1. — South Africa has been most vocal in its opposition, and its skepticism about US motives in creating AFRICOM. Peter Pham, who has been actively promoting Bush administration rhetoric on AFRICOM, has played the opening notes of a typical Bush administration smear attack on the South African government. His primary theme: because the ANC used to be called terrorists, they don’t mind, and even harbour terrorists. And his secondary theme is that South Africa is encouraging Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Pham appears to regret that South Africa is a democracy, and his sympathies seem to be with the security people left over from the good old days of apartheid. So once again US voices are attacking a democratically elected government, because that government questions US motives:
. . . it needs to be borne in mind today’s South Africa is a democracy and thus policy direction comes not from the security professionals, but the political echelons of the ANC among whom the “anti-Western” and “revolutionary” rhetoric of the bin Ladens and Ahmadinejads of the world still resonates.
Pham treats this as an extremist statement:
“the global anti-terror industry, chaired by the U.S.A., has led to many unfortunate assumptions made by governments and the public alike.”
Pham concludes his article by hyping terror threats against the World Cup.
2. — Then from Nigeria comes this rather noteworthy bit of doublespeak:
Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. General Andrew Owoye Azazi yesterday allayed the fears of Nigerians on the continued presence of United States military in the Gulf of Guinea.
. . .
“US wants relative peace to be able to undertake their business” he said pointing out that there is no other motive behind their troops presence to worry anybody.
On the Niger Delta situation, the Defence chief said that military have lost sizeable number of personnel in the troubled region but refused to give the exact figure of casualties. He said that Nigerians should not expect a military solution to Niger Delta problem but assured that the military will try to stabilize the place for the much-needed political solution.
On the intelligence capability of Nigeria military to cope with the Niger Delta situation, General Azazi said the military have it but noted that successful intelligence work depends largely on the people and their willingness to give information.
General Azazi also spoke on the role of the military in the last general election and said that they were only asked to ensure stable environment for the poll to take place.
The Chief said that a guideline was drawn out for those military personnel who participated in ensuring stability during the elections.He noted that most of the allegations of military involvement cannot be substantiated but assured that any obvious case will be dealt with in a military way.
“We will deal with the identified ones” but wondered how it can be substantiated.
Nothing to see here, just move along.
Trust us to take care of any problems, we have your best interests and the best interests of the country and the continent at heart. You don’t need to know anything, we’ll take care of it. Trust us.
Nigeria has voiced opposition to AFRICOM. But the US government has been working on them. This looks like Nigeria may be yielding.
3. — Meanwhile, in Iraq, the Iraqi government may be evicting Blackwater. And the Iraqi government has officially rescinded the ruling that gave security contractors immunity from prosecution. So the mercenary corporations may feel the need to leave Iraq. This is not good news for Africa. Theresa Whelan, Defense undersecretary, has encouraged the use of military contractors in African countries. The contractors have been acting with violent impunity in Iraq. The pattern of behavior of the developed countries in military engagement with Africa has always been to assume they are entitled to act with violent impunity (it is civilizing, or now, globalizing). If military contractors leave, or are evicted from Iraq because they can no longer act with violent impunity, they’ll be looking for more jobs, where they can continue their violent behavior unrestrained. African oil and resources seem likely to draw their attention, which is very bad news for people living in African countries.