AFRICOM: Africa, U.S. Imperialism, and Resistance

From today’s Monthly Review e-zine,

Africa COMMAND” Spells Colonialism” by Nunu Kidane.

Some extracts below and links to organizations fighting this imperial reoccupation of Africa:

With little fanfare, on October 1st, the U.S. officially launched a new militarized initiative for Africa that’s come to be known as AfriCOM, or the Africa Command….

According to William (Kip) Ward, the African American General who’ll be heading the Command, AfriCOM is about ensuring security and interventions to prevent war and conflicts. He admits the increased need for an Africa Command came in the post 9/11 “global war on terror” where Africa is seen largely as “ungoverned” states where extremists are posing a threat to US national security….

It [AfriCOM] is “a civilian-military partnership” where diplomatic and humanitarian relief by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will get directives from the Department of Defense. Imagine U.S. military personnel delivering emergency aid and conducting diplomatic missions, and the appropriate term is “colonization.”…

AfriCOM is being sold to the public as a good thing for Africa, one that will bring lasting peace and stability to a continent rife with conflicts and disasters. Many African heads of states are not buying this and have rejected the move, including the most powerful 14 state-member Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) which publicly denounced AfriCOM. Typical of past US historic missions in Africa, there was no prior consultation with African leaders and many heard about it when it was officially announced on February 6, 2007. The Department of Defense sent medium-level delegates to “sell AfriCOM” to heads of state after it had been finalized but African leaders rejected it as a threat to their sovereignty and a move to further militarize Africathe last thing Africa needs is more militarization!

Why is the U.S. suddenly interested in “prioritizing” Africa? The answer is the same one that has motivated countless interventions into the continent in the past centuries — control of resources. The need for the U.S. to secure oil from the Niger Delta where it is estimated, by 2020, a quarter of the US oil imports will originate. Equally important are “strategic minerals” on which the US has substantial dependency. Without cobalt, manganese, chromium, and platinum, among others, most U.S. technological and military industries would come to a halt….

When fully operational, AfriCOM will in effect have a sophisticated and well-networked military capability throughout 53 African countries (except Egypt). The Department of Defense will oversee “civilian” activities that were previously the mandate of diplomatic and humanitarian agencies. We can also count increase in private military activities which, as seen in Iraq, remain unregulated with no congressional oversight….

AfriCOM is nothing new — it is an initiative to ensure “command” of land and resources that in the past was called just plain “colonialism.” As the competition for global resources tightens, not only for oil and minerals, but for basic rights to land and water, we can expect increased focus on Africa as the new frontier. Joining this increasing Africa resistance movement and speaking out against Africa Command is everyone’s responsibility.

Resist AFRICOM invites the support and solidarity of all those who wish to challenge the imposition of AfriCOM. The movement is composed of U.S. and African organizations. Please read the AfriCOM Statement of Concern. Upcoming Resist AFRICOM Days of Action include:

In Washinton, DC:

AFRICOM Days of Action

October 2008

Oct. 3 – Howard University Symposium

Oct. 10 – Solidarity Day (convene at Metro Center at 3pm to flyer for the protest)

Oct.17 – Townhall Meeting on AFRICOM, Sankofa Bookstore (2714 Georgia Ave NW Washington, DC 20001) from 7pm – 9pm

Oct. 24 – Global Student Teach-In. This is a teach-in on militarism in Africa with a focus on the Congo (to be in solidarity with Congo Week, Download a guidebook at!

Oct. 27 – Day of Protest (see below!)


at the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA) Conference
October 27, 2008

Outside the Liason Hotel on Capitol Hill
415 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

This year, IPOA is hosting its annual conference on “Engaging AFRICOM.” IPOA is a trade and lobbying association that represents the “peace and stability” industry – military contractors and mercenaries.

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