U.S. imperialism foments conflict in Africa

By Abayomi Azikiwe 
January 4, 2017

A group claiming to be in solidarity with the Al-Fatah Revolution of Sept. 1, 1969, headed by Col. Muammar Gadhafi in Libya — who imperialism overthrew and had murdered in 2011 — diverted an Afriqiyah Airways A320 flight to Malta on Dec. 24. No passenger was injured.

The two hijackers who requested asylum in Malta were making a profound political statement that the imperialists in Washington, London, Paris and Brussels, along with their allies in Ankara, Turkey and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, were responsible for Libya’s destruction.

The so-called “Arab Spring,” which had begun in neighboring Tunisia in December 2010 with a mass rebellion, general strike and the eventual seizure of power by the military and security forces in January 2011, was later replicated in February 2011 in Egypt. Unfortunately, the military and police took charge of the transitional process there, effectively nullifying any revolutionary potential.

Nearly six years ago in February 2011, a counterrevolution was launched against the Libyan government under the guise of a fight for “freedom and democracy” as part of the “Arab Spring.”

Nonetheless, it was clear to anti-imperialists that the assault on Libya constituted renewed neocolonialism in North Africa. The imperialists were willing to ignore the African Union’s March 8 peace proposals to halt a planned bombing campaign led by France and the U.S., which started on March 19.

The Pentagon bombed the country again during 2016 under the pretext of fighting Islamic State group strongholds in Sirte and other coastal areas of the oil-rich nation. However, Washington, under outgoing President Barack Obama’s administration with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was hell-bent on destroying Libya, thereby creating conditions for the emergence of the Islamic State group (IS) in North Africa as war also did in Iraq and Syria. Today Libya is wracked by internecine conflict.

The Obama Doctrine in Africa and West Asia has been an unmitigated disaster for the peoples of both regions. The U.S. is an aggressor nation that has killed, injured and displaced tens of millions in pursuit of its neocolonialist aims.

The Horn of Africa

Although the previous administration of President George W. Bush created the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in early 2008, the military operation in the Horn of Africa has been expanded under Obama. Somalia typifies Washington’s failed Africa policy over the last eight years.

Even though various neocolonial-dominated African states such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti have deployed up to 22,000 troops, stability and prosperity have not returned to Somalia. In early 2016 the European Union cut its support to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), leaving the future of the operation unclear.

Not only has AMISOM been occupying Somalia, but the Pentagon and the CIA maintain a strong presence in the country and neighboring states. At Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, thousands of Pentagon and French troops are stationed, facilitating U.S. and French operations in Africa, throughout the Arabian Peninsula and in the Persian/Arabian Gulf.

A war against Yemen

A war against the people of Yemen, the poorest and least developed state in the region, has killed over 11,000 people and displaced several million since 2015. Yet it is hidden from the U.S. public, as is the occupation of Somalia and other Horn of Africa states. Off the coast of Somalia, the Pentagon and other naval forces are patrolling the Gulf of Aden against “piracy,” though that’s not been a problem for several years.

These military campaigns feed the U.S. military-industrial complex, a multi-trillion-dollar business subsidized by the tax dollars of working class and oppressed people in the U.S.

As long as the American public can be convinced that their principal enemy is “Islamic terrorism” or “communism” through the existence of IS, the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, etc., and not the billionaires of Wall Street and the Pentagon chiefs of Washington who order weapons like regular people order consumer goods, the political status quo will be maintained.

The incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump has appointed leading military hawks, oil magnates, fast food low-wage slave drivers, conspiracy theorists and white supremacists to his administration, ensuring the situation will only worsen.

Ethiopia is essential

In Ethiopia, where a socialist-oriented government was overthrown in 1991, the continuation of U.S. dominance is essential to imperialist imperatives in the Horn of Africa.

The Dec. 24 Washington Post wrote: “It is difficult to overstate the importance of Ethiopia to Africa’s stability.” Noting Ethiopia’s growth, the article continued, “But [its] rapid economic expansion has resulted in strains, especially when new factories and commercial farms are being built on land taken from farmers.”

One of the cornerstones of the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974-91 was its land reform program which took control of huge sections of the country from monarchical rule. Yet today, at the aegis of imperialism, the land is being turned over to multinational corporations for profit-making enterprises.

The same Washington Post article reported: “Protests erupted there in November 2015 over the land grabs, corruption in the local government and lack of services such as running water, electricity and roads.”

A government-imposed state of emergency was lifted in December, along with the release of 10,000 people arrested during the unrest. Nonetheless, the Washington and Wall Street establishments are nervous about the future political situation in the region.

South Sudan

In South Sudan, where another Obama project pushed for the 2011 partitioning of the country, the two main factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army have been split over the last three years.

The United Nations, which already has 12,500 troops and other personnel forming a parallel government, is insisting on deploying yet another 4,000 soldiers. This is straining relations between the government in Juba and its U.S. sponsors.

Before its partition, Sudan was emerging as an oil-producing state independent of Western-controlled petroleum conglomerates. The People’s Republic of China had substantial oil concessions in the country. Today, both the North and the South are suffering from their dependence on imperialism.

The government in Khartoum is now following the lead of Riyadh, having joined the Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council proxy war against Iran by participating in the bombing and ground campaign designed to destroy the Ansurallah (Houthis) and their growing influence in Yemen.

Imperialist war against Africa continues

After eight years of the Obama administration, it is quite clear to any objective analyst that the conditions for the peoples of Africa and West Asia are far worse than at any time in the post-World War II period. The U.N. Refugee Agency says that the number of displaced persons in the world is the highest ever recorded in human history, some 65 million.

These developments have not happened spontaneously. They are part of a calculated but failed U.S. policy of maintaining world dominance.

In the recent unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, opposition groups staged violent demonstrations aimed at forcing the resignation of President Joseph Kabila. Despite over 20,000 U.N. troops stationed in the vast mineral-rich Central African state, the Catholic Church intervened to negotiate an agreement to end the violence. President Kabila will remain in office for at least another year until elections can be organized. A Government of National Unity has been created with Prime Minister Samy Badibanga as its leader.

The DRC has been a source of instability since its national independence from Belgium in June 1960. Its first elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, was labelled a communist by the Eisenhower administration and subsequently overthrown, abducted, tortured and executed by the CIA in January 1961.

As long as Africa is divided, the imperialists will be in a position to dictate the terms of political developments on the continent. What is needed is a total break with the Western program of neocolonial dependency.

The coming months of 2017 will prove critical in the future of Africa in light of the unchartered waters of the Trump administration, the instability in Britain and the European Union stemming from the gradual dissolution of the Common Market, and the collapse of the war of genocide in Syria. Africa must develop its own political and economic course or remain in perpetual impoverishment and tutelage.