Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obama Stalking Africa's Resources

Obama Stalking Africa's Resources

Soul Gaika Kuni

The presidential election campaign is reaching fever pitch in the United States, but for Africans the zeal, pomp, zest and funfair over Barack Obama’s prospects of winning is non-existent. Unlike Obama’s first election campaign, Africans have nothing to celebrate about, for, they now know Obama as just another American president, pushing the same natural resources exploitation agenda.

There is indeed nothing that the ordinary African or revolutionary African has gained from president Obama, except a backlash for failing to support gay rights, to observe Eurocentric and American ethnocentric values of democracy, good governance and accountability. When Barack Obama was elected the first United States black President, Africans welcomed him and expected a lot of hand extension from him, but ask every African today and you will be shocked how attitude has changed.

Apparently, Africa is more scared of the US than ever before and is more worried about increasing US military presence and footprints in Africa. The war of attrition on the exploitation of natural resources between China and the US has made Africa a continent placed between a hard surface and a hard rock.

In fact, the US, has gone overdrive to try and outwit China when it comes to Africa’s resources, but the Chinese have a more effective non-military approach, that has left the US trailing behind, hence Washington has gone physical through a cocktail of sanctions in the case of Zimbabwe. Military intervention in Libya and elsewhere plus regime change agenda disguised as military co-operation has also been used.

Under President Obama, in fact, military operations in Africa have accelerated far beyond the more limited interventions of the Bush years. What with continued illegal sanctions and military threat on Zimbabwe, last year’s war in Libya, a regional drone campaign with missions run out of airports and bases in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Seychelles?

What with a flotilla of 30 ships in that ocean supporting regional operations, a multi-pronged military and CIA campaign against militants in Somalia, including intelligence operations, training for Somali agents, a secret prison, helicopter attacks, and US commando raids; a massive influx of cash for counter-terrorism operations across East Africa?

What with a possible old-fashioned air war, carried out on the sly in the region using manned aircraft; tens of millions of dollars in arms for allied mercenaries and African troops? What with a special ops expeditionary force (bolstered by State Department experts) dispatched to help capture or kill Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and his senior commanders?

And this only begins to scratch the surface of Washington’s fast-expanding plans and activities in the region. Now with the careful, but steadfast inroads being made by Africom, the US superior military command for Africa, it is clear that Africa is critically under the eagle eye of the US natural resource microscope.
In a recent speech in Arlington, Virginia, Africom Commander General Carter Ham explained the reasoning behind US operations on the continent:

“The absolute imperative for the United States military is to protect America, Americans, and American interests; in our case, in my case, protect us from threats that may emerge from the African continent.” Really? As an example, Ham named the Somali-based al-Shabaab as a prime threat. “Why do we care about that?” he asked rhetorically. “Well, Al-Qaeda is a global enterprise . . . we think they very clearly do present, as an Al-Qaeda affiliate . . . a threat to America and Americans.”

Fighting them over there, so we don’t need to fight them here has been a core tenet of American foreign policy for decades, especially since 9/11. —

Professor Soul Gaika Kuni is a political scientist in South Africa.

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