This hardly even needs a comment from me:
The Pentagon's plan to create a US military command based in Africa have hit a wall of hostility from governments in the region reluctant to associate themselves with the Bush administration's "war on terror" and fearful of American intervention.Bush, in a big speech last year, had told the world that Africom's launch would advance "our common goals of peace, security, development, health, education, democracy and economic growth".
A US delegation led by Ryan Henry, principal deputy under-secretary of defence for policy, returned to Washington last week with little to show for consultations with defence and foreign ministry officials in Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Djibouti and with the African Union (AU). An earlier round of consultations with sub-Saharan countries on providing secure facilities and local back-up for the new command, to be known as Africom and due to be operational by September next year, was similarly inconclusive.
The Libyan and Algerian governments reportedly told Mr Henry that they would play no part in hosting Africom. Despite recently improved relations with the US, both said they would urge their neighbours not to do so, either. Even Morocco, considered Washington's closest north African ally, indicated it did not welcome a permanent military presence on its soil.
"We've got a big image problem down there," a state department official admitted. "Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don't trust the US."
It looks like the Africans are highly dubious that Bush actually has those goals in common with them - at least in wanting these things for all parties involved, not just the U.S. I wonder why that could be?
Maybe it's because of the quagmire in Iraq, the last nation that got to feel the benefit of Bush's wish for them to have "peace, security, development, health, education, democracy and economic growth". They got none of those things.
Instead they get U.S. officials spinning the facts wildly in an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. Like the way they've been boasting about how far the Iraqi police have come in a year, with a third of commanders now Sunnis. Army Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, on his very last day as day-to-day head of the effort to train Iraqi army soldiers and police, let the pig out of the bag on why those Sunnis got a chance at command at all.
Pittard said that since October, officials had removed seven of nine brigade commanders - five because of sectarian bias. One of two division commanders is now Sunni, as are four of nine brigade commanders and 9 or 10 of the 27 battalion commanders, he said.Diyala, you will easily recall, is where 10,000 U.S. troops are currently fighting to clear out extremists who had almost taken over the province, in a battle the rightwing's cheerleaders, safe in their basements, are billing as yet another very last corner to be turned.
But he warned against being ``in a hurry'' to hand over responsibility for Iraq security to local soldiers and police - a handover U.S. officials have said is key to bringing American forces home.
In a previous assignment, Pittard commanded a brigade combat team in Diyala province for a year. ``It was just a few years ago ... where, believe it or not, many people were saying Diyala province was going to be one of the first ... to go to provincial Iraqi control,'' he said of the thinking in late 2005.
Security and prosperity like that, Africa can do without.