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      XXPANTHAXX's Avatar
      XXPANTHAXX is offline Organizer

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      Arrow The U.S. Role in the Wars in Congo and Somalia

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      Imperialist's drive for economic domination fuels continental

      by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
      Pan-African News Wire
      Note: The following article is taken from a talk delivered at a Workers
      World public meeting on African affairs in Detroit on December 13, 2008.

      When the U.S. corporate media reports on the contemporary affairs on the
      African continent, the content and direction of the stories never
      highlight the role of the multi-national corporations and the
      military-industrial-complex in initiating underdevelopment and fostering
      political instability. The claim that the United States was not involved
      in the colonization of the African continent is misleading to the say
      the least and objectively false.

      In fact it was the involvement of the European ruling class within the
      North American continent in the Atlantic Slave Trade that dramatically
      altered the global balance of political and economic forces. The
      British, French and Spanish all had colonies inside the area which
      became known as the United States. The expansion of the nation-state
      after the independence of the European settler-class created the
      conditions for the country to become dominant among other colonial and
      imperialist rivals.

      African slavery reaped tremendous profits for both the planters and the
      burgeoning industrialists in the United States. The contradictions
      between the two competing economic systems of slavery and industrial
      capitalism lead to the civil war between 1861-65. After 1865,
      industrialization grew rapidly particularly in the north and the
      northeast of the country.

      The economic and political status of the U.S. grew with the rapid
      industrialization after the mid-19th century. At the conclusion of the
      so-called Spanish-American war at the turn of the 19th and 20th century,
      the ruling class was able to effectively challenge any attempt by other
      western European states to gain a base inside the western hemisphere as
      well as the Philippines.

      With the advent of the automotive and steel industries, the growth in
      individual wealth reached levels never previously achieved. Then came
      World War I, when millions died in the scramble for the colonial
      territories where the mining industries would further impoverish the
      oppressed nations.

      During the 1920s there was widespread immigration and migration in the
      United States. Industrial development and banking became even stronger
      than the period of the early 20th century. However, the great crash of
      1929 brought the system to a screeching halt.

      The New Deal, which is often referred to during the current period of
      economic downturn, did not bring the United States out of the Great
      Depression. It was only the beginning of war production after 1940 and
      the draft, that created full-employment. After the War, with Europe and
      Asia devastated by conventional combat, the United States became the
      most dominant and influential nation in the world.

      Nonetheless, the Soviet Union, the anti-fascist forces and the
      anti-colonial movements served as the real challenge to U.S. hegemony. A
      watseful "cold war" continued from 1945 to 1990, where military
      expenditures grew by leaps and bounds. It was the imperialists countries
      in the continued quest for world domination that drove the struggle
      between world capitalism on the one hand, and socialism and the
      anti-imperialist and anti-colonial movements, on the other.

      The Imperialists Undermine Congo Independence

      After the independence of the Congo in June of 1960, the former colonial
      power of Belgium and other imperialist states, with a leading role being
      played by the United States, set out to undermine the country's

      Lumumba was placed under house arrest by the United Nations forces in
      August of 1960. Eventually he fled Leopoldville and traveled to the east
      of the country where his support was strong. The pro-Lumumbaist forces
      had established a base in Orientale Province at the capital of
      Stanleyville, where the Prime Minister and his family were heading when
      they were intercepted by the Congolese National Army (ANC) soldiers who
      were loyal to Mobutu.

      The Congolese military had split along similar lines as the political
      class within the country during the post-independence crisis. The base
      of operations in Orientale Province held out until it was forcefully
      suppressed in 1964, with the widespread assistance of the American
      Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under the-then President Lyndon B.
      Johnson and the racist colonial governments of Rhodesia, South Africa,
      Portugal, France, Britain and Belgium.

      Even though the secession of Katanga was eventually reversed by the
      United Nations in late 1961, the damage caused by the coup d'etat
      against the MNC-Lumumba and its allies were to have deep repercussions
      for the nation's future.

      Mobutu's coup in 1965 against Kasabuvu and the-then recently displaced
      Moise Tshombe, who had been appointed Prime Minister of Congo in 1964 in
      a bid to create a supposed "unity government", continued the process of
      the exploitation of the national wealth of the country by foreign
      imperialist interests.

      After the changing of the country's name to Zaire in 1971, Mobutu
      maintained the large scale presence of mining conglomerates inside the
      country whose activities never benefited the workers and peasants of

      Several attempts were made during the late 1970s and mid-1980s to
      initiate a broad-based guerrilla insurgency aimed at toppling the regime
      of Mobutu Sese Seko. During 1977-78, the Zairian regime was supported
      by the active military units of France and European mercenary groups to
      put down a revolt in the mineral rich Shaba province.

      Although these campaigns during the 1970s and 1980s only gained limited
      results and were eventually halted, they illustrated the degree of
      discontent still prevalent within the country.

      Active political groups such as the Front for the Liberation of Congo
      (FLNC), the MNC-Lumumba and the Movement of Workers and Peasants (MOPP)
      continued to organize underground for the overthrow of the
      western-backed Mobutu regime. The government had contnued its alliance
      with settler-colonialism in Southern Africa and supported
      "pseudo-liberation movements" such as UNITA, FLNA, and FLEC in Angola
      during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

      With the overthrow of the Apartheid system in 1994, the UNITA
      organization continued to rely on Mobutu in its campaign aimed at the
      destabilization of Angola. Prior to this period, UNITA was heavily
      financed and politically assisted by the apartheid regime in South
      Africa and the United States Government.

      The Rwandan Factor

      In Rwanda, the former military regime of Juvenal Habyarimana, which
      suppressed democracy and national political pluralism, enjoyed firm
      support within the Mobutu government. Consequently, when President
      Habyarimana was killed in a plane crash on April 6, 1994, the subsequent
      Rwandan Hutu based leadership and its 1.5 million supporters, who had
      carried out the genocidal murders of 500,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu
      civilians, were given asylum in Zaire, creating one of the largest
      refugee crises in the history of post-colonial Africa.

      Ironically it was the political fallout associated with the presence of
      the Hutu refugee camps in eastern Congo that precipitated the widespread
      uprising against the Mobutu regime. Having become alienated within
      Africa and the international community, Mobutu enjoyed very limited
      support when violence erupted in the eastern provinces during the latter
      portion of 1996.

      The ADFL Revolt and Africa's World War

      World attention became focused on the situation in eastern Congo, when
      in October of 1996, there was an outbreak of fighting between the
      Banyamulenge Tutsi and Zairian soldiers around Uvira. Clashes also
      erupted between the Interhamwe Hutu militia elements from the Rwandan
      refugee camps and the Banyamulenge, who are indigenous to Congo and are
      related to the Tutsi nationalities in Rwanda and Burundi.

      As a result of the renewed fighting, some 250,000 refugees abandoned
      their camps in Uvira and headed towards Bakavu. By the time of their
      arrival at Bakavu, the situation in the area was complicated by the
      escalation of oppression against the Tutsi nationality by the Zairian
      regime. Africans of this nationality origin were unjustly stripped of
      their citizenship rights and ordered to leave the country for Rwanda.

      However, the Zairian military and the Interhamwe militias were proven to
      be no match for the Banyamulenge guerrilla fighters, who eventually
      seized control of Nyangezi, south of Bakavu, on October 24, 1996. The
      following day, the rebel's leadership announced that the goal of their
      movement was to topple the Mobutu regime and establish a new government
      in the country.

      At the same time they named Laurent Kabila as their leader and delcared
      themselves the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo
      (ADFL). In subsequent days, the political and military momentum of the
      uprising accelerated when the Alliance took control of Bakavu on October

      As a result of these advances of guerrilla forces who took control over
      eastern Congo, 250,000 refugees from Rwanda left their camps at Bakavu
      and headed towards Goma. In the midst of the intensive military
      offensives launched by the ADFL, the Zairian military rapidly crumbled,
      fleeing and hiding from the battle lines determined by the guerrilla

      International involvement in the guerrilla offensive launched by the
      ADFL had been widely reported in the corporate media. In addition to
      logistical and political support from Rwanda, the Ugandan military was
      accused of intervening and temporarily seizing control of the Congolese
      towns of Masabwa, Kasindi, Manda and Mutanga, in order to weaken the
      Zairian military and to retaliate against a purported cross-border
      violation of Ugandan territory.

      Also the Republic of Angola began to supply air support and
      transportation to the ADFL forces. In contrast, the
      counter-revolutionary UNITA organization of Angola sent several units of
      its military to fight alongside Mobutu, a longtime patron of this
      apartheid and U.S.-backed group headed by Jonas Savimbi.

      During the concluding phase of the war, it was reported that the most
      formidable Zairian resistance to the capturing of the town of Kenge,
      near the capital of Kinshasha, was actually carried out by the UNITA
      forces fighting against the advances of the ADFL.

      When Kabila's ADFL soldiers marched into Kinshasha largely unopposed on
      May 17, 1997, it represented a culmination of political struggle against
      neo-colonialism in Africa spanning a thirty-seven year period.

      Nonetheless, the alliance that brought about the second liberation of
      Congo was soon burst assunder. The Rwandan and Ugandan governments, at
      the aegis of the U.S. administration of Bill Clinton, sought to dictate
      the political policies of the renamed Democratic Republic of Congo
      (DRC). When Kabila ordered the removal of Rwandan and Ugandan military
      forces from the eastern region of the country, both of these U.S.-backed
      regimes declared war on Kinshasha and sought to replace Kabila.

      The Congolese Democratic Rally (RCD) was formed as a front for Uganda
      and Rwanda. However, the progressive governments of Angola, Zimbabwe and
      Namibia, under the auspices of the Southern African Development
      Community (SADC) came to the defense of the DRC government and beat back
      the intervention. This war lasted between 1998-2003 and resulted in the
      deaths of millions of Congolese.

      When a negotiated settlement was reached, a government of national unity
      was formed. This agreement broke down after elections were held in
      2006. Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001 leaving the reigns of
      government to his son Joseph. Joseph Kabila won the elections of 2006.

      Unfortunately, two other guerrilla groups were formed in the north and
      in the east. Laurent Nkunda's CNDP has launched attacks against civilian
      areas in North Kivu since August of 2008. This new situation has set the
      stage for the intervention of the European Union, which is still
      contemplating a military invasion and occupation of the mineral rich
      eastern region of the DRC.

      The U.S. Role in the Background to the Somalian Crisis

      It is not an oversimplification to state that the problems that have
      occured since the formation of the Republic of Somalia in 1960, must be
      viewed within the context of the overall post-colonial crisis of the
      nation-state in Africa. A brief cursory overview of the degree and
      character of political stabiliy and economic stagnation so prevalent in
      strucutral deficiencies cannot merely be analyzed in a case by case
      fashion, but must be approached from the standpoint of regional and
      continental patterns of development.

      In looking at the situations of three neigboring countries to Somalia:
      Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, we can see that the similarities of
      agricultural deficits, micro-nationality and border conflicts, foreign
      debts and the exigencies of political democratization has created
      internal tensions and dislocations which requires a histtorical
      materialist model of analysis.

      The historical materialist model of analysis acknowledges the particular
      characteristics of development within the various Africans states.
      However, it recognizes that the history of the impact of slavery,
      colonialism and imperialism and neo-colonialism has created a broad
      spectrum of structural problems that are present and recurrent within
      all African countries in the contemporary neo-colonial period.

      In viewing modern-day Somalia, the legacy of colonial rule that was
      imposed in the nineteenth century must be considered in any evaluation
      of the country's performance as a post-independence state since 1960.
      The fact that the Somali people, composed of a myriad of clans and
      sub-clans, were divided by four colonial states and one feudel state,
      illustrates the total disregard by the imperialists of the national
      character of indigenous peoples.

      Complicating the Somali question is also the role of feudal Ethiopia
      which continued to expand its influence along with the European powers
      in the region during the latter 19th century. However, being encircled
      by European imperialism eventually lead to an Italian fascist invasion
      of Ethiopia in 1936 under Mussolini.

      During the colonial period, even after the defeat of fascist Italy in
      1941, Somalia was designated as a protectorate by the United Nations of
      this former dictatorial regime. By the 1950s, the entire East African
      coast from Somalia to Mozambique was the center of intense oil

      In the northern part of Somalia, which was colonized by the British, the
      Standard-Vacuum Oil and Conorado companies were involved in this
      extended search for oil. In the Italian controlled section of Somalia,
      the companies engaged in the exploration during the pre-independence
      period of the 1950s, were Conorado and Sinclair, who controlled an equal
      share of a 57 million acre concession.

      As a result of the independence struggle against the colonialism of
      Britain and the United Nations imposed protectorate status under Italy
      during the 1950s, the country gained its independence in 1960, joining
      both the Italian and British controlled sections of the Somali

      The leading organization in the independence movement during the
      post-World War II period was the Somali Youth League (SYL), which was
      based in the southern region of the country then under the Italian
      protectorate regime. When the SYL won the overwhelming majority of
      seats in the March 1959 elections for the legislative assembly, they
      worked toward the formation of a coalition government with the British
      controlled region of the north. With the establishment of the
      independent Somali Republic on July 1, 1960, the British and Italian
      colonies were merged under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr.
      Abdirashid Ali Shirmake.

      After the national elections of 1964, serious splits developed within
      the ranks of the SYL and its allies in the coalition government. After
      the removal of the first Prime Minister, Dr. Shirmake, by Abdirazak Haji
      Hussein in 1964, Shirmake ran again in 1967 and was elected president,
      forming a new government with Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal, a northern
      based politician from the Isaq clan as prime minister.

      By 1969, the divisiveness of the political class became quite intense
      leading to a splintering of forces in that year's elections. However,
      Egal maintained his position after the elections amid allegations of
      manipulating the voting and selection process. Later in October,
      Shirmarke was assassinated in a factional dispute, leading to the
      military coup d'etat under the leadership of Mohammed Siad Barre.

      Declaring itself the Somali Democratic Republic, the regime of Barre
      moved to institute its own brand of scientific socialism. Large scale
      nationalization of industries took place along with diplomatic overtures
      to the Soviet Union and other socialist-oriented states.

      The former British military bases at Berbera in the north were the scene
      of intense training of Somali military forces by Soviet technicians.
      However, this era of friendship and cooperation with the USSR did not
      last long, particularly after the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974 and the
      subsequent events leading to the consolidation of power by the military
      officer, Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1977.

      Having never given up on the idea of a "Greater Somalia", encompassing
      not only the present borders of the country but including the population
      groups of this nationality that were scattered throughout Ethiopia,
      Kenya and Djibouti, the regime of Siad Barre backed a military
      secessionist movement in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia in 1977-78.

      Later on with the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence in Ethiopia,
      the USSR moved swiftly to fill in the vacuum left by the American
      expulsion. When the Soviets were asked to vacate their 6,000 technicians
      from Somalia, full scale war erupted in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia,
      prompting the evacuation of Ethiopian military forces from the area.

      However, with the assistance of the Soviet Union's military advisors and
      direct Cuban troops involvement in the fighting, the Western Somali
      Liberation Front (WSLF) insurgents were quickly defeated and forced to
      retreat into Somalia proper. This conflict largely resulted from the
      strategic miscalculations of Siad Barre, who believed the US promises of
      military assistance for the Ogaden war in order to counter Soviet and
      Cuban influence in the Horn of Africa.

      What Barre did not understand was the phenomena of the post-Vietnam
      syndrome in the American political psyche after 1975. Jimmy Carter's
      presidency was not willing to risk direct U.S. military involvement in
      Ethiopia where American combat troops would be deployed and possibly
      face large-scale casualties.

      The conflict in the Ogaden region marked the beginning of increased
      instability in Somalia. Famine became widespread during the early
      1980s, which prompted relief efforts and an increased U.S. media focus
      on the enormous problems created by the dislocation of civilians
      resulting from political unrest and monumental food deficits. At the
      same time, the level of American military assistance to the country
      increased, bringing about the material basis for a highly regimented and
      repressive state.

      By the late 1980s, various regions of the country became highly
      disaffected from the central government. The intensification of
      military activities in the north by the Somali National Movement (SNM)
      against the Barre regime between 1988-1991 created a serious crisis for
      the government.

      In 1990, the three major opposition groups the SNM, the United Somali
      Congress (USC) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), announced that
      they would coordinate their activities designed to overthrow the Barre
      government. In January of 1991, Barre fled the country in the face of
      military advances by the USC and others in the capital Mogadishu as well
      as other regions of the country.

      The Challenge of National Unity in Somalia

      Even after the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991, the question of national
      reconciliation and unity in Somalia has remained elusive. The total
      collapse of the state under Barre and the failure to stabilize a
      coalition government in Mogadishu during 1991-1992, lead to widespread
      factional fighting in various regions of the country.

      This internecine conflict created the conditions for famine in the
      country, which provided the United States with a rationale for a
      large-scale military invasion in December of 1992, under the guise of a
      United Nations sponsored relief effort.

      This "relief effort", called "Operation Restore Hope", which was
      initially greeted with some degree of acceptance by various political
      organizations in Somalia, soon degenerated into a large-scale occupation
      reminiscent of the colonial period in the nation's history. Somali youth
      were randomly beaten and murdered by U.S., Italian, Pakistani and
      Canadian military forces.

      Under the leadership of the Somali National Alliance (SNA), headed by
      Mohammed Farrah Aided, the people resisted the US-UN occupation
      vigorously, resulting in thousands of casualties on the Somali side, and
      several hundred among the occupying forces.

      A major clash on October 3, 1993, resulted in 18 officially reported
      deaths of U.S. soldiers and the capturing of an American helicopter
      pilot. This then lead to mass opposition to the Clinton policy of
      continued occupation. In response to increasing protest activity around
      the U.S. and the world, Clinton announced an impending withdrawal from
      Somalia, which occured in 1994.

      However, despite the defeat of American occupationist aims in the region
      in 1993, and the withdrawal of the UN troops in 1994-95, the country has
      failed to overcome the factionalism of political parties and the
      seccesion of the northern area, which was formerly colonized by the
      United Kingdom. At least three different factions have declared
      themselves as legitimate governments in Somalia, including Somaliland
      and Puntland, despite the fact that no entity in the international
      community has officially recognized any of these self-proclaimed

      Even though the United States was defeated in Somalia during the early
      1990s, in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, the
      atmosphere created by the Bush administration and the corporate media,
      attempted to justify covert operations against the country. During
      2006, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) began to consolidate its base of
      power in various regions of Somalia. The fact that these efforts took
      place independent of U.S. influence and direction, the Bush
      administration sought to undermine the UIC.

      Initially, the US imperialists attempted to coordinate various political
      and social elements in the country to attack the UIC. When this did not
      prove effective, the Bush administration encouraged, financed and
      coordinated an Ethiopian military invasion and occupation of the country
      beginning in December of 2006.

      Nonetheless, this U.S.-backed occupation was met with fierce resistance.
      Two years later, by the end of 2008, the Ethiopians had already
      withdrawn 10,000 out of 12,000 of its troops. Al-Shabab, the youth wing
      of the UIC, had launched systematic attacks against the occupationists
      in various regions of the country. This was coupled with the continued
      hijacking of commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden by Somalis.


      Reviewing aspects of the historical development of both the Democratic
      Republic of Congo and Somalia provides concrete examples of how
      imperialism has prevented African states from achieving genuine
      independence. During the colonial era, the US was never a champion of
      the legitimate national liberation movements on the continent.

      As anti-imperialists it is necessary to provide political support to all
      social and political forces struggling against U.S. and other western
      efforts aimed at the continued exploitation and oppression of the
      peoples of Africa. In both the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and
      Somalia, the United States administration is very much involved in
      campaigns to control the political developments inside these countries
      and to preserve the economic interests of the ruling class.
      Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire.
      Nov 2, 2015 "Assata Shakur Liberation Day" marks 36 yrs of freedom for our Comrade Assata Shakur, Our Warrior was liberated from a NJ prison by Comrades In The Black Liberation Army click here to read more or here

    2. #2
      Elisa Keisha's Avatar
      Elisa Keisha is offline Moderator

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      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      Quote Originally Posted by XXPANTHAXX View Post
      When the U.S. corporate media reports on the contemporary affairs on the
      African continent, the content and direction of the stories never
      highlight the role of the multi-national corporations and the
      military-industrial-complex in initiating underdevelopment and fostering
      political instability. The claim that the United States was not involved
      in the colonization of the African continent is misleading to the say
      the least and objectively false.
      Asante Sana.

      This morning i was drinkin my coffee while reading a "leftist" important spanish newspaper. Article about Congo, good. What did i find? of course they tell u about all the children working in the mines, all the families, malnutricion, political inestability. When they start describing Congo's history, i read about how terrible Mobutu's regime was, and how the next ones were not better. But i read nothing about Lumumba... I speed reading thrue the article searching for some tiny mention of any Eurpean or American country or institution, and only found them when UN's reports or some european NGO's information are quoted.

      They do write about how are the beneficiaries, but only mention Afrikan names.

      what the fuck??

      This is such blantant example of misinformation, miseducation. Africa continues being portrayed as some kind of isolated land where people are savages, unable to govern themselves, naturally unable to mantain any stability.

      I know I should be used, but..

      I just want to strongly recommed everybody to spread thhis kind of international information, print it, translate it, email it, whatever. Im goin to do my part.

      Elisa Marvena Nyarai

      SANKOFA Asociación Cultural

    3. #3

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      Yes, News Channels reportage never establishes any connections to, or stories about, the deeper, hidden realities of western involvement in war, mining, extortion, pillage, dictatorship, arms-running, genocide, disease, or population control programs in Central Africa. Like virtually all of the western media, there is never any attention to the perpetuation of structural violence or the institutions of control and domination.

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