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From Ivory Coast To Libya And Beyond: Africa Threatened With Western Military Subjugation

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Message Rick Rozoff

April 8, 2011


From Ivory Coast To Libya And Beyond: Africa Threatened With Western Military Subjugation
Rick Rozoff

On April 5 the chairman of the African Union, Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, condemned French military operations in fellow West African nation Ivory Coast and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's war against Libya, stating: "Africa does not need any external influence. Africa must manage its own affairs." 

Though hardly a model of a democratic ruler, having come to power in a coup d'etat in 1979 and governed his nation uninterruptedly since, Obiang Nguema is the current head of the 53-nation African Union and his comments stand on their own regardless of their source.

In reference to the mounting violence between the Western-backed Alassane Ouattara's self-styled Republican Forces army and "Invisible Commandos" on one side and incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo's military and security forces on the other in Ivory Coast, the AU chairman said that it should not "imply a war, an intervention of a foreign army." 

He spoke after French attack helicopters struck Ivorian military bases in the commercial capital of Abidjan and destroyed over ten armored vehicles, four anti-aircraft weapons and the broadcasting station of the state-run Radiodiffusion-Tà là vision ivoirienne as well as firing on the presidential building and residence. French troops took over the nation's main airport earlier in the week. (In 2004 French warplanes destroyed the Gbagbo government's modest air force on the ground, an action heartily endorsed by the U.S.)

President Obiang Nguema also spoke about what is now the almost three-week-long war waged by the U.S. and its NATO allies against Libya: "I believe that the problems in Libya should be resolved in an internal fashion and not through an intervention that could appear to resemble a humanitarian intervention. We have already seen this in Iraq."

He added: "Each foreigner is susceptible to proposing erroneous solutions. African problems cannot be resolved with a European, American or Asian view."

On the same day Russia called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Ivory Coast and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that recently reinforced French troops and cohorts from the United Nations Operation in CÃ te d'Ivoire (ONUCI) operate under a mandate that demands strict neutrality and impartiality.

The following day Lavrov expressed concerns about the U.S. and other NATO members arming anti-government insurgents in Libya, stating that such a measure "would constitute interference in the civil war."

Comparable statements have been voiced around the world, from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) in Latin America and the Caribbean denouncing the Libyan war to the leader of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, referring to the violence in Ivory Coast and Libya as a defeat for humanity and issuing "a renewed and heartfelt appeal to all parties to the [conflict] to initiate a process of peacemaking and dialogue, and to avoid further bloodshed."

American and other Western leaders, however, only desire an end to the violence in both African countries after the belligerents they support, with arms and air and missile attacks, have scored a decisive victory over their opponents.

On the same day that the chairman of the African Union and the Russian foreign minister articulated the concerns cited above, President Barack Obama demanded that "former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately, and direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their arms," while applauding the actions of French troops and military helicopters in the capital.
Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton have repeatedly delivered ultimatums to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to abdicate - backed up by bombs and cruise missiles - with Clinton responding to the latter's recent letter to Obama calling for an end to NATO attacks on his country by stating: "Mr Gaddafi knows what he must do....There needs to be a decision made about his departure from power [and] his departure from Libya."

The recently appointed commander of U.S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, told the House Armed Services Committee on April 5: "This is a historic time for us in Africa Command. We completed a complex, short-notice, operational mission in Libya and have now transferred that mission to NATO."
Since AFRICOM handed over command of the war against Libya to NATO on March 31 over 1,200 air missions have been flown over the country, including several hundred bombings and missile strikes.

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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:
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