On October 1st 2008, AFRICOM became the US Defense Department’s tenth unified combatant command(1) and was I really naive enough to think that “Uncle Sam” was going to let the Chinese, more or less, have their way in Africa? Now, it would appear that the son of a black Kenyan might be doing a lot of focusing on trying to counter Chinese influence on his daddy’s continent and is it a coincidence that just as AFRICOM is being launched, we are hearing of pirates on the important oil routes off of the horn and of a “new” civil war erupting in the Congo?(2) Moreover, might we even have another reason for the coming of Mr “Hope and Change” Obama? Possibly taking it a wee bit too far on the conspiracy theories there. However, what are the facts on the ground?
Well, for one thing Joseph Kabila, the Congo’s first democratically elected President has been told to rethink a $9 billion joint Congo-China venture by an apparently US backed thug called General Nkunda, a long standing henchman of the President of Rwanda, the US trained Kagame. Anyway to keep it simple the said General’s well-armed troops have surrounded Gomo in the North of Kivu a province, which Geologists believe has some of the richest repositories of minerals in the world. Now we have Nkunda telling Kabila that he has to rethink his deal with the Chinese and forget the fact that the money provided by the Chinese in exchange for their mining rights was going to be used for things like, building schools, hydroelectric dams, hospitals and railway links to southern Africa, the Congolese port of Matadi and to Katanga.(3) Of the oil rich Gulf of Guinea, and of Nigeria in particular, we will be hearing a lot and now “Uncle Sam” has that little bit of muscle that will allow him to get closer to his proxies and will accompany his humanitarian efforts in the Dafur region.(3)
It would appear that interesting times are looming in Africa just as the first “Afro-American” President is about to appear on the scene. There will be all sorts of messy little proxy wars and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Congolese have to wait a little bit longer for their schools and hospitals. Let us not be too surprised of the “hope and change” man decides to support Nkunda’s death squads to remove the democratically elected President ….. in the name of democracy, of course!
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