3 April 2010
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.
2 April 2010
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.
2 April 2010
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 militarised and unilateral security policy that had been pursued by the George W. Bush administration toward Africa, as well as toward other parts of the world. After one year in office, however, it is clear that the Obama administration is following essentially the same policy that has guided U.S. military policy toward Africa for more than a decade. Indeed, the Obama administration is seeking to expand U.S. military activities on the continent even further.
21 September 2009
Compared to the Middle East, Africa possesses a relatively modest share of the world’s petroleum reserves: approximately 9.4 percent of proven world reserves, compared to 61.7 percent 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.”
21 September 2009
There is mounting evidence that the government of Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’adua is set to launch a full-scale offensive in the Niger Delta when a ceasefire declared by rebels ends on 15 Sep 2009.
17 August 2009
In May 2008, the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, hosted “Unified Quest 2008,” the Army’s annual war games to test the American military’s ability to deal with the kind of crises that it might face in the near future. “Unified Quest 2008” was especially noteworthy because it was the first time that the war games included African scenarios as part of the Pentagon’s plan to create a new military command for the continent: the Africa Command or AFRICOM. No representatives of AFRICOM were at the war games, but AFRICOM officers were in close communication throughout the event.
26 June 2009
In October 2008, Human Rights Watch rated Somalia the most ignored tragedy in the world. Almost 1.5 million Somalis are internally displaced, and an additional half million are refugees. Two decades of instability, including a U.S.-backed intervention by Ethiopian troops in December 2006, have failed to put Somalia on the map.
1 May 2009
Obama Administration Budget Request for AFRICOM Operations and for Security Assistance Programs in Africa in FY 2010
At the beginning of May 2009, President Obama submitted his first budget request to Congress. The Obama administration’s budget for FY 2010 proposes significant increases in U.S. security assistance programs for African countries and for the operations of the new U.S. Africa Command or AFRICOM. This shows that—at least initially—the administration is following the course laid down for AFRICOM by the Bush administration, rather than putting these programs on hold until it can conduct a serious review of U.S. security policy towards Africa. This article outlines the administration’s plans for Africa in the coming year and the money it intends to spend on military operations on the continent.
1 April 2009
On 6 February 2007, President Bush announced that the United States would create a new military command for Africa, to be known as Africa Command or Africom. Throughout the Cold War and for more than a decade afterwards, the U.S. did not have a military command for Africa; instead, U.S. military activities on the African continent were conducted by three separate military commands: the European Command, which had responsibility for most of the continent; the Central Command, which oversaw Egypt and the Horn of Africa region along with the Middle East and Central Asia; and the Pacific Command, which administered military ties with Madagascar and other islands in the Indian Ocean.
22 September 2008
Paper Prepared for Nordic Africa Institute Conference: “China-India-Africa Relations: New Strategic Encounters”, Uppsala, Sweden, 22-23 September 2008