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Tue 19 February 2008

African Union rejects America’s AFRICOM military base

 

America has been forced to host AFRICOM - its military central command centre for Africa - in Germany after rejection by members of the African Union.

The American attempt to secure Africa’s natural resources by force faced a major setback after the African Union rejected US plans to increase its military footprint in the Continent. America claims it was seeking to help build the defence capabilities of African nations. This spurious claim was rejected by most African leaders who believe an enhanced US military presence in Africa would be extremely damaging to Africa’s own security and future development. Liberia, which originally accepted the proposals is now reported to have rejected the imperial plans alongside opposition from nations such as Nigeria, Zambia and South Africa.

There are already concerns with Americas existing military involvement in Africa, from its closeness with the presidents of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the role it played in the crisis facing Somalia. America which is increasingly viewing itself in a new ‘cold war’ with China who is arming the Khartoum’s regimes war in Sudan is desperate to maintain its stranglehold on Africa’s natural resources. To this end, President Bush recently embarked on a five day tour to secure US long term strategic interests and cement links with those leaders amenable to neo-colonial intervention. Arriving in Benin he visited Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia. Unsuprisingly his Africom strategy has the support of the presidential hopeful Barak Obama, speaking on the matter Obama said; "There will be situations that require the United States to work with its partners in Africa to fight terrorism with lethal force. Having a unified command operating in Africa will facilitate this action."


Barak Obama: Presidential hopeful supports Africom



United States issues threat to Africa


Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs claims that the Africom is needed to help develop and manage military training and exercises with African troops. Whelan rejected revelations that America was motivated in anyway by its desire to secure African oil deposits calling such accusations ‘illogical’. She warned Africa that if it does not accept Africom then the United States would sever its ‘military to military’ defence relations with the Continent. Whelan admits that America had hoped to be able to establish a presence on the Continent but claims they had always planned to have it partially based in Stuttgart to ferment links with their european command. The US government maintains its position that Africom was solely about providing a base for ‘military training with African nations’. Africom's commander, General William E. "Kip" Ward, said Africom was not about ‘militarisation’.


Africom Commander: General William E. "Kip" Ward

 

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If Africa does not accept Africom then the United States would sever its ‘military to military’ defence relations with the Continent. 

Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs