Libya and Morocco have both turned down hosting the Pentagon’s new Africa Command. Libya said it would oppose its neighbors hosting Africom HQ as well.
A U.S. delegation got a chilly reception this month, meeting opposition even in countries that enjoy friendly relations with the Pentagon . . .
“People on the street assume their governments have already had too many dealings with the U.S. in the war on terror at the expense of the rule of law”
June 26, The Guardian has more today:
The Pentagon’s plan to create a US military command based in Africa have hit a wall of hostility from governments in the region reluctant to associate themselves with the Bush administration’s “war on terror” and fearful of American intervention.
. . .
“We’ve got a big image problem down there,” a state department official admitted. “Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don’t trust the US.” Another African worry was that any US facilities could become targets for terrorists, the official said. Economic incentives, including the prospect of hundreds of local jobs, had not proved persuasive.
Mr Henry said African officials had agreed that counter-terrorism was “a top security concern”. But he added: “The countries were committed to the AU as the continent’s common security structure. They advised us that Africom should be established in harmony with the AU.”
Bush/Cheney has done terrible damage to the US reputation. This may actually help African countries to stand up for themselves and make their own decisions. Solutions to African problems must come from Africa if there is any chance for them to work. I am impressed that all the countries mentioned said the US has to work through the AU.
This may put additional pressure on West Africa, if the North African countries have said no. West African countries are not mentioned in the article. I worry about Kufuor being another poodle for Bush. There is already US military activity in Ghana. I hope this can be kept at a minimum. The US is now talking about a more distributed command, involving a number of countries. If this is the way things go, I hope Ghana can resist much in the way of active participation.