3 April 2010

Obama Moves Ahead With Africom

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.

26 June 2009

The Somalia Crossroads: Piracy and an insurgency tempt Washington to get it wrong–again

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

AFRICOM and the Obama Administration

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

The Military Dimensions of Africa’s New Status in Global Geopolitics

Paper Prepared for Nordic Africa Institute Conference: “China-India-Africa Relations: New Strategic Encounters”, Uppsala, Sweden, 22-23 September 2008

5 January 2008

U.S. Military Activities in Kenya

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.

1 May 2006

The African “Oil Rush” and American National Security

Compared with the Middle East, Africa possesses a relatively modest share of the world’s petroleum reserves: about 9.4% of proven world reserves, compared with 61.7% 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.”