U.S. government and corporate officials have been sweating bullets because of the WikiLeaks disclosures – and for good reason. The world has been given a much-needed bird’s-eye view into the secret mechanics of imperialist operations.
Africa must be particularly grateful for the disclosures. They reveal much about matters that impact the continent’s general welfare, and they also give us particular insight into how the U.S. military has attempted to dominate the northeast region commonly referred to as “the Horn of Africa.” This region is of special concern to the U.S. because it is oil-rich and geographically near so-called “Muslim terrorists.” In its decades-long effort to dominate the Horn of Africa, the U.S. has in recent years tried to prevent the unification of Africans in that region by promoting as much confusion and division as possible.
There was a period when the U.S. actually attempted to consolidate and reinforce a regime in Somalia that it could use as its proxy in its so-called “Cold War” against Russia and affiliate states (then called the “Soviet Union.”) When that Somali regime ultimately collapsed in 1991, the heavy-duty U.S. weapons that had been supplied to the regime remained in Somalia and fell into the hands of various clans headed by what the U.S. would later refer to as “warlords.” When U.S. efforts to defeat the best organized of the “warlord” forces failed miserably during the early 1990s, the U.S. changed its strategy from one that sought an established allied government to one that was committed to ensuring that confusion and disunity would perpetually exist in Somalia, thus making it easier for imperialism to manipulate and exploit to its advantage the many small competing factions within the country.
According to WikiLeaks, U.S. government documents show that in 2006, the then U.S. Undersecretary of State and others placed extraordinary pressure on Ethiopia to invade Somalia. At the time, the U.S. had become concerned because at long last, Somalia had begun to unite behind a single government led by the Union of Islamic Courts. Reports say that the invasion resulted in as many as 20,000 deaths and as many as two million Somalis who were left homeless. After three years, Ethiopian troops withdrew leaving Somalia in complete disarray.
The U.S. has been preoccupied not only with preventing a stable Somali central government, but also with preventing the people of that country from performing any government-type functions that in any way impact U.S. influence in the region. Specifically, Somalia’s coastal waters have been the site of large-scale dumping of foreign garbage and illegal fishing. To protect their waters and their livelihoods, fishermen in Somalia began to engage in activities aimed at deterrence of invasions by the unwanted foreign vessels. Western governments and capitalist media began to characterize this make-shift Somali “coast guard” as bands of “pirates.” Such disinformation set the stage for at least one direct attack on these fishermen by the U.S. military.
To ensure that the region is permanently secure for imperialist interests, the U.S. military established the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. The task force official description of its mission makes no bones about the fact that it exists to “protect U.S. and coalition interests.” The task force makes its home at Camp Lemonnier, a U.S. Navy base located in the northeast African country of Djibouti. From this base, the U.S. implements “Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa,” which is presented as a counter-terrorism project, but which is more likely designed as a launching pad for attacks on Africa that are motivated by imperialist aims.
The lengths to which the U.S. has gone to secure control of the Horn of Africa provide a clear picture of its aims with respect to the entire continent. While the base in Djibouti and the operations it houses may have a largely regional focus, a creation of the George W. Bush Administration called U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) pursues a continent-wide mission to make Africa’s resources safe for imperialist exploitation. Its method involves the training and indoctrination of the troops of selected African armies who can then be directed to serve as proxies in projects helpful to the interests of foreign capitalists. As one example of their objectives, it has been reported that the same U.S. Undersecretary of State who instigated the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia had also attempted to put together a “coalition of the willing” to attempt the overthrow of the government headed by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. To Africa’s credit, there were not enough African countries that were “willing” to be part of such a coalition. Nevertheless, AFRICOM has marched steadfastly forward in its campaign to win the hearts and minds of Africa’s armies with an eye toward on the ground operations to lock down oil fields in Nigeria and Angola, as well as to secure imperialist domination of the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.
What all of this signals for Africa is that resistance to this quiet but determined invasion will require a level of organization and planning that if not unprecedented, is at least uncommon in Africa’s history. Ultimately, “organization decides everything” as Kwame Nkrumah admonished, and Africans who are concerned are well-advised to pursue organization with a level of determination that surpasses any that might be possessed by imperialist forces. The All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP) has always been clear on this point, and Africans who share that clarity will be well-served by joining and closing ranks with this organization. The AAPRP stands for the complete dismantling of foreign military bases on the African continent and for the creation of a revolutionary All African High Command (controlled by an African Mass Political Party with its Pan-African Political Coordination composed of Central Committees of Revolutionary Parties) designed to protect the legitimate collective political interests of Africa and African people and the unity of Africa.