SENZA CENSURA N.22
AFRICAN FRONT AS PART OF THE GLOBAL-WAR
In spite of a clear troubled situation on military and political fields, imperialistic attack doesn't stop. The war on terrorism, besides the traditional areas of aggression, is opening a new front, trying to forget the previous Somali experience, one of the more sharp defeats of the American military policy. After the bombardments on Somalia and the experience of NATO intervention in Darfur (result of an American general strategic plan of control on that areas more interesting for the global competition), it's clear that Africa is becoming the new front where it's possible to propagandize the "profitable" war on terrorism, in full observance of the famous American guideline to "attack the terrorists wherever they stay".
It's superfluous to remark the chaos determined as first result of this situation, so it's already described as a "collapse of the second front"; but, as we know, these are variables, collateral effects subordinated to the necessity of domination.
The dominated people look at this domination as a clear continuation of the colonialist strategy, from which they free themselves after big efforts, and now it is returning with the same aggressiveness and hunger for destruction.
An expropriation of resources coming out while tragedies like the explosion of the pipelines are happening and the people, as far as possible, try to take possession of what they have had stolen.
In the opinion of USA, the large potential of Africa makes its stability a strategic necessity. Guinea Gulf, for example, can supply USA with the 25-35% of oil for next decade, and it's in a state of misgovernment and without any security. About the specific problem of the marine security, USA provided to it from 2005 with the presence of US Navy forces in Europe to protect Guinea Gulf. But US also says that American government is not the only one showing its interests to African continent; it's a global economic situation in which rising industrial developing countries raise the energy demand and so they overlook these areas with arrogance. It's not accident that American initiatives increase when economic aggressiveness of countries like China increase on African area. In the last decade, Chinese businesses and State invested billions of dollars for commercial exchanges with African countries (Algeria, Angola, Gabon, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbawe); in particular they putted their technology at disposal of these countries to improve the oil and gas infrastructures of extraction, transformation and transport. From 2004 to 2006 China acquired, with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), larger part of the company that controls Sudanese oil, obtaining so the 70% of Angolan oil and 45% of Nigerian offshore oil; China invested vast resources in Gabon with China National Petrolchemical Corporation (SINOPEC) to control a large part of the energetic resources of this country.
In the opinion of US government China can claim a close cooperation with African countries. During the embargo, China sold many military equipments, terrestrial and maritime vehicles to Zimbawe. About the 80% of the proceeds of the business with Sudan will serve to pay the missiles' supply made in China. There are also commercial relations with Liberia and Sierra Leone. The data show that there is a growth in the amount of Chinese businesses with African countries, from 3 dollars billion of the 1990 to 55,5 billions of last year, so it is called the "year of Africa". The reason of this Chinese "success" can be the choice of a "soft" intervention and the respect of the non-interference principle on the businesses of the single countries, unlike the American invasive intervention.
Starting from the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative (see Senza Censura n° 19), we want to develop better, as possible, some aspects of the connection between the forms of resistance of submitted countries and forms of resistance in our territories; this connection develops "naturally" on the general field of actual imperialistic politics that fix it on a level more advanced that the one showed by the same class and popular subjectivity.
It's important to dwell shortly upon what we said in previous publications about the close connection of the US strategy on Maghreb countries with the process of penetration in sub-Saharan Africa. A significant example is the role of cooperation with Algeria that is showing itself as a faithful "ally" of American imperialism on the second front of the "war on terrorism".
Since 2002 an American anti-terrorism pool examined Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania, inviting these countries to join Pan Sahara Sahel Initiative. This cooperation project disposed a close collaboration to control the borders, the security of the transports and the "fight against terrorism".
But only in 2004 there was the official "debut", when about 1000 American soldiers landed in the capital city of Mauritania. The official reason, after "islamist" abduction of 32 tourists in 2003 in the Algerian Sahara, was the fight against terrorist groups of this area. This was the chance for US to describe this region as "an infested marshland that must be free from terrorists". After the American 2003 report about trainings to Algerian, Moroccan, Egyptian and Tunisian intelligence services, in 2004 Algerian and Mali forces worked in actions against "terrorist" groups under the cover of US troops.
>From many examples like these ones, we can understand that USA interest on African energy resources joins repressive interest of Algerian government. This situation caused the elimination of all the hesitations of USA about the supply of technologies for Algerian army forces. But, at the same time, this situation gave a historic role to Algeria in the dirty war against Islamic organizations and increased the repressive power of the Algerian government on internal opposition.
Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative was born in 2005, with the participation of Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia.
"TSCTI is the long-term interagency plan to combat terrorism in trans-Saharan Africa using a full range of political, economic and security tools. The need for TSCTI stems from concern over the expansion of operations of Islamic terrorist organizations in the Sahel region, a region that approximates the size of the United States. In EUCOM we support TSCTI through our involvement in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM-TRANS SAHARA (OEF-TS).
OEF-TS is a regional and preventive approach to combat terrorism and enhance partner nation border security and response in Trans Sahara Africa. It is designed to assist governments who seek to better control their territories and to prevent large areas from becoming safe havens for terrorist groups.
TSCTI builds upon the successful 2002 Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI) which helped
train and equip at least one rapid-reaction company in each of the four Sahel states: Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. TSCTI is a follow on effort, more ambitious in both programmatic and geographic terms.
TSCTI's overall approach is straightforward: to build indigenous capacity and facilitate cooperation among governments in the region. Participating nations, Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria and Tunisia, join in the struggle against Islamic extremism in the Sahel region. This cooperation strengthens regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhances and institutionalizes cooperation among the region's security forces, promotes democratic governance, fosters development and education, emphasizes the military's proper role in supporting democratic ideals and ultimately strengthens our bilateral relationships in the region.
It also assists participating nations in halting the illegal flow of arms, goods, and people through the region, helps nations better protect their vast borders and contributes to common security."
(Statement of general James L. Jones, USMC commander, march 7th 2006)
American strategies are interesting to carry out operations against terrorism trough indirect forms of cooperation with the countries able to guarantee security (as the countries of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, "CJTF-HOA"), to use less US army forces that still stay in a large quantity on the Afghan and Iraqi areas. This was the main subject of the Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR), drafted by the civil and army high command of the American Defence Department. The strategy provides for the utilization of not-conventional forces (special operation forces), supported by air, ground or sea unified forces of intervention. The official statements say that the notorious "Contractors" are utilized in addition to the CJTF-HOA army forces.
The presence of "Failed States", like Somalia, Liberia and Sierra Leone, called so because of the absence of a united approach about security's matter (effect of an implosion of these states and of a fragmentation in the control of the territories) makes heavy the cost, both in economical and political terms.
The Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) is the program of the American State Department, in collaboration with the Defence Department, for the drilling and the equipment of so-called "peacekeepers". The program is being carried out by the African Contingency Operation Training and Assistance (ACOTA) and involves 15 countries. The project provides the assistance to the countries of the African Union for the increase of their military competences to resolve regional matters, to protect strategic resources, reduce the internal destabilizing tensions and develop more external cooperative useful and mutual relations. The priority n°1 of Africa is to give a support to the Common African Defence and Security Policy (CADSP) of African Union to create an army force that will represent the total subordination to the political and economic interests of US imperialism.
The African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) is an initiative that serves to drill the Peace Support Operations (PSO) of the State Department and to provide African Union of the necessary capacity (battalions, staff, brigades and regional an international communities) to resolve the regional crises quickly and with professionalism. The aims of ACOTA program provide for the drilling and the management of African peacekeeping operative forces that in 2010 will be composed by 40.000 persons, for the development of new PSO drilling programs that will be important for the African Standby Force (ASF) and the Regional Brigades and for the drilling of special units.
The colonel Nestor Pino-Marina (an anti-Castrist Cuban which worked with US forces in the Bahía de Cochinos and instructor of special forces in Vietnam and Laos) takes the lead of ACOTA. He is an anti-communist, always supporting the repression of the popular insurrections and in the Reagan era he participated to anti-sandinist operations.
The drilling programs provide for the creation of a Next Generation of African Military Leaders of the African Centre for Strategic Studies that stays in Washington and has various "branches" in the African countries, but soon it will take place in a single country of Africa. The centre of Africa seems to be a "School of the Africa", like the notorious "School of America", founded in Panama in 1946, where the protagonists of the low-intensity war and of massacres in Latin America were drilled.
African Union founded the "African Centre for the Study and Research of Terrorism" that has its headquarters in Alger. The manager of this Centre says that it has the duty not only of the formation of a new juridical administration on the terrorism themes, but also of the drilling of the staff for specific military operations in support of the continental countries. These operations will have legitimacy by Alger Convention against Terrorism, a document that makes possible the utilization of the "anti-terrorism forces" against every form of opposition, organizations or militants. It's possible that the island of Diego Garcia will be used as base for these operations (its population were deported to Mauritius islands), like a little Guantanamo where the prisoners will be imprisoned and examined.
The new US bases of Africa are in Djibouti, Senegal, Ethiopia, Sao Tornè and Uganda. In February American government declared the creation of a Unified Combatant Command (AFRICOM) that unites three commands having the responsibility of the three African areas: the Central Command's, (CENTCOM), for the Southern-West, the Central Africa and the seven countries of the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan), the European Command's (EUCOM) for 45 African countries and the Pacific Command's (PACOM) for the East and African islands of Pacific Sea (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, e Seychelles). AFRICOM will be operative after September 2008 and its headquarter will be in Stuttgart's base with the European Command.
The commander of United States European Command, at the Senate Armed Services Committee, analyzes in his statement the American strategy as guideline of NATO and in particular the importance of a new posture for a stronger capacity to collaborate with African countries.
"Our main security objective in EUCOM is to achieve a posture and force capability that ensures greater strategic effect, both within our area of responsibility and with other combatant commands within the framework of the U.S. National Security Strategy and the National Defence Strategy. Forward stationed and rotational forces will preserve our leadership role in NATO and provide a visible model for its transformation. Our agile forces also enhance our capability to conduct operations, and ensure that Europe remains engaged in a collaborative effort to counter common security challenges, both today and in the future. This transatlantic partnership will dramatically help solidify regional and global security efforts."
The Strategic Theater Transformation (STT) plan is the posture to meet the emerging security landscape. The objective of this plan is to enhance strategic effect and the operational agility.
"Success hinges on maintaining sufficient critical assets and capabilities in theater as both a "supported and a supporting" combatant command. (…)Through a reformed forward presence concept, we will create a more adaptive infrastructure with increased use of rotational units to improve on our operational reach and tactical flexibility. Increasing access to strategic host nation infrastructure and cooperation with friendly nations will improve our responsiveness. The evaluation of infrastructure requires focus on Main Operating Bases - MOBs (1), Forward Operating Sites - FOSs (2), and Cooperative Security Locations - CSLs (3)."
This strategy is founded on the maintenance of a strong presence in Western Europe, making necessary improvements to existing bases and training facilities, while at the same time shifting the focus to improving the ability of new allies and partners. In the opinion of the commanders of EUCOM: "(…) Trough relatively small, but consistent investments, our efforts in Africa will have major impacts on the multitude of strategic, security, economic, and political challenges we face. As we strive to assist in halting the deteriorating conditions in this increasingly important continent, we impact on Africa's potential for becoming the next front in the War on Terrorism."
So, "(…) EUCOM's ability to transform and achieve U.S. national security objectives depends directly on the investment provided in a number of critically important areas, such as military construction, security cooperation programs, and our theatre intelligence architecture. (…) These investments will pay important dividends as we divest our many nonessential bases and consolidate our forces into more efficient communities such as Grafenwoehr/Vilseck, Ramstein and Spangdahlem in Germany and Vicenza/Aviano Italy. We continue our efforts to consolidate our geographically separated units throughout the theater at enduring, major operating bases. This will provide greater crisis response capabilities, enhance joint training opportunities, and more effectively position our assets for use in future mission areas. (…) Recent global deployments have reemphasized the strategic value and necessity of our Main Operating Bases in Europe."
Inside this project there is the future of the base of Vicenza, with a demand for a development of the financings that will be checked and bulled on 2008 to deploy again troops and equipments of the 173 Brigade.
The clarity showed by fonts of the American government to explain this project seems to vanish (in a logic of indissoluble connivance that dims reality, and in a will of subservience to the imperialistic interests) in front of a part of the Left unable to understand the real significance of this clash now carrying out in the ruled countries.
Leaving a global vision, tying to local dynamics of each countries, to internal political clashes and to the alignments imposed by the "internal front of war", it's not possible to understand synergies and dialectics between phenomena that at a first sight could seem to be conflicting or distant from our practice, and it's not possible to collocate them in all the contradictions, legitimating so the definition of terrorism that is used to define all the actions of violent resistance against imperialistic aggression.
Even if the so-called movement against globalization and neoliberism is much open to criticism, this statement at the FSM of Nairobi made by Gustave Massiah, CRID's director (Center of Research and Information for Development - www.crid.asso.fr) and member of the WFS organizing committee;
"(…)This movement evolves according to the situations. Let us propose some assumptions.
First assumption: we complete a cycle of the process of the world social forums that was started after Seattle, and we enter during a new time. The question is to define the elements of the project corresponding to this new period. Important political changes are in gestation. The neoliberalism is in crisis and the phase of globalization is probably in the course of completion. We arrive at the limits of the hegemony of the financial capital. US economic hegemony is ending. The rise in economic power of China, India and also of Brazil changes the hierarchies. The permanent war causes new contradictions and the elections in the United States introduce uncertainties on the control of the wars. The situation in France will develop during the election times and of political recombining. The political movement in Latin America redefines, in the various situations, new relationship between movements and governments. Second assumption: the Altermondialist movement created an alternative. On the basis of the fight against neoliberalism, the movement affirmed the refusal of fate and passed from resistance to the counter-offensive and to the capacity to set up alternatives. The strategic orientation emergent through the Forums is the following: to the organization of the companies and world by the adjustment at the world market and subordination to the financial world businesses we oppose the organization of the societies and the world around the principle of the access to the rights for all. This principle already changed the nature of the movements; each movement evolved by interiorizing in its strategy the priority of the access to the rights for all.
Third assumption: Altermondialist movement must be opposed to the new ideological offensive. Neo-conservatorism builds the supremacy of the army and of the permanent and preventive war. The economic structure develops on discriminations and racism. We are witness of a rise of the security ideology, a return of the identities, fundamentalisms, tolerance zero and criminalization of the movements.
Fourth assumption: the methods of the movement against globalization were enriched. They combine the fights and resistances, the campaigns and the mobilizations, the innovating social practices, the development, the alternatives, the proposals for negotiation. They propose the construction of a new political culture which walks on during the Forums. Local social structures contest the monopoly on decisions and the "single thought"; it concretizes the passage from Mrs Tatcher's well-loved "TINA" (There Is No Alternative), to the capacity to think another possible world.
Fifth assumption: Altermondialist movement is an historical movement that is lasting. It prolongs and renews the three historical movements. The historical movement of the decolonization; from this point of view the altermondialism modified in-depth the North/South representations with the possibility of a joint project. The historical movement of the workers' fights; from this point of view, the change goes towards a social and citizen world movement. The movement of the fights for democracy like those of the years 1960-70; from this point of view, the renewal of the democratic requirement after the implosion of the USSR in 1989."
The reformist Left is unable to look over a local vision and shows its total incapacity to understand the indissoluble connection between the fight against the building of the bases and the (armed or pacific) forms of resistance of the countries that will be attacked. These are surely aspects of a global clash that are causing deep changes in many countries and inflicting sharp defeats on imperialism and its lackeys, after that it seemed as if an historic defeat undermined the foundations of the prospect of transformation of the actual system of relations. This situation determines the necessity to make the choice to participate or not at the counter-revolution, depending by the guide-lines of the enemy, like soldiers of repression on the internal front or like actors in the determination of a picture of an old compatible and conniving analysis, that try to stop the real autonomy of the needs rising in our territories (often moving on particular aspects and with forms that must be respected as result of the same demand of autonomy, but that have a great value on a general vision) against the reformist connivances.
(1)Main Operating Base (MOB) - It is an overseas, permanently manned, well protected base, used to support permanently deployed forces, and with robust sea and/or air access.
(2)Forward Operating Site (FOS) - It's a scalable, 'warm' facility that can support sustained operations, but with only a small permanent presence of support or contractor personnel. A FOS will host occasional rotational forces and many contain pre-positioned equipment.
(3) Cooperative Security Location (CSL) - A CSL is a host-nation facility with little or no permanent U.S. personnel presence, which may contain pre-positioned equipment and/or logistical arrangements and serve both for security cooperation activities and contingency access.