Posts Tagged ‘AFRICOM’

BRD/Afrika: Test-Teilnehmer_in

Sonntag, Februar 16th, 2014

“Neues Konzept der U.S. Air Force für die Evakuierung verwundeter US-Soldaten aus Afrika

Von Jennifer H. Svan
STARS AND STRIPES, 26.12.13

AIR BASE RAMSTEIN, Deutschland – Auch während des vorjährigen Jahrestages der Terroranschläge am 11. September 2001 waren sie in Alarmbereitschaft.

Wäre übers Telefon ein Einsatzbefehl gekommen, hätten die Mitglieder des neu aufgestellten Air-Force-Teams für den medizinisch betreuten Lufttransport von Verwundeten sofort ihre in einem Lagerraum bereitstehenden Notfallkoffer mit chirurgischem Gerät und sonstiger Ausrüstung ergriffen und wären zu einer auf der Rollbahn der Air Base Ramstein wartenden C-130 oder C-17 geeilt; dann hätte ein Wettlauf gegen die Zeit und die Entfernung (bis zum Einsatzort) begonnen. Ein Chirurg, ein Notarzt, zwei zu Anästhesisten ausgebildete Krankenpfleger/innen und ein Operationssaal-Techniker, die der U.S. Air Force angehören und im Landstuhl Regional Medical Center / LRMC arbeiten, hätte sich auf den Weg gemacht, um andere medizinische Evakuierungsteams bei einem Einsatz in Afrika zu verstärken; sie hätten verletzte US-Amerikaner im Flugzeug nach Deutschland zurückgeholt und sie notfalls schon vor dem Start oder während des Fluges operiert.

Der Lufttransport verwundeter oder erkrankter US-Soldaten ist nichts Neues für die Air Force; während der Kriege im Irak und in Afghanistan hat sie mehr als 150.000 Patienten zur ärztlichen Behandlung ausgeflogen und damit geholfen, das Überleben von etwa 98 Prozent der im Kampf verwundeten Soldaten zu sichern.

Air-Force-Teams für den medizinisch betreuten Lufttransport fliegen routinemäßig auch Schwerverwundete, die vor dem Flug stabilisiert oder notoperiert wurden. Bisher haben sie aber noch nie Verwundeten an Bord genommen, die nicht bereits erstversorgt waren und auch noch nicht während des Fluges operiert.

Jetzt wollen die Air-Force-Teams genau das tun, denn in Afrika ist die Erstversorgung von Verwundeten vor Ort häufig nicht möglich, weil Verwundungen auch an entlegenen unsicheren Orten auftreten können, wo überhaupt keine ärztliche Erstversorgung möglich ist.

Deshalb habe die U.S. Air Force in Europa / USAFE kürzlich ein “Tactical Critical Care Evacuation Team Enhanced / TCCET-E” (ein medizinisches Evakuierungsteam mit gesteigerter Leistungsfähigkeit für taktische Einsätze) gegründet, das vor dem Start oder sogar während des Fluges stabilisierende Notoperationen durchführen könne, teilte Col. (Oberst) Jay Neubauer, der Chefchirurg der USAFE, mit.

Das Konzept sei in Zusammenarbeit zwischen der USAFE und dem Air Mobility Command, das auch für den Lufttransport von Verwundeten zuständig sei, entwickelt worden und gehe auf Initiativen der Special Forces (Spezialkräfte) der Air Force zurück, erläuterte Neubauer.

“Sie haben sich schon länger mit dem Problem befasst, wie Patienten am besten aus abgelegenen Einsatzorten evakuiert werden können,” fügte er hinzu.

Das neue Air-Force-Konzept der ärztlichen Erstversorgung während des Fluges wolle man künftig auch auf andere Weltregionen ausweiten, es werde aber erst einmal in Afrika erprobt, ergänzte Neubauer.

“In zukünftigen Kriegen und bei unserer Umorientierung auf den Pazifik könnten wir auch auf Gebiete treffen, wo wir nicht so einfach Fuß fassen können wie in Afghanistan und im Irak,” führte Neubauer aus. Damit bezog er sich auf das Netz von Feldlazaretten und Hauptverbandsplätzen in beiden Kriegsgebieten, in denen das US-Militär seine im Kampf Verwundeten sehr schnell behandeln und so die Sterblichkeitsrate senken konnte.

Wir haben dieses neue Konzept erst einmal für Afrika entwickelt,” sagte Neubauer. “In dort auftretenden besonderen Situationen kann es sehr hilfreich für uns sein, ein Team zu haben, das dazu fähig ist, schnell Verwundete zu bergen und zurück nach Europa zu bringen.”

Wegen der Weite des afrikanischen Kontinents, der relativ geringen US-Militärpräsenz, des Mangels an Einrichtungen zur medizinischen Versorgung vor Ort und fehlender Lufttransport-Möglichkeiten sei das im Irak und Afghanistan praktizierte Modell der schnellen Versorgung Verwundeter nicht anwendbar. Da sich US-Soldaten häufig in abgelegenen, manchmal auch gefährlichen Gebieten und fern von einheimischen Krankenhäusern aufhielten, gebe es eine Lücke in der schnellen ärztlichen Versorgung.

(Der Anschlag auf den US-Botschafter in) Bengasi war ein typisches Beispiel dafür.

Bereits auf einer Ärztekonferenz, die im Herbst 2013 in London stattgefunden hat, war Neubauer auf den am 11. September 2012 erfolgten Angriff auf das US-Konsulat in der unruhigen libyschen Stadt eingegangen, bei dem der US-Botschafter und drei weitere US-Amerikaner getötet wurden.

“Wir waren damals nicht imstande, schnell genug zu reagieren – wir konnten uns weder entsprechend zur Wehr setzen, noch sofort die Schwerverwundeten bergen,” hat Neubauer nach einen Bericht in Jane’s Defence Weekly auf dieser Konferenz am 16. Oktober festgestellt.

Nach Pressemeldungen über den Angriff auf das Konsulat (in Bengasi) dauerte es fast 24 Stunden, bis die Überlebenden, darunter auch drei Verwundete, von Tripolis nach Deutschland ausgeflogen werden konnten.

Dieses Ereignis “und die Erinnerung an den 11.09.(2001) lieferten genug Gründe für die Schaffung einer Möglichkeit, schnell auf Anschläge in Afrika – besonders auf US-Botschaften – reagieren und Verwundete umgehend per Lufttransport evakuieren zu können,” wird Neubauer in dem Artikel zitiert.

In einem neueren Interview spielte Neubauer diese Bemerkung herunter.

“Es ging nicht nur um Bengasi. Die Ereignisse in Bengasi haben uns in unseren bereits vorher eingeleiteten Planungen nur bestärkt,” sagte Neubauer, ohne näher darauf einzugehen. “Wir müssen in die Zukunft und auf die Fähigkeiten schauen, die wir in möglichen neuen Kriegen brauchen.”

Das TCCET-E sei eine verbesserte Version schon bisher von der Air Force eingesetzter dreiköpfiger Rettungsteams, die auch schon kleinere medizinische Eingriffe in Hubschraubern vorgenommen hätten. Durch den Einsatz von Starrflügelflugzeugen könne die Reichweite aber enorm vergrößert werden.

Auch das fünfköpfige TCCET-E werde mit einer auf den Transport von Verwundeten spezialisierten Besatzung in einem Flugzeug fliegen, das wie eine Intensivstation ausgestattet ist, damit Schwerverwundete während des Fluges von speziell ausgebildetem Pflegepersonal betreut werden können. Nach Angaben aus dem Pentagon hat ein solches Team bereits einen US-Soldaten evakuiert, der am 21. Dezember (2013) bei einem Angriff auf ein US-Militärflugzeug im Südsudan verwundet worden war.

“Die bisherigen (dreiköpfigen) Teams konnten mit ihrer Spezialausrüstung intravenöse Infusionen vornehmen und Patienten künstlich beatmen; durch die Eingliederung eines Chirurgen (in das fünfköpfige Team) können jetzt bei Bedarf sogar schadensbegrenzende chirurgische Eingriffe auch während des Fluges vorgenommen werden,” erläuterte Neubauer.

Das für Notfälle geschulte Team solle nach Möglichkeit direkt zu den Verletzten geflogen werden, ergänzte Lt. Col. (Oberstleutnant) Rick Dagrosa, ein Notarzt, der zur Zeit der Medizinische Direktor der Notaufnahme des LRMC (des US-Hospitals aus dem Kirchberg bei Landstuhl) und eines der fünf Mitglieder des TCCET-E ist.

Wir können jetzt ein chirurgisches Team direkt zum Gefechtsfeld bringen und den Verwundeten schnell helfen,” betonte er, “das war bisher nicht möglich.”

Die Hilfeleistung werde aber durch die großen Entfernungen und die zu deren Überwindung notwendige Zeit erschwert, ergänzte Lt. Col. Jerry Fortuna, der Chef des TCCET-E, der gleichzeitig Chef der Allgemeinen Chirurgie des LRMC ist.

Der Hauptgrund für die mit fast 99 Prozent sehr hohe Überlebensrate in Afghanistan sei die schnelle ärztliche Versorgung innerhalb einer Stunde nach der Verwundung gewesen, fügte Fortuna hinzu.

Weil Afrika mehrere Flugstunden von Deutschland entfernt sei, könne sein Team leider nicht in allen Fällen innerhalb dieser “goldenen ersten Stunde” eingreifen, bedauerte er.

“Es gibt Zeit- und Entfernungsprobleme, die sich nachteilig auf den körperlichen Zustand der Patienten auswirken können. Sie sind nicht immer zu überwinden – aber auch etwas später vorgenommene chirurgische Eingriffe sind besser als noch weiter hinausgeschobene. Wie bei jeder Hilfeleistung muss auch hier mit Einschränkungen gerechnet werden.”

Obwohl das neue Team bei seinen Einsatzflügen mindestens 10mal mehr Blutkonserven mitführt als bei normalen medizinischen Evakuierungsflügen, kann es vorkommen, dass sie wegen des langen Anfluges bei Verwundeten mit starkem Blutverlust nicht ausreichen.

“Der hohe Blutverlust, der bei schweren im Kampf erlittenen Verwundungen häufig zum Tod führt, kann natürlich auch für Verwundete, die wir bergen wollen, zum Problem werden,” gab Fortuna zu bedenken. “Es ist wichtig zu wissen, dass jemand, der nach einer schweren Verletzung viel Blut verliert, weil die Blutungen nicht durch das Abschnüren von Adern gestoppt werden können, auch durch sechs bis neun Stunden später erfolgende chirurgische Eingriffe nicht mehr zu retten ist. Da kommt auch unsere Hilfe zu spät.”

Das neue Team könne zum Beispiel helfen, Brüche zu stabilisieren, sich um dadurch verursachte Gefäßverletzungen kümmern oder Patienten mit Unterleibsproblemen behandeln, führte Fortuna aus.

Das Sterilhalten eines Operationsbereichs innerhalb des Flugzeugs und die während des Fluges auftretenden Turbulenzen seien zusätzliche Probleme, die aber zu bewältigen seien.

Schwieriger sei es, aus den aufgenommen Verwundeten, deren Verletzungen erst noch beurteilt werden müssten, die auszuwählen, die sofort chirurgische Hilfe bräuchten, sagte Dagrosa. “Wir wissen nicht viel über den Zustand der Verwundeten, die wir aufnehmen, müssen ihn also selbst erst überprüfen und entscheiden, wer zuerst vom Chirurgen unseres Teams behandelt wird.”

Das Team werde von mitfliegendem Sicherheitspersonal geschützt. “Der Einsatz kann auch in einem Gebiet erfolgen, in dem man sich nicht lange aufhalten kann, weil dort noch gekämpft wird. Meistens muss nach der Landung möglichst schnell wieder gestartet werden,” ergänzte Dagrosa.

Das Team sei auf sein Flugzeug “angewiesen”, und dürfe sich nicht zu weit von ihm entfernen, weil es ja auch wieder mit ihm ausfliegen müsse.

Die USAFE bilde gerade ein zweites TCCET-E aus, teilte Fortuna mit.

“Niemand von uns befindet sich derzeit wie ein Pilot in ständiger Alarmbereitschaft,” sagte Fortuna abschließend. “Aber wir halten ständig Kontakt zueinander, um sicherzustellen, dass wir innerhalb einer angemessenen Zeit losfliegen können, wenn wir angefordert werden.”

Übersetzung:
Jung, Wolfgang

Anmerkung:

Die im o. g. Original-LUFTPOST-Artikel vorhandenen Links und Ergänzungen innerhalb des Textes sowie die Anmerkungen und der Kommentar wurden entfernt.

 

(Quelle: LUFTPOST.)

Libyen: Gadaffis Verdienste für Afrika

Mittwoch, Mai 18th, 2011

“The real reasons for NATO's attacks on the Libyan revolution

By R. T. Luke V. Browne

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, Monday May 16, 2011 - My recent article titled “Is NATO Fighting Against the Interests of the OECS?” showed that the Libya crisis has implications for countries in the African Diaspora, particularly those of the Eastern Caribbean. The first job was to show that the fate of Libyans, and by extension Africans, and the fate of Caribbean men and women are tied together. Our African heritage and experience of the Grenadian Revolution, the Cuban Revolution and the more distant Haitian Revolution inform our point of view. 

There was beneficial feedback. Karina Johnson, a UWI friend from Grenada, was incensed by Washington’s insults to our intelligence. Karina knows too well that American opposition to the Grenadian Revolution had nothing to do with human rights; and is wary of suggestions that NATO fights to protect civilians and to promote Democracy and social justice in Libya. Marlon Stevenson, my countryman, directed me to an article written by Michel Collon, and published the day after my initial commentary appeared, that laid bare the real reasons for American and European attacks on the Libyan Revolution. I bring these reasons to your attention. 

Remember that the USA maintained an important army base in Libya before Gadaffi shut it down in 1969. On October 1, 2008 the USA moved to impose military command over Africa with the establishment of AFRICOM (US Africa Command). All but five African nations subjected themselves to AFRICOM; though no one was willing to host its headquarters. Libya was among the defiant five and therefore subjected itself in no way to Western military control. 

Don’t forget that forty five million Americans live below the poverty line. There is apparently no money in the United States to support schools and public services; or in Europe to finance pensions and to create jobs. The point made by Michel Collon is that there are billions at hand to preserve the excess of the wealthy bankers who plunged the world into a financial crisis, we could allow them to distribute US $140 billion last year as rewards and bonuses to their shareholders, traders and speculators; but we just can’t find enough money to ensure that another group of people could eat every day. 

They only wage war, at home or abroad, to preserve the profit of multinational corporations; and these corporations profit at our expense. They try to prevent the liberation of poor Americans and Europeans as much they try to prevent the liberation of Africa and the Arab world. Why don’t they demonstrate a concern for social justice at home before they wage war abroad? They should know, as we pointed out elsewhere, that Libya is the highest ranked African country by the Human Development Index and that Libya looks out for its “sub-Saharan” African brothers and sisters. 

luke.jpg

I remember when a friend called Jedidiah Francis looked out for me; so I could appreciate what Libya has done for Africa. After arriving in the United Kingdom as a student several years ago, I quickly realized how expensive it was to call home from mainstream landlines and cell phones. The rates were exorbitant but I couldn’t do better if I was going to stay in touch with loved ones. I spent more on telephone bills and less on my other main concerns – food, books and remittances in support of Caribbean families. Other students were in my position and many of them financed their studies through loans from Caribbean banks and by other means. So student loans were used to pay unnecessarily high phone bills; and the student was left with debt and the company with profit. A developed nation was exploiting the wealth of Caribbean countries. Jedidiah Francis was the only other Vincentian at my university and he was my senior. He empowered me when he pointed out much cheaper calling options. That’s what you call economic liberation.

In the 1990s telephone calls to and from Africa were charged at the highest rate in the world. At that time Europe was extracting ½ billion dollars annually in taxes on telephone conversations—even calls within the same African country were subject to the tax—for voice transit on European satellites such as Intelsat. Africa was paying 500 million dollars every year when securing its own communications satellite would only cost 400 hundred million dollars payable in one installment, remove further obligations to Europe and, ultimately, lower call costs. 

So in 1992 forty five African countries came together to create an entity called RASCOM whose mission was to secure Africa’s very first communication satellite. It was not straightforward to find the initial capital, and for 14 years RASCOM pleaded with the World Bank, the IMF and other Western institutions to finance the purchase of the satellite to no avail.  The Western powers were careful enough, though, to dangle the prospect of financing the venture before the Africans every now and then to ensure their good behaviour.  

In 2006, Gadaffi took Africa off its knees. He provided 300 million dollars which was later supplemented by contributions from a few other African sources. Call costs plummeted after RASCOM accomplished its mission on December 26, 2007. Since then, a second African satellite was launched and individual African nations have launched satellites. There was also an explosion of African creativity. By 2020, Collon informs us, we expect the first satellite that uses 100% African technology, built on African soil, and that holds its own against the best satellites in the world—but costs ten times less—to be launched. Jedidiah Francis is to me what Muammar Gadaffi is to a continent.   

Luke BrowneBritain and France were most eager to commence airstrikes against Libya. War is their means of displacing the German and Italian oil companies that make significant contributions to the development of Libya’s infrastructure, including its irrigation systems. These former colonial powers scamper to re-inflate their respective economies and secure an unsustainable energy supply. They approach Libya in 2011 in the same way that they approached the West Indies in earlier centuries.

So to tell us that you fight to protect Libyans when we see the Sultan of Bahrain massacre unarmed demonstrators with the help of two thousand Saudi soldiers sent by the United States is to insult our intelligence. To say that you fight for Democracy in Libya when your helicopters and weapons are used to suppress a democratic uprising in Yemen is to insult our intelligence. Why don’t you fight for social justice at home before you fight for social justice abroad? 

The war is less about Gadaffi’s threat to his people and more about his threat to countries seeking to recolonize Libya and take control of its oil. Colonel Gadaffi is the enemy because he developed relations with countries and companies that do not subordinate the interests of Libya. He offends the West because he uses petrodollars to fuel an ambitious programme to renew Libya’s infrastructure, to build schools and hospitals and to industrialize the country when they could be used to pay the bonuses of wealthy executives in the United States, Britain and France. We are at war because he allowed Africa to become independent of European satellites. Gadaffi is a rambling and ranting dictator because he doesn’t take dictates from Washington, London or Paris or subject Libya to America’s military command. He’s a mad tyrant because he’s Africa’s freedom fighter. 

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. T. Luke V. Browne. Mr Browne is a West Indian politician and writer based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

 

(Quelle: Carribean360.)

Libyen: Droht jetzt die Balkanisierung?

Samstag, Mai 14th, 2011

Balkanisation of Libya

By Simba Russeau

As the battle for Libya rages on – with the country’s economic heartland, Misurata, being the scene of some of the uprising’s fiercest fighting – experts are warning that a ‘Balkanisation’ of Libya is possible if the U.S. and NATO opt to exploit loopholes in U.N. Resolution 1973 by arming the opposition.

In the region, “Muammar Gaddafi was advocating for the African Union (AU) to be independent instead of being subservient to the EU and the U.S. by pushing for the African Development Bank (ADB) and replacing the Franc with an African currency,” Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, research associate at the Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) specialising on the Middle East and Central Asia, told IPS. “Realistically, the Libyan intervention is an attack on the African continent by cutting its head off. They don’t just want to ‘Balkanise’ – fragment and divide – Libya, they want to ‘Balkanise’ the entire continent.”

“Now the west has rediscovered that Gaddafi is a dictator and a tyrant, they are prepared to take action against his regime, under U.N. Resolution 1973, which is primarily concerned with the protection of civilians. The irony is that NATO is now using EU weaponry to bomb some of the same weaponry it had sold to him earlier,” Kaye Stearman, media coordinator with the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) told IPS.

In response, former British ambassador to Libya, Richard Dalton told IPS that “NATO has no strategic interests in Libya or elsewhere beyond what is stated in the North Atlantic Treaty as amplified by publicly announced decisions of the NATO Council. Its concern in Libya is the implementation of UNSC 1973″.

“The EU wants to see stability, prosperity and good government in all its neighbours,” Dalton emphasised.

According to U.N. Resolution 1973, which authorised action to protect Libyan civilians, all member states must ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of the previous Resolution 1970.

Geographically, Libya is a gateway from North to Central Africa and is positioned between Eastern and Western Africa. Human rights advocates warn that by arming opposition groups tribal conflict could spill outside of Libya’s borders. This would also be in direct violation of the U.N. mandate, they say.

“Some EU countries are also considering whether to supply arms to the anti-Gaddafi rebels, which could increase future instability. This can have unforeseen long-term consequences, which can bring great harm to societies and militate against peace building,” says Stearman.

One example of how this has played out in the past, Stearman explains, is the U.S. arming of “mujahedeen ‘freedom’ forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s, which actively prolonged conflicts, led to the growth of armed extremists, including local and foreign Taliban forces, the proliferation of a warlord-based society and the thwarting of the growth of civil society. In addition, the same weaponry supplied by the U.S. was later used against U.S. and allied forces.”

During the Potsdam Conference in 1945 – at the end of the Second World War – the Soviet Union, Britain and the U.S. came to an impasse over the fate of seized Italian colonies in Libya. The U.S. wanted a U.N. trusteeship but the Soviet Union suggested various provincial trusteeships, with Tripolitania under its command, Fezzan under France, and Cyrenaica under Britain.

That history is repeating itself now with the U.S. and the EU not only looking to divide Libya under two administrations in Tripoli and Benghazi, but also to eliminate a key competitor that had visions of uniting Africa, Nazemroaya said.

Libya and China were rapidly becoming key energy partners as Beijing positioned itself to be the third- largest buyer of Libyan oil – with more than 50 investment projects in the works.

Analysts like ‘Asian Times’ reporter and author of ‘Obama does Globalistan’, Pepe Escobar point out that China has taken a serious hit with the recent unrest in North Africa. Its new contracts in Libya totalling 18 billion dollars have declined by nearly 53 percent – this was the aim of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)’s strategic policy to minimise China’s economic interest in Africa.

AFRICOM, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, is responsible for U.S. military activities in 53 African nations.

The U.S. badly wanted a base in Africa and the Libyan intervention has “now provided the opening”, Escobar told IPS. “AFRICOM’s participation is the Pentagon’s strategy to counter Chinese investments in Africa.”

Escobar says that at the 2010 Lisbon Summit of leaders of NATO governments the agenda was “total domination of the Mediterranean and the establishment of a NATO ‘lake’… Gaddafi’s business dealings with China irked Brussels, Paris, London, and of course Washington”.

In recent days, Libya’s opposition claim to have gained an upper hand by seizing control of the besieged city of Misurata, whose strategic seaport has been a key lifeline for humanitarian aid missions evacuating migrants and refugees fleeing the violence.

However, Nazemroaya points out that Misurata – which could be likened to a Shanghai on the African continent – is an important industrial and trade base for Libya and Africa that would be a major economic prize should the opposition maintain control.

“Misurata is a very important industrial city and economic heartland. Qasr Ahmed, which is located 250 kilometres east of Tripoli, is a commercial port, and the main headquarters for the Libyan Iron and Steel Company (Lisco) that exports over 60 percent of its products with nearly 50 percent going to markets in Italy and Spain,” Nazemroaya said. “Furthermore, the Libyan National Oil Company – which is one of the top 20 energy companies worldwide – is also based there. Privatisation is happening under the guise of a foreign peacekeeping mission, which is why the EU wants to send soldiers.”

(END/2011)”

 

(Quelle: IPS News.)

Afrika: Mehr Waffen, weniger zivile Hilfe

Dienstag, Juli 13th, 2010

“Africa: No Butter, But Lots of Guns

By Conn Hallinan

The developed world has a message for Africa: ‘Sorry, but we are reneging on our aid pledges made at the G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland back in 2005, but we do have something for you—lots and lots of expensive things that go ‘bang’ and kill people.’

And that was indeed the message that came out of the G8-G20 meetings in Canada last month. The promise to add an extra $25 billion to a $50 billion aid package for the continent went a glimmering. Instead, the G8 will cut the $25 billion to $11 billion and the $50 billion to $38 billion. And don’t hold your breath that Africa will get even that much.

The G8 consists of Britain, the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, Japan, France, and Russia, although Moscow is not part of the aid pledge.

Canada’s Muskoka summit hailed ‘significant progress toward the millennium development goals’—the United Nations’ target of reducing poverty by 2015—but when it came time to ante up, everyone but the United Kingdom bailed. The Gleneagles pledge was to direct 0.51 percent of the G8’s gross national income to aid programs by 2010. The UK came up to 0.56 percent, but the U.S. is at 0.2, Italy at 0.16, Canada at 0.3, Germany at 0.35, and France at 0.47. Rumor has it that France and Italy led the charge to water down the 2005 goals.

The shortfall, says Oxfam spokesman Mark Fried, is not just a matter of ‘numbers.’ The aid figures ‘represent vital medicines, kids in school, help for women living in poverty and food for the hungry.’

AIDS activists are particularly incensed. ‘I see no point in beating around the bush,’ said AIDS-Free World spokesman Stephen Lewis at a Toronto press conference. He charged that Obama Administration’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief ‘is being flat-lined for at least the next two years.’ Lewis said AIDS groups were treating five million patients, but that another nine million needed to be in programs. ‘There are AIDS projects, run by other NGOs [non-governmental organizations], where new patients cannot be enrolled unless someone dies.’ 

But if the  poor, sick, and hungry are going begging, not so Africa’s militaries.

According to Daniel Volman, director of the African Security Research Project, the White House is following the same policies as the Bush Administration vis-à-vis Africa. ‘Indeed, the Obama Administration is seeking to expand U.S. military activities on the continent even further,’ says Volman.

In its 2011 budget, the White House asked for over $80 million in military programs for Africa, while freezing or reducing aid packages aimed at civilians.

The major vehicle for this is the U.S.’s African Command (AFRICOM) founded in 2008. Through the Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, AFRICOM is training troops from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Chad. The supposed target of all this is the group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Meghreb (AQIM), but while AQIM is certainly troublesome—it sets off bombs and kidnaps people— it is small, scattered, and doesn’t pose a serious threat to any of the countries involved.

The worry is that the various militaries being trained by AFRICOM could end up being used against internal dissidents. Tuaregs, for instance, are engaged in a long-running, low-level insurgency against the Mali government, which is backing a French plan to mine uranium in the Sahara. Might Morocco use the training to attack the Polisario Front in the disputed Western Sahara? Mauritanians complain that the ‘terrorist’ label has been used to jail political opponents of the government.

In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson said the U.S. was seeking to bolster Nigeria’s ‘ability to combat violent extremism within its borders.’ That might put AFRICOM in the middle of a civil war between ruling elites in Lagos and their transnational oil company allies, and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Delta, which is demanding an end to massive pollution and a fair cut of oil revenues. 

The National Energy Policy Development Groups estimates that by 2015 as much as 25 percent of U.S. oil imports will come from Africa.

So far, AFRICOM’s track record has been one disaster after another. It supported Ethiopia’s intervention in the Somalia civil war, and helped to overthrow the moderate Islamic Courts Union. It is now fighting a desperate rear-guard action against a far more extremist grouping, the al-Shabaab. AFRICOM also helped coordinate a Ugandan Army attack on the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo—Operation Lightning Thunder— that ended up killing thousands of civilians. 

The U.S. has been careful to keep a low profile in all this. ‘We don’t want to see our guys going in and getting whacked,’ Volman quotes one U.S. AFRICOM officer. ‘We want Africans to go in.’

And presumably get ‘whacked.’

AFRICOM’s Operation Flintlock 2010, which ran from May 3-22, was based in Burkina Faso. Besides the militaries of 10 African nations, it included 600 U.S. Special Forces and elite units from France, the Netherlands, and Spain. Yes, there are other arms pushers out there, and the list reads like an economic who’s who: France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Sweden, and Israel. Some 70 percent of the world’s arms trade is aimed at developing countries.

So, is AFRICOM about fighting terrorism, or oil, gas and uranium? Nicole Lee, the executive director of Trans Africa, the leading African American organization focusing on Africa has no doubts: ‘This [AFRICOM] is nothing short of a sovereignty and resource grab.’

And who actually benefits from this militarization of the continent? As Nigerian journalist Dulue Mbachu warns, ‘Increased U.S. military presence in Africa may simply serve to protect unpopular regimes that are friendly to its interests, as was the case during the Cold War, while Africa slips further into poverty.’”

 

(Quelle: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in AIDS/HIV, Armut, Bildung, Energie, Entwicklungszusammenarbeit, Erdöl, Frauen, G7, Gesundheit, Hunger, Indigene Völker, Rohstoff | No Comments »

Internationaler Strafgerichtshof: Wer zum Schwert greift…

Montag, Juni 7th, 2010

AFRICOM and the ICC: Enforcing international justice in Africa?

By Samar Al-Bulushi and Adam Branch

2010-05-27, Issue 483
The ICC (International Criminal Court) prosecutor has called for the US military to enforce ICC arrest warrants in Africa, while American officials have declared a new phase of cooperation between the US and the ICC, write Samar Al-Bulushi and Adam Branch. What some see as a solution to the ICC’s lack of enforcement capacity, the authors argue, in fact poses a dramatic danger to peace and justice in Africa and to the future of the ICC itself.

THE ICC’S ENFORCEMENT CRISIS

Nearly eight years since its establishment in July 2002, and with its first major review conference just around the corner, the International Criminal Court (ICC) faces a number of challenges. The fact that it has prosecuted only Africans has provoked charges of neocolonialism and racism; its decision to indict certain actors and not others has triggered suspicion of the court’s susceptibility to power politics; and its interventions into ongoing armed conflicts have elicited accusations that the ICC is pursuing its own brand of justice at the cost of enflaming war and disregarding the interests of victims.[1] Each of these concerns is likely to provoke heated discussions at the review conference in Kampala next week.

But there is another aspect of the court’s role in Africa that will require scrutiny going forward: enforcement. Lacking its own enforcement mechanism, the court relies upon cooperating states to execute its arrest warrants. The ICC has found, however, that many states, even if willing to cooperate, often lack the capacity to execute warrants, especially in cases of ongoing conflict or when suspects can cross international borders. Moreover, the African Union (AU) has rejected the ICC’s arrest warrant for its most high-profile target, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and ICC supporters worry that the AU will continue to challenge the court’s authority, especially when the court targets African leaders. The court today thus faces an enforcement crisis: out of 13 arrest warrants issued, only four suspects are in custody. Apparently, having concluded that African states are either unwilling or unable to act quickly or forcefully enough to apprehend suspects, the court has begun to seek support from the one country that has shown itself willing and able to wield military force across the globe: the United States.

The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor is leading this effort. In June 2009 at a public event in the US, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo declared the need for 'special forces' with 'rare and expensive capabilities that regional armies don’t have', and said that 'coalitions of the willing', led by the US, were needed to enforce ICC arrest warrants. More recently, Special Adviser to the Prosecutor Beatrice Le Fraper du Hellen declared to CNN, 'We have our shopping list ready of requests for assistance from the US government', which, she asserted, 'has to lead on one particular issue: the arrest of sought war criminals. President al-Bashir, Joseph Kony in Uganda, Bosco Ntaganda, the "Terminator in Congo" — all those people have arrest warrants against them, arrest warrants issued by the ICC judges, and they need to be arrested now.' She said that the ICC needed American 'operational support' for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda and the Central African Republic (CAR) 'to assist them in mounting an operation to arrest him [Kony]. They have the will—so it’s a totally legitimate operation, politically, legally—but they need this kind of assistance. And the US has to be the leader.'[2]

The ICC’s entreaties are a response to an apparent re-assessment of US-ICC relations undertaken by the Obama administration and to the inception of a new US policy of pragmatic, ad hoc engagement with the court. Indeed, in recent months, the US government has declared its interest in working more closely with the ICC — not with the intent of becoming a party to the Rome Statute (the ICC treaty), but to help execute arrest warrants. In late March, Stephen Rapp, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, stated that: 'The United States is prepared to listen and to work with the ICC and go through requests that the prosecutor has.' He continued: 'There may be obstacles under our law. But we’re prepared to do what we can to bring justice to the victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Uganda, and Sudan and in the Central African Republic.'[3]

And State Department Legal Adviser Harold Hongju Koh declared in March that the US is seeking cooperation with the court as a non-state party observer: 'The Obama Administration has been actively looking at ways that the US can, consistent with US law, assist the ICC in fulfilling its historic charge of providing justice to those who have endured crimes of epic savagery… We would like to meet with the Prosecutor at the ICC to examine whether there are specific ways that the United States might be able to support the particular prosecutions that are already underway.'[4] A recent Council on Foreign Relations report echoed these sentiments, recommending that the Obama administration not ratify the ICC treaty, but 'consider boosting its cooperation with the court in such areas as training, funding, the sharing of intelligence and evidence and the apprehension of suspects'.[5]

This proposed alliance between the US military and the ICC has elicited little reaction from the human rights community despite the devastating consequences it may produce. At heart is the question of what it will mean for justice and the rule of law if the ICC comes to rely heavily on the military capacity of a single state — a state with its own military agenda and interests in Africa — as its enforcement arm, in particular when that state declares itself above the very law it claims to enforce. The ICC appears to be trading its independence in return for access to coercive force, a Faustian bargain that will be made at the price of the court’s legitimacy, impartiality and legality, and the Western human rights community seems to be accepting this bargain as a necessary price to pay to encourage any US engagement with the court. But the price paid by the ICC will be trivial compared to the very dangerous possibility that this alliance could help justify and expand US militarisation in Africa, in particular in conjunction with AFRICOM (Africa Command), at a dramatic cost to peace and justice in the continent.

US INTERESTS IN THE ICC

US overtures for pragmatic engagement with the ICC in Africa should be understood in the context of increased US military engagement in Africa, particularly the new military command for the continent, AFRICOM. Since the US announced the creation of AFRICOM in 2007, activists have sounded alarm bells about its implications. Recalling the Cold War legacy of intervention that contributed to the militarisation of African states and the funding of proxy forces, they are concerned that AFRICOM will serve as a vehicle to expand the 'war on terror' into Africa, to secure US access to Africa’s oil and to challenge China’s increasing commercial and political influence. They cite dwindling development aid as contrasted with massive increases in foreign military financing via AFRICOM as evidence of the US government’s prioritiation of narrow security interests over democracy, the rule of law and African interests more broadly.[6] Gender rights activists have highlighted the potential for AFRICOM to undermine efforts to demilitarise African communities, particularly those emerging from conflict.[7] Considering the US track record of destructive interventions in Africa during the Cold War and the US military’s disregard for international law in Iraq and Afghanistan, Africans have reason to be wary of greater US military involvement on their soil. The possibility that AFRICOM might add justice enforcement to its repertoire is therefore a genuinely troubling development, and the ICC risks becoming the latest pawn of US military strategy on the continent.

For one, just as the US invokes counter-terrorism as a basis for military assistance to African states, it may come to use international justice enforcement to justify increased militarisation of select African armies. This fits well with AFRICOM’s general strategy: in place of direct intervention (which would trigger unwanted scrutiny), the US prefers to rely on proxies to carry out its military agenda.[8] As the US attempts to expand its sphere of influence in Africa through local 'partners', the ICC may inadvertently justify the militarisation of African states in the name of international law enforcement. History provides a chilling lesson in the impact of US military aid to Africa — more than US$1.5 billion worth of weapons were transferred to the continent during the Cold War,[9] most of it to authoritarian and repressive regimes whose legacies are painfully felt in ongoing cycles of violence and instability in many African countries.[10]

Secondly, ICC arrest warrants could provide the US with justification for the direct use of military force where desired. In the words of the prosecutor’s special advisor, the ICC offers a convenient way to make military action (such as the pursuit of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)) 'a totally legitimate operation, politically, legally', without having to overcome the political and legal obstacles in the way of Security Council authorisation for the use of force. Like the impunity that characterised the US and UN 'humanitarian' intervention in Somalia in the 1990s,[11] political and human destruction wreaked by US military actions under ICC cover will be dismissed as 'collateral damage' in the name of international law enforcement. It is probably safe to predict that the US will avoid ICC scrutiny for any use of military force as long as the ICC depends upon US military capacity.

And US allies in Africa could enjoy similar impunity thanks to the Bush-era bilateral immunity agreements guaranteeing US citizens protection from ICC prosecution and, in some cases, guaranteeing that the US would not hand over individuals from those African countries to the court. An April 2010 Congressional Research Service report on AFRICOM confirms that the Obama administration has no intention of reversing these immunity agreements.[12]

Instead of bringing the US back within international law, the proposed US ‘engagement’ with the ICC would thus allow the US to declare itself above international law while using international law for its own interests. The human rights community must not be complicit in this charade and must hold the US and the ICC to account.

POLITICISATION OF THE ICC

If the ICC partners with US military power, the politicised 'justice' that the ICC effects will not only create a geography of impunity in Africa, but will also lead to increased accusations of partiality against the court. And it is hard to imagine that the ICC, in its reliance on US enforcement capacity, would be able to avoid politicisation and not fall into the trap of prosecuting only those the US is willing to capture, regardless of crimes committed.

The vast discretion afforded to the Office of the Prosecutor by the Rome Statute and the lack of transparency that characterises the prosecutor’s decisions as to whom to prosecute and why is unlikely to provide any check on this type of politicisation. Luis Moreno-Ocampo has shown himself willing to take full advantage of the discretion provided him, practicing immense selectivity in his investigations and prosecutions. Even if the prosecutor were to try to prosecute US allies, the US could exert its influence by threatening to revoke funding or support for the court or by interfering with its internal workings. US meddling in supposedly independent international criminal tribunals has been documented elsewhere, including having Carla del Ponte removed from her position as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2003 when she sought to investigate the US-allied Rwandan government for war crimes.[13] If the ICC is seen as working hand-in-glove with US interests in Africa, its legitimacy may end up fatally damaged.

EXPANSION OF AFRICOM

The appointment of AFRICOM as the ICC’s police officer in Africa may, along with providing cover for US military operations and for the militarisation of African states involved in ICC enforcement operations, also help establish a long-term US military presence on the continent. After US forces have set up bases or surveillance centres as part of a law enforcement operation, it will be easy for that military presence to remain long after the actual 'enforcement' operation has ended. Once US drones are circling overhead hunting ICC suspects, these drones could easily keep circling, collecting intelligence and carrying out 'targeted assassinations' when required.

One recent incident may provide a taste for what is to come through an AFRICOM-ICC alliance. In December 2008, a military operation coined 'Operation Lightning Thunder' was carried out principally by the Ugandan military with training and financial support from AFRICOM against the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, the top commanders of which have outstanding ICC arrest warrants against them. The operation failed to capture the LRA leadership, however, and led to over 1,000 civilian deaths and the displacement of up to 200,000 Congolese.[14]

Despite the devastating consequences of that operation for civilians, the US Congress recently passed legislation authorising intensified US-led military action in the region 'to apprehend or otherwise remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield'. The legislation includes no commitment to upholding the ICC’s arrest warrants, but Senator Russ Feingold, a co-sponsor and vocal advocate of the bill, stated that the effort to stop the LRA is 'exactly the kind of thing in which AFRICOM should be engaged'.[15] In its latest report on the LRA, the International Crisis Group supported the bill and called for long-term US military engagement in the region: 'Uganda and the US should see that getting rid of Kony may win them praise and be politically valuable, but removing the LRA requires going further. They should prepare now to continue operations after Kony is caught or killed,' with mechanisms to 'review the operation every four months to assess civilian casualties and increase civilian protection measures accordingly,' signalling the projection of a long-term US military deployment in the region, a deployment justified originally as part of an effort to apprehend the LRA leadership.[16]

The presence of US military on African soil raises a number of concerns for those communities where they are deployed. Former US Army Colonel Ann Wright warned against deploying US soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, citing the high number of rape and violent sexual assault cases in the US military and by US military personnel against women and girls in areas around US military bases.[17] As she stated, 'If the women of the Congo should Google, "US military — sexual assault and rape", I suspect they will decline the offer of assistance from the African Command.'

Similarly, given the massive civilian devastation wreaked by recent US military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is likely that most Africans would say 'no thank you' to the offers of justice from the barrel of American guns. This is especially the case given that many of these law enforcement operations may be carried out not by uniformed US soldiers, but by US-contracted private security firms who anticipate a boom in business thanks to AFRICOM.[18] Given the near total lack of accountability that private contractors have enjoyed in Iraq and Afghanistan, this should also give human rights and peace advocates considerable pause for thought.

Finally, regardless of how the proposed cooperation works out in practice, there is the underlying issue that, for people in many areas of the world, the idea that US military force is the chosen instrument of global justice makes a mockery of the violence and devastation they have suffered at the hands of US military intervention. The ICC’s pandering to the US military is an insult to all those in the US and around the world struggling to hold the US military and its mercenaries accountable. The quest for global accountability will only become more difficult if the US military is appointed by the ICC as the chosen agent of global justice instead of being a force that itself needs to be held accountable.

PRESERVING THE RULE OF LAW

In order to ensure that any future ICC-US cooperation builds, rather than undermines, the rule of law, human rights activists, in particular at the ICC Review Conference, have a right and responsibility to make several demands:

– First, that the US sign and ratify the Rome Statute as a signal of its commitment to the rule of law
– Second, that all US-initiated bilateral immunity agreements be nullified
– Third, that if the ICC works with the US while the US is not a state party, it should do so in an open, transparent and accountable manner.

Most important, it is up to all human rights and peace advocates to make clear that we will not allow the enforcement of international justice to be used as a cover for US militarisation of Africa and for the dangerous expansion of AFRICOM in the continent.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEW

* Samar Al-Bulushi is an independent researcher examining the influence of external actors on peace and justice debates in Africa. Adam Branch is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at San Diego State University.
* Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at Pambazuka News.

NOTES

[1] See for example: Mary Kimany, 'International Criminal Court: Justice or Racial Double Standards?' Afrik.com, 16 December 2009 available hereat ; Hama Tuma, 'ICC and Omar Bashir no friends of Ethiopia-Contempt for Africa or Justice Served?' Afrik.com, 9 March 2009 available at http://en.afrik.com/rejoinder15397.html; Adam Branch, 'Uganda’s Civil War and the Politics of ICC Intervention,' Ethics and International Affairs, 2007, available at http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~abranch/Publications/index_pub.html; Mayank Bubna, 'The ICC’s Role in Sudan: Peace versus Justice,' Eurasia Review, 28 April 2010, available here.
[2] George Lerner, 'Ambassador: US moving to support international court,' CNN US on-line, www.cnn.com/2010/US/03/24/us.global.justice
[3] George Lerner, 'Ambassador: US moving to support international court,' CNN US on-line, www.cnn.com/2010/US/03/24/us.global.justice
[4] Harold Hongju Koh, 'The Obama Administration and International Law,' Keynote Speech at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, 26 March 2010. http://www.state.gov/s/l/releases/remarks/139119.htm
[5] Vijay Padmanabhan, From Rome to Kampala: The US Approach to the 2010 International Criminal Court Review Conference. Council on Foreign Relations Special Report No. 55, April 2010.
[6] See for example, 'African Voices on AFRICOM,' at
http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/47047 See also A. Sarjoh Bah and Kwesi Aning, 'US Peace Operations Policy in Africa: From ACRI to AFRICOM,' International Peacekeeping, 2008. See also Daniel Volman and Beth Tuckey, 'Militarizing Africa (Again),' Foreign Policy in Focus, 20 February 2008 at http://www.fpif.org/articles/militarizing_africa_again
[7] See Amina Mama and Margo Okazawa- Rey. “Editorial: Militarism, Conflict and Women’s Activism,” Feminist Africa Issue 10, 2008.
[8] See for example Rick Rozoff, “AFRICOM’s First War: U.S. Directs Large Scale Offensive in Somalia,” March 2010 available at http://bit.ly/cImpQn; see also Samuel Makinda, “The Rising Mercenary Industry and AFRICOM,” AfricanLoft, 29 January 2008, available at http://bit.ly/b1gaET
[9] William Hartung and Bridget Moix, “Deadly Legacy: U.S. Arms to Africa and the Congo War,” Arms Trade Resource Center, January 2000. See also John Stockwell, In Search of Enemies, Replica Books 1997.
[10] Ugboaja F. Ohaegbulam, U.S. Policy in Postcolonial Africa: Four case Studies in Conflict Resolution, Peter Lang: New York, 2004.
[11] Alex de Waal, Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.
[12] Lauren Ploch, “Africa Command: US Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa,” Congressional Research Service, 10 April 2010, p. 11.
[13]See Carla del Ponte and Chuck Sudetic, Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity's Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity (Other Press, 2009) for details on this and also U.S. meddling in the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.
[14] See Ronald Atkinson, ‘Revisiting Operation Lightning Thunder’, The Independent, 9 June 2009.
[15] Samar Al-Bulushi, “U.S. legislation authorises military action against the LRA in Uganda,”
Pambazuka News, 25 March 2010.
[16] International Crisis Group, “LRA: A Regional Strategy Beyond Killing Kony,” 28 April 2010, p. 15.
[17] Ann Wright, “With its Record of Rape, Don’t send the U.S. military to the Congo,” Huffington Post, 21 August 2009, http://huff.to/ajauJg
[18] AFRICOM: A New Military for Hire?” TransAfrica Forum, available at http://www.transafricaforum.org/policy-overview/us-militarization/africom

(Quelle: Pambazuka News.)

Afrika: Krieg gegen den Terror! Jetzt auch in der Sahelzone

Samstag, Mai 15th, 2010

“Africa: Military Manoeuvres in the Sahel

Military exercises are under way in the Sahel region as part of the United States-led Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Partnership. Participating militaries are enthusiastic, but civil society cautions that force may not be enough to ensure regional security.

In recent years, the area between the southern limits of the Sahara desert but north of where West Africa’s savanna begins – has been the theatre for operations by militia groups linked to Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (known by its French acronym AQMI). In addition, organised crime syndicates conduct racketeering and smuggling activities in the region.

Operation Flintlock 2010, taking place from May 3-22, is the latest in a series of annual U.S. military exercises in Africa, and will include forces from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Chad and Tunisia. Some 1,200 soldiers will be involved: 600 U.S. Special Forces, 400 from the various African armies, and 150 drawn from European countries, including France and the United Kingdom.

‘The goal is to establish trust and build relationships with military forces of other countries,’ said Anthony Holmes, deputy to the commander of civil-military activities of the U.S. military command for Africa (AFRICOM).

The manoeuvres, which will be supervised by U.S. officers, are being run from a Multi-National Coordination Centre set up for the purpose in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

‘The purpose of this exercise is to improve cooperation and interoperability of West African, U.S. and European forces and to enable communication and coordination between various forces from a dozen countries,’ Holmes told IPS.

‘Our task is even broader given the proliferation of arms and regional crises which offer an opportunity for terrorist groups to inflitrate and carry out their deadly actions,’ Burkinabé defence minister Yéro Boly told journalists during the launch of the exercises in Ouagadougou on May 3.

‘It is a great opportunity for us to get a maximum of experience and become more seasoned and better face the new challenges that appearing in today’s world,’ said Boly.

For several years, U.S. Special Forces have supported the Algerian army against AQMI. Observers of the security situation in the Sahel say AQMI is made up of highly mobile groups that operate across an immense arid area nearly impossible to control.

The U.S. also regularly gives Malian soldiers anti-terrorist training as part of a programme begun in the early 2000s and encompassing many Sahelian countries.

AQMI was accused of several attacks over the last few years and is currently holding two Spanish citizens hostage. The group is also thought to be behind the kidnapping last April of a French national in Niger.

But Holmes said the current military exercises will not try to free hostages. ‘It’s not a question of solving the hostage situation. The countries where the kidnappings took place are responsible for that.’

In April, Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger established a military command centre in southern Algeria to coordinate anti-terrorism efforts.

Legislators from the Kidal region of northern Mali recently warned authorities of Al-Qaeda recruitment among the Arab and Touareg populations in that area.

But the legislators stated their preference for economic development rather than military operations. They argued that development would prevent Al-Qaeda from exercising any influence over young Malians.

Burkina Faso’s defence minister agrees. ‘The solution to terrorism cannot be just military simply because terrorism isn’t an identifiable enemy; the response should also be economic, because we must fight some of the fundamental causes of terrorism which are poverty and inequality in resource distribution between countries,’ Boly said. Alexandre Pagomziri Ouédraogo, head of human rights and fair governance at the Centre for Strategic Studies for Africa (CESA – the Centre d’études stratégiques pour l’Afrique), told IPS: ‘The fight (against terrorism) is very important, but the way it is conducted may discourage African countries, who see it as a territorial struggle between larger, more powerful nations.’

African governments, he added, are more preoccupied by poverty and exclusion. ‘The fight against terrorism needs to incorporate poverty reduction and improvement of living conditions in African countries.’

AFRICOM is not insensitive to these assessments. According to the planners of Flintlock, the exercise also includes civillian activities, such as providing health care to communities and veterinary assistance for livestock in the areas involved.”

(Quelle: allAfrica.com.)