Foreign Policy In Focus features an article by Joseph Gerson, Resisting the Empire, about efforts to resist American militarism around the globe. He writes about AFRICOM:
U.S. planners anticipate that by 2015 Africa will provide the U.S. with 25% of its imported oil. With Islamist political forces operating across northern Africa, the continent is also seen as an important front in the misconceived “war on terrorism.” So, to “promote peace and stability on the continent” the Bush Administration and the Pentagon want to augment the U.S. military presence in Africa, beginning with the transfer of the Africa Command, AFRICOM, from remote Germany to an accommodating African nation. As President Bush learned during his recent ill-fated African tour, the continent’s leaders are understandably reluctant to accept renewed military colonization. Ghana’s President John Kufuour put it bluntly when he met with Bush, saying, “You’re not going to build any bases in Ghana.”
Africa is not free of bases. France and Britain still have bases scattered there. The U.S. has bases in Djibouti and Algeria, access agreements with Morocco and Egypt, and is in the process of creating a “family” of military bases in sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Sao Tome, Senegal and Uganda.) And, although Bush responded to African fears about AFRICOM’s possible relocation by saying that such rumors were “baloney” and “bull,” he also conceded that: “We haven’t made our minds up.”
With a growing No AFRICOM movement in the United States that’s that is allied with anti-colonialist forces in Africa, this is one U.S. threat that can be contained.
Of course Kufuor has been very buddy buddy with Bush. And there is a huge ongoing US military presence in Ghana. The mention of Senegal above, and the fact that General Ward mentioned that country four times in his recent testimony (Ward testimony – PDF) makes me think they may be grooming Senegal to be the regional HQ for AFRICOM. Djibouti, JTF-HOA is supposed to be the model for AFRICOM. As I understand the planning now, they intend to set up a similar installation in each region. So talk of a single huge headquarters base is a red herring to distract observers from what is actually going on.