Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Africans Wary On New US Command For Continent

From International Herald Tribune:

DAKAR, Senegal: A new command takes over all U.S. military operations in Africa on Wednesday, a program that many Africans fear has a hidden agenda skewed by the war on terror and a self-interested scramble for resources.

Before Africom was created one year ago, American military programs on the continent had been divvied up among three other commands more concerned with NATO and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new command is inheriting responsibility for a Centcom-run base in Djibouti, where 1,800 troops are deployed to keep Horn of Africa terror networks in check. It also takes over European Command's Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative and dozens of other military and maritime training programs.

"Africans believe Africom is aimed at promoting America's interests, not Africa's," said Wafula Okumu, a Kenyan analyst at South Africa's Institute for Security Studies. Most Africans don't trust their own militaries, which in places like Congo have turned weapons on their own people.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is long overdue. The sad fact is that Africa will be experiencing economic and social problems for decades .... which in turn will spawn military confrontations and conflicts. The U.S. has an interest in Africa, as well as a moral duty to have a presence there so that Rwandan type genocides or Darfur conflicts cannot easily develop. Will Africom have an impact .... I do not know .... but I am hopeful (OK, I am an optimist) that Africom will find a way to have a positive influence with the resources that it has at its disposal.

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