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  • Sanctions on Canada Would Follow Russia Bank Moves: Ambassador

     
       April 22, 2014
  • Russia would impose economic sanctions against Canada if it targets Russian banks, affecting Canadian-based companies operating in the world’s largest nation, the Russian ambassador to Canada said.

    Firms including Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) and Kinross Gold Corp. may be affected if Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper imposes sanctions against Russia’s financial institutions because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, said Georgiy Mamedov, the Russian Federation’s ambassador to Canada.

    “If the Canadian government or NATO will do something crazy -- imposing some sanctions against our banks -- certainly we will have to reciprocate,” Mamedov said in an interview following a speech in Toronto today. “If it will affect Canadian transactions in Moscow, we will be sorry. But it will not be our initiative.”

  • Violence over the weekend is undermining an accord reached between Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., and the European Union, meant to defuse the crisis in the region. The U.S. has threatened more sanctions against Russia’s banking and energy industries unless progress is made on carrying out the accord.

    “We will never take any initiative to undercut Canadian business,” Mamedov said, adding “of course, never say never.”

    Mamedov said Russia wants the Canadian government to be more involved in the Russia-Ukraine confrontation, rather than just being in a “shouting war.” He suggested involvement similar to the Balkans in the 1990s, when Canada’s military was a part of a United Nations peacekeeping force.

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in list: Syria

  • Syria chemical handover at 86.5 percent
  • The Hague (AFP) - Syria has handed over 86.5 percent of its chemical weapons, the global chemical watchdog said on Tuesday, amid new claims that Damascus may have launched attacks with an industrial chemical earlier this month.
  • The latest update comes five days before a self-imposed cut-off of April 27, by which Damascus aimed to have its stockpile removed from Syrian soil, ahead of a June 30 deadline to destroy it.

    A further consignment of chemicals was delivered to the main Syrian port of Latakia on Tuesday, raising "the overall portion of chemicals removed from Syria to 86.5 percent of the total", the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement.

    "Today's consignment was the 17th to date and the sixth consignment since April 4, making a significant acceleration in the pace of deliveries to Latakia this month," the Hague-based OPCW added.

    Upon arrival, the chemicals were "immediately" put onto cargo ships and "removed from the country".

    "This latest consignment (is) encouraging," said OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu.

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in list: Syria

  • EU condemns Syria plans for June 3 election
  • Brussels (AFP) - The European Union joined international condemnation of Syria's plan to hold a presidential election on June 3, saying Tuesday the vote would lack credibility while the country remains at war.

    EU diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton "deeply regrets the official declaration by the Syrian authorities that presidential elections will be held in Syria on June 3", her spokesman said in a statement.

  • Ashton reiterated the EU's stance that "any elections in Syria should only take place within the framework of the Geneva communique of 2012", a so-far-fruitless agreement on a transition to democracy as the basis for negotiations between the Syrian regime and the opposition fighting to overthrow it.

    "Elections organised by the regime outside this framework, conducted in the midst of conflict, only in regime-controlled areas and with millions of Syrians displaced from their homes, would ignore the basic principles of democracy, be devoid of credibility, and undermine all efforts to reach a political solution," the statement said.

    The United Nations, United States and Britain have all condemned the planned elections.

    Ashton also called on the warring sides "to stop all violence and human rights abuses" and return to peace talks in Geneva, which broke off on February 15 with no concrete progress toward ending the devastating three-year conflict.

in list: Syria

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      MANPADS to Syria Rebels: Good or Bad Idea?

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  • This is the seemingly impossible policy question that the Obama administration is currently trying to answer. And the choices that are being offered to the president and his national security team are filled with as many negatives as positives. In other words, whichever decision is made, there are going to be consequences that could potentially impact America's national security in the broader Middle Eastern region.
  • With the Syrian-Lebanese border now largely controlled by pro-Syrian government forces, barrel bombs continuing to rain on civilians from the sky without warning, and Bashar al-Assad himself starting to "campaign" for a third term as Syria's president, the mere fact that the White House is now debating more lethal assistance to Syrian opposition forces is a perfect metaphor for the administration's internal frustration over Syria policy.

    The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that a small shipment of sophisticated anti-tank missiles have already been sent to carefully vetted Syrian opposition forces in what can only be described as a pilot program by the United States and Saudi Arabia. That is, if the people who receive the weapons keep them in their hands and limit leakage, a greater quantity of them could be sent.

    But President Obama may be ready to go further than that. Time magazine's Michael Crowley writes that the president is at least thinking about sending anti-aircraft weapons to curb the kind of devastating -- but highly effective -- barrel bomb attacks that the Syrian air force has relied on for the past several months to clear opposition controlled neighborhoods.

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in list: Syria

  • U.N. chief to Syria: Please don't hold presidential elections

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    By Holly Yan and Elise Labott, CNN
     
    April 22, 2014
  • (CNN) -- Elections are usually an effective way to throw out unfavorable presidents or regimes. That is, unless you live in Syria.

     

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Syria against holding presidential elections on June 3, a date the government announced Monday.

     

    Having elections during the current crisis "will damage the political process and hamper the prospects for political solution," said Ban's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

     

    He added that such elections are incompatible with the Geneva Communique -- the international plan adopted two years ago that calls for a transitional government to lead to free and fair elections.

    • STORY HIGHLIGHTS
       
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      • UN: Holding elections now will hinder prospects for a political solution
      •  
      • President Bashar al-Assad's family has been in power since 1971
      •  
      • The U.S. and allies accuse the Syrian regime of another chemical weapon attack
      •  
      • More than 100,000 people, including many civilians, have been killed in the civil war

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in list: Syria

  • Weakened rebels in last stand for Homs, capital of Syrian revolution, as Assad forces advance

     

     
  • BEIRUT - Weakened Syrian rebels are making their last desperate stand in Homs, as forces loyal to President Bashar Assad launch their harshest assault yet to expel them from the central city, once known as the capital of the revolution.

    Some among the hundreds of rebels remaining in the city talk of surrender, according to opposition activists there. Others have lashed back against the siege with suicide car bombings in districts under government control. Some fighters are turning on comrades they suspect want to desert, pushing them into battle.

  • "We expect Homs to fall," said an activist who uses the name Thaer Khalidiya in an online interview with The Associated Press. "In the next few days, it could be under the regime's control."

    The fight for Homs underscores Assad's determination to rout rebels ahead of presidential elections now set for June 3, aiming to scatter fighters back further north toward their supply lines on the Turkish borders. Assad's forces are building on gains elsewhere — they have been able to almost clear rebels from a broad swath of territory south of Homs between the capital, Damascus, and the Lebanese border, breaking important rebel supply lines there. Rebels have also capitulated in several towns around Damascus after blockades that caused widespread hunger and suffering.

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  • April 18, 2014
     

    Is America an Oligarchy?

     
  • From the Dept. of Academics Confirming Something You Already Suspected comes a new study concluding that rich people and organizations representing business interests have a powerful grip on U.S. government policy. After examining differences in public opinion across income groups on a wide variety of issues, the political scientists Martin Gilens, of Princeton, and Benjamin Page, of Northwestern, found that the preferences of rich people had a much bigger impact on subsequent policy decisions than the views of middle-income and poor Americans. Indeed, the opinions of lower-income groups, and the interest groups that represent them, appear to have little or no independent impact on policy.
  • “Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts,” Gilens and Page write: 

         
    Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.
      

     That’s a big claim. In their conclusion, Gilens and Page go even further, asserting that “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover … even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.” 

      

     It is hardly surprising that the new study is generating alarmist headlines, such as “STUDY: US IS AN OLIGARCHY, NOT A DEMOCRACY,” from, of all places, the BBC. Gilens and Page do not use the term “oligarchy” in describing their conclusions, which would imply that a small ruling class dominates the political system to the exclusion of all others. They prefer the phrase “economic élite domination,” which is a bit less pejorative.

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • April 2010

      

    Obama Should Rethink U.S. Military Expansion

       

    Africa Report, Number 22 (April-May 2010)
     By Daniel Volman*

     

    *Daniel Volman (dvolman@igc.org) is the Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC (www.concernedafricascholars.org/african-security-research-project and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars. He is a specialist on U.S. military policy in Africa and African security issues and has been conducting research and writing on these issues for more than thirty years.

     

    When Barack Obama took office as president of the United States in January 2009, it was widely expected that he would dramatically change, or even reverse, the militarized and unilateral national security policy toward Africa that had been pursued by the Bush administration. But, after a little more than one year in office, it is clear that the Obama administration is essentially following the same policy that has guided U.S. military involvement in Africa for more than a decade. Indeed, it appears that President Obama is determined to expand and intensify U.S. military engagement throughout Africa.

     

    Thus, in its budget request for the State Department for FY 2010, the Obama administration proposed significant increases in funding for U.S. arms sales and military training programs for African countries, as well as for regional programs on the continent, and is expected to propose further increases in its budget request for FY 2011.

  • The FY 2010 budget proposed to increase Foreign Military Funding spending for Africa more than 300 percent, from just over $8.2 million to more than $25.5 million, with additional increases in funding for North African countries. Major recipients included Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa.

     

    The FY 2010 budget request for the International Military Education and Training program proposed to increase funding for African countries from just under $14 million to more than $16 million, with additional increases for North African countries. Major recipients slated for increases include Algeria, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda.

     

    The FY 2010 State Department budget request also proposed increased funding for several other security assistance programs in Africa, including the African Contingency Operations and Training Assistance program (which is slated to receive $96.8 million), the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement programs in Algeria, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Sierre Leone, Sudan, and Uganda, and Anti-Terrorism Assistance programs in Kenya, South Africa, and the Africa Regional program.

  • The same is true for funding in the Defense Department budget for the operations of the new Africa Command (Africom) which became fully operational in October 2008 and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) forces which have been stationed at the U.S. military base in Djibouti since 2002. The Obama administration requested $278 million to cover the cost of Africom operations and Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership operations at the Africom headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The administration also requested $60 million to fund CJTF-HOA operations in FY 2010 and $249 million to pay for the operation of the 500-acre base at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, along with $41.8 for major base improvement construction projects. And the administration is now considering the creation of a 1,000-man Marine intervention force based in Europe to provide Africom with the capability to intervene in Africa.

     

    The continuity with Bush administration policy is especially evident in several key regions. In Somalia, for example, the Obama administration has provided some $20 million worth of arms to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and initiated a major effort to provide training to TFG troops at the CJTF-HOA base in Djibouti and in Europe. Furthermore, President Obama has continued the program initiated by the Bush administration to assassinate alleged al-Qaeda leaders in Somalia and, in August 2009, he authorized an attack by U.S. Special Forces units that killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who was accused to being involved in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaeda in August 1998.

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • April 2010

      

    Obama Moves Ahead With Africom

       

    Pambazuka News, Issue 461 (10 December 2009)

     

    By Daniel Volman*

  • *Daniel Volman (dvolman@igc.org) is the Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC, (www.concernedafricascholars.org/african-security-research-project), and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars. He is a specialist on U.S. military policy in Africa and African security issues and has been conducting research and writing on these issues for more than thirty years.

     

    In his 11 July 2009 speech in Accra, Ghana, U.S. President Barack Obama declared, “America has a responsibility to advance this vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity. When there is genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these are not simply African problems – they are global security challenges, and they demand a global response. That is why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy, technical assistance, and logistical support, and will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable. Our Africa Command is focused not on establishing a foothold in the continent, but on confronting these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa and the world.”

  • And yet all the available evidence demonstrates that he is determined to continue the expansion of U.S. military activity on the continent that was initiated by President William Clinton in the late 1990s and dramatically escalated by President George Bush from 2001 to 2009. While many expected the Obama administration to adopt a security policy toward Africa that would be far less militaristic and unilateral than that pursued by his predecessor, the facts show that he is in fact essentially following the same policy that has guided U.S. military involvement in Africa for more than a decade.

     

    The clearest indication of President Obama’s intentions for Africom and for America’s military involvement in Africa is provided by the budget requests for FY 2010 submitted by the Departments of State and Defense to Congress in May 2009. The State Department budget request—which includes funding for all U.S. arms sales, military training, and other security assistance programs—proposes major increases in funding for U.S. arms sales to a number of African countries through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. The budget proposes to increase FMF funding for sub-Saharan African counties more than 300 percent, from just over $8.2 million to more than $25.5 million, with additional increases in funding for Maghrebi countries. Major recipients slated for increases include Chad ($500,000), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($2.5 million), Djibouti ($2.5 million), Ethiopia ($3 million), Kenya ($1 million), Liberia ($9 million), Morocco ($9 million), Nigeria ($1.4 million), South Africa ($800,000), and the Africa Regional Program ($2.8 million)

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • May 2006

      

    The African “Oil Rush” and American National Security

       

    By Michael Klare and Daniel Volman
     Originally published in Third World Quarterly, Volume 27, Issue 4 (May 2006)

     

    The Promise of African oil

     

    Compared with the Middle East, Africa possesses a relatively modest share of the world’s petroleum reserves: about 9.4% of proven world reserves, compared with 61.7% for the Middle East. Nevertheless, the world’s major oil-consuming nations, led by the United States, China and the Western European countries, have exhibited extraordinary interest in the development of African oil reserves, making huge bids for whatever exploration blocks become available and investing large sums in drilling platforms, pipelines, loading facilities and other production infrastructure. Indeed, the pursuit of African oil has taken on the character of a gold rush, with major companies from all over the world competing fiercely with one another for access to promising reserves. This contest represents “a turning point for the energy industry and its investors,” in that “an increasing percentage of the world’s oil supplies are expected to come from the waters off West Africa,” the Wall Street Journal reported in December 2005. By 2010, the Journal predicted, “West Africa will be the world’s number one oil source outside of OPEC.”[2]

  • This “oil rush” has enormous implications both for African oil producers and for the major oil-importing countries. For the producing countries it promises both new-found wealth and a potential for severe internal discord over the allocation of oil revenues (or “rents”); for the consuming countries it entails growing dependence on imports of a vital substance from a region of chronic instability, with obvious national security overtones. How these factors play themselves out in the years ahead will have a considerable influence on Africa’s continuing evolution. In examining these developments, it is first necessary to consider Africa’s role in the larger, global petroleum equation and explain why African oil, in particular, has aroused so much interest from the major oil-consuming nations.[3]

     

    To begin with it is necessary to consider the state of world oil production and consumption, along with prevailing expectations regarding the future availability of petroleum. Until very recently the world’s oil producers largely succeeded in keeping pace with rising world demand for their product, which accounts for around 40% of the world’s combined energy supply. In 1960 the world produced and consumed some 21 million barrels of oil per day (mbd); in 2004 it produced and consumed 81 mbd—an increase of 285%. This steady expansion in output helped make possible the vast expansion of the world economy over the past half-century and has facilitated the emergence of new industrialized powers in Asia and other parts of the developing world. Any future expansion of the world economy, as well as the continued emergence of industrialized economies in the developing world, will require a similar growth in energy supplies.

  • It is the stated view of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and other energy-related organizations that the global supply of oil will continue to expand along with the expected growth in world demand. According to the DoE’s International Energy Outlook for 2005, world oil production capacity will grow from 80.0 mbd in 2002 to a projected 122.2 mbd in 2025; during the same period global consumption will climb from 78.2 to 119.2 mbd. This increase in global output will be made possible, the DoE suggests, by rising yield in many oil-producing areas, including the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, Africa and Latin America.[4]

     

    However, there is a growing body of informed opinion that contends that global oil output will not be able to grow by the amount projected by the DoE, and that, in fact, it will fall far short of the 122 mbd predicted for 2025. Those who hold to this outlook refer to indications that the rate of new oilfield discovery has declined sharply in recent years and that many of the world’s existing fields have gone into decline or are likely to do so in the not-too-distant future.[5] If this assessment proves accurate, the world supply of oil will prove wholly inadequate for anticipated requirements in the decades ahead and the global economy will suffer accordingly.

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • Special Report | 25 October 2012
  • AFRICOM and the Recolonisation of Africa

        By Café Pan-Afrika
  • The creation of AFRICOM
    AFRICOM, literally known as ”The United States Africa Command”(USAFRICOM) is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Armed Forces headquartered at Kelley barracks, Stuttgart in Germany.

    AFRICOM was created by George W Bush by Presidential Order in 2007 to cordinate US military activities throughout Africa and is directly responsible for U:S military operations and military relations with 53 african nations – an area of responsibility covering the whole of Africa except Egypt.

    In mid-2006, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld formed a planning team to advise on requirements for establishing a new Unified Command for the African continent. In early December, he made his recommendations to President George W. Bush

    On 6 February 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced to the Senate Armed Services Committee that President George W. Bush had given authority to create the new African Command and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Moeller, the director of the AFRICOM transition team, arrived in Stuttgart Germany to begin creating the logistical framework for the command. On 28 September the U.S. Senate confirmed General William E. "Kip" Ward as AFRICOM's first commander and AFRICOM officially became operational as a sub-unified command of EUCOM with a separate headquarters. On 1 October 2008, the command separated from USEUCOM and began operating on its own as a full fledged combatant command.

    The Combatant Commander AFRICOM reports to the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of Defence reports to the President of the United States. In individual African countries, US Ambassodor continue to be the President's personal representatives of AFRICOM.

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • Tomgram: Nick Turse, AFRICOM's Gigantic "Small Footprint" 
     
  • Here’s a question for you: Can a military tiptoe onto a continent? It seems the unlikeliest of images, and yet it’s a reasonable enough description of what the U.S. military has been doing ever since the Pentagon created an Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2007. It’s been slipping, sneaking, creeping into Africa, deploying ever more forces in ever more ways doing ever more things at ever more facilities in ever more countries -- and in a fashion so quiet, so covert, that just about no American has any idea this is going on.  One day, when an already destabilizing Africa explodes into various forms of violence, the U.S. military will be in the middle of it and Americans will suddenly wonder how in the world this could have happened. 

     

    In the Cold War years, while proxy battles took place between U.S.- and Soviet-backed forces in Angola and other African lands, the U.S. military, which by then had garrisoned much of the planet, was noticeably absent from the continent.  No longer.  And no one who might report on it seems to be paying attention as a downsizing media evidently sees no future in anticipating America’s future wars.  In fact, with the exception of Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post, it’s hard to think of any journalist who has dug into the fast-expanding American role in Africa. 

  • Enter TomDispatch’s Nick Turse.  When it comes to American military plans for that continent, he has been doing the work of the rest of the American foreign press corps on his own.  For the last two years, while his bestselling book on the Vietnam War, Kill Anything That Moves, was being published, he has been carefully tracking and mapping the growing American military presence in Africa, exploring the way those moves may actually be helping to destabilize the continent, and doing his best to make sure that U.S. planning for future wars there doesn’t go unnoticed and unreported. 

     

    Today, he puts his work -- and his efforts to mine resistant AFRICOM spokespeople for information -- into a single panorama of everything a fine reporter and outsider can possibly know now about Washington’s ongoing militarization of Africa.  It’s a grim tale of the way, via a hush-hush version of mission creep, the Pentagon and AFRICOM are turning Africa into a battlefield of the future.  Don’t say you weren’t warned -- at TomDispatch. Tom

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • America’s Conquest of Africa: The Penetration of AFRICOM on the Continent

     

    TomDispatch tracks where the Pentagon is moving in Africa

     
     
  • A recent study conducted by Nick Turse of TomDispatch.com on the increasing role of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) illustrates why this issue should become a major focus of the peace, anti-war and anti-imperialist movements in the West. With the withdrawal of Pentagon ground forces from Iraq and the scaling-down of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, there has been very little attention paid to developments involving interventions by the imperialist states in the oppressed nations.

     

    Although there have been significant demonstrations around the U.S. against the war threats aimed at Syria, these latest machinations by the White House and the French government of Francois Hollande should not be the sole focus of the anti-war movement. The degree to which the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) has engaged in acts of subversion and military intrigue in Africa must at some point force the movement to break out of its myopic preoccupation with events that grab the headlines within the corporate media outlets.

  • If these trends in Africa are presented in an organized and cohesive fashion, there could be an upsurge in interests related to events on the continent. A panel discussion put together by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) at the Left Forum in New York City in early June, attracted a standing-room-only audience.

     

    Issues related to the Obama administration and its allies’ interventions in Africa should have been the subject of a plenary session at the Left Forum. The panel entitled “The War on Africa” and its success illustrates that there is growing interests in these aspects of imperialism and its strategic outlook for areas outside the so-called Middle East.

     

    Even though President Obama is of African descent, his policies toward the continent have continued and even intensified Western efforts to dominate the continent which has been subjected to nearly six centuries of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. With the People’s Republic of China playing a greater role in Africa through trade relations and strategic partnerships, the ruling class within the U.S. is scrambling to edge out Beijing by increasing its military and intelligence presence.

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • The imperial agenda of the US's 'Africa Command' marches on

     
     With mission accomplished in Libya, Africom now has few obstacles to its military ambitions on the continent
  •  
  • "The less they see of us, the less they will dislike us." So remarked Frederick Roberts, British general during the Anglo-Afghan war of 1878-80, ushering in a policy of co-opting Afghan leaders to control their people on the empire's behalf.

     

    "Indirect rule", as it was called, was long considered the linchpin of British imperial success, and huge swaths of that empire were conquered, not by British soldiers, but by soldiers recruited elsewhere in the empire. It was always hoped that the dirty work of imperial control could be conducted without spilling too much white man's blood.

     

    It is a lesson that has been re-learned in recent years. The ever-rising western body counts in Iraq and Afghanistan have reminded politicians that colonial wars in which their own soldiers are killed do not win them popularity at home. The hope in both cases is that US and British soldiers can be safely extricated, leaving a proxy force of allies to kill opponents of the new regime on our behalf.

     

    And so too in Africa.

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • US AFRICOM: The new scramble for Africa

     
        Posted   Apr 22, 2014  
         

    Don’t be surprised if you have never heard of AFRICOM. And if you have heard of AFRICOM don’t be surprised if you have little to no idea of its mission, objectives and actions. AFRICOM has managed to be alarmingly secretive about its operations and only allows the public a controlled glimpse at the true scale of its colonial activities.

  • What, where and most importantly – why?

     

    AFRICOM is ‘The United States of Africa Command’, which in essence, is responsible for the US militarisation of Africa. AFRICOM began in 2007 under the Bush administration and was planned and supported by Donald Rumsfeld – both famously known for their humanitarian efforts… In its own words: ‘AFRICOM is a new U.S. military headquarters devoted solely to Africa. AFRICOM is the result of an internal reorganization of the U.S. military command structure, creating one administrative headquarters that is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for U.S. military relations with 53 African countries’

     

    Its approved and rather misleading mission statement reads as follows: “US Africa Command, in concert with other US government agencies and international partners conducts sustained security engagements through military-to-military programs, military sponsored activities, and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of US foreign policy.”

  • The Command has located its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, because, funnily enough, The South African Development Community has refused to host AFRICOM’s base in any of their member countries. In a public denouncement, SADC said that it will not tolerate the presence of an American military structure on its soil. This vehement opposition infers that AFRICOMs mission statement may focus upon just one of its points, the part where it says  ’in support of US foreign policy’.

     

    Whilst the implementation of AFRICOM was carried out under the Bush administration, it has only been expanded upon under the Obama regime. The US military presence has not only grown, it has become more active and this intervention has been justified in humanitarian terms.

     

    In terms of size and budget, AFRICOM dwarfs the efforts of American aid to the continent, with sources saying 7:1 military personnel to Department of Defense USAID officials. Additionally in 2010, $763 million was allotted to AFRICOM compared to just $226 million to the State Department African Bureau Operational Budget.

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in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • CrossTalk: AFRICOM
  • Published on Jul 9, 2012  

     
     

    Has Africa made it to the list of US geopolitical priorities? Why is the US military expanding its secret intelligence operations in Africa? What is behind the growth of AFRICOM? Why is the US training and equipping militaries in a number of African states? Is it a price to pay for peace and order in Africa? Or is it just about the protection and promotion of American interests at the expense of Africa's search for stability? CrossTalking with Ivan Eland, Peter Pham and James Mittleman on July 9.

in list: AFRICOM, Libya

  • The Militarization of the African Continent: AFRICOM Expands Operations in Cooperation With Europe

     
     
  • Reports indicate that the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) is expanding its operations on the continent. A series of naval maneuvers and exercises are currently taking place in West Africa.

     

    AFRICOM was formed in 2008 by the George W. Bush administration and has been expanded and enhanced under Barack Obama. A series of navy operations known as Obangame Express is now in its fourth year with additional European, African and at least one South American state, Brazil, involved.

  • The Pentagon’s Obangame Express 2014 brings in more navies while military build-up continues.

     

    These operations are allegedly designed to strengthen the security capacity of Africa states in West Africa. Over the last several years there have been numerous reports of “piracy” off the coast of West Africa where greater oil exports into the U.S. are endangered.

     

    The official German news agency reported that

     

    “More than 30 warships from 20 countries are engaged in major maneuvers along the West African cost. In addition to 11 West African nations, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands as well as Denmark, Turkey, Brazil and the United States have dispatched ships, making the training maneuver one of Africa’s largest.” (DW, April 18)

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in list: Libya

  • Libya to expel 271 illegal migrants from African countries

       
     

      TRIPOLI   Tue Apr 22, 2014

  • (Reuters) - Libya plans to expel 271 migrants from sub-Saharan countries in a fresh crackdown on illegal immigration to and through the North African country, state news agency LANA said on Tuesday.

     

    The emigrants will be deported to their home countries Chad, Niger, Eritrea, Ghana, Sudan and Nigeria, LANA said, quoting immigration officials.

    Many migrants from sub-Saharan Africa head to this oil producing country to escape from desperate conditions in their own countries and find work here, or risk the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

    Western powers worry that Islamist militants exploit Libya's turmoil and lawlessness to get training in the vast desert country or smuggle weapons and fighters via its porous borders to conflict hotspots such as Mali, Sudan or Syria.

in list: Libya

  • Libya youth in fear of abduction by armed groups

    4 hours ago

    The growing number of armed groups in Libya is causing many of its younger people to leave out of fear of kidnap.

     

    There has been a series of abductions in the country which has been plagued by instability since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

    Most of the victims of abductions since the revolution have been Libyan officials, including senior members of the government and their families.

    However a university professor and a student were recently targeted.

    Rana Jawad reports from Tripoli.

in list: Libya

  • Libya's constitution-drafting body starts work

       
       

      BAYDA, Libya   Mon Apr 21, 2014

  • (Reuters) - A special body to draft a new constitution for Libya convened in the volatile east on Sunday, a milestone in the bumpy transformation of the North African country since the 2011 ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.

     

    The 47 elected committee members gathered in the city of Bayda east of Benghazi, in the building that housed parliament when the country gained independence in 1951.

    The body, drawn equally from all regions, will have 120 days to draft a constitution though analysts expect the process to take much longer given growing chaos as well as tribal and political divisions.

  • "The constitution should be finished in eight months," Mohamed Al-Tumi, a member from the capital Tripoli, told Reuters after a brief ceremony attended by tribal and community leaders during which the national anthem was played.

    Libya desperately needs a viable government and system of rule so that it can focus on reconstruction and on healing the divisions exposed by the NATO-backed campaign against Gaddafi.

    The body was meant to have 60 members but violence in Derna, an Islamist hotspot in the east, and several southern areas made it impossible to hold elections there.

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