The U.S. in Africa: Not A Pretty Picture

Should U.S. intervention in Sudan be supported? A Closer Look
by Ken Morgan
Baltimore Times
Originally posted 3/30/2007

Part II

U.S. Role in Africa
The U.S. involvement in Africa over the last 40 or so years is quite revealing. The year 1961 saw the U.S. and its imperialists friends interfere in the Belgian Congo. The fingerprints of the U.S. remain all over the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. In 1965, CIA backed military coup overthrew President Joseph Kasavubu and ushered in Joseph Mobutu to power. In 1966, the U.S. backed overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana. Between 1976 and 1992 US CIA support for Angolan South -African backed rebels in their attempt to overthrow the legitimate government of Angola. In 1978, the U.S. helped to foment war between Ethiopia and Somalia. The U.S. continued to support apartheid South Africa almost up to the very end of the apartheid system and the triumph of the Nelson Mandela led ANC. The U.S. provided support for Rhodesia in its battle to maintain minority rule in what is now Zimbabwe. The Clinton administration bombed Khartoum and destroyed a pharmaceutical factory in the name of fighting terrorism in 1993. The U.S. most recently in January 2007 facilitated the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia under the guise of fighting terrorism.

The lure of oil, protecting oil and the supposed war against terrorism has drawn a growing U.S. military presence in Africa. The Gulf of Guinea is one such example. Reasoned speculation exists that U.S. interest in Sudan is increased dramatically because Sudan is the third largest African oil producing nation.

The U.S. Army recently set up an African Command and over the years stepped up its military presence in Africa. The U.S. trained Djibouti, Ethiopian and Keya military forces according to the October 21 issue of USA Today. This past January, U.S. helicopter gun ships bombed southern Somalia, to defeat the retreating Somalian forces.

Current bases in Africa are located in Entebbe Uganda, Djibouti, and Dakar, Senegal as well as smaller operations in Liberia and Mauritania. São Tomé and Príncipe are targeted for U.S. military base construction. The U.S. has garnered military cooperation with such countries in Northern Africa as Morocco, and Egypt and to a lesser extent with Algeria and Tunisia. The U.S. has developed military pacts with governments such as Gabon and Mauritania, Guinea Conakry and Rwanda. Factually, the U.S. has become the major military partner in Africa, far outdistancing former colonial powers such as Germany, France and Britain.

The past history of the U.S. role in Africa combined with its current military presence that surpasses its imperialist rivals suggests dubious U.S. humanitarian concerns regarding Sudan and more interest in strengthening its African position to further exploit and keep Sudan underdeveloped.

Many persons look to the UN to settle the problem, usually through military intervention. The U.S. holds a lot of sway over the UN. The U.S. and the other dominant powers sit on the UN Security Council and use their prevailing military and economic weight to get their way to serve their own self serving interests masked under human concern. When it does not get its way it simply ignores the UN such as the case of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq. Other examples involving Africa include when the U.S. government ignored UN trade sanctions against the racist regimes in Southern Rhodesia--today Zimbabwe-and South Africa.

U.S. Intervention Worsens the Problem

Militarily interfering worsens the state of affairs. The U.S., with probably the best or among the best trained armies in the world and certainly the best equipped, cannot stop the internecine fighting among different Iraqi groupings. Both U.S. civilian and military leaders say that the violence will have to be resolved politically. Although they do not admit it, U.S. military involvement and presence is not the answer. Media “man on the street polls” in the U.S. and Iraq agree.

The only true and lasting solution to the Sudan crisis lies within the Sudanese people themselves to settle their problems without outside military or political interference. Lift the sanctions. Provide Sudan unconditional humanitarian assistance. Cancel its debt.

Sources: Afrol News. US. expands military presence in Africa. Retrieved March 15, 2007. Retrieved from: Association of Concerned Africa Scholars. (n.d.). U.S. military in Africa. Retrieved March 15, 2007.

Retrieved from: Metz H.C. (1991). Sudan: A country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1991.

Rodney, Walter.(1974). How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1974.

Schraeder, P. J.(2002). United States Policy towards Africa: Incrementalism, crisis and change. MA: Cambridge University Press United Nations. Sudan. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2007. Retrieved from