AFRICOM: Pentagon’s First Direct Military Intervention In Africa

Published on, by Rick Rozoff,25 August 2009.

During the second half of the 20th century, the United States allowed the former colonial powers to safeguard their interests in Africa. The tables have turned. President Barack Obama of Kenyan descent has chosen one of AFRICOM’s main architects as his national security adviser: General James Jones. The new command is tasked with planifying the Pentagon’s military interventions throughout the African continent …

… Africa’s 53 nations are 28% of the 192 countries in the world.

The size and location of the continent along with its human and natural resources – oil, natural gas, gold, diamonds, uranium, cobalt, chromium, platinum, timber, cotton, food products – make it an increasingly important part of a world that is daily becoming more integrated and interdependent. 

Africa is also the last continent to free itself from colonial domination. South America broke free of Spanish and Portuguese control in the beginning of the 1800s (leaving only the three Guianas – British, Dutch and French – still colonized) and the post-World War II decolonization of Asia that started with former British East India in 1947 was almost complete by the late 1950s.

Sub-Saharan Africa was not to liberate most of its territory from Belgian, British, French, Spanish and Portuguese colonial masters until the 1960s and 1970s. And the former owners were reluctant to cede newly created African nations any more than nominal independence and the ability to choose their own internal socio-economic orientation and foreign policy alignment.

In the two decades of the African independence struggle the continent was marred by Western-backed coups d’etat and assassinations of liberation leaders which included those against Patrice Lumumba in the former Belgian Congo in 1961, Ben Barka in Morocco in 1965, Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana in 1966, Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique in 1969, Amilcar Cabral in Guinea-Bissau in 1973 and Marien Ngouabi in the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) in 1977.

In his latest Anti-Empire Report veteran political analyst William Blum wrote, “the next time you hear that Africa can’t produce good leaders, people who are committed to the welfare of the masses of their people, think of Nkrumah and his fate. And think of Patrice Lumumba, overthrown in the Congo 1960-61 with the help of the United States; Agostinho Neto of Angola, against whom Washington waged war in the 1970s, making it impossible for him to institute progressive changes; Samora Machel of Mozambique against whom the CIA supported a counter-revolution in the 1970s-80s period; and Nelson Mandela of South Africa (now married to Machel’s widow), who spent 28 years in prison thanks to the CIA” [1] …

… Until last October Africa was the only continent other than Australia and Antarctica without a U.S. military command. The fact that one has now been established indicates that Africa has achieved heightened importance for the Pentagon and its Western military allies.

An analysis of why Africa is a major focus of attention and why now rather than earlier was provided by U.S.-based writer Paul I. Adujie in the New Liberian on August 21:

“America’s Africa Command, in conceptual terms and actual implementation, is not intended to serve Africa’s best interests. It just happens that Africa has grown in geopolitical and geo-economic importance to America and her allies. Africa has been there all along.

“There were, for instance, reports of how the American military, acting supposedly in partnership or cooperation with the Nigerian military, literally took over Nigerian Defense Headquarters….

“It is probably important to mention that the United States already operates at least three other commands, namely, the European Command (EUCOM), Central Command (CENTCOM) and Pacific Command (PACOM), therefore the Africa Command or (AFRICOM) will be the fourth leg of US military global spread.

“America’s Africa Command is … machinery for Western governments to pursue their vaunted economic, political and hegemonic hemispheric influence at the expense of Africans as well as a backdoor through which Westerners can outmaneuver rivals such as China and perhaps Russia in addition.” [28] (full long text and Notes 1 – 28).

(Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international e-mail list on yahoo-groups. His articles on

Link:  Afghan War: NATO Builds History’s First Global Army, Aug 10, 2009.

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