On 1D4TW, news about the new “Africa Command” (AfriCOM) and a call for participation in a movement to resist its imposition. Of particular importance to anthropologists will be the fact that U.S. civilian development programs will come under military guidance, as well as the fact that the Human Terrain System is seeking to make inroads through AfriCOM and its funding.
From Resist AFRICOM, an outline of African reactions to this newest U.S. military intrusion:
- On September 14th 2007, Nigerian media reported that the Nigerian government began meetings with West African governments and the leadership of the African Union to oppose AFRICOM — the Pentagon’s Africa command — from establishing itself in the Gulf of Guinea region. This follows a similar decision by the 14 Nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) which recently refused the entrance of U.S. soldiers on Southern African soil. This growing opposition to AFRICOM should be taken into serious consideration as the Bush Administration furthers its plans for military expansion on the African continent.
- To date, the only African government to come out in full public support of AFRICOM is Liberia. Others, such as South Africa and Nigeria, have expressed deep concern over the role of AFRICOM and an expanded U.S. military footprint on African soil.
- While some African officials see AFRICOM as an opportunity for development and capacity-building, others recognize the inherent risks in having a U.S. military base on their own soil. There are fears that a country hosting AFRICOM will become a terrorist target or will become militarized simply for the sake of U.S. security and resource interests.
- African leaders are also apprehensive about the extent to which AFRICOM may violate rules of sovereignty and take the place of African Union (AU) forces that are very capable of defending the continent if given adequate resources.
- Local NGOs fear that the U.S. military will take their place in the development of their own communities.
- Civil society organizations throughout the continent have begun to speak out in strong objection to the command, insisting that it will destabilize an already fragile continent.