Real Dangers to Uganda: AFRICOM, Oil, & Militarization
#AFRICOM2012, Stop the Real Threat to Uganda.
For a critical deeper analysis and understanding of the relationship between AFRICOM & continental Africa, particularly in relation to Uganda, refer to the chapter “AFRICOM: Militarizing Peace” from Adam Branch’s powerful book,“Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda” (Oxford, 2011).
Adam Branch is senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Uganda, and assistant professor of political science at San Diego State University, USA. He is the author of “Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda” (Oxford, 2011).His work has focused primarily on the politics of human rights intervention in Uganda.
Excerpts from the chapter can be found online (Pages 216-239).
“Since the launch of the so-called War on Terror, U.S. foreign policy toward Africa, and security policy in particular, has been oriented around a number of different, often conflicting, but also overlapping agendas that ultimately led to the establishment of AFRICOM in 2008” (218).
”Counterterrorism, however, has not been the only security agenda competing for preeminence, and some analysts argue that it is, in fact, only a cover for the real interest driving American policy in Africa: access to Africa’s resources, in particular oil and to a lesser extent natural gas and other forms of mineral wealth, of increased importance with China’s rapid entry into the continent. Much has been made of the increasing U.S. dependence on African oil, expected to reach 25 percent of U.S. imports by 2015, and of the subsequent revaluation of Africa’s strategic importance for the United States. The United States is pursuing Africa’s oil through a diverse set of means, including building the security capacity of African states so that they can provide the needed security and stability to ensure access to resources with or without direct U.S. involvement; positioning U.S. forces in or around Africa in preparation for military contingency operations to counter extreme threats to oil supplies when African states fail to fulfill their security tasks; and even, at times, undertaking development projects in communities negatively affected by resources extraction to prevent them from disrupting access. The pursuit of oil is the dimension of U.S. interests in Africa that has evoked the most critical attention, with some arguing that the United States intends to use its ‘unprecedented military strength’ to create a ‘full spectrum dominance’ in order to guarantee access to the resource” (219).
“Despite criticism, militarism has only intensified under President Obama: in 2009, the budget for AFRICOM was tripled, and a new military emphasis was seen in several ambassadorial appointments, including Uganda’s. In 2010, $763 million was allotted to AFRICOM, whereas the State Department’s Africa Bureau’s operational budget had a $226 million allocation” (223).
“As importantly, this flexibility and lack of permanent bases allows the United States and African states to avoid transparency and public opposition to Africa’s militarization. The dependence onlily pads instead of formal bases allows U.S. officials and African governments to deny that the United States even has military bases in Africa” (225).
“The State Department in 2008 announced more than $1 billion worth of contracts in Africa for the next five years would go up to four military contractors. The absurdity of American-paid mercenaries being sent to teach Africans about human rights and good governance has not gone unnoticed, nor has the danger that their presence represents democracy and peace” (226).