Feb 06 2007

Rambo Africa

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 5:56 PM

President George W Bush has approved a Pentagon plan for a command centre for Africa to oversee US military activities on the continent.
The U.S. is likely to put this in Djibouti, near Somalia. It isn’t clear whether the new arrangement simply formalizes what already is or means increased military activity in Africa for American forces. Last month, U.S. forces based in Djibouti struck Islamicist fighters in Somalia, and the so-called Horn of Africa remains the focus of American military planners.
From Djibouti Americans could also stage missions to Darfur, another hotspot. Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region in West Africa also preoccupies American military planners, though last year the Pentagon turned down a request from the Nigerian government for assistance in patrolling its coast.
Ever since the grisly killing of American soldiers in Somalia in 1993 (in the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident), the U.S. government has been unwilling to send forces into African hotspots. Bill Clinton passed on aiding Rwanda during the genocide, and George Bush wouldn’t allow American troops to engage in fighting in the final months of Charles Taylor’s bloody rule in Liberia. There is little reason to expect a change in American posture, despite the formalization of a new command. Nevertheless, pressure for intervention by U.S. troops is a constant refrain among some “friends” of Africa, especially the Darfur lobby, which sees intervention as at least a temporary solution to genocide. I have argued elsewhere that an African military intervention by the U.S., even in the case of Darfur, is less appealing than international efforts to halt or reduce conflicts in the region.

Comments are closed.