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July 17 2009 Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: (From the archives) Murder, Apologies, 'Themistan', and Our Presence In Central Asia
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Partnership sounds nice. But as FPIF contributor Gerald LeMelle argues in Revealing the Real Africa Policy, the administration's Africa agenda make "no reference to the recent FY 2010 budget that doubles the size of AFRICOM's funds. Nor does it mention the doubling of financial support for counterterrorism projects throughout the continent — including increasing funds for weapons, military training, and education at a time when U.S. foreign aid money is stagnating."
And despite his pointed remarks against dictators and military conflicts, Obama neglected to mention Uganda, where AFRICOM supports the Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF) with arms and training. "Northern Ugandans have innumerable stories about the abuses committed by the UPDF in their communities," writes FPIF contributor Beth Tuckey in Denouncing Dictatorship in Uganda. "Although the UPDF's behavior has been slightly better in recent years, it would be a mistake for the United States to train and equip such a force for combat. Museveni has shown no interest in relinquishing his presidency, and yet the United States continues to shower his so-called democracy with aid and military support.
In Nigeria, which will soon provide up to one-quarter of all U.S. imported oil, the government recently launched a full-scale offensive against armed resistance groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The Nigerian government receives official military assistance from the United States, as well as tens of millions of dollars in commercial U.S. military sales. "Peaceful resistance of minority ethnic groups across the Niger Delta has been met with brutal military repression and the broken promises of oil companies, with no opportunity for dialogue or genuine negotiation in 50 years," writes FPIF contributor Kia Mistilis in Niger Delta Standoff. "In this environment, the armed resistance group, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta Peoples (MEND) emerged in 2006. The group targeted oil installations and caused a 40% drop in supply, from 2.4 million to 1.3 million barrels per day" (a 60-Second Expert version of her commentary is here).
So, the United States is indeed helping Africans help themselves…to natural resources and the labor of the disenfranchised.
[In Full with lots of linkage at Foreign Policy In Focus]
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