I’ve beenwary of AFRICOM. Members ofCongress, theState Dept, USAID and otheraid groups have expressed concerns of leading with the military in Africa and a growing militarization of African aid. After watching the results of the Bush Doctrine in the Middle East, extending much of the same to Africa concerns me as it would seem theyknow and understand Africa even less. And so if not knowing, who’s who and what’s what, my concern has been the possibility to make mistakes of some consequence such as along the lines as reported byStars and Stripes that AFRICOM had a relationship (though one they will not specify) with the man who led a coup against a democratically elected government of an Islamic nation…
STUTTGART, Germany — The leader of a military coup that overthrew
Mauritania’s elected president has worked with U.S. forces that train in the
As one of the nation’s top military leaders, Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz “is
a senior official and we have a bilateral relationship with him as we coordinate
our security cooperation programs,” a spokesman for the U.S. European Command
Aziz, who also assisted in a 2005 coup that overthrew a longtime ruler, on
Wednesday led a group that arrested President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, his
prime minister and interior minister.
Abdallahi’s election in March 2007 in the coup-plagued country was considered
a democratic breakthrough, the kind the U.S. military hopes to foster in Africa
through its Stuttgart-based European and Africa commands. That one of their
training partners, Aziz, would lead a coup against a democratically elected
president was called bad news by U.S. military leaders.
Dorrian did not specify the nature of the military’s work with Aziz, other than to say it was part of regular relations. Aziz has not participated in any “resident programs,” such as professional development programs, in which the U.S. hosts emerging foreign military leaders, according to Dorrian.
U.S. troops operating in Mauritania — fewer than 60, Dorrian said — suspended their activities on Wednesday and were safe and accounted for. Dorrian said he did not know how or where the troops were being used at the time of Wednesday’s coup in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital.
The coup was swiftly condemned by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and by leaders of the Africa Union and European Union.
Quite the understatement here…
The coup marked a problem for the newly formed U.S. Africa Command, which is
consolidating U.S. military involvement on the continent. AFRICOM assumes
control of the military’s activities in Mauritania and throughout the continent
on Oct. 1. (my emphasis)