Home > Africa, Americas, Conflict & Security, Economics, Politics, USA > Destination Darfur: A New Cold War Over Oil

Destination Darfur: A New Cold War Over Oil

Vijay Prashad writes in Toward Freedom:

In February, George W. Bush announced the creation of a new unified combatant command for Africa. After several years of deliberation, the Pentagon finally agreed to create the African Command (AFRICOM), which will relieve the European Command (EUCOM) and the Central Command (CENTCOM), which earlier shared responsibility for Africa.

In July, Bush appointed General William “Kip” Ward to run AFRICOM, which will be based in Germany until it finds an African home (Liberia, home to an Omega surveillance system from 1976 to 1997, is openly lobbying to play host). Sensitive to criticism that AFRICOM seeks military solutions to African problems, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Theresa Whelan, said, “Africa Command is not going to reflect a U.S. intent to engage kinetically in Africa. This is about prevention. This isn’t about fighting wars.”

Navy Rear Admiral Robert Moeller, who led the Africa Command Implementation Planning Team, pointed out that “the increasing importance of the continent to the U.S.,” particularly on strategic and economic grounds, makes this development necessary. The proximate issues used to push for AFRICOM were the ongoing crisis in Darfur and the failure of the U.S. to act in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

And the less-talked-about issue is the importance of African resources for the U.S. economy and for multinational corporations. Oil is, of course, a central character in this story.

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