandbabies of evil Arab cartoon-men. … Killing Gaddafi’s son and three grandchildren was no crime, since in American eyes they are no more than satanic versions of Daffy Duck’s cartoon nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Hillary Clinton went to Italy during the first week of May and was able to persuade the Italians to continue Italian support for the bombing.

Libya was a success story before the bombing:

How was Libya doing under the rule of Gadaffi? How bad did the people have it? Were they oppressed as we now commonly accept as fact? Let us look at the facts for a moment.

Before the chaos erupted, Libya had a lower incarceration rate than the Czech republic. It ranked 61st. Libya had the lowest infant mortality rate of all of Africa. Libya had the highest life expectancy of all of Africa. Less than 5% of the population was undernourished. In response to the rising food prices around the world, the government of Libya abolished ALL taxes on food.

People in Libya were rich. Libya had the highest gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita of all of Africa. The government took care to ensure that everyone in the country shared in the wealth. Libya had the highest Human Development Index of any country on the continent. The wealth was distributed equally. In Libya, a lower percentage of people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

So where does this sudden uprising come from? The answer is that the same groups the US has been funding for decades are now taking their chance to gain control over the nation. A group recently arrested in Libya consisted of dozens of foreign nationals that were involved in numerous acts of looting and sabotage.

Great Britain funded an Al Qaeda cell in Libya, in an attempt to assassinate Gadaffi. The main opposition group in Libya now is the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. This opposition group is being funded by Saudi Arabia, the CIA, and French Intelligence. This group unified itself with other opposition groups, to become the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition. It was this organization that called for the “Day of Rage” that plunged Libya into chaos on February 17 of this year.

Why is the United States so opposed to Gadaffi? He is the main threat to US hegemony in Africa, because he attempts to unite the continent against the United States. This concept is called the United States of Africa.

Please remember at all times that the violent Libyan civil war unfolding now is not comparable to the revolutions seen in Tunisia and Egypt. Both of these revolutions involved peaceful protesters suffering from poverty, in opposition to their corrupt governments. The chaos in Libyan consists of a mixture of tribal conflicts, conflict over oil revenue (since most oil is in the east of the country), radical islamists opposed to Gadaffi’s system of government, and outside destabilization by Western funded exile groups. (David Rothscam Reports)

Susan Lindauer writes:

Don’t kid yourself. Nobody gives a damn about suffering in Libya or Iraq. You don’t bomb a village to save it. The U.S., Britain and NATO are the bullies of the neighborhood. The enforcers for Big Oil.

At Black Agenda Report Glen Ford writes:

[The] Pentagon is the true epicenter of American policy toward the Arab Reawakening. Briefly paralyzed early in the year by the specter of resurgent Arab nationalism in the planet’s most vital energy reservoirs, Washington quickly launched a massive military assault on Libya in collaboration with European mini-imperialists to show the Arab world who’s really the boss. …

Moammar Gaddafi was drafted as imperialism’s designated demon in North Africa, while Shi’ite Iran served as the scapegoat for royal reaction in the Gulf. The monarch-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council, acting through a confused Arab League, gave moral cover to the Euro-American bum-rush of an equally confused United Nations Security Council. “No-fly” Resolution 1973 landed on the heads of Libyan soldiers amidst the methodical destruction of the country’s infrastructure. Thousands of miles to the east, the Saudis and lesser royals brutally smashed the democratic aspirations of Bahrain’s Shia majority, and schemed to save Yemen from a peaceful people’s uprising.

No sooner was the UN Security Council resolution to “protect” Libyan civilians issued, than it was mangled into a mandate for regime change and political assassination at NATO’s discretion. International law became its opposite. R2P is now wholly discredited in the eyes of the conscious world –which, unfortunately, excludes most Americans.

The International Criminal Court, to which the United States is not a signatory, but which it deploys to indict selected Africans – and only Africans – for human rights offenses, has been eclipsed by Obama’s imperial offensive. Why go through the motions of indicting designated enemies, when Full Spectrum Dominance enables the U.S. to execute them at leisure.

Pepe Escobar writes:

In resource-rich Africa, a complex subplot of the New Great Game in Eurasia is already in effect. It’s all about three major intertwined developments:

1) The coming of age of the African Union (AU) in the early 2000s.

2) China’s investment offencive in Africa throughout the 2000s.

3) The onset of the Pentagon’s African Command (Africom) in 2007.


The Pentagon has in fact been meddling in Africa’s affairs for more than half a century. According to a 2010 US Congressional Research Service study, this happened no less than 46 times before the current Libya civil war.

Among other exploits, the Pentagon invested in a botched large-scale invasion of Somalia and backed the infamous, genocide-related Rwanda regime.

The Bill Clinton administration raised hell in Liberia, Gabon, Congo and Sierra Leone, bombed Sudan, and sent “advisers” to Ethiopia to back dodgy clients grabbing a piece of Somalia (by the way, Somalia has been at war for 20 years).

The September 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS), conceived by the Bush administration, is explicit; Africa is a “strategic priority in fighting terrorism”.

Yet, the never-say-die “war on terror” is a sideshow in the Pentagon’s vast militarisation agenda, which favours client regimes, setting up military bases, and training of mercenaries – “cooperative partnerships” in Pentagon newspeak.

Africom has some sort of military “partnership” – bilateral agreements – with most of Africa’s 53 countries, not to mention fuzzy multilateral schemes such as West African Standby Force and Africa Partnership Station.

American warships have dropped by virtually every African nation except for those bordering the Mediterranean.

Jonathan Stevenson writes in Foreign Affairs:

AFRICOM will have a hard time reestablishing its bona fides with African governments, which were fairly tenuous even before the Libyan intervention.

and concludes, inaccurately I believe:

Although regaining African countries’ trust will be difficult, it is not impossible.

In word as well as in deed, the idea should be to cast the Libyan operation not as a mistake but as an exception.

Unfortunately Libya is not an exception, as Pepe Escobar points out, it is just the latest of close to 50 US military interventions in Africa going back approximately 50 years. Libya is just the latest military intervention in a long line of military interventions. Like Groucho Marx, Mr. Stevenson is asking Africans not to believe their own lying eyes.

Pepe Escobar writes in Asia Times:

This “kinetic activity” took place after former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger had been hammering his endgame for Libya on at least three different occasions; at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs; at an Aspen Institute session on “Values and Diplomacy”, also in Washington; and at the Bretton Woods II conference in New Hampshire.

Kissinger’s plan: invade Libya and keep this thing going until at least the spring of 2012. The (wacky) agenda; keep MENA (Middle East/Northern Africa) in total disarray as a diversionist tactic/pretext for Washington to attack Iran on behalf of Israel – to the benefit of the military-industrial complex. …

Gaddafi is the perfect villain for this Anglo-French-American farce unworthy of French playwright Georges Feydeau. For all his dictatorial megalomania, Gaddafi is a committed pan-African – a fierce defender of African unity. Libya was not in debt to international bankers. It did not borrow cash from the International Monetary Fund for any “structural adjustment”. It used oil money for social services – including the Great Man Made River project, and investment/aid to sub-Saharan countries. Its independent central bank was not manipulated by the Western financial system. All in all a very bad example for the developing world.

Breaking up Libya would be just the hors d’oeuvres for breaking up other parts of Africa where China has sizable investments. Yes, because if Western boots hit the ground in northern Africa, the “footprint” will reach the Sahel – which is already in turbulence; Mali and Niger are receiving weapons from the “rebels” in Libya that are ending up in the hands of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). The powers that be in Algeria and Morocco – where pro-democracy protests continue non-stop – are already freaking out.

… Gates had already misled the US Congress a few weeks ago, saying that the US role in Libya would end once NATO was in command.

Here are some things the Hellfire missiles will be up against in Libya. A gross domestic product per capita of US$14,192; unemployment benefits of around $730 a month; nurses being paid $1,000 a month; no major taxes; free education and medicine; interest-free loans for buying a car and an apartment. Quite a few unemployed Americans wouldn’t mind a one-way ticket to Tripoli.

The attack of the drones is on so Washington may pretend it’s not by any means expanding its “kinetic military action” – which is not a war.

And we are seeing a lot of AFRICOM military activity in North Africa, particularly directed at Algeria and Morocco. The US/NATO Libyan intervention is more the rule than the exception, a clear precedent for future “kinetic actions”.

Stability operations means protecting US/NATO client regimes, or installing new and more compliant client regimes:

The predatory and criminal character of the US-NATO operation becomes ever more apparent the longer it drags on. Washington, London and Paris hope to not only seize control of Libya, but also increase their influence in neighbouring states that have been convulsed by revolutionary uprisings. The NATO powers aim to use Tripoli as a centre of operations throughout North Africa, preventing any further erosion of their strategic and economic interests in the region.

Hague pointed to these calculations when he referred to the “stabilisation” of Tunisia and Egypt as an aim of the war against Libya (wsws)

Jean-Paul Pougala writes in Pambazuka:

It was Gaddafi’s Libya that offered all of Africa its first revolution in modern times – connecting the entire continent by telephone, television, radio broadcasting and several other technological applications such as telemedicine and distance teaching. And thanks to the WMAX radio bridge, a low cost connection was made available across the continent, including in rural areas.

It began in 1992, when 45 African nations established RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organization) so that Africa would have its own satellite and slash communication costs in the continent. This was a time when phone calls to and from Africa were the most expensive in the world because of the annual US$500 million fee pocketed by Europe for the use of its satellites like Intelsat for phone conversations, including those within the same country.

An African satellite only cost a onetime payment of US$400 million and the continent no longer had to pay a US$500 million annual lease.

This is how a symbolic gesture of a mere US$300 million changed the life of an entire continent. Gaddafi’s Libya cost the West, not just depriving it of US$500 million per year but the billions of dollars in debt and interest that the initial loan would generate for years to come and in an exponential manner, thereby helping maintain an occult system in order to plunder the continent.

The US$30 billion frozen by Mr Obama belong to the Libyan Central Bank and had been earmarked as the Libyan contribution to three key projects which would add the finishing touches to the African federation – the African Investment Bank in Syrte, Libya, the establishment in 2011 of the African Monetary Fund to be based in Yaounde with a US$42 billion capital fund and the Abuja-based African Central Bank in Nigeria which when it starts printing African money will ring the death knell for the CFA franc through which Paris has been able to maintain its hold on some African countries for the last fifty years. It is easy to understand the French wrath against Gaddafi.

The African Monetary Fund is expected to totally supplant the African activities of the International Monetary Fund which, with only US$25 billion, was able to bring an entire continent to its knees and make it swallow questionable privatisation like forcing African countries to move from public to private monopolies. No surprise then that on 16-17December 2010, the Africans unanimously rejected attempts by Western countries to join the African Monetary Fund, saying it was open only to African nations.

It is increasingly obvious that after Libya, the western coalition will go after Algeria, because apart from its huge energy resources, the country has cash reserves of around €150 billion. This is what lures the countries that are bombing Libya and they all have one thing in common – they are practically bankrupt.

It is disconcerting to say the least that for the first time in the history of the United Nations, war has been declared against a people without having explored the slightest possibility of a peaceful solution to the crisis.

In Asia Times Ellen Brown asks Libya all about oil, or central banking?

Several writers have noted the odd fact that the Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank – this before they even had a government.

In it [a 2007 "Democracy Now" interview of US General Wesley Clark] he says that about 10 days after September 11, 2001, he was told by a general that the decision had been made to go to war with Iraq. … they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

What do these seven countries have in common? In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That evidently puts them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland.

The most renegade of the lot could be Libya and Iraq, the two that have actually been attacked.

According to a Russian article titled “Bombing of Libya – Punishment for Ghaddafi for His Attempt to Refuse US Dollar”, Gaddafi made a similarly bold move: he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar. Gaddafi suggested establishing a united African continent, with its 200 million people using this single currency.

During the past year, the idea was approved by many Arab countries and most African countries. The only opponents were the Republic of South Africa and the head of the League of Arab States.

Libya not only has oil. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), its central bank has nearly 144 tonnes of gold in its vaults. With that sort of asset base, who needs the BIS, the IMF and their rules?

All of which prompts a closer look at the BIS rules and their effect on local economies.

In a 2002 article in Asia Times Online titled “The BIS vs national banks” Henry Liu maintained:

BIS regulations serve only the single purpose of strengthening the international private banking system, even at the peril of national economies. The BIS does to national banking systems what the IMF has done to national monetary regimes. National economies under financial globalization no longer serve national interests.

… FDI [foreign direct investment] denominated in foreign currencies, mostly dollars, has condemned many national economies into unbalanced development toward export, merely to make dollar-denominated interest payments to FDI, with little net benefit to the domestic economies.


That would explain where Libya gets the money to provide free education and medical care, and to issue each young couple $50,000 in interest-free state loans. It would also explain where the country found the $33 billion to build the Great Man-Made River project. [… the largest and most expensive irrigation project in history, the US$33 billion GMMR (Great Man-Made River) project. Even more than oil, water is crucial to life in Libya. The GMMR provides 70% of the population with water for drinking and irrigation, pumping it from Libya's vast underground Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System in the south to populated coastal areas 4,000 kilometers to the north.] Libyans are worried that North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led air strikes are coming perilously close to this pipeline, threatening another humanitarian disaster.

So is this new war all about oil or all about banking? Maybe both – and water as well. With energy, water, and ample credit to develop the infrastructure to access them, a nation can be free of the grip of foreign creditors. And that may be the real threat of Libya: it could show the world what is possible.

The murderous bombing continues:

NATO extends authorisation for Libya bombardment to September
Washington and its European allies are clearly readying an intensified campaign aimed at ousting the government led by Muammar Gaddafi and installing a client administration in Tripoli.

NATO leaders now make little effort to conceal the reality that military operations are centrally aimed at removing Gaddafi from power—a goal that is not authorised under the “mandate” supposedly provided by UN.

American, British, and French leaders have deliberately sabotaged any possibility of a negotiated end to the civil war in Libya between the Gaddafi regime and the opposition forces based in the eastern city of Benghazi. Italian government efforts to resolve the situation by allowing Gaddafi to make a “political exit” were derailed by the demand for war crimes charges against the Libyan leader issued last month by the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor.

It now appears likely that the timing of NATO’s 90-day bombing authorisation is at least partly aimed at scuttling the African Union’s demands for a “roadmap” that involves an immediate ceasefire, including an end to NATO bombing. South African President Jacob Zuma visited Tripoli on Monday to meet with Gaddafi; afterwards he said that the Libyan leader was ready to implement the African Union’s roadmap. NATO responded by unleashing fresh airstrikes immediately after Zuma flew out of the Libyan capital.

According to NATO figures, American and European air forces have conducted 9,183 sorties since March 31.

The mounting death toll exposes NATO claims about “protecting the people of Libya.” A further escalation is being prepared

James Petras, in Washington’s long war against Africa reminds us:

The Obama regime’s invasion and bombing of Libya is a continuation of a longstanding imperial practice designed to enhance U.S. power via the installation of client regimes, the establishment of military bases and the training and indoctrination of African mercenary forces dubbed “collaborative partners.” There is no question that there is a rising tide of imperial militarism in the U.S. over the past several decades.
Most of the U.S.’ African empire is disproportionally built on military links to client military chiefs. The Pentagon has military ties with 53 African countries – including Libya prior to the current attack.

AFRICOM, despite its assigned role as a vehicle for spreading imperial influence, has been more successful in destroying countries than in gaining resources and power bases. The war against Somalia, displacing and killing millions and costing hundreds of millions of dollars, enters its 20th year, with no victory in sight.

Apart from the longest standing U.S. neo-colony, Liberia, there is no country willing to allow AFRICOM to set up headquarters. Most significantly, AFRICOM was unprepared for the overthrow of key client regimes in Tunisia and Egypt – important “partners” in patrolling the North African Mediterranean, the Arabian coast and the Red Sea.

The continent-wide presence of AFRICOM has been matched by its incapacity to convert “partnerships” into effective proxy conquerors. The attempt to foster “civil-military” programs has failed to secure any popular base for corrupt collaborator regimes, valued for their willingness to provide imperial cannon fodder.

The continuing North African uprising overthrew the public face of the imperial backed dictatorships. As the popular Arab revolt spreads to the Gulf and deepens its demands to include socio-economic as well as political demands, the Empire struck back. AFRICOM backed the assault on Libya, the crackdown on the prodemocracy movement by the ruling military junta in Egypt and looks to its autocratic “partners” in the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula to drown the civil society movements in a blood bath.

The growing militarization of U.S. imperial policy in North Africa and the Gulf is leading to a historic confrontation between the Arab democratic revolution and the imperial backed satraps; between Libyans fighting for their independence and the Euro-American naval and air forces ravaging the country on behalf of their inept local clients.

Twice the African Union has tried to resolve the Libyan conflict peacefully, and both times it has been resoundingly ignored and rebuffed. Whether the subject is banking or oil or water or China, it is quite clear that US/NATO sees Libya’s successs and independence as bad example for the rest of Africa and a threat to US hegemony. Ordinary citizens and leaders in Africa should view the Libyan intervention as a serious threat to their independence and success, now and in the future, a threat to the well-being of the entire continent. R2P, the Rush To Plunder is on, for banking, for oil, for minerals, for water and for land.

Thabo Mbeki writes What the World Got Wrong in Côte D’Ivoire. He asks:

Why is the United Nations entrenching former colonial powers on our continent? Africans can and should take the lead in resolving their own disputes.

Gbagbo greets Mbeki during negotiations in Ivory Coast

The second round of the Nov. 28, 2010, presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire pitted against each other two long-standing political opponents, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. For this reason, and of strategic importance, it was inevitable that this electoral contest would decide the long-term future of the country. Everybody concerned should have probed very seriously the critical question: Would the 2010 elections create the conditions that would establish the basis for the best possible future for the Ivorian people?

Rather, the international community insisted that what Côte d’Ivoire required to end its crisis was to hold democratic elections, even though the conditions did not exist to conduct such elections. Though they knew that this proposition was fundamentally wrong, the Ivorians could not withstand the international pressure to hold the elections.

However, the objective reality is that the Ivorian presidential elections should not have been held when they were held. It was perfectly foreseeable that they would further entrench the very conflict it was suggested they would end.

The 2002 rebellion in Côte d’Ivoire divided the country into two parts, with the north controlled by the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which supported Alassane Ouattara, and the south in the hands of the Gbagbo-led government. Since then, Côte d’Ivoire has had two governments, administrations, armies, and “national” leaders.

Any elections held under these circumstances would inevitably entrench the divisions and animosities represented and exacerbated by the 2002 rebellion.

The structural faults which lay at the base of the 2002 rebellion include such inflammable issues as trans-national tensions affecting especially Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, Ivorian ethnic and religious antagonisms, sharing of political power, and access to economic and social power and opportunities.

In this regard, the international community has assiduously suppressed proper appreciation of various explosive allegations which, rightly or wrongly, have informed and will continue to inform the views of the Gbagbo-supporting population in southern Côte d’Ivoire — and much of Francophone Africa!

These are that Ouattara is a foreigner born in Burkina Faso, that together with Burkinabè President Blaise Compaoré he was responsible for the 2002 rebellion, that his accession to power would result in the takeover of the country especially by Burkinabè foreigners, and that historically, to date, he has been ready to advance French interests in Côte d’Ivoire.

Taking all this into account, the African Union understood that a lasting solution of the Ivorian crisis necessitated a negotiated agreement between the two belligerent Ivorian factions, focused on the interdependent issues of democracy, peace, national reconciliation and unity.

In protracted negotiations from 2002, the Ivorians agreed that the presidential elections would not be held until various conditions had been met. These included the reunification of the country, the restoration of the national administration to all parts of the Ivorian territory, and the disarmament of the rebels and all militia and their integration in the national security machinery, with the latter process completed at least two months ahead of any presidential elections. Despite the fact that none of this was honoured, the presidential elections were allowed to proceed.

In the end, Ouattara has been installed as president of Côte d’Ivoire. Gbagbo, and his wife Simone, have ended up as humiliated prisoners. Many Ivorians have died and have been displaced, much infrastructure has been destroyed, and historic animosities have been exacerbated in the lead up to this outcome.

Many things have gone radically wrong along the road to this result.

Agreements relating to what needed to be done to create conditions for free and fair elections were wilfully and contemptuously ignored. The Ivorian Constitutional Council (CC) is the only body constitutionally empowered to determine the winner in any presidential election and to install the president, with the Electoral Commission (IEC) mandated to forward its provisional results to the CC. However, the very people who insist on the sanctity of the rule of law as fundamental to all democratic practice, elected illegally to recognise the provisional result announced by the chairperson of the IEC on his own, as the authentic outcome of the presidential election.

As provided by the law, Gbagbo contested the fairness of the elections in certain parts of the country, especially the north. The CC, rightly or wrongly, accepted the majority of the complaints made by Gbagbo, identified other “irregularities,” annulled the votes in some districts, and declared Gbagbo the victor. The chairperson of the IEC did not take these alleged irregularities into account and decided that Ouattara had won.

The envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, his fellow South Korean, SRSG Young-jin Choi, also determined that Ouattara had won, but on the basis of fewer votes than those announced by the IEC, having determined that some of the complaints made by Gbagbo were legitimate. In terms of the votes cast for the two candidates, the IEC, the CC, and the U.N. SRSG made three different determinations.

Gbagbo proposed that to resolve this matter, which bears on the important issue of the will of the Ivorian people, an international commission should be established to verify the election results, with the important pre-condition that both he and Ouattara should accept the determination of the commission.

This proposal was rejected by the international community — despite the fact that it would have resolved the electoral dispute without resort to war, and despite the fact that some election observers questioned the fairness of the elections, especially in northern Côte d’Ivoire.

For instance, reporting on the elections in the north, the election observer mission of the AU led by Joseph Kokou Kofigoh, former prime minister of Togo, the independent civil society Societé Civile Africaine pour la Democratie et l’Assistance Electoral led by Seynabou Indieguene of Senegal, and the Coordination of African Election Experts (CAEE) from Cameroon, Senegal, Benin, Mali, Morocco, Gabon, and Togo led by Jean-Marie Ongjibangte of Cameroon, all sounded the alarm about the elections in the north.

For instance, the CAEE said: “After sharing information with other national and international election observers, we hereby state that the second round of the presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire was held amidst major problems in (various northern) regions…

“These problems were stealing of ballot boxes, arresting of candidates’ representatives, multiple voting, refusal to admit international observers to witness counting of ballots, and the murder of representatives of candidates. To that effect, we hereby declare that the second round of voting was not free, fair and transparent in these (northern) localities.”

For its part, to this day, the ECOWAS election observer mission has not issued its report on the second round of the presidential election! Why?

Clearly the independent international commission proposed by Laurent Gbagbo could have been established and empowered to make a definitive and binding determination about what had happened. Time will tell why this was not done!

Further, the U.N. SRSG took the extraordinary decision to exceed his mandate by declaring who had won the presidential election, contrary to his tasks as detailed by the Security Council. This positioned the U.N. Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) as a partisan in the Ivorian conflict, rather than a neutral peacemaker, equidistant from the belligerent parties.

From this point onwards, UNOCI had no choice but actively to work for the installation of Ouattara as president of the country and the removal of Gbagbo. Ultimately, this found expression in the blatant use of its military capacities to open the way for the Forces Nouvelles to defeat the Gbagbo forces and capture Gbagbo, under the shameless pretence that it was acting to protect civilians.

While obliged to respect its peacekeeping mandate, which included keeping the belligerent forces apart, UNOCI did nothing to stop the advance of the Forces Nouvelles from the north to the south, including and up to Abidjan. Nor did UNOCI or the French Licorne forces, as mandated by the United Nations, act to protect civilians in the area of Duékoué, where, evidently, the most concentrated murder of civilians took place! This recalls the United Nations’s failure to end the more catastrophic murder and abuse of civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo!

The Ivorian reality points to a number of incontrovertible conclusions.

The agreed conditions for the holding of democratic elections in Côte d’Ivoire were not created. Despite strong allegations of electoral fraud, the international community decided against conducting any verification of the process and the announced results. This left unanswered the vitally important question of who actually had won the elections, which Ouattara might have done.

The United Nations elected to abandon its neutrality as a peacemaker, deciding to be a partisan belligerent in the Ivorian conflict.

France used its privileged place in the Security Council to position itself to play an important role in determining the future of Côte d’Ivoire, its former colony in which, inter alia, it has significant economic interests. It joined the United Nations to ensure that Ouattara emerged as the victor in the Ivorian conflict.

This addressed the national interests of France, consistent with its Françafrique policies, which aim to perpetuate a particular relationship with its former African colonies. This is in keeping with remarks made by former French President François Mitterand when he said, “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century,” which former French foreign minister Jacques Godfrain confirmed when he said: “A little country [France], with a small amount of strength, we can move a planet because [of our]…relations with 15 or 20 African countries…”

The AU is also not without blame, as it failed to assert itself to persuade everybody to work to achieve reconciliation among the Ivorians, and therefore durable peace. Tragically, the outcome that has been achieved in Côte d’Ivoire further entrenches the endemic conflict in this country.  This is because it has placed in the exclusive hands of the failed rebellion of 2002 the ability to determine the future of the country, whereas the objective situation dictated and dictates that the people of Côte d’Ivoire should engage one another as equals to determine their shared destiny.

During the decade he served as president of Côte d’Ivoire, Gbagbo had no possibility to act on his own to reunify the country and achieve reconciliation among its diverse people, despite the existence of negotiated agreements in this regard. As he serves as president of the country, Ouattara will not succeed to realise these objectives, acting on his own, outside the context of honest agreement with the sections of the Ivorian population represented by Gbagbo.

What was to come was foreseen by the then U.S. ambassador in Côte d’Ivoire, Wanda L. Nesbitt. In July 2009, she advised the U.S. government:

“It now appears that the Ouaga IV agreement, [the fourth agreement to the Ouagadougou Political Agreement which prescribed that disarmament should precede the elections], is fundamentally an agreement between Blaise Compaore [President of Burkina Faso] and Laurent Gbagbo to share control of the north until after the presidential election, despite the fact that the text calls for the Forces Nouvelles to return control of the north to the government and complete disarmament two months before the election…

“But the 5,000 Forces Nouvelles soldiers who are to be “disarmed” and regrouped into barracks in four key cities in the north and west until a new national army is created, represent a serious military capability that the FAFN [Forces Nouvelles] intends to keep well-trained and in reserve until after the election. The hand-over of administrative power from the FAFN to civilian government authorities is a pre-requisite for elections but, as travelers to the north (including Embassy personnel) confirm: the FAFN retain de-facto control of the region especially when it comes to finances.”

The failure to address the “pre-requisite for elections” predetermined their outcome. The rebel “control” of the north, mentioned by Ambassador Nesbitt, prescribed the outcome of the 2010 presidential election. Similarly, it was the “military capability” of the rebellion, which Ambassador Nesbitt mentioned, that was used to ensure that Ouattara became president of Côte d’Ivoire.

It is little wonder that as the post-election crisis deepened, Laurent Gbagbo would cry out: I was betrayed!

At the end of it all, there are many casualties.

One of these is the African Union. The tragic events in Côte d’Ivoire have confirmed the marginalization of the union in its ability to resolve the most important African challenges.

Instead, the AU has asserted the ability of the major powers to intervene to resolve these challenges by using their various capacities to legitimize their actions by persuading the United Nations to authorise their self-serving interventions.

The United Nations is yet another casualty. It has severely undermined its acceptability as a neutral force in the resolution of internal conflicts, such as the one in Côte d’Ivoire. It will now be difficult for the United Nations to convince Africa and the rest of the developing world that it is not a mere instrument in the hands of the world’s major powers. This has confirmed the urgency of the need to restructure the organisation, based on the view that as presently structured the United Nations has no ability to act as a truly democratic representative of its member states.

Thus, in various ways, the events in Côte d’Ivoire could serve as a defining moment in terms of the urgent need to reengineer the system of international relations. They have exposed the reality of the balance and abuse of power in the post-Cold War era, and put paid to the fiction that the major powers respect the rule of law in the conduct of international relations, even as defined by the U.N. Charter, and that, as democrats, they respect the views of the peoples of the world.

We can only hope that Laurent and Simone Gbagbo and the Ivorian people do not continue to suffer as abused and humiliated victims of a global system which, in its interests, while shouting loudly about universal human rights, only seeks to perpetuate the domination of the many by the few who dispose of preponderant political, economic, military and media power.

The perverse and poisonous proceedings that have afflicted Côte d’Ivoire pose the urgent question: How many blatant abuses of power will Africa and the rest of the developing world experience before the vision of a democratic system of global governance is realised?

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Gambia coat of arms

The government of the Gambia refuses to recognize the Ouattara government in Ivory Coast.

Gambia Government’s position on the tragedy in Cote D’Ivoire or Ivory Coast

The events in Ivory Coast have vindicated us on our earlier assertion that Western Neo colonialist sponsored agents in Africa that owe allegiance only to themselves and their Western Masters are ready to walk on thousands of dead bodies to the Presidency. This is what is happening in Ivory Coast.

Africans should not only wake up, but should stand up to the new attempts to re-colonise Africa through so called elections that are organized just to fool the people since the true verdict of the people would not be respected if it does not go in favour of the Western Backed Candidates as has happened in Cote D’Ivoire and elsewhere in Africa.

What is really sinister and dangerous about the neo colonialist threat is that they are ready to use brute force, or carry out outrageous massacres to neutralize any form of resistance to the Western selected President as has happened in Cote D’Ivoire

In Ivory Coast, we know the role played by the former Colonial power who, outside of the UN Mandate, first Bombarded the Presidential Palace for Days and eventually stormed it through a tunnel that links the Presidential Palace to one of the residences of their diplomatic representative.

The reasons for the bombardment of the Presidential Palace prior to the raid was according to them; to prevent Gbagbo using heavy weapons against civilians! But both the UN and France were aware of the outrageous massacres of civilians, entire villages that supported President Laurent Gbagbo were wiped out by the so called republican forces fighting for Ouatarra. Were Gbagbo supporters not supposed to be protected by both the UN and French Forces against Massacres?

These so called republican forces that were supposed to be fighting for Democracy, ended up killing thousands with impunity and are now engaged in massive looting!

Our position is very clear. The case of Laurent Gbagbo is a replica of the Case of Patrice Lumumba who; as a a Freedom Fighter for the dignity and Independence of not only Congolese people but the entire black race was overthrown by Western powers including the UN, and handed over to his sworn enemies to be murdered.

History is repeating itself as the same Neocolonial forces that overthrew Patrice Lumumba, captured him and handed him over to his enemies almost fifty years ago; are the same forces involved in the Ivory Coast with the only difference being that it is now a different former colonial power.

If justice is to be done, there should be an impartial and comprehensive investigation into all the atrocities carried out in Ivory Coast by a team of honest and decent Allah fearing people. Alassan Ouatarra and his forces cannot go scot free and blame everything on President Laurent Gbagbo who according to the Ivorian Constitution is the legitimate President of Ivory Coast. This team should be selected by the Non Align Movement.

One is tempted to ask this Question:

How is it possible that the verdict of the constitutional council that decided on who won the elections in some Francophone African Countries recently were accepted: that is after the election in Ivory Coast but that of The Ivorian Constitution Council was rejected by both the Western powers and the UN?

As far as we are concerned, the only solution to avert a long drawn-out civil War with all its attendant consequences in Ivory Coast is to reorganize Presidential elections in the shortest possible time. In the meantime an interim Government of National Unity should be formed without Alassan Ouatarra; as he also has a lot to answer for as well.

One thing is very clear to all Africans today – the plot to recolonise Africa is very real and we must stand up to it.

It is shameful that the most evil, dictatorial and repressive powers on earth today are calling African leaders Dictators. It is also very shocking and interesting as well that the same powers are not saying anything about the popular uprising that has been raging on Burkina Faso for the past three weeks resulting in the storming of the Presidential Palace in Ouagadougou, last night, with the whereabouts of Blaise Compaore unknown. This uprising has been going on for more than three weeks now and not a single international news media is reporting on it. Is it possible in today’s world that such an uprising can take place in a country like Burkina Faso; so close to the Ivory Coast; a dusk to dawn curfew imposed for two weeks; without the Western Media including those of the former colonial Master knowing about it?

We the new Generation of Africans cannot and will not be fooled. We know what Blaise Compaore stands for in Africa with regards to the West.

Captain Thomas Sankara was murdered for standing up to imperialism and neo colonialism in Burkina Faso in particular and Francophone Africa in general. He was killed for the same reasons that Patrice Lumumba and other African Freedom Fighters died for, their killers eventually becoming Presidents in those African countries and worked exclusively for Western interests in Africa.

Blaise Compaore, is one of them. He has a lot to answer for the civil wars that ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast then, and now.

That there is such a media blackout of the uprising in Burkina Faso, but an up-to-the-minute reporting of events in Yemen, Syria, Ivory Coast etc shows that the so called international news media are the mouth pieces of certain Satanic Powers with a sinister Mission for the rest of the world outside the West.

Why can’t the West respect Africa’s Independence and dignity?

In conclusion, we call on the UN to ensure the safety, protection, and well being of President Laurent Gbagbo; the constitutionally legal President of Ivory Coast and set him free. He cannot be tried whilst Alassan Ouatarra, the internationally selected President goes scot free after massacring thousands of civilians just to be President!

The Gambia Government would not recognize any President or Government in Africa that has been imposed by forces outside of the African Continent for whatever reason. We know what those governments and Presidents stand for in Africa. They loot African resources on behalf of the powers that brought them to power.

MAY THE ALMIGHTY ALLAH Guide, Guard and Protect Africans by giving us the courage to stand up in Defence of African Independence, Dignity and the protection of our natural Resources from those hungry locusts on the rampage in Africa. The road to total liberation may be tough, but we shall prevail very soon INSHA ALLAH.

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This blog has covered many of the points raised by Mr. Mbeki, and by the government of the Gambia.   The Western recolonizers are barely trying to hide their intentions any more.    The people and resources of the entire continent are under assault.

Earlier posts regarding Ivory Coast are:
Creating Failed States For Profit
Humanitarian Invasion In Ivory Coast
Côte d’Ivoire – Military Intervention Vs Constitutional Legitimacy
Ivory Coast – What Happened? What Next?

These days, to be a leader of a nation, a presidential candidate does not have to achieve a majority of votes in a free, fair and transparent election. All that one needs, is to be “internationally recognised” by the “international community” as the winner of the election.

However, in the case of a “not-favoured” ruler, the predatory countries would quickly jump in, calling the ruler barbaric, delusional, etc. They would declare that the ruler had lost his “mandate” and needed to go. Yes, these days, it is the “international community” that decides which national leader has a mandate of his people. Incredible! If the leader does not, the Security Council immediately makes a decision that allows the predatory country to start bombing.

Battle for Abidjan French-armoured-vehicles join fight

On Being Internationally Recognised
By Kwesi Adu
Saturday, 9 April 2011

“These days, to be a leader of a nation, a presidential candidate does not have to achieve a majority of votes in a free, fair and transparent election. All that one needs, is to be “internationally recognised” by the “international community” as the winner of the election.

An important initial requirement is to be the favoured candidate of the “international community”. Even if there are chances that one may lose the vote, all that the “international community’s favoured candidate needs to do is to create doubt in people’s minds. This is done by creating confusion and chaos during the elections. Actions such as ballot box snatching, fomenting fighting at polling stations or kidnapping of the representatives of the other party will do fine. If the other side should dare to respond by attempting to restore sanity, their attempt would be misrepresented and portrayed as a deliberate attempt to rig the election. The “international community” would then make a declaration that the favoured candidate won the elections and would order the other side to respect the “wishes of their people”.

It is even sweeter if the other side is the incumbent candidate. The obvious line would be “This is an incumbent who does not want to leave power”. As soon as the “international community” make their pronouncement, it would be a trigger for the supporters of the favoured candidate to occupy the streets and call on the other to concede.

If the other side does not “concede”, the western press, particularly, the BBC, CNN, VOA, Agence Presse Internationale, etc would be on the heels of the “not-favoured” candidate. They would taunt him/her, with suggestions that he/she should go into exile. If he/she refuses, the supporters of the favoured candidate would go on the rampage; and if, in the event, they kill or maim opponents of the “not-favoured” candidate, it would be blamed on the “not-favoured” candidate who would then be threatened with a trial at the International Criminal Court.

In such a scenario, the “international community” would table a motion at the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on the “not-favoured” candidate, his close associates, his/her spouse, the children, as well as their pets. They would be a travel ban. His/her assets, whether or not they have any abroad, would be frozen. In some cases, individual members of the “international community” may even go ahead and “nationalise” state assets of the country, and call them the personal assets of the “not-favoured” candidate.

The UN and the ICC prosecutor would be on the prowl on village cemeteries, looking for anybody who might have been buried in the past 6 months, and threaten to use the corpses as evidence of “atrocities” committed on the instructions of the “not-favoured” candidate.

If all these do not work, the military and security agencies would be encouraged to act to install the favoured candidate. If they do not comply, sanctions would be expanded to include restrictions on the national central bank to make it difficult for the military to be paid. Woe betides the “not-favoured” if he/she is the incumbent. If the country belongs to a regional grouping, such as an ECOWAS or an Arab League, they would be relied upon to lead the campaign against the not-favoured candidate.

Lest I forget! In the 21st century, if a third world country joins a regional grouping, the regional grouping becomes the owner of that country. As a result, the regional grouping would have sovereignty over the country, and have the right to invade the country or call on the UN Security Council and the ”International Community” to invade.

These days, the abuse of the UN Security Council as a tool in the hands of the predatory countries has become more blatant. As soon as the predatory countries decide that a third world country should be invaded, they obtain an automatic endorsement from the UN Security Council. As soon as the decision is made, they do not wait for the Security Council to draw up the modalities for the invasion. Within three hours of the decision, the predatory powers start bombing the victim countries.

The New World Political Order (NEWPO) is becoming more interesting by the day. If the leadership of a country is a client state of the predatory countries, that leadership can do whatever it wants. They can steal and loot the national coffers: it will not matter as long as the multinational companies of the predatory countries squeeze more profit from the client state. Such a client state does not need to hold periodic elections; they do not need to respect human rights; indeed, they can slaughter people every Friday at the square. No one would hear a genuine criticism from the “international community”. On the contrary they would describe that government as “stable” and that it needs some more time. Even when the citizens occupy the streets to protest against their suffering at the hands of the “favoured” ruler, the predatory powers would ask the citizens to “shut-up”. It is only when the citizens refuse to “shut-up” that the favoured rulers are asked to make changes.

However, in the case of a “not-favoured” ruler, the predatory countries would quickly jump in, calling the ruler barbaric, delusional, etc. They would declare that the ruler had lost his “mandate” and needed to go. Yes, these days, it is the “international community” that decides which national leader has a mandate of his people. Incredible! If the leader does not, the Security Council immediately makes a decision that allows the predatory country to start bombing.

There would happen even if the neighbourhood, other “favoured” rulers would be busily killing hordes of people.

By the way, there is this nice statement. “We oppose him because he is killing his own people”. Does it mean that it is all right to kill other people’s people?

However, this is the New World Political Order for you. These days, if one is a favoured politician, the person does not need to wait for an election. If he can summon about 1% of the population unto the streets, it is enough to attract calls for a regime-change if the incumbent is considered “not-favoured”. Within ten days, the “international community” would start bombing to install the favoured politician.

It is even more sad when politicians who can easily fall victim to this New World Political Order take unprincipled decisions in support of the policy. One fervently hopes that it does not happen to them one day. But if one day, the scales are turned on them, one may not be surprised to hear oneself singing “EHz ye de too, era ye de too Beebe ewe”

That is what it means to be “internationally recognised”. If the predatory powers decide not to recognise you, you are finished, especially if you belong not just to a “banana republic” but a “cocoa republic” as well.”

Soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara at a checkpoint at one of the principal entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Tuesday.

Battle for Abidjan -Gbagbo Militants escape fierce fighting

photo credit

What France and the United States have done for Haiti, they can do for Ivory Coast.

“The French and UN are laying the foundation to create another “Haiti-like” political and social situation for their advantage in Cote d’Ivoire. They will install their oligarchy, flood the country with NGO’s, have a permanent UN “peacekeeping” force (in reality AFRICOM forces), oppress the people while they plunder their resources. Nothing changes but the faces! ” (Jazzuloo)

May 10, 2011 introductory note: After reading and learning more I wrote Côte d’Ivoire – Military Intervention Vs Constitutional Legitimacy, which will tell you a great deal more about what actually happened and what next. It is summarized in the first part of this post: Humanitarian Invasion In Ivory Coast.

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Koranteng writes:

The usual practice when handing over to oneself is to hold back declaring results in your strongholds and wait until you know how many votes you need. …
Gbagbo and company couldn’t manage to do this, indeed the electoral commission that this sitting government had put in place took its job seriously and was remarkably independent – as well it should since a tremendous amount of effort had been put in place by Ivorians and the international community to stage these elections. The resort, then, was to say that the electoral commission did not have the right to declare the results. Which brings me again to that video clip I noted earlier that I’ve been stewing over ever since (… I recommend to everyone their closing line: “the elections have been canceled six times in the past five years.”). I haven’t seen a more perfect piece of political theater in years. Every actor played their part brilliantly.

Laurent Gbagbo (L) and Alassane Ouattara (R) laugh during a meeting in Abidjan in this November 27, 2010

When the next day, the head of the electoral commission did manage to sneak out and declare the results, the Gbagbo camp would remark that the declaration was invalid since it hadn’t been made within the requisite timeframe. In other words, the declaration that could have been made the prior night had turned into Cinderella’s carriage once midnight had passed.

What then followed would clearly demonstrate that Ivory Coast has had a fictitious election.

It would only be after the election results were declared that a ‘Constitutional Council’ would throw out the votes of 12 percent of the country so that the “results” would be in Gbagbo’s favour. Surely this must be the most innovative response to an electoral contest. …

First for 15 years ago, you say that a large part of your countrymen are not Ivorians, then you say that they are but that they can’t register, then you delay for 5 years, then you allow only some to register as you then delay registration and again delay the vote. Then the whole country votes and even your folks vote against you so that the opposition win. And now you go and nullify their votes even though most of the irregularities were in your strongholds. Words fail me.

Koranteng also points out:

Incidentally, we were on notice as to how ugly things might turn out. Recall if you will, the September story about that Ivorian man arrested in California attempting to buy arms to smuggle in contravention of the UN embargo. The salient quote:

“$1.9 million wired to the US as a 50 percent downpayment on the weapons… the shipment of 4,000 handguns, 200,000 rounds of ammunition and 50,000 tear gas grenades to Ivory Coast.”

… The fact also that millions of dollars were so readily transferred surely indicates the importance the old government placed on the military option and indeed the kind of planning that was involved …

That should have been a tipoff, as should this diplomatic assessment from July 2009 via Wikileaks: “The Reality: There will not be an election unless President Gbagbo is confident that he will win it — and he is not yet confident of the outcome.”

There are reports of mercenaries coming in from Liberia and Angola, although the facts are difficult to determine. Ouattara is talking up the tales of mercenaries. He wants military intervention to help him assume office. But that does not mean that some accounts are not true. And some of Charles Taylor’s former cohorts are looking for work, grabbing their wigs and heading to Ivory Coast in hope that either side might employ them.

In an interview on Democracy Now, Horace Campbell provides his analysis of the aftermath of the election, along with some history:

As Thousands Flee Ivory Coast, Former Clinton Adviser Lanny Davis is Paid Lobbyist for President Who Refuses to Cede Power:
Well, this is a test for the African Union. It’s a test for whether the concept of people’s rights and the idea of democracy will go beyond elections, because in the case of the Ivory Coast, that is called Côte d’Ivoire, we have a situation where the person who has lost the election, Laurent Gbagbo, is refusing to step down. And in the process of refusing to step down, he and those around him, they are invoking all forms of xenophobia and hostility to people from the north in order to divide the country. Thankfully, the days when Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were places that could provide the mercenaries so that Gbagbo could develop war, thankfully, we are in the state of transition in Sierra Leone, in Liberia and Guinea so that the possibility for war will be dependent on the extent to which Gbagbo can get support from persons like Lanny Davis in the United States and the bankers and financial elements within the country that will finance his army.

What we have to do in this country, we have, in this country, to call on Hillary Clinton to distance herself from Lanny Davis, who has been employed by Gbagbo to lobby for him in Washington to present the government as a transparent and democratic government.

Gbagbo is trying to exploit differences between the State Department and the White House. The President of the United States called Laurent Gbagbo to urge him to step down, and he was so arrogant that he refused to take the telephone call of President Barack Obama. And he is arrogant enough to believe that he can whip up the kind of xenophobia to divide the people of the Ivory Coast to say that Alassane Ouattara is not an Ivorian … the point is, the people voted for him, and the election’s results should be observed.

And the positive result out of all of this is the clarity of the African Union, the fact that the African Union is taking a very clear position that Ouattara won the election. The African Union is taking a very clear position that they will use force. And the fact that the meeting of ECOWAS that took place two days ago would send a very clear signal so that there could be no manipulation within West Africa itself, I think this is part of the maturity of the African Union process. And we’re going to need that process also in the Sudan in nine to 11 days’ time, when we face a similar crisis in the Sudan. So, what we in this side of the world have to do, we have to keep up our education to the citizens so that people like Lanny Davis and the State Department and the U.S. Africa Command cannot use incidents such as what is happening in the Ivory Coast to represent Africa as backward and divisive and barbarian.

In this interview Horace Campbell also provides some background to the current situation:

Ivory Coast was a jewel in the crown of French colonialism. The Ivory Coast, by its very name, was a place where colonial plunder took ivory and gold. And the Ivory Coast is located in West Africa, bordered by Liberia, bordered by Sierra Leone, and by Ghana. Now, the president of the Ivory Coast, when Ivory Coast became independent in 1960, the president of Ivory Coast was Houphouët-Boigny. Houphouët-Boigny used the Ivory Coast as a base for counterrevolution in Africa. All of the forces of French colonialism, all of the forces of French exploitation, all of the forces of French militarism converged on the Ivory Coast. And for 30 or more years, the Ivory Coast was the base for supporting apartheid in South Africa. It was a base for supporting Jonas Savimbi. Jonas Savimbi was very close to the leader, Houphouët-Boigny. And some of your listeners would know that they were also complicit in the plot to assassinate Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso.

Now, the fact is, because of the intensification of the investment in the Ivory Coast in that period, in the 50-year period, millions of Africans went to work on banana and cocoa plantations, so that there were a number of people, persons from Burkina Faso, persons from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana, who worked in that country. So the country has 20 million persons. There are 10 or a million more persons from north of the country whose ancestors came as migrant workers. Now, in the spirit of pan-Africanism, one should recognize that the borders in the Ivory Coast were artificially created at the Conference of Berlin.

Well, in 1993, after Houphouët-Boigny passed away, Alassane Ouattara was the prime minister. They wrote a Supreme Court judgment to say that those who are from the north were not Ivorian citizens, and Alassane Ouattara, whose mother supposedly was born in the Burkina Faso, could not become a candidate for the presidency. Now, between 1999 and 2000, Gbagbo himself ran in an elections, and when he won the elections, the general who was the head of the army said that Gbagbo could not come to power. Gbagbo himself organized so that he could come to power, and there was a civil war in the country between 2000 and 2004, which, again, brought about the intervention of South Africa and the African Union. In that invention, the African Union worked to overturn that judgment of the Supreme Court that said that persons from the north could not be citizens.

And this idea is a sentiment that is whipped up in the country called Ivority. Ivority is a chauvinistic notion. It is an anti-pan-African notion. It’s a notion that says only those who are Christian from the southern area of the country can be citizens. Now, this is not something that is carried by the majority of the citizens of the Ivory Coast; this is an idea that is whipped up by the elements of the Ivorian capitalist class. These are Ivorians who have made millions of dollars out of cocoa plantation, out of exploiting the workers in the Ivory Coast.

Abayomi Azikiwe writes What’s Behind the Calls for Military Intervention in Ivory Coast, in which he provides more historical background on the situation in the Ivory Coast, including:

Guy De Lusignan in his book entitled “French-Speaking Africa Since Indpendence”, said … They staked their all on big business and foreign capital. The brilliant potentialities of the country are a challenge and their answer to that challenge is undoubtedly ‘neo-colonialist’ in spirit.

And Azikiwe writes about US and French policy in Ivory Coast. He does not support military intervention, at least not yet, because that intervention would inevitably be used as a tool of US imperialism, another exercise in proxy war. Azikiwe writes:

What is happening in Ivory Coast cannot be viewed in isolation from the overall U.S. and French policy of increasing military involvement in West Africa under the guise of the so-called “war on terrorism.”

During the period of French colonialism and the first three decades of independence (1960-1990),Ivory Coast was promoted to the public as a model for imperialist rule that worked.

What the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables revealed was that through successive U.S. administrations, including Barack Obama, the same imperialist aims and objectives determine the character of its foreign policy toward Africa.

U.S. imperialism is strictly designed to further penetrate the economic, political and military affairs of the continent. The threatened intervention by ECOWAS would inevitably translate into large-scale deployments of both Nigerian and Ghanaians troops into Ivory Coast.

Such an operation that would place thousands of ECOWAS troops in Ivory Coast would require the logistical support of the U.S. and France. This would place the imperialists in a position to monitor events in Nigeria, with its own political problems of regional and intra-religious conflict, as well as other states including Mali and Sudan.

Consequently, anti-war and peace movements inside the United States must oppose any effort by the U.S. to bolster its military presence in Africa by utilizing the Ivorian crisis as an excuse to indirectly invade the country through funding, coordinating and transporting ECOWAS troops in an invasion into the Ivory Coast. Such a course of action could spark even more bloodshed in the West Africa region.

The mediation efforts of former South African President Thabo Mbeki provides some hope of resurrecting a political solution to the crisis. Why should their be an ultimatum given to Gbagbo while the other states in the region have been able to work out internal problems through political intervention and negotiations?

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) over the last year has conducted large-scale military maneuvers on the continent. In West Africa war games have been conducted under the guise of enhancing the security capacity of African states.

Although some fear the US State Department supports Gbagbo, citing particularly Lanny Davis and his close relationship with the Clintons, Ouattara appears to be the current darling of the US and France:

He is a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist. He was deputy managing director of the IMF from 1994 to 1999 and governor of the Bank of Central African States. He [Ouattara] was prime minister of Ivory Coast from 1990 to 1993 and is closely identified with the free market policies introduced under an IMF structural adjustment plan that removed price subsidies and deregulated the labour market. State-owned enterprises were privatized and tariff barriers removed.

The economic and social tensions that were ultimately to break out into civil war can be traced in part to the process of economic liberalisation that began in the 1990s. President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled Ivory Coast from its independence in 1960 until his death in 1993, was able to maintain a degree of stability by sharing patronage among rival sections of the country’s elite. Under his successors tensions became increasingly acute. Falling commodity prices hit Ivory Coast’s chief export of cocoa, and structural adjustment reduced the amount of patronage available.

Ivorian politicians whipped up communalist sentiments as they attempted to win a greater share of the country’s wealth for themselves and their supporters. This led to two years of civil war that was only brought to an end by a power-sharing agreement in 2004, which left the country divided.

France and the US are eager to see Ouattara in the presidential palace because they see him as the ideal candidate to push through economic measures that will make Ivory Coast the key to developing the entire region as a supplier of raw materials. Their outright backing for Ouattara represents a shift from their previous preference for a power-sharing agreement between the northern, mainly Muslim, and the southern, mainly Christian, Ivorian factions.

The New Forces are not thought to be a match for the Ivorian army and would need help from foreign troops if Ouattara were to attempt to oust Gbagbo by military means. ECOWAS seems to be readying itself to do that, in the form of the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG).

ECOMOG has previously intervened in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. The operation in Liberia was noted for the extent of the looting and corruption on the part of ECOMOG forces, which earned them the nickname “Every Car or Movable Object Gone”. ECOMOG would need logistical and other technical support from the great powers. Their intervention would in this sense be a cover for an extension of more direct colonial authority over Ivory Coast.

French defence minister Alain Juppé has said that his country’s troops stationed in Ivory Coast are ready to protect French citizens, but would only intervene directly with a UN mandate. But if Ouattara called on their help as president, they could intervene under a French-Ivorian defence treaty that dates back to 1961. The Financial Times has warned that French intervention would be counterproductive, but with French troops already on the ground this must be one of the most likely outcomes of the conflict over the presidency.

Ouattara’s call for a general strike has undoubtedly followed consultations with his French and US backers. It is uncannily similar to the mass action discussed between Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the US embassy in Harare which has been revealed in the exposed WikiLeaks cables. Tsvangirai agreed to plan strike action for the Christmas holidays when schools, public buildings and many businesses would be closed anyway.

The strike call in Ivory Coast is a cynical manoeuvre, intended to give Ouattara some semblance of popular legitimacy, while possibly providing the pretext for a foreign military intervention. If the strikers came under attack from the Ivorian military, which is still loyal to Gbagbo, then an invasion by West African troops with French and US backing could be presented as a humanitarian operation.

I think the White House is backing Ouattara. And I’m sure Gbagbo didn’t do himself any favors by refusing to talk to President Obama.

Daniel Drezner at Foreign Policy has fantasies of a surgical strike by US special forces citing this BBC report in which Mr. Ouattara is trying to encourage a strike against Gbagbo, saying he could be taken out without starting a civil war or killing Ivoirians.

“Legitimate force doesn’t mean a force against Ivorians,” Mr Ouattara told reporters on Thursday, AFP news agency reports.

“It’s a force to remove Laurent Gbagbo and that’s been done elsewhere, in Africa and in Latin America, there are non-violent special operations which allow simply to take the unwanted person and take him elsewhere.”

Unfortunately the unwanted person has sometimes been the winner of a democratic election, whose removal the US has engineered or facilitated, as with Aristide in Haiti or Zelaya in Honduras or the failed attempts to oust Chavez using proxies. And the US, in the person of Ambassador Ranneberger, backed Kibaki in his coup against what should have been a successful election in Kenya, plunging the country into violence, then forced a power sharing agreement on the country when the coup was so outrageously obvious and widely condemned that it could not stand.

One thing we do know about US policy in Africa, it has relentlessly repeated the same mistakes year after year decade after decade. This includes backing and arming both sides in some conflicts and sponsoring dictators and coup makers, training the militaries that terrorize their people. The present attempts to militarize the continent with the Africa Command, and its shores with seabasing, are just the most recent and vigorous example of this energetic and relentless rush in the wrong direction. It would be fabulous material for comedy if it weren’t so lethal.

Ouattara is a free market fundamentalist and practitioner of the zombie economics so favored by the corporate predator state, policies that helped damage the Ivoirian economy and many more developing economies, the policies that are currently bringing down the US economy. He is also the legitimate winner of the election, chosen by the voters in Ivory Coast and all parties should respect that.

Samuel Adjei Sarfo provides more detail on the election itself and events as they transpired. Follow this link for details of the electoral process and events: Ghana’s Policy On The Ivorian Crisis. Sarfo is an advocate for military intervention. He is justly afraid of a possible power sharing agreement, writing:

Of this kind of arrangement [power sharing], Kenya and Zimbabwe point the way to its insufficiency and danger. That kind of arrangement [power sharing] sets up a paradigm for the demise of democracy in Africa. Why must the winner of elections compensate himself by playing second fiddle to the loser of that election? In the Ivorian situation in particular, such an arrangement is superfluous because power-sharing already existed, and the election was conducted to give meaning to democratic rule through the direct franchise of the Ivorian people, and to end the civil war and the unpopular power-sharing arrangement.

Of course power sharing can be advantageous to outside predators. It keeps a government weak and divided, unable to properly protect itself, its people, and resources.

The situation in Ivory Coast may already be having an unfortunate effect on democracy in Africa, from the Financial Times January 4 Congo rulers use crisis to review poll laws:

Ivory Coast’s disputed election may have become Africa’s latest get-out-of-democracy-free card, after the Democratic Republic of Congo, the vast mineral-rich country to its south, announced it wants to revise its constitution to avert a similar fate.

The government of Congo, which suffers from a conflict in its east that has displaced more than 1.4m people in the past 18 months alone, said this week it would seek to do away with a second round in presidential elections due to be held this year, a move many regard as a pretext for an early victory for Joseph Kabila, the incumbent president.

I don’t know what will happen next. Gbagbo’s position is untenable. I don’t think military intervention is a good idea, see many of the arguments above. Although I do understand the arguments for an ECOWAS intervention. If military intervention occurs, there are certain to be ugly unintended consequences, ugly consequences that should be anticipated, and some ugly consequences that are intended. It should be possible to use pressure and diplomatic negotiation to resolve the situation. Keeping talking, and talking, and talking more is about the only way to resolve issues where the parties are determined not to compromise.

________
09ABIDJAN406, ELECTIONS IN COTE D’IVOIRE: THE MYTH AND THE REALITY
cable July 2009 via Wikileaks

http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/07/09ABIDJAN406.html

________
See my later post:
Côte d’Ivoire – Military Intervention Vs Constitutional Legitimacyfor more information on exactly what happened and what it means going forward.

The US goal with the annual Africa Endeavor is to become thoroughly embedded into African communication systems, making monitoring, spying or information/disinformation campaigns far easier for the US.

Africa Endeavor has been underway in Ghana this week and is just concluding.

ACCRA, Ghana - Ghanaian Brigadier General Joseph Searyho, Defence Communications Information Systems director general (5th from right) and Army Brigadier General Robert Ferrell, U.S. Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) C4 Systems director (Ferrell's left), pose for a photo with delegation chiefs from 28 African nations and Sweden during the Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 Mid-Planning Conferences in Accra, Ghana on March 31, 2010. AE is U.S. Africa Command's annual communications exercise that focuses on interoperability and information sharing among African nations. AE 2010 is scheduled to take place in Ghana, August 9-19, 2010. Past AE exercises were held in South Africa (2006), Nigeria (2008) and Gabon (2009). (Photo by Lieutenant James Stockman, U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs)

Thirty-six African countries, the AU, the Economic Community of Western African States, the Economic Community of Central African States, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States are participants in AE 2010

ACCRA, Ghana - Ghana Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General J.H. Smith (front, right) is escorted by Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 exercise director, U.S. Navy Commander Britt Talbert (front, left), U.S. Africa Command communications director, U.S. Army Brigadier General Robert Ferrell (middle, right), and U.S. Embassy Ghana Charge d’ Affaires, Julie Furuta-Toy (middle, left) as he reviews the AE 2010 exercise participants during a ceremony at the Ghana Command and Staff College in Accra August 9, 2010. AE 2010 is a U.S. Africa Command-sponsored initiative intended to encourage interoperability and information exchange among African nations via communication networks and subsequent collaborative links with the U.S., African Union and other African partners with common stability, security and sustainment goals. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Lieutenant Commander James Stockman)

ACCRA, Ghana - Benin Army Lieutenant Firman Donadji (left), Gambia Army Lieutenant Bakary Sennah (center), and Benin Army Captain Farell Folly (right) prepare a Powerpoint presentation to instruct troops about Information Assurance (IA) during Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Accra on August 12, 2010. (Photo by North Dakota Army National Guard Specialist Jess Reesch)

On 8/13/2010 11:20:47 AM Captain Farell Folly of Benin wrote:

For me this is an amazing learning experience. I know the Information Assurance program that is being taught during this exercise. My job here is to teach other people. It is both an experience and a teaching environment. We can meet people from everywhere and get to share knowledge. Having help from other countries has helped us achieve our goal.

While at Africa Endeavor, I am responsible for people from many different nations. I have to plan how to get them working as a group. I have learned new leadership skills that I will take back with me to my country.

On 8/16/2010 3:00:09 PM Zambia Major Benedicto Kepiza wrote:

My impression of Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 is that it opens one’s eyes to modern trends in communications. It’s a wonderful experience that gets people to interact and share so much information. AE is important to me personally, because I have learned so much, especially from the resource personnel selected to conduct the lessons on various topics. They brought out certain aspects that helped me to understand the materials they presented even deeper. As Zambia we stand to benefit from AE in that the demonstrations about the new technology in communication equipment makes us aspire to acquire such equipment that can be useful to our country.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea for the US to invest the same or greater resources into building capacity in the civilian sector, training civilians for technology and leadership skills. Who is going to lead and govern countries in Africa?

I have heard and read a number of comments from participants in these Africa Command training programs very similar to what Captain Folly and Major Kepiza have to say. Ghanaians, and participants from a variety of countries have expressed similar enthusiasm. I am delighted they are able to participate and that the US training has been of so much value. My question is, how will these individuals apply these skills when they are dissatisfied with their governments? How will they apply their leadership and technological skills and networks?

All of us, in all the countries of the world, are dissatisfied with our governments at least some of the time. How will the governments where these trainees live cope with the challenges they face. Where will the civilian sector get the technological and leadership training? How will these governments cope with challenges arising from the expectations of their own military organizations? And what will the US government do when faced with coup governments created by their trainees and proteges? I think we can look at the recent elections in Kenya and Rwanda for clues.

ACCRA, Ghana - Nigerian Army Staff Sergeant Mohammed Babangida works with U.S. Marine Corp Lance Corporal Scott Marchewka to erect a broadband antennae at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Accra on August 11, 2010. This antennae will be used to communicate with North African countries during Africa Endeavor (AE). (U.S. AFRICOM photo by Lieutenant Commander James Stockman)

ACCRA, Ghana - Warrant Officer Julius Dzededzi, a Ghanaian Army medic, listens to the heartbeat of Ghana Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Agbeshie Agbemy during a routine check-up at Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Accra on August 12, 2010. Dzededzi and Agbemy are supporting AE 2010 by providing medical care for all African countries participating in the exercise. (Photo by North Dakota Army National Guard Specialist Jess Reesch)

ACCRA, Ghana - U.S. Marine Corp Lance Corporal Scott Marchewka assists Lesotho Army Warrant Officer Knoabane Thamoe with the set-up of a Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS) antennae used to practice radio exercises August 12, 2010 at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Accra. (Photo by North Dakota Army National Guard Specialist Jess Reesch)

ACCRA, Ghana - Benin Army Captain Farell Folly discusses information assurance (IA) tactics with U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Jason Elie during Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Accra on August 10, 2010. Farell and Elie are part of the IA Working Group, which provides security for information used and shared as well as making sure there are no viruses in the network. The IA Working Group is composed of service members from Switzerland, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Sweden, and the United States. (U.S. Africa Command photo by North Dakota Army National Guard Specialist Cassandra Simonton)

ACCRA, Ghana - U.S. Brigadier General Robert Ferrell, U.S. Africa Command's communications director, watches as Republic of Congo Colonel Leon Ndingo is instructed by John M. Atkinson, Land Mobile Programs director for Inmarsat, on how to conduct a satellite call during Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 on August 10, 2010, at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Accra. The Republic of Congo is one of seven countries participating in AE 2010 for the first time. (Photo by North Dakota Army National Guard Specialist Jess Raasch)

AE 2010’s goal is to develop command, control and communications tactics, techniques and procedures that can be used by the African Union (AU) and the African Standby Force in support of humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace support missions.

AE 2010 participants will spend the initial days of this two-week exercise learning academics regarding voice and data networks theory and configuration. The last several days of AE 2010 will be spent applying that knowledge during exercise scenarios.

This year’s exercise will be the first time a communications link between the exercise location and the AU is established. Situation reports and messages pertaining to the scenario and exercise will be passed from Accra, Ghana to the AU Peace Support Operations Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“One of the Africa Union’s main objectives is to promote peace, security and stability on the continent. We need a united front to ensure this objective,” stated Ghana Minister of Defense Lieutenant General J.H. Smith. “Communications and information systems interoperability provide means for sharing of information across borders, which is very vital to the sustenance of the Africa Union and the African Standby Force.” (**)

If the only leadership you invest in is military leadership, if that is where you put all your money and effort, if that is what you train for, who do you expect will govern in the future? Whatever the case, the US military will be well and truly embedded in African communication systems.

ACCRA, Ghana - Nigerian Army Staff Sergeant Mohammed Babangida, with the assistance of U.S Marine Sergeants Ryan Kish and Brandon Sanders, establishes communications with U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk utilizing a Harris high-frequency radio during Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 in Accra on August 16, 2010. This marks the first time a radio call was attempted from the AE exercise site to an at sea vessel. (U.S. Africa Command photo by North Dakota Army National Guard Specialist Cassandra Simonton)

ACCRA, Ghana - Nigerian Staff Sergeant Mohammed Batangida, Nigerian Commander Eo Idor, Algerian Captain Kamel Rihani and Harris Corporation Applications Engineer Ian Dunsford work on the power supply for a high-frequency radio system during Africa Endeavor (AE) on August 13, 2010 at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Accra. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Lieutenant Commander James Stockman)

ACCRA, Ghana - Djiboutian Lieutenant Siad Houssein (left), Republic of Congo 2nd Lieutenant Dodolphe Maxine Anicet Ockandji (center), and Cameroon Warrant Officer Ahmedon Souley (right) share personal stories while waiting for an Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 data collecting class on August 13, 2010 at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College. (U.S. Africa Command photo by North Dakota Army National Guard Specialist Cassandra Simonton)

ACCRA, Ghana - The Gambia Army Warrant Officer Momodue Fofana examines the communications equipment demonstrated by U.S. Marine Corp Sergeant Ryan Kish during an Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 field expedient class on August 13, 2010 at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College. The class focused on methods of improvising antennas in the event of loss or damage. AE 2010 is a U.S. Africa Command sponsored initiative intended to encourage interoperability and information exchange among African nations via communication networks and subsequent collaborative links with the United States, African Union and other African partners with common stability, security and sustainment goals. (U.S. Africa Command photo by North Dakota Army National Guard Specialist Cassandra Simonton)

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