U.S. Out of Africa
Drone Warfare is a Crime
President Obama’s drone war doctrine is in operation across Africa. The doctrine imposes the use of drones as Obama sees fit, whether for spying, assassinations or massacres. The drones are coupled with use of Special Forces to carry out the same activity, all against the sovereignty of the countries involved. In Mali, and Africa more generally, the U.S. is hoping to prevail over its rivals, including competitors amongst the imperialist powers, like France and Germany. Thus while assisting France in its invasion, with spying and aircraft, the U.S. is also positioning itself with drones and Special Forces. These serve also as a means to block the world’s peoples from fighting for their rights, including their right simply to be. As in the past, Africa’s human and natural resources are to be utilized in the interests of the U.S. monopolies.
Drone warfare is a crime, to be ended and punished now! We demand that all use of drones be immediately ended and all U.S. troops brought home. These are actual contributions to peace and security, abroad and at home.
The Obama drone doctrine reflects the new arrangements of governance, where unfettered executive power, using the president’s police powers, is at work. The warfare is conducted without authorization or even oversight from Congress. The use of this arrangement is such that Congress is not even complaining about the usurpation of power, as occurred for example with war against Iraq. Increasingly, whether abroad or at home, the arrangements are those of concentrated executive power and use of the president’s discretionary, or police powers. As Libya and now Mali show, this means grave dangers for the peoples of Africa and the world, Americans included.
In his inaugural address, President Obama made reference to these police powers, when he referred to the oath of office that he took. He said, “The oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction. And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.” He is emphasizing here that the president will not be bound by party or faction but will act, as president, in the interests of U.S. empire. This is underlined by the additional oath the president takes, different than those of Congresspeople, to execute his office.
The president’s oath of office states, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Executing the Office of the President involves use of the discretionary powers of the president, which are restricted only by the possibility of impeachment. Obama and his drone war doctrine are a means to remove even that restriction, as the powers of the Congress are systematically eliminated or usurped.
The unleashing of drone warfare in Africa, as the U.S. contends with China, Russia and other big powers while also seeking to block the movements of the peoples for their rights is criminal and unjust. It is a move by the U.S. to impose its false notion that by destroying individual and collective rights abroad and at home it can provide for the security of U.S. monopolies. But the peoples are rising to the call of history, which demands that society move forward, that the rights of all are affirmed and guaranteed. Whether in Africa, the Middle East or in the U.S. it is the organized resistance to the Obama drone war doctrine and stepping up the struggle for the rights of all that provides a way forward.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. plans to base unarmed American surveillance drones in the African nation of Niger. AP reported, “In the short run, this drone base would enable the U.S. to give France more intelligence on the militants that French troops are fighting in neighboring Mali. Over time it could extend the reach not only of American intelligence gathering but also U.S. special operations missions to strengthen Niger’s own security forces.”
The U.S. and Niger recently signed a “status of forces agreement” spelling out legal protections and obligations of U.S. forces that might operate in Niger in the future. Pentagon spokesman George Little acknowledged the agreement, but declined to discuss the U.S. plans for a military presence in Niger.
According to Little, at France’s request, “The U.S. has flown 17 Air Force transport flights to move French troops and their equipment to Mali in recent days.” U.S. aircraft also are conducting aerial refueling of French fighter jets based in Mali and those operations will continue.
According to Pentagon officials, the drone base in Niger, in northwestern Africa, would provide more extended U.S. spying in the region. The main U.S. drone base in Africa is currently in Djibouti in east Africa. The Pentagon says Niger has accepted the idea of hosting unarmed U.S. drones as well as conventional and special operations troops as “advisers.” But she has not endorsed armed U.S. Predator strikes or the launching of U.S. special operations raids from her territory. Whether the U.S. respects this stand remains to be seen.
As the U.S. positions an estimated 4,000 Special Forces in 35 countries across Africa, it is likely both manned and unmanned drones will also be inserted. This may be done with or without agreement from the countries involved.
As well, U.S officials are emphasizing the need for U.S. advisers and trainers in Africa to have a long-term role. Admiral Bill McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, recently said that the key to future U.S. “training” operations is to ensure that the effort is long-lasting. “In order to work with a host country, you really have to have that persistent presence,” he said.
In addition to using drones and Special Forces as its means to interfere in and try to control African countries, the U.S. continues its insistence that U.S.-style democracy be instituted. For Mali, a State Department spokeswoman emphasized, “We have said all along that there has to be more than a purely security solution to the problems in Mali, that the security track and the political track have to go hand-in-hand, that a key component of returning stability to Mali includes new elections.”
Special Operation to Recolonize Africa
The military operation in Mali launched on January 11 is another vivid example of special activities aimed at recolonization of the African continent. It is an orderly and consistent capture of new African territories by Western powers. They got hold of Sudan by dismembering it (taking away the oil deposits from the major part of the country), the Nigerian oilfields have been captured in accordance with the International Court of Justice rulings, Libya has been captured as a result of direct military intervention, Cote D'Ivoire has been conquered thanks to a small-scale military action conducted under the aegis of the United Nations. The way to do the things differ, but the result is the same.
The Process of Recolonization Picks Up Momentum in Africa
The mistakes of previous aggressive actions were taken into consideration while occupying Mali. Today everyone is sure the West is defending Mali's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Not exactly so, as some facts tell us. In reality it was not in 2011-2012 when the terrorist groups appeared in the north of the country. They had been organizing and conducting activities there for dozens of years. The situation exploded because the Libyan weapons were captured after Gaddafi's overthrow. The military materials did not get to Mali by themselves; there are facts to prove France was involved in their transfer from Libya.
The very logic of events in the North of Mali in 2012 proves it is a well-orchestrated performance aimed at preparing public opinion for "an imperative of military intervention." That is how it was arranged that Libyan arms spread around and wound up in the hands of Tuaregs. It incited military actions. But pretty soon the Tuaregs understood they were being used and started to dissociate themselves from the independence they had declared previously. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (French: Mouvement National pour la Libération de l'Azawad; MNLA) said the declaration of independence was "an attempt to draw international attention to the plight of the population in the north" and expressed willingness to hold talks.
That is what the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad was attacked for by real perpetrators of the provocation — the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamists of Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA or MUJAO). Ansar Dine said it was ready to join without delay. At the November meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the group said it rejected violence, extremism and terrorism and assumed the responsibility for fighting organized crime across the border. The Ansar Dine's turn around led to its involvement into fighting. In November combat actions were sparked, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad fought the opposing Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa. By the end of November Ansar Dine waged combat actions against the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa forces in the south-western part of Timbuktu.
Finally, all these battles made part of the strategy aimed at the destabilization of Mali. All the events described here take place against the background of jihad and terrorist groups coming to the North of Mali to reinforce the armed formations. The Mali's northern terrorist land has really become international while getting support from all leading terrorist forces in the region, including the well-known Nigerian Boco Harum.
According to the United Nations Secretary General's estimations, the capture of the northern part of the country resulted in around half a million refugees and over 200 thousand migrants inside the country. The humanitarian disaster spread to all neighboring countries. That was the goal. All Muslim shrines in Timbuktu and other Sahara's ancient historical centers were destroyed to strengthen the effect. The actions had no other mission but to "shock" international community and make it realize a military intervention was an "imperative." That's the right context for making out what was behind the state coup that took place in Mali in March 2012, a few days before the presidential election President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled. There seemed to be no logic in staging the coup (they toppled the president who was not a candidate for the next term), but it can be easily explained by the fact that the President and the most probable winners were all opponents of the Western military intervention.
After the coup, the idea of foreign intervention received a new strong impetus. The new government of Mali asks the United Nations for military assistance and launches a complaint to the International Criminal Court. But the concept of military intervention was still a matter of internal strife between the supporters of the Western "assistance" and inter-African military mission. Probably these two different approaches were the main reason for failure of the attempted coup at the end of April and then for a new military coup that swept away Prime-Minister Modibo Diarra.
It's not an occasion that the United Nations Security Council resolutely condemned the then ongoing intervention of Mali's military and security forces into the activities of Mali's transitional government. It expressed its readiness to tackle the issue of imposing sanctions against those who breached the constitutional order. Thus, it's not the Al Qaeda's leaders but rather the Mali's military who was threatened with the Security Council sanctions!!!
At last, the United Nations Security Council's resolution N 2085 was adopted on December 20, 2012 authorizing the military intervention in the country. The African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) was allowed to be deployed. The force is to include Malian (5000 men strong) and international (3300) forces. The concept was worked out by Malian authorities together with "partners" and approved by the African Union and ECOWAS. Now, who are the Malian partners? The USA, France, Germany, Canada, Algeria, Mauritania and Niger.
At the beginning of January, Al Qaeda forces in the northern part of the country adopted a behavior that ran contrary to logic; they launched an offensive to the South. The city of Kona was captured on January 7. From geographical point of view the city is of critical importance, it is situated at the conditional border between the country's North and South, so the action actually meant the start of offensive against the territory where the major part of population lives. In case the offensive had any military importance for Al Qaeda, it could have been launched before the resolution 2085, for instance right after a number of coups in Bamako or any other time suitable for the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. At that, it is launched right after the ruling on international military operation. The only thing the offensive could be seen as is a provocation of immediate invasion, not anything else. In the evening of January10 Interim Mali President Dionkunda Traore declared total mobilization and the state of emergency.
On January 11 French forces landed in Mali. Information agencies mention other participants of the operation (Senegal, Niger); still everyone knows who plays the leading part. By the way it became clear on the very day the resolution 2085 was adopted, when the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs said thank you among other things to all UN Security Council members but expressed special gratitude to France. It should be noted the information on the ECOWAS decision to launch immediate deployment of troops was made public right after the news that the French force was on the way. That is the French started the operation before the physical arrival of African troops.
The perfectly arranged information campaign highlighting the "international intervention in Mali" has one drawback — there is no reasonable explanation of what is behind the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's actions. Today they talk about the attempts to make the northern part of Mali a long-time base. But Al Qaeda had been doing it for the last dozen of years without attracting attention. In reality the current AQIM's actions are flagrantly provocative aimed at giving a pretext for foreign intervention.
Thus, a special operation aimed at recolonization of Africa took place at the beginning of the year. There is a rivalry between three main actors, which are the United States, France and China. China resorts to economic expansion, while the two Western nations rely on military intervention. One should give the devil his due — the mistakes made during the information wars related to the events in Libya and Cote D'Ivoire are corrected in January 2013. The conquest of those countries was explained by "humanitarian" reasons, but the information was presented in a clumsy and unconvincing way. Today the international community is praising the French invasion to free Mali. Apparently a military mission is needed. But the country faces a hard choice: Islamists or French troops. Any way Mali will have to pay a high price for freedom: giving away its sovereignty, enormous mineral resources and the loss of independence for many years. According to the President of France Francois Hollande, the French troops will stay in Mali as long as needed. It's not in vain the toppled President Amadou Toure used to say Paris is more dangerous than Timbuktu!
Africa has always been and still is a testing ground for various Western political and military scenarios. Not only African states but Russia as well should attentively follow the way the military intervention is worked out and implemented successfully so far, while pursuing the declared goal of "guaranteeing freedom from Islamists". It has special importance taking into consideration the attempts of the West to discredit the power in Russia and encouraging Islamists activities on the territory of the Russian Federation.
1. Cameroon v. Nigeria. UN International Court of Justice ruling, October 10, 2002, // International Court of Justice official website: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/94/7453.pdf.
2. Here, it's interesting to watch the movie called September 11 shot by Burkina Faso director Idrissa Ouedraogo back in 2002. It tells a story of local boys keeping trace of bin Laden hiding in Burkina Faso a Mali's neighboring state in the North! .. Those days the movie was perceived as a comedy.
3. MNLA representative speaking on French TV: Le MNLA prêt à négocier pour lutter contre Al-Qaïda: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLHbrXBJ2Hw.
4. Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Mali, November 29, 2012. // UN Document S/2012/894 , p.11.
5. United Nations Security Council session verbatim report, December 5, 2012, //UN Document S/PV.6879, p.2.
6. The coup attempts in response to the coup on March 22, 2012, when President Amadou Toumani Touré was overthrown.
7. Nine United Nations Security Council's members were the authors of the draft resolution, including Germany, Columbia, Morocco, Portugal, Great Britain, the United States of America, Togo, France and South Africa. Luxemburg, a non-member, was among the authors too.
8. Mali's interim president's national address, January 11, 2013: Discours du Président et déclaration de l'Etat d'Urgence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTyH64p_7bQ.
9. The United Nations Security Council session, verbatim report, December 20, 2012. Actually the Foreign Minister of Mali let know that France was behind the resolution's approval! For instance, he said," I would in particular like to thank France, its people, President and Government, who very early on understood that the presence in northern Mali of heavily armed AQMI, MUJAO and affiliated extremists and terrorists posed an immediate threat to international peace and security. France spared no effort in ensuring that the Security Council assumed its responsibilities" UN Document: S/PV.6898.. According to the Malian minister the United Nations Security Council would have failed to assume its responsibilities without France! It is a very important fact testifying to who actually has pushed through the decision on military action in Mali.
10. http://www.fondsk.ru/news/2013/01/12/v-mali-objavlena-vseobschaja-mobiliz acija.html
11. More in detail: A. Mezyaev, Africa as a Testing Ground for "New International Law"//The Africa's security: internal and external aspects, the Institute of African Studies, Russia Academy of Sciences. — 2005- page 10-11.
Alexander Mezyaev is the Chair of the International Law, Governance Academy in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. and writes for the Strategic Culture Foundation. Published by Global Research, January 14, 2013.
The French military intervention into Mali on Friday [January 11] — France's second in as many years into a former African colony — was reportedly "seconded" by the United States. This ought to come as no great surprise, given the Pentagon's deepening penetration into Africa.
According to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the Pentagon plans on deploying soldiers to 35 different African countries in 2013. As NPR reports, upwards of 4,000 U.S. soldiers will "take part in military exercises and train African troops on everything from logistics and marksmanship to medical care." (The Malian army officer responsible for the country's March coup just so happened to have received U.S. military training.)
Of course, the U.S. military already has a significant on-the-ground presence in Africa. For instance, the "busiest Predator drone base outside of the Afghan war zone" — with 16 drone flights a day — is located at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.
But as the Army Times notes, "the region in many ways remains the Army's last frontier." And in order to satiate the U.S. appetite for global "power projection," no frontiers are to be left unconquered.
Thus, as a June report in the Washington Post revealed, the preliminary tentacles of the U.S. military already extend across Africa. As the paper reported, U.S. surveillance planes are currently operating out of clandestine bases in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya, with plans afoot to open a new base in South Sudan.
The Post reported further that, "the Pentagon is spending $8.1 million to upgrade a forward operating base and airstrip in Mauritania, on the western edge of the Sahara. The base is near the border with strife-torn Mali."
And with such assets already in place, the Pentagon was in position to not only "second" France's intervention into Mali, but, as the New York Times reported, to weigh a "broad range of options to support the French effort, including enhanced intelligence-sharing and logistics support."
Illuminating what such U.S. support may come to eventually look like in Mali, J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council's Africa Center in Washington and a senior strategy advisor to AFRICOM, commented: "Drone strikes or airstrikes will not restore Mali's territorial integrity or defeat the Islamists, but they may be the least bad option." A rather ominous sign, given that employing such a "least bad option" has already led to the slaying of hundreds of innocents in the U.S. drone campaign.
Of course, much the same as with the drone campaign, the Pentagon's push into Africa has come neatly packaged as an extension of "war on terror." As a June Army Times report notes, "Africa, in particular, has emerged as a greater priority for the U.S. government because terrorist groups there have become an increasing threat to U.S. and regional security."
But what intervention hasn't come to be justified by employing some variant of the ever handy "war on terror" refrain? As French President François Hollande declared on Friday, "The terrorists should know that France will always be there when the rights of a people, those of Mali who want to live freely and in a democracy, are at issue."
"The ideology of our times, at least when it comes to legitimizing war" Jean Bricmont writes in his book Humanitarian Imperialism," is a certain discourse on human rights and democracy." And, we might add, a certain cynical discourse on combating terror.
Naturally, then, the notion that the West's renewed interest in Africa is derived from an altruistic desire to help African states combat terrorism and establish democracy is rather absurd. It was the NATO alliance, lest one forgets, that so eagerly aligned with Salifi fighters to topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. Moreover, it is this very same military alliance that is now simultaneously cheering Salifists in Syria, while bombing them in the AfPak region, Somalia, Yemen, and now Mali.
Clearly, only those practicing doublethink stand a chance of comprehending the ever shifting terrain of the Western "war on terror."
Indeed, for once the veils of protecting "democracy" and combating "terror" are lifted, the imperial face is revealed.
Thus, the imperative driving the renewed Western interest in Africa, as Conn Hallinan helps explain, is the race to secure the continent's vast wealth.
"The U.S. currently receives about 18 percent of its energy supplies from Africa, a figure that is slated to rise to 25 percent by 2015," Hallinan writes. "Africa also provides about one-third of China's energy needs, plus copper, platinum, timber and iron ore."
What's more, as Maximilian Forte contends in Slouching Towards Sirte, "Chinese interest are seen as competing with the West for access to resources and political influences. AFRICOM and a range of other U.S. government initiatives are meant to count this phenomenon."
And this explains NATO's 2011 foray into Libya, which removed a stubborn pan-Africanist leader threatening to frustrate AFRICOM's expansion into the Army's "last frontier." And this explains the French-led, U.S. supported intervention into Mali, which serves to forcibly assert Western interests further into Africa.
Intervention, we see, breeds intervention. And as Nick Turse warned back in July, "Mali may only be the beginning and there's no telling how any of it will end."
All that appears certain is a renewed wave of barbarism, as the scramble for Africa accelerates.
Ben Schreiner is a freelance writer based in Wisconsin. He may be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or via his website. Published by Global Research, January 14, 2013
U.S. Covert Support to Al Qaeda in Northern Mali, France "Comes to the Rescue"
A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France's military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME's article, "The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?" decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome "War on Terror" narrative. TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop "Islamist" terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:
"...there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they've identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack."
What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO's 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya — providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya's government.
As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote "Algeria will be next to fall," where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:
"Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis."
And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become — a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM's headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of "Which Path to Persia?" which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there — illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy. Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Time's piece titled, "How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:"
"Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda's number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same — and Belhaj was/is its emir. "
"Belhaj," referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion's epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous "Terror-Emirate." Belhaj's latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called "Free Syrian Army," again, under the auspices of NATO support.
LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO's attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army's West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.
In fact, ABC News reported in their article, "Al Qaeda Terror Group: We Benefit From' Libyan Weapons," that:
"A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials. "We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world," Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. "As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances."
It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.
French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.
Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered "Arab Spring" in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow's doorsteps — and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia — using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.
Tony Cartalucci is a geopolitical researcher and writer based in Bangkok, Thailand. Published by Global Research, January 15, 2013.