The Herald (Harare)

3 April 2007

Africa: Bush Approves U.S. Army for Africa

Harare — UNITED States President George Bush has approved the formation of a U.S. army to permanently operate in Africa, a move viewed by many as part of a wide plan to increase American hegemony on Africa.

The army called the U.S. African Command, was approved by Mr Bush on February 2, 2007 and US$50 million was last week injected in the project that should see the army being fully operational by 2008.

Navy Rear Admiral Robert Moellar, previously the special assistant to the commander of U.S. Central Command is heading the transitional team tasked to establish the army.

In yesterday's report, The American Thinker said: "The goal is to have Africom fully operational by the end of fiscal 2008, and that establishing the command will not adversely affect operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Also, Africom will cost about $50 million in fiscal year 2007, and costs for 2008 are still being evaluated."

The American Thinker, also reported that "Adm. Moeller was now at European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, planning for the activation of the command, which will hopefully, be physically located on the continent."

Yesterday, the People's Daily Online, reported that the U.S. was struggling to find a suitable African country to host the African Command.

The U.S. would have wanted to place the base in Algeria but the government of that country vehemently refused and the U.S. is now scouting for another country, especially one with access to the sea.

Mohamed Bedjaoui, the Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister was yesterday reported in the People's Daily Online as having strongly questioned the motive behind the military venture.

"He questioned why no one had ever proposed for any anti-terror co-operation with Algeria in the 1990s when terrorist violence went rampant and wrought havoc?"

A week prior to Mr Bush's approval, General William Ward, the deputy chief of Pentagon's European Command recently told journalists in Washington that the absence of a fully-fledged American military headquarters in Africa had long been cause for concern for the Americans.

"Over the past several months, senior military leaders have publicly discussed the potential benefits of creating a unified command in Africa.

"The secretary of defence has forwarded a proposal to the White House on a potential way of redesigning the unified command," he said.

However, analysts say African leaders should be wary of the move that appears meant to protect American interests in milking Africa of its resources and effecting illegal regime changes on the continent.

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