Defeating AFRICOM and NATO

Building Solidarity With Africa in the Struggle Against Imperialism

Panel presentation at the United National Antiwar Conference

Abayomi Azikiwe

Author’s Note: The following comments were made at the panel with the above-mentioned title. Other participants in this session were Sobukwe Shukura of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) in Atlanta and Ana Edwards of the Virginia Defenders and the Friends of Mali in Richmond, Virginia.

Since 2008, the United States Africa Command (Africom) has been established with its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. That same year there was considerable debate and discussion within Africa over whether Africom should be based on the continent.

The overwhelming sentiment, both within and outside of governments, was in opposition to Africom being based on the continent. Since 2008, the Pentagon has used different tactics designed to promote and sell Africom to Africa.

This line suggests that Africom does not have imperial aims: that it is designed to enhance the national security and stability of post-colonial African states. There have been joint exercises and war games between the Pentagon and NATO forces in various regions and waterways in and around the African continent.

The War Against Libya

The first full project of Africom was the multinational imperialist war against the North African state of Libya. This country was colonized during the early 20th century by Italy.

For two decades the people of Libya fought gallantly against the encroachment of Italian imperialism. It is estimated that approximately one-half of the people of Libya gave their lives in the struggle to halt colonial rule.

Of course Italy was a fascist state from the mid-1920s through the early 1940s. The Kingdom of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) was invaded and occupied by Italian fascists between 1935-1941.

With the intervention of the U.S. and Britain, Libya became an important outpost of the inter-imperialist World War II. The U.S. built Wheelus Air Force base inside Libya as a major harbinger of the Cold War.

From the conclusion of World War II through the 1960s, the national liberation movements gained tremendous momentum in Africa and throughout the world. U.S. imperialism and its NATO allies opposed all genuine liberation movements in Africa.

Libya experienced a popular revolution in September 1969 that was led by junior military officers but received mass support. The Revolution closed the Wheelus Air Force base and nationalized the oil industry.

Libya re-oriented its foreign policy towards the anti-imperialist nations of Africa, the Middle East and around the world. Libya came under attack by the U.S. and in 1981 and 1986, was militarily assaulted by the Pentagon.

In 1988 after the bombing of an aircraft over Scotland, two Libyan citizens were tried in the Netherlands for their purported involvement in the incident. Only one was convicted, and this individual had appealed their case and was eventually released on humanitarian grounds in September 2009.

Between 2009-2011, the U.S. and other imperialist states re-kindled its propaganda and aggressive foreign policy toward Libya. In February 2011, an internal rebellion supported by imperialism erupted inside the country.

On March 19, 2012, the U.S. and its allies within NATO began a full-scale air campaign against the Libyan people. The pseudo-legal rationale for the war against Libya was provided through the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

The war against Libya was not a humanitarian effort. Before the overthrow of the Gaddafi government and the installation of the puppet National Transitional Council (NTC) regime, some 26,000 sorties were flown and approximately 10,000 airstrikes were carried out.

This war was opposed by the African Union (AU) and the ALBA states within Latin America. Despite widespread opposition to the war around the world, the imperialists were determined to topple the Libyan government and install a puppet regime to facilitate the theft of the national wealth and natural resources.

The War Against Somalia

In Somalia, due largely to the legacy of British, Italian and French colonialism, the country has experienced tremendous turmoil over the last 40 years. Since 1991, there has been no functioning internationally-recognized government.

Between 1992-94, the U.S. and the United Nations occupied Somalia resulting in the deaths of thousands of its citizens. The occupation of Somalia met mass resistance from the people. The U.S. and U.N. withdrew their military forces during 1994.

A new round of military assaults against Somalia was launched in late 2006 with the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion of the country that lasted to early 2009. The bombing of Somalia by the U.S. and Britain coincide with the Ethiopian intervention.

Since 2011, the war against the Somalian people has escalated with the combined military interventions of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), Kenya, Ethiopia, the U.S., France, Britain and Israel. These attacks on Somalia include the bombing of the country by France and the utilization of drones by the U.S.

Hundreds have died as a result of drone attacks by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This war against the people of Somalia and the entire Horn of Africa must be opposed by the antiwar and anti-imperialist forces inside the U.S.

Our Strategic Objectives on Africa

We have no alternative but to demand the total withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from Africa. At the same time we should demand the dismantling of Africom and the ending of the unholy alliance of NATO.

It is important for the anti-interventionist movement in the U.S. to totally integrate the support for the masses of African people in their resistance to the Pentagon, CIA, Africom, NATO and Israeli involvement in Africa. We are part and parcel of the global struggle against imperialism and all of its manifestations.

The progressive and revolutionary movements in the U.S. must categorically condemn the Obama administration or any other administration which continues the capitalist plunder and exploitation of Africa. Our victory over U.S. imperialism can only be won in solidarity with the peoples of the oppressed nations of Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America.

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