Africa will continue to be exploited, pillaged, plundered and militarized by the US administration led by Barack Obama as he continues to serve neoliberal imperialist interests
With the re-election of Barack Obama as president of the leading imperialist state in the world, the foreign policy orientation of the second administration will continue along the same trajectory of exploitation of the labour and resources of oppressed peoples and the intensification of militarism in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and other geo-political regions. The Obama administration enhanced the role of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), started under the Bush presidency, and led the war of regime-change against the oil-rich nation of Libya, resulting in the brutal assassination of martyred leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
During the campaign and debates, Obama claimed that he had ended the war in Iraq and was winding down the occupation of Afghanistan. Yet there is never any discussion over the unjust characters of both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the social impact of these military operations on the people in Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula.
US WARS IN MIDDLE EAST
In Iraq and Afghanistan over 7,000 US and NATO forces have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of others have been wounded, injured and psychologically impaired. Estimates of deaths among Iraqis have exceeded one million and in relationship to Afghanistan and Pakistan combined, hundreds of thousands have perished.
Millions have been displaced by both the Iraq and Afghan occupations. Societal damage to these nations will take years to repair. In Iraq sectional conflict is still taking place with regular bombings which kill dozens of people in a single day.
The upsurges in Egypt and Tunisia during 2011 shook up the US and its allies in the region, however, the governments which have come to power have not fundamentally changed their relationships with imperialism. Palestine is still under Israeli siege despite a new government in Egypt and the regime in Tunisia was compelled to turn over the former prime minister of Libya to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) installed junta in Libya.
INTERVENTION IN HAITI
In regard to Haiti, the US, France and Canada invaded the Caribbean nation in February 2004 and later turned over the occupation to the United Nations. Haiti’s duly-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped and forced into exile at the aegis of the US.
When the Obama administration took power in 2009, it maintained the same policy towards Haiti and later lifted a deportation order allowing Haitians to remain in the US In the aftermath of the earthquake in January 2010, the US administration under Obama failed to provide adequate reconstruction assistance as hundreds of thousands of people remain homeless and impoverished. Although Aristide has returned to Haiti, he has not been allowed to assume his office despite the fact that he has the largest political following inside the country.
As a result of imperialist war, the economic damage done to the world capitalist system has been enormous. The economies of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and Haiti have been devastated.
Unemployment in the western industrialized states has not been as high since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Poverty and social misery is increasing even within the advanced capitalist countries.
IMPERIALIST MILITARISM WILL ESCALATE IN AFRICA
Under the Obama administration the Horn of Africa nation of Somalia has become an outpost of US imperialism. With a military base in neighbouring Djibouti at Camp Lemonier, the Somalia nation is the staging ground for military operations against the Islamist resistance movement Al-Shabab.
At present over 17,000 US-backed troops from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) are stationed in Somalia. These troops are trained and financed by the Pentagon with full political support of the White House.
Somalia is a source of growing oil exploration. In the breakaway northern region of Puntland, oil is already being extracted by Canadian and British firms.
In fact throughout the entire regions of East and Central Africa, new findings of oil, natural gas and various strategic minerals are fuelling the increased presence of transnational corporations and military forces from the US, Britain, Israel and the European Union. Under the guise of fighting ‘terrorism’ and ‘piracy’, flotillas of warships, drones and fighter aircraft are flooding into the area.
The presence of US and other imperialist states in Central and East Africa has not stabilized the political situation at all. The plight of the people has actually worsened under the Obama administration with widespread dislocation in Somalia and Ethiopia as well as the spreading of the war into Kenya.
US INTERVENTION IN EAST AFRICA
Kenya has deployed several thousand of its defence forces in southern Somalia at the behest of the US administration. The southern Somalia port city of Kismayo has been seized by the Kenya Defense Forces and AMISOM.
In Sudan, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) bombed the country in late October. A military factory was targeted at the same time that Sudan and Iran were engaging in joint military exercises around Port Sudan.
This was not the first time that Israel had bombed Sudan. These provocations are also designed to send a clear message to Iran, that Israel can strike the country.
Sudan is still under sanctions imposed by the US and other imperialist states. Formerly the largest geographic nation-state in Africa, Sudan has been partitioned between the North and the South and other efforts are on-going to breakaway the Darfur region in the West of the country.
Last October 2011 at the height of the Occupy Movement across the US, the Obama administration announced the deployment of at least 100 Special Forces and military trainers to four states in Central and East Africa. Uganda, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were the named countries where the Pentagon would be operating.
These US military forces were purportedly dispatched to hunt down Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). A campaign known as “Invisible Children” was launched on the internet through social media.
The entire operation was merely designed to deflect attention away from the mass demonstrations taking place throughout the US and the world against Wall Street financiers and the impact of their policies of exploitation and oppression. It was also aimed at creating confusion about the role of the US military within Africa and other parts of the world.
US IMPERIALIST PLANS FOR WEST AFRICA
In West Africa, the imperialist are planning an intervention in Mali to put down a rebellion in the north of the country by the Tuareg people. The Mali crisis is partly related to the Pentagon-NATO destabilization of Libya with thousands of Tuaregs being displaced as a result of the 2011 war.
Despite the fact that the US has maintained close ties with the Malian army through AFRICOM training and joint manoeuvre projects, the armed forces inside the country staged a coup against President Toure in March. The coup leaders said that the military takeover was related to the failure of the government to quell the Tuareg rebellion in the north, nevertheless, the situation in the north worsened after the coup leading to a declaration of independence by the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and other Islamist groups based in the region.
In November the United Nations Security Council announced that some 3,300 troops provided by the member-states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be sent into Mali with the aim of putting down the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country. However, it will be the Pentagon and EU military forces that will provide the logistics and funding for this operation which will inevitably benefit imperialism in its drive for resources and profits.
CLASS AND NATIONAL STRUGGLES WILL CONTINUE
In South Africa the rising tide of the labour movement is challenging the transnational mining industry. The outbreak of wildcat strikes is weakening the neo-liberal policies of the ruling African National Congress and their allies within the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
A broad based debate within the national liberation movement in South Africa is taking place over the future of the struggle which after 18 years has still not reached the objectives outlined by the Freedom Charter. The South African Revolution must move towards socialism or it will face even greater contradictions and internal strife.
In Zimbabwe, the ruling ZANU-PF party has consolidated the comprehensive land redistribution program and is moving toward greater control of the mining industry which is linked with the same sectors in neighbouring South Africa. Throughout the Southern Africa region, the former liberation movements are once again enhancing their dialogue and political coordination.
The anti-war and anti-imperialist movements in the US must follow the situation in Africa very closely. These movements in the West must be prepared to politically defend the various movements and states that are under threat by imperialism.
As the economic conditions of workers and the oppressed inside the US and the imperialist countries grow more desperate every day, the aggressive military actions against the peoples of the so-called developing states will intensify. Consequently, the workers and oppressed of the West must form closer alliances in order to coordinate political actions with their counterparts in the developing and oppressed nations.
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* Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire, an international electronic press service designed to foster intelligent discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world.