This is from blogs.news.sky.com. I think the author commented on the earlier post I made about Africom. It is rather significant that no African country is will to host Africom. It is a bit surprsing though in that with some countries such as Liberia the U.S. has good relationships as far as I know. The concentration upon fighting terrorism is somewhat of a smokescreen behind which there is a pursuit of power and influence, oil and other natural resources.
Stuttgart; Capital Of Africa
Tim MarshallOctober 1, 2008 10:19 AM
America is playing catch up in the new Race for Africa by establishing its military headquarters for the continent in - Stuttgart, Southern Germany.
Perhaps in the computer age the location of this geographically challenged base doesn't matter technologically, but it does matter symbolically.
None of the 53 African countries are willing to host the USA's new Africa Command (Africom) which officially opens for business today. They suspect a landgrab and feel they have not been properly consulted.
Many will co-operate with the US military, but they are not exactly gushing with goodwill and it could take the US years to persuade anyone to let them move in lock, stock and smoking fighter jet.
Africom has another problem - funding, but despite these setbacks, the command looks destined to play a major role in America's global reach.
Africom takes over control of all American military activity on the continent. Until this week responsibility was split three ways. Centcom, Eucom, and Pacom each with different headquarters and different generals. Africom will have one commander, a four-star General, William E Ward.
His top priority is to combat terrorism. The Americans are still hunting some of the gang which blew up 2 of their African embassies ten years ago, they know that Al Queda is establishing itself in the Horn of Africa. AQ also seems to be active in Kenya, and various African airports are being used to transit jihadists into Pakistan and Afghanistan without having to run the gauntlet of the surveillance techniques used in European airports.
America is also concerned that China's influence in Africa has grown to such a level that it has begun to eclipses their own, and in mineral rich Africa, you need influence.
And of course there's always oil. And the fastest growing oil market is in...no not Stuttgart - but Africa. The USA gets 20% of its supplies from there. They want more and if they can get it - they reduce their dependence on the Middle East. To do that they must ensure it can be delivered. That requires stability, and that requires a military overwatch.
African oil comes out of places such as Angola and Nigeria, not always the most stable of countries. There's already a 1,800-strong US contingent based in Djibouti. From there the Americans carry out special ops missions and fly pilot-less drones which cross into places like Yemen to fire hellfire missiles at Al Queda suspects.
Africom is designed to keep America's place in the sun and shows us it's running to outdistance the lengthening shadows of terrorism, energy and China. -->