Skip to main content

Obama’s legacy in Africa: terrorism, civil war & military expansion

Independent geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser examines the effect of the Obama administration on Africa. What he finds is less hope and change, and more chaos and death.

by Eric Draitser of stopimperialism.org

The corporate media is predictably churning out nauseating retrospectives of Obama’s presidency, gently soothing Americans to sleep with fairy tales about the progressive accomplishments of President Hope and Change.

But amid the selective memory and doublethink which passes for sophisticated punditry within the controlled media matrix, let us not forget that in Africa the name Barack Obama is now synonymous with destabilization, death, and destruction.

The collective gasps of liberals grow to a deafening roar at the mere suggestion that Obama is more sinner than saint, but perhaps it would be useful to review the facts and the record rather than the carefully constructed mythos being shoehorned into history books under the broad heading of “Legacy.”

Africa’s future is up to Africans’

In the summer of 2009, little more than six months after being inaugurated, President Obama stood before the Ghanaian Parliament to deliver a speech intended to set the tone for his administration’s Africa policy. In addressing a crowd of hundreds in the Ghanaian capital, he was, in fact, speaking directly to millions of Africans all over the continent and throughout the diaspora. For if Obama represented Hope and Change for the people of the United States, that was doubly true for African people.

In that mostly forgettable speech, Obama declared:

We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans … the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.

Building prosperity, shedding corruption and tyranny, and taking on poverty and disease, he said “can only be done if you take responsibility for your future. And it won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks. But I can promise you this: America will be with you every step of the way, as a partner, as a friend.

Despite being the First Black President, Obama’s words and deeds with respect to Africa perfectly embody “the White Man’s Burden” — that desire to help those poor, lowly wretches whose poverty, corruption, disease, and violence must be the product of some natural deficiency. Surely, five centuries of colonialism, combined with Obama-style imperial arrogance, had nothing to do with it.

But let us take Obama’s words at face value and evaluate whether Obama was able to live up to those high-minded and idealistic goals throughout his two terms in office.

Obama repeatedly stressed African agency, arguing that the United States and the West cannot solve Africa’s problems for her. Instead, he argued that the United States will be a “partner” and a “friend.” And yet, within two years of the pledge to let Africans resolve their own problems, U.S.-NATO jets were dropping bombs on Libya in support of al-Qaida-linked terrorists who would topple and brutally assassinate Moammar Gadhafi, perhaps the single strongest voice for African independence and self-sufficiency.

Considering the tens of thousands of deaths and the utter destruction and dissolution of Libya into warring tribal militias and multiple fragmented governments barely able to be called legitimate, it is particularly galling that Obama stood before the United Nations and declared the U.S.-NATO war on Libya to be a success. Exactly one month before Gadhafi’s heinous torture and assassination, Obama arrogantly stated on Sept. 20, 2011:

This is how the international community should work in the 21st century — more nations bearing the responsibility and the costs of meeting global challenges. In fact, this is the very purpose of this United Nations. So every nation represented here today can take pride in the innocent lives we saved and in helping Libyans reclaim their country. It was the right thing to do.

Yes, the very same president who two years earlier proclaimed that “Africa’s future is up to Africans” was a champion of French, British, Italian, and U.S. military forces imposing their will on a prosperous and independent African nation, transforming it into a chaotic and bloody failed state. So much for Hope and Change.

But of course the tragic story of Libya does not stop with just the destruction of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the assassination of Gadhafi. Rather, the war on Libya opened the floodgates for weapons smuggling, terrorism and destabilization all over the African continent. According to a 2013 report by the U.N. Security Council’s Group of Experts:

Cases, both proven and under investigation, of illicit transfers from Libya in violation of the embargo cover more than 12 countries and include heavy and light weapons, including man-portable air defense systems, small arms and related ammunition and explosives and mines.

The report continued, warning that “illicit flows from the country are fueling [sic] existing conflicts in Africa and the Levant and enriching the arsenals of a range of non-State actors, including terrorist groups.

The proliferation of weapons from Libya continues at an alarming rate.

Indeed, those weapons flowing from Libya have directly fueled the civil war in Mali, facilitated the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, empowered the terror group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and led to the rise of terrorist gangs and death squads in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, and elsewhere on the continent. In effect, Obama’s war on Libya was the opening salvo of a continent-wide destabilization the effects of which are still being felt today and likely will continue to be felt for years, if not decades, to come.

With these troubling facts in mind, we return to Obama’s speech in Ghana, where he haughtily pronounced that the West is not responsible for Africa’s problems. Naturally, any student of colonialism and African history would immediately object to such selective memory. One wonders whether decades from now, when the legacy of the wars and terrorism that grew out of Obama’s policies is still being felt, another president will stand before Africa and again chastise her for not solving her own problems.

Obama: The smiling face of neo-colonialism

Were Obama’s crimes against peace in Africa limited only to the war on Libya and its effects, one could simply call it a blunder of historical proportions. But Obama had much more blood to spill in Africa while expanding the U.S. military footprint there.

Primary among these initiatives to grow the U.S. military presence in Africa was the expansion of the U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM. In June of 2013, Ebrahim Shabbir Deen of the Johannesburg-based Afro-Middle East Centre noted:

[AFRICOM] has surreptitiously managed to infuse itself into various African militaries. This has been accomplished mainly through military-to-military partnerships which the command has with fifty-one of Africa’s fifty-five states. In many instances, these partnerships involve African militaries ceding operational command to AFRICOM.

In fact, while President George W. Bush was responsible for the establishment of AFRICOM, it was Obama who expanded it into a continental military force into which national military forces have been subsumed. In effect, Obama was able to make African nations, and especially their militaries, into wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Pentagon and U.S. military-industrial complex. But it’s ok, Obama did it with a smile and with the credibility of the “native son” of the continent.

Similarly, Obama is directly responsible for the ongoing bloodshed in South Sudan, where he championed the separatism which led to the creation of that country and the predictable civil war which has followed. Obama declared in 2011 upon the formal independence of South Sudan that: “Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn.” But Obama may have spoken too soon, as the darkness of war drags on in the devastated country where a “new dawn” seems about as likely as Obama admitting his failure.

And while Obama, as usual, waxed poetic about independence and freedom, the reality is that his backing of South Sudan was more about gaining a geopolitical advantage against China than about high-minded ideals.

Similarly, Obama used the expanded capabilities of U.S. military and CIA in Africa to greatly increase the Pentagon and Langley’s presence in Somalia. As Jeremy Scahill reported in The Nation in December of 2014:

The CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted ‘combat’ operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda. As part of its expanding counterterrorism program in Somalia, the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters … Some of the prisoners have been snatched off the streets of Kenya and rendered by plane to Mogadishu.

It should be noted that the policies — the crimes against peace — highlighted here represent only a fraction of the eight years of Obama policies on the continent; a complete accounting of Obama’s crimes against Africa would likely require a book-length analysis. The intent here is to illustrate that the man who stood before Africa professing to be a friend was as much friend to Africa as the hangman is to the condemned.

Were it someone other than the first black president, perhaps there might have been an outcry at the rape and plunder of the continent, the militarization and destabilization of Africa. And yet, throughout the past eight years, there has been a deafening silence from liberals whose ideals and values apparently extend only as far as party loyalty allows.

In a beautifully precise term coined by Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda Report, Obama represented not the lesser, but “the more effective,” evil. And when it came to Africa, that was doubly true. Who but Obama could have destroyed nations, fomented terrorism, plundered the wealth, and militarized and destabilized the entire continent all while flashing a hypnotic grin?

For the African people, however, Obama’s perfect teeth and intoxicating smile hide a forked tongue. And as for Obama’s Africa “legacy,” it can be found in the graveyards of Libya, Nigeria, and beyond.

Source:


Related:



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

MSNBC poll on Julian Assange backfires epically

globinfo freexchange
Frequently - if not always - polls set-up by corporate media aim to track public opinion on a specific issue. The results could be used by the deep state apparatus in order to justify an action, or, figure out how to handle a negative trend for the deep state agenda.
Of course, the question could be set-up in a very simplified and convenient manner, so that the results could be translated accordingly.
Yet, the results from the following MSNBC poll on Julian Assange are so devastating for the deep state planning that leave little room for any misconception and manipulation.
Specifically, you have two options to answer the following question: “Should Julian Assange be prosecuted for his involvement in WikiLeaks?
The first option is to answer that "Yes, he is a criminal."
The second option is to answer that "No, he is a whistleblower and deserves protection."
At the time we checked out the results, the second answer prevailed overwhelmingly with 95% (~1…

Trump's failure to start a civil war in Venezuela could be proved disastrous for the plans of the US imperialists

by system failure
Donald Trump and his bloodthirsty warhawks are about to break the record of failed attempted coups against a single country. Concerning Latin America, the US imperialists were setting the desirable conditions for their corporate beasts usually by overthrowing governments and supporting military dictatorships.
But Trump himself has already broken another record. The record of not keeping his promises to the American people - every one of them. The 'anti-interventionist', 'anti-establishment' Trump, has already started a war against Venezuela, which so far includes brutal economic sanctions, sabotage operations, attempted coups. Trump not only does whatever he can in order to satisfy the US neocon/neoliberal establishment and the deep state, but especially in the case of Venezuela, he follows the obsolete CIA playbook to the letter.
So, after a series of failed orchestrated coups, Trump's warhawks attempted to start a civil war in Venezuela by mobiliz…

Latest ridiculous attempts by the US propaganda machine on Gaza, Venezuela – enjoy

globinfo freexchange
Plenty of propaganda is manufactured by the US deep state apparatus to push for the imperialist agenda. Yet, some elements of the propaganda machine are still unable to realize that independent truth seekers and real journalists are watching, and therefore, these elements could be easily exposed.
Sloppy efforts immediately backfire in social media and the Internet. Most recent sloppy efforts are related to Gaza and Venezuela.
As the Newsweekreported:
Senior 2020 Trump campaign adviser Katrina Pierson used a 2015 video showing a Ukrainian rocket launch alongside comments about this weekend's deadly attacks between Israel and Gaza militants and a condemnation of congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Pierson, who was Donald Trump's 2016 campaign spokesperson and is a frequent cable news guest, shared the video—which was first posted online in 2015 and reportedly shows Ukraine launching dozens of rockets at Russian-backed separatists—on Sunday.
Alongsi…

Fox clowns committed suicide by bringing Bernie Sanders inside their nest to destroy them

... and the liberal centrists must be really pissed off
globinfo freexchange
It was epic indeed. The moment where the crowd inside the Fox ultra-right nest enthusiastically cheers in favor of a government-run healthcare system, could actually be considered a historical moment, thanks to Bernie Sanders.
The moment clearly depicts and officially marks the end of controlled audiences in controlled MSM environments. It shows that the well-paid MSM pundits and their producers are finding increasingly difficult to set up the scene according to the desirable agenda. Therefore, audience reactions can't be directed, or predicted in many cases by the MSM 'experts'.
The shock for the MSM tools was inevitable. It shows that they are now completely detached from the ordinary people and their problems.
But the whole thing highlighted something even more fundamental. It was another loud evidence for the fact that the BS neoliberal narratives don't work anymore.
And even more remarkably, th…

Former top US official confirms: military action against Venezuela will become a Vietnam 2.0 for the US imperialists

globinfo freexchange
Former US Chief of Staff for Secretary of State, Lawrence Wilkerson, spoke with Sharmini Peries of the Real News about Trump's plans for a potential US military action against Venezuela.

As he pointed out:
Elliott Abrams, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and the administration’s approach to Venezuela, is as if they were Panama or they were Honduras. They are not. They’re very professional. That puts them above Argentina, above Chile, whose militaries are quite competent, too. 
Mr. Trump ought to be very, very careful about saying he’s going to send marines or soldiers to Venezuela because the Venezuelan military will be unified immediately. It will take to the hills and it will fight as the Vietnamese did during the Vietnam War, and as the Taliban are in Afghanistan right now: to the last marine, to the last soldier.
Putin is a smart man, probably told Trump 'you don’t want to get involved in those jungles. You don’t want to get involved in those mountains. You …

Updates for a possible coup against Jeremy Corbyn

 globinfo freexchange

In this episode of RT's Going Underground, former MP and author of A Very British Coup and The Friends of Harry Perkins, Chris Mullin, spoke about the history of MI5 and MI6 meddling in UK politics against Labour Party leaders. He also estimated whether a British coup is underway against Jeremy Corbyn.
The story of A Very British Coup was set in the 1980s when there was speculation about the possibility of a government led by someone like Tony Benn and the establishment conspired to bring it down. The establishment in this case being a sort of mixture of the security and intelligence services, the media barons, with a little help from the Americans. 
Tony Benn looked likely to become deputy leader of the Labour Party which at the time was strongly challenging the government of Margaret Thatcher in the opinion polls. Persistent rumours circulated over the years about attempts by members of the British security services, and other wings of the British Establish…

Chelsea Manning proves that she is a real hero

globinfo freexchange
Outside of an Alexandria, Virginia courtroom, Chelsea Manning explained to reporters why she would refuse to testify before a second grand jury investigating Wikileaks' Julian Assange, and as a result, face jail time once again. On May 9, Manning was released from jail because the term of the last grand jury she refused to testify before expired. She was immediately subpoenaed once again—for May 16.
Her following words clearly depict that Chelsea Manning is a person with strong and solid principles and a real hero:
I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury, so it doesn’t matter what it is, or what the case is. I’m just not going to comply or cooperate. Facing jail again, potentially today, doesn’t change my stance. The prosecutors are deliberately placing me in an impossible position: go to jail and face the prospect of being held in contempt again, or, in the alternative, foregoing my principles, the strong positions that I have, that I hold dear…

How GMO seeds and Monsanto/Bayer’s “RoundUp” are driving US policy in Venezuela

With Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.
by Whitney Webb
Part 3 - The AEI axis
Some of the key figures and loudest voices supporting the efforts of the Trump administration to overthrow the Venezuelan government in the United States are well-connected to one particular think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). For instance, John Bolton — now Trump’s national security advisor and a major player in the administration’s aggressive Venezuela policy — was a senior fellow at AEI until he became Trump’s top national security official. As national security adviser, Bolton advises the president on foreign policy and issues of national security while also advising both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. As of late, he has been pushing for …

Dear Ilhan: don't fall in the trap, don't play the game of the Western imperialists

globinfo freexchange

From the first moment we acknowledged the braveness of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to stand against Trump's war criminals and AIPAC lobbyists. Her general stance against the US imperialist agenda is putting her right at the top of the list of the authentic progressives.

The Western propaganda machine immediately mobilized and tried to smear her because of her stance.

Yet, Ilhan tweeted a link from an article coming from this propaganda machine, claiming that there is new 'evidence' of China's mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang.

While we don't deny that Uighur Muslims may face some serious problems, we should bear in mind that Xinjiang and Tibet are two regions of high sensitivity. Both have been used for decades by the Western imperialists to destabilize China. There are strong indications that the US even orchestrated some CIA-type false flag operations to provoke another 'color revolution' in Xinjiang and create further destab…

There is something fundamental missing from Bernie Sanders' new ad

globinfo freexchange
Several progressives expressed their enthusiasm about Bernie's new ad. However, if we examine it closely, we will find that it is quite far from describing an effective progressive strategy that Bernie Sanders should follow.
The ad successfully highlights the complete failure of Donald Trump to secure the jobs of the American workers, and more specifically, his evident unwillingness to fight against the corporate beasts in order to protect workers' jobs and interests.
At the end of the ad Bernie tries to send a clear message to the corporations: “If you are not a good and responsible corporate citizen, do not think that you will get Federal contracts.

What's wrong here?
First of all, only through a miracle we could see the parasitic corporate beasts behave responsively. We know, and Bernie knows, that they don't care about workers' rights and working conditions. They don't care about giving decent wages. They only care about maximizing profits …