The United States announced this past week that it is deploying a 100-man mission to assist the Ugandan government in tracking down the remnants of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a force whose bloody conflict with the Ugandan military has devastated northern Uganda and its environs since 1987. But why now, in 2011, is the U.S. government making this commitment to combat the LRA?
Algeria was able to extend its influence over its southern neighbors. The U.S. was able to “piggyback” on Algeria’s concerns, real and imagined, to create a security network extending from Algeria to Nigeria.
For three years, critics of AFRICOM have charged that it serves to militarize U.S. foreign policy in the region, as opposed to aid and diplomacy.
From carving up Switzerland to initiating a multilateral pirate peace process, Gaddafi doesn’t lack for opinions.
Can Obama change Africa policy as Big Oil and other powerful U.S. companies remain a serious challenge to peace and stability on the continent?
Operation Flintlock was part of the Bush administration’s Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative. It was designed to address the specter of terrorism in the Sahel region, between the Sahara desert to the north and the savannas to the south, by building the capacity of local militaries and preventing terrorist organizations gaining a foothold there. It also signaled the increased importance that the Pentagon assigned to Africa with the development of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command for Africa.
In its 2011 budget, the White House asked for over $80 million in military programs for Africa, while freezing or reducing aid packages aimed at civilians.
Human rights activists in the world’s most powerful country report that a mystical African is forcing children into his army and killing women who encourage men to leave it. They call his rebellion bizarre and inexplicable, and demand military intervention. Liberal legislators lay aside their usual criticism of their country’s bullying of Africa for economic and military gain, and support an attack on the madman on humanitarian grounds.
Dar es Salaam hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa on May 5. This event — which brought together 11 heads of state with a thousand participants from 85 countries — offered a counter-narrative to the political and economic disorder described by policy pundits like Robert Kaplan that have long distorted U.S. appraisals of the region’s strategic importance. Western media often overlook the continent’s many success stories. With the Wall Street Journal opening an Africa bureau in late 2009, Africa’s increasing economic and political significance is only just beginning to be noticed in the West.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 11-day visit to Africa is intended to affirm the Obama administration’s commitment to engage the conflict-ridden continent. However, a resolution has recently been issued by the African Union (AU) allowing Sudanese president and wanted war criminal Omar al Bashir to travel in Africa with impunity. This could easily cause Clinton to believe that Africa has no interest in holding human rights abusers responsible for their actions. It’s important for her to realize that this resolution isn’t what it seems, and that there is still hope for human rights and justice in Africa.