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AFRICOM what is its real Mission?

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Last Month the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) came online. Already the Command has undertaken an exercise to see how fast the US can deploy forces to the region.

In three parts we will discuss the main scenarios for a potential US deployment to the region


First of all is that old standby reason for the US to take any type of Military or Political Action: THE OIL

Some of the Oil that is imported into the United States Comes from Nigeria. The Niger Delta is also one of the more unstable regions in the world. Kidnappings there are done for profit!! And to make matters worse there is a rebellion in the region as well. And it is one of the factors that has the price of Oil Approaching $100 a barrel.

But Nigeria is not the only country in the region that has the life blood of the Western Industrialized World and the Chinese, Equatorial Guniea is also a Oil Producer and Cameroon is the terminus of a Pipeline that feeds Oil from Chad. Let us not forget the Oil from Angola and Katanga Province in the DRC and there are plenty of future opportunities for the US to intervene there.

After all this is an Economic Reason for a Potential Intervention. The Other two reasons involve propping up Allies.

There is a region in West Africa known as Casamance. It covers parts of three nations: Guniea-Bissau, Senegal and Gambia.

Back in the late '90s Senegal and the Guniea-Bissau fought a war over Casamance. The war was inconclusive by the end of 2000. But Earlier this year in a move announced as a Counter Terrorism Operation the Army of Guniea-Bissau drove the Main Casamance Rebel Force out of the Country and into Senegal.

The rapid victory also caused a small troop movement in the Gambia itself. Now there is also rising instability in that small country itself. Recently two members of the Amnesty International Africa team were detained there after a teaching a seminar to assist the Media.

Senegal is a close ally of both the United States and France. As a matter of fact Senegal was on the short list to host the Forward Deployment Base for the Command. Another country on the shortlist is Liberia.

the Casamance region is a flashpoint. Seven Members of the Casamance Resistance face Terrorism Charges in Gambia as we speak. Negotiations continue with the Senegalese Government. We all should pay close attention to this situation as it unfolds.

senegal.gif

Above you see Senegal which could be a future Flash point.

There is another potential problem but unlike one with geographical borders this one doesn't. This problem involves a tribe of people that are nomads.



The Tauregs are a nomadic people. Their natural homestead encompasses Niger, Mali, Libya and Algeria. However the French drew boundaries that did this tribe no favors. When these states became Independent in the Early 1960s the Tauregs did not have a homeland per se.



There were several attempts to create a rebellion including one by Libya in the 1980s but those attempts fizzled out. In the 90s there were several attempts to broker a Peace Accord after several elections and coups. Small accords were reached and there were some efforts to absorb some rebel forces but to this date tensions still simmer.



The Tauregs have highlighted their plight with Music. Its a great way to keep the culture going and to maintain contact with other members. But they are also using the sword as well. Recent reports have indicated that they have ambushed troops from Niger killing a Dozen, Recently they have been causing problems in Mali and are threating a French owned Mine in the region.



America is spending a considerable sum of money in Fighting Radical Islam in the region. A Pentagon report found that at one point 25% of the Insurgents that were captured were from Western Africa.



In the weeks before the command was launched Nigerian Officials worked to prevent the forward base from being located in the region. US Forces in the Region could be seen as a counterweight to Nigerian Motives and/or plans. And vice versa as well.



US Warships could be on station there for some time. One of the objectives of AFRICOM is the protection of Energy Assets. That in itself can be read many different ways. This is just one part of the Continent. It makes you wonder what the objectives are for the rest of the place.

Another piece by the editor Scott A Morgan

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