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.
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.
27 June 2008
On February 6, 2007, President Bush announced that the Pentagon would create a new military command for Africa—to be known as AFRICOM—thus significantly raising the continent’s status in American military strategy. Few Americans even noticed at the time and most are still unaware of this startlingly dangerous development. So why is this new military command being created? Why is it being created at this time? What does it mean for Africa? And what does it mean for America, for America’s access to Africa’s oil, for America’s security from terrorism, and for the future of the men and women who serve in America’s armed services?
26 February 2008
In the summer of 2007, a group of concerned U.S. and Africa based organizations and individuals opposed to the creation of Africom—the new U.S. military command for Africa—came together in Washington, DC, to organize Resist Africom to campaign against the increasing militarization of U.S. policy toward Africa. ACAS voted to join Resist Africa at the membership meeting on 20 October 2007, during the ASA meeting in New York City. Resist Africom is working to educate people both in the United States and abroad about Africom and to mobilize people in a campaign to prevent the creation of Africom in its present form.
5 January 2008
Now that President George Bush’s special envoy to the Kenyan crisis, Jendayi Fraser (US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs) has admitted that the elections in Kenya were seriously flawed (a polite way of saying they are fraudulent) and ordered President Mwai Kibaki to meet the opposition leader, Raile Odinga, it is easy to forget that the United States Ambassador in Kenya only weeks ago declared the elections free and fair.