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Pentagon And NATO Apply Afghanistan-Pakistan War Model To Africa

By       Message Rick Rozoff     Permalink
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In the west of Africa, the Economic Community of West African States Standby Force brigade is being readied to intervene in Ivory Coast to depose President Laurent Gbagbo as the Dutch Defense Ministry announced last week that one of its ships was "heading for the coast of Cote d'Ivoire to provide supplies for French warships stationed there." [10]
U.S. Naval Forces Europe - U.S. Naval Forces Africa, which is headquartered in Naples, Italy and directs its operations through the U.S. Sixth Fleet, also headquartered in Italy, launched the Africa Partnership Station in 2007 as a naval component of AFRICOM. Warships assigned to it have visited several African nations on the east, west and south ends of the continent, among them Angola, Cameroon, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Reunion, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Togo.

Last month the Pentagon's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Africa Vicki Huddleston and the State Department's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto (who was ambassador to Ethiopia when it invaded Somalia in 2006) visited U.S. Africa Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. While there the Defense Department's Huddleston asserted that "East Africa becomes extremely high for DOD [the Department of Defense] in terms of priority. So the highest priority for DOD, and therefore AFRICOM, becomes East Africa because of Somalia and then West (Africa), North Africa...." [11]

The month before, Ugandan People's Defence Air Force Chief Major General Jim Owoyesigire visited 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa) at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, also headquarters for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO's Allied Air Command.

Owoyesigire stated that his country's new air force was in part the product of an African air chiefs conference he attended in Ramstein in 2007 where he "began learning from the US Air Force."
In regards to Uganda's role as one of the two major belligerent forces in the war in Somalia and its counterinsurgency war at home (and across its borders) against the Lord's Resistance Army, the air force head confirmed that "Help from U.S. Africa Command and 17th AF has been a key enabler for the UPDAF's [Ugandan People's Defence Air Force's] contribution to these missions."

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"When we started in AMISOM, we had no airlift capability. General Ward [William Ward, AFRICOM commander] came and visited and helped us to partner with the U.S. Air Force to get this airlift capability. To get training, 17th AF came and trained us in loading cargo and airdrops, and this has really helped us.

"This is a wide question, but right now, we are asking 17th AF to come and help us establish a squadron officers' school and NCO academy in Uganda. If we can develop these schools, then we can also involve our east African partners." [12]

Early in December the commander of U.S. Army Africa, Major General David Hogg, visited Algeria to meet with senior military and government officials to discuss "bilateral relations and regional issues," including joint reconnaissance and training activities and "a future visit by Algerian soldiers to the United States to investigate how the Army integrates its lessons learned center into its training regime."

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U.S. Army Africa is the Army's newest service component command and is based in Vicenza, Italy, assigned to AFRICOM and tasked with "developing relationships with land forces in Africa and supporting U.S. Army efforts on the African continent." [13]

The regional issues deliberated on by the American general and his Algerian counterparts relate to Algeria's military campaign against Salafist insurgents and similar counterinsurgency operations throughout the Sahel, which consists of parts of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia and Sudan.

At the end of last month U.S. military personnel assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti participated in a combat casualty course in Burundi as part of a U.S. State Department-sponsored program. According to James Cobb, State Department program country manager in Burundi, "The course is part of a U.S. Department of State initiative to provide African armies an opportunity to partner with American defense forces to develop their peacekeeping skills for operations throughout Africa." [14]

In December the defense chief of Djibouti, Major General Fathi Ahmed Houssein, met with AFRICOM commander General William Ward at AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart to discuss "joint security cooperation activities and potential areas of further cooperation...in East Africa and throughout the continent."    

As the AFRICOM website put it:

"Djibouti hosts approximately 3,000 U.S. and allied personnel at Camp Lemonnier, which is the only major U.S. military facility in Africa, though small teams of U.S. personnel work across the continent on short-term assignments. The main military organization at Camp Lemonnier is the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). A component of U.S. AFRICOM, CJTF-HOA sends teams throughout the East Africa region [to] protect U.S. and coalition interests."

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Among several joint programs, the generals elaborated plans for "Support to Djiboutian armed forces in the Eastern African Standby Brigade
(EASBRIG) field training exercise, aimed to assess the readiness and capability of EASBRIG, a component of the African Union's Africa Standby Force...."

And expansion of the "International Military Education and Training, a program that invites foreign military officers to attend military schools in the United States, and provides funding for trainers to provide specific, localized training in African countries."

As well as the continuation of the "Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program, designed to improve African militaries' capabilities by providing selected training and equipment required to execute multinational...operations."

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/

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