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Peikko

US imperialism spreads to Africa

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Obama administration plans forceful policy to end conflicts in Africa

US president to emphasise democratic goals for African countries during speech to Ghanaian parliament

The US is planning a dramatically more assertive policy in Africa, sometimes backed by a threat of force, to end conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria that are seen as among the principal obstacles to the continent's revival.

Barack Obama is to address Ghana's parliament tomorrow on his first visit to Africa as president with a speech that is expected to emphasise that the key to prosperity is democratic, accountable government. But an important part of the new administration's policy will focus on ending key conflicts through more forceful diplomatic initiatives after years of drift by the Bush administration.

The White House is shortly to appoint a special envoy to central Africa with a brief to tackle a web of conflicts that have afflicted eastern Congo for 15 years,and destabilised the region, in the belief that the success or failure of one of the continent's largest countries will decide central Africa's future.

A senior administration source said that the US believes the primary problem is the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which is led by men wanted for the 1994 genocide of Rwanda's Tutsis who fled to Congo and controls swaths of territory close to Rwanda's border.

The source said that the priority will be to break the FDLR leadership with a mix of diplomatic pressure, including the prospect of war crimes trials, backed by the establishment of "a more professional force" to replace the ill-trained troops serving in the UN largest peacekeeping mission who have failed to contain the conflict. However, the source said that there is a belief that the threat may be enough to force the FDLR to give up the fight. He said that the make-up of such a force is unresolved.

The initiative will also focus on confronting the Lords Resistance Army, a particularly brutal Ugandan rebel group also based in Congo. But the source said that broader pacification will require more interventionist diplomacy to press other countries such as Rwanda and Uganda that contribute to the destabilisation to recognise that their security is intertwined with Congo's success.

The administration is also eyeing the continuing violent upheaval in the Niger Delta which is a major source of America's oil imports amid deep scepticism over the capabilities of President Umaru Yar'Adua who is seen as weak and indecisive as his country fragments.

The conflict is deepening with several rebel groups and parts of the military now acting as warlords and some major oil companies warning that they are considering pulling out of the region altogether.

But the emphasis there is likely to remain firmly diplomatic as the US presses Yar'Adua to address seriously the issues of impoverishment, environmental devastation and endemic corruption that have alienated people in the delta and given rise to rebel groups and armed gangs that now control large parts of the region.

However there are fears that US intervention could result in the further militarisation of the continent. Confronting the FDLR is likely to draw in the US Africa Command (Africom) which is increasingly involved in conflicts on the continent, including overseeing a botched Ugandan attack on LRA rebels in Congo.

The US military is also now supplying weapons to the fragile government in Somalia as it tries to stave off Islamist insurgents. The Americans also allied themselves closely with Ethiopia's repressive regime during its attack on Somalia.

Daniel Volman, director of the African Security Research Institute, one of three dozen organisations which wrote an open letter to Obama urging him to reverse the militarisation of US policy in Africa, said Africom's growing role will further destabilise the continent.

"It encourages governments to rely on the use of force to deal with internal problems, to avoid democracy, to avoid addressing the internal issues these African countries face," he said.

"The US is now engaged in a major new military project in Somalia, providing arms and ammunition to the Somali government there, encouraging countries like Burundi and Rwanda which have peacekeeping forces there to conduct military training so we don't send to have our own troops there, all of which encourages that government to seek a military solution instead of developing a political solution to the kind of problems that exist."

There remain deep divisions over other aspects of Africa policy, especially Darfur. Before his election, Obama promised strong action against the Sudanese regime but the state department is at odds with itself on the crisis. The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, believes the Khartoum leadership is not to be trusted and wants a hard line taken with Sudan but others argue that the conflict has been over simplified and that it is in any case largely over.

However, when Obama addresses Ghana's parliament tomorrow, his focus will be on democratisation as the path to Africa's revival.

"This isn't some abstract notion that we're trying to impose upon Africa," he told allAfrica.com. "There is a very practical pragmatic consequence to political instability and corruption when it comes to whether people can feed their families, educate their children. And we think that the African continent is a place of extraordinary promise as well as challenges. We're not going to be able to fulfil those promises unless we see better governance."

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Refusing to use the spellchick!

I have put you on ignore. No really, I have, but you are still ruining my enjoyment of this site. .

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Faced with a little reading material about Africa, no one cares. Why am I surprised? Oh, I'm not :lol:

OT needs more boobies!


Refusing to use the spellchick!

I have put you on ignore. No really, I have, but you are still ruining my enjoyment of this site. .

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Faced with a little reading material about Africa, no one cares. Why am I surprised? Oh, I'm not :lol:

OT needs more boobies!

it's africa, no one cares what happens there :jest:


* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

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Africa has been (and continues to be) pillaged by successive world empires through to the present day.

To say its "business as usual" is trite understatement.

I'm not sure I understand what purpose is served by funnelling guns into Somalia - I suspect the thinking is that the "legitimate" government can achieve a similar result to what the Afghanistanis achieved against the Soviet Union. Its a flawed idea certainly, but it keeps our hands clean - and right now noone has the stomach for more war, no matter how noble the stated goal might be.

Africa is going to have to resolve most of its problems on its own. Perhaps the worst shame is not Somalia, but Zimbabwe - which was, up until a few years ago, regarded as a success story. A few short years and its back at the bottom of the pile (while the richer nations profit from its demise).

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If everyone would have moved their arses out of Bush and Cheney's way. These problems would have been cleaned up already.

At least the people of Iraq dont have to deal with the Saddam family anymore

Bush and Cheney simply failed to ask the American people the important question.

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That is not only untrue, its incredible bs.

As if bush and cheney ever had humanitarian goals in mind. What a crock.

How wrong you are PP

Bush gave African countries more than 3x the resources for humanitarian needs than any previous administration.

And what specifically did that accomplish?

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That is not only untrue, its incredible bs.

As if bush and cheney ever had humanitarian goals in mind. What a crock.

How wrong you are PP

Bush gave African countries more than 3x the resources for humanitarian needs than any previous administration.

And what specifically did that accomplish?

A FRIEND OF AFRICA

In a reference to Bush's domestic problems, Kikwete added: "Different people may have different views about you and your administration and your legacy.

"But we in Tanzania, if we are to speak for ourselves and for Africa, we know for sure that you, Mr. President, and your administration have been good friends of our country and have been good friends of Africa."

Although many Africans, especially Muslims, share negative perceptions of Bush's foreign policy with other parts of the world, there is widespread recognition of his successful humanitarian and health initiatives on the continent.

Bush has spent more money on aid to Africa than his predecessor, Bill Clinton, and is popular for his personal programs to fight AIDS and malaria and to help hospitals and schools.

Bush has stressed new-style partnerships with Africa based on trade and investment and not purely on aid handouts.

His Millennium Challenge Corp. rewards countries that continue to satisfy criteria for democratic governance, anti-corruption and free-market economic policies.

Bush signed the largest such deal, for $698 million, with Kikwete on Sunday.

Because of the U.S. anti-malaria program, 5 percent of patients tested positive for the disease on the offshore islands of Zanzibar in 2007 compared to 40 percent three years earlier, the Tanzanian leader said.

Bush's legacy in Africa would be saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of mothers and children who would otherwise have died from malaria or AIDS and enabling millions of people to get an education, he said.

"I know you leave office in about 12 months' time. Rest assured that you will be remembered for many generations to come for the good things you've done for Tanzania and the good things you have done for Africa," Kikwete said.

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George Bush: a good man in Africa

As he starts a five-nation tour, the US president is an unlikely hero to the poor of a continent ravaged by Aids

Chris McGreal in Kigali The Guardian, Friday 15 February 2008

They may not be George Bush's natural constituency but Rwanda's prostitutes have good things to say about him. So do poor South Africans abandoned by their quixotic government, and doctors across Africa who otherwise regard the American president as a walking crime against humanity.

As Bush arrives in Africa today at the start of a five-country tour he will be welcomed chiefly for an initiative which has gone largely unnoticed outside the continent but which has saved the lives of more than a million people with HIV.

The $15bn (£7.6bn) President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) is in its fifth year and has been hailed as a "revolution" that is transforming healthcare in Africa and has been praised as the most significant aid programme since the end of colonialism.

Bill Clinton's legacy in Africa was the debacle of Somalia and the abandonment of Rwanda's Tutsis to the 1994 genocide. But with Pepfar, Bush's primary contribution will be greatly extending millions of lives even though the programme has been criticised for emphasising abstinence in Aids education and using religious organisations to deliver care.

"This is the best thing that ever happened to the poor people I work with," said Edward Phillips, a Catholic priest overseeing the distribution of life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) in Nairobi, Kenya. "It's one of the few times I've seen US government money really reach down to the poorest of the poor. It's kept a hell of a lot of people alive."

Dr Francois Venter, head of the HIV Clinicians Society in South Africa, where Pepfar is providing 200,000 people with ARVs, is one of a number of Aids doctors almost disbelieving in praise of Bush. "I look at all the blood this man has on his hands in Iraq and I can't quite believe myself but I would say it's a bold experiment from the last people in the world I would expect to do it, and it is saving a lot of lives. To intervene on such a scale and make such a difference is huge," he said.

Pepfar was launched in 2004 with the ultimate goal of providing treatment and care to 19 million people with HIV, mainly in Africa and the Caribbean. It is already supplying ARVs to about 1.4 million people and that number is likely to rise significantly if, as expected, Congress doubles Pepfar's budget later this year.

Those at the coalface of confronting Aids say that while other organisations, such as the Global Fund to fight Aids and the World Bank also fund ARVs, the US programme owes its success to combining large amounts of money to fund drugs with broadening assistance beyond the individual with HIV. Pepfar is supplying medical equipment and training large numbers of healthcare staff. It is also reaching into households hit by Aids with programmes to put children through school and help those with HIV to carry on working.

Bush confronted the pandemic under pressure from his then secretary of state, Colin Powell, who warned that Aids threatened to wipe out a large part of the working-age population of some African countries. He saw that as a national security issue. So did the CIA. Bush was also lobbied by American Christian evangelicals with strong and expanding ties to Africa, and conservative Republican senators usually instinctively hostile to foreign aid.

In Rwanda - on Bush's tour and one of Pepfar's 15 priority countries - Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the head of the national Aids council, says the US programme is the major contributor to a tenfold increase over the past four years in the numbers of Rwandans on ARVs to nearly 50,000 people. Today about 70% of Rwandans who need the drugs receive them. "The impact is huge. The average life expectancy of Rwandans has improved by four years because of Pepfar," she said. "The impact is also really big in the health sector because of the equipment and training. It is putting children through school."

An American group, CHF International, is using Pepfar money to pay for 39,000 children to go to school in Rwanda in part because Aids orphans and other young people left without support are more likely to fall back on casual prostitution to survive.

Anne Smith, the head of CHF in Kigali - who says she is personally keen on a change in the White House - says the unprecedented amount of money provided by Pepfar has changed how Rwanda deals with Aids.

"The scale of the money coming in has really changed everything. If someone in a household has HIV it used to be we only focused on them. Now we look at the health of everyone in the household because if a parent has HIV that has implications for their ability to provide and care for their children. We can now treat the children for other diseases because that is a consequence of HIV in the household," she said.

But Pepfar has come in for strong criticism because its Aids education programme, ABC - Abstinence, Be faithful, Condomise - pushes the first two over the third.

Democrats in Congress want to scrap the emphasis on abstinence when Pepfar legislation comes up for renewal later this year. Many Aids workers in Africa think the Bush administration's obsession with the issue is misplaced but say its impact is minimal because government programmes in most countries emphasise the use of condoms.

Democrats have also criticised the large numbers of "faith-based" organisations funded by Pepfar, such as Phillips' Eastern Deanery Aids Relief Programme, which distributes ARVs to 7,000 people in the poorest parts of Nairobi. Its $3.3m slice of Pepfar's $386m budget in Kenya last year has funded expansion from a few dozen staff and church volunteers to a network of 11 clinics and 300 staff including nurses, social workers, clinicians and nutritionists.

Phillips says that, in accordance with church policy, his programme does not distribute condoms - but neither does it teach against the Kenyan government's emphasis on condoms. "The prevalence of Aids has dropped significantly in Kenya. It's down to the various education campaigns by the government, by communities and that people saw that people were dying. You can draw your own conclusions," said Phillips.

John Dunlop, who heads the Pepfar health team in Rwanda, said the relationship with religious organisations had less to do with evangelicals in Washington than with practicalities in Africa. "These are very pious communities; the church runs through every component of life. So if you ignore these church networks as a means of pushing out messages of change you're ignoring a huge resource," he said.

Pepfar's budget in Kenya rises to $535m this year. It already pays for 90,000 people to receive ARVs - nearly half of all those taking them in the country - as well as home care for those with HIV, including food and microfinance so they can still make a living.

Warren Buckingham, the head of the Pepfar programme in Nairobi, said he found himself pressing the Kenyan government on behalf of the very people the American Christian right most despised. "If there is resistance it is not in Washington. The people we have to push are the public health officials here to recognise neglected populations and highly stigmatised groups - men who have sex with men, intravenous drug users, sex workers," he said.

In a busy Kigali bar, Linda, a 24-year-old HIV-positive prostitute, explained that she had been afraid to be tested because she didn't want to know that she might soon die. "Then they said they could make us well, they have these drugs. So I got tested and I have the drugs," she said.

So whom does she thank? "The Americans. George Bush has helped us live."

Edited by Sofiyya

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All fine and dandy. I actually think that Bush's engagement in the fight of the AIDS crisis in Africa as well as the help with the fight against malaria are commendable. But when it comes to actually helping the continent develop, there just isn't much going on. we continue to provide the fish rather than the rod and the know-how on how to fish effectively.

Edited by Mr. Big Dog

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That is not only untrue, its incredible bs.

As if bush and cheney ever had humanitarian goals in mind. What a crock.

How wrong you are PP

Bush gave African countries more than 3x the resources for humanitarian needs than any previous administration.

Sure. But you were talking about the Iraq and how Africa could have been similarly liberated if people had "gotten out of Bush and Cheney's way"

The war on terror and the Bush Doctrine were never about humanitarian intervention

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