Press Release from TransAfrica Forum.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joia Jefferson Nuri
Office 202.223.1960 ext 131; Cell 240.603.7905
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
“President Bush’s call to create an Africa Command is a dangerous step towards the further militarization of the continent. This is a tangible step towards hazardously and formally extending his ‘war on terror’ to the continent of Africa.”
—Nicole Lee, Executive Director, TransAfrica Forum
TransAfrica Forum, the nation’s oldest African-American organization which focuses on US foreign policy in Africa, denounces President George W. Bush’s decision to create an Africa Command (Africom) on the continent by September 2008.
The US government perceives the continent of Africa as increasingly important for defense and military interests. By 2008, the Bush budget calls for a new Africa Command to be developed to oversee “security and defense support to non-military missions and, if directed, military operations on the African continent.”
While the Bush administration claims this development will build partnerships with African governments that will lead to “greater peace and security to the people of Africa” nothing could be further from the truth. This newest incursion follows a pattern of extraction of minerals and aiding factions in some of Africa’s most bloody conflicts: thus further destabilizing the continent. This operation will strengthen the US military’s presence in the Gulf of Guinea, to aid oil extraction processes and will work to further militarize the Horn of Africa in support of the administration’s “war on terror”. US troops are already on the Horn of Africa carrying out operations within Somalia and on its border with Kenya.
“This is a very serious moment. This new Bush plan is an expansion of a policy that has brought destruction and terror to the peoples of the Middle East. Any plans to set up a command in Africa should be met with harsh criticism and decisive action by people of good will. This is nothing short of a sovereignty and resource grab,” says Nicole Lee, TransAfrica’s Executive Director. “There are many opportunities for the administration to provide support and cooperation to the peoples of Africa. Trade rules that are fair and just, development assistance and respect for sovereignty are important benchmarks for a good relationship. Expanding the US military onto the continent is neither wise nor productive.”
Nicole Lee is available for interviews. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Joia Jefferson Nuri, office 202.223.1960 ext 131; cell 240.603.7905; firstname.lastname@example.org
First published in 2007 by TransAfrica Forum, 1629 K Street, NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC, 20006. 202.223.1960 (ph); 202.223.1966 (fax); email@example.com; www.transafricaforum.org. February 2007 by TransAfrica Forum. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007
The leading Black-U.S. foreign policy institution is on record as opposing this most recent initiative of the United States government. Where are the Democrats and Republicans in Congress on this? Where are the Presidential candidates on this? In what is likely to be one of the most significant military actions in Africa since the evacuation of “white” settler/colonizers, the United States is proposing to establish a mechanism which is sure to undermine the best efforts of Africans to heal the continent.
Black churches, the NAACP, Urban League are other groups are notorious for their avoidance of foreign policy issues. Perhaps it is that persistent avoidance of the international arena and events in Africa which keeps these groups oblivious to the unanimity with which Democrats and Republicans have supported the ongoing underdevelopment of Africa.
It may not be widely known that the Chinese now import more oil from Africa than from Saudi Arabia. Be sure that the leaders of Africom are well aware of this. There are no plans to restore African economic strength through the creation of a continent-wide oil bourse. There should be. African nations have been unable to secure favorable trade terms with the US because of the combined interests of agribusiness on both sides of the aisle in Washington. Africa needs more trade – and it also needs an anchor for a unified currency to stave off the impacts of uneven demand for African exports. It is not a panacea, but it would be a big stride forward. That is why surreptitious actions like AFRICOM (with it’s stated goal of preventing the advance of terrorism) must be halted immediately.
The significance of the United States of America establishing a strategic command post in Africa cannot be diminished. It should not happen on our watch. The time for coordinated opposition has not passed. The hour is late, but the time is now. Can YOU get this on the agendas of everyone who is “moving” in your space? Let’s do this!