Campbell is professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University and is currently working on a book on AFRICOM (United States Africa Command). He said today: “U.S. involvement in the Libyan bombing is being turned into a public relations ploy for AFRICOM. AFRICOM is fundamentally a front for U.S. military contractors like Dyncorp, MPRI and KBR operating in Africa. U.S. military planners who benefit from the revolving door of privatization of warfare are delighted by the opportunity to give AFRICOM credibility under the facade of the Libyan intervention. No African country has agreed to let AFRICOM onto the continent. It has 1,500 people operating out of Stuttgart, Germany. If Libya is indeed partitioned, that new state could provide a base for AFRICOM.
“The U.S. needs to stop bombing Libya and meaningfully work with the African Union, which (less mailable to Western interests than the Arab League) has been pushed aside. Note that Egypt and Tunisia are not among the Arab states participating in the Libya bombing. The states participating are Saudi Arabia and others that are among the most repressive Arab countries. The attack on Libya is largely being used to undermine the revolutionary gains in Egypt and prevent such changes in other Arabic and African countries.” Campbell notes that the U.S. is continuing to back Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other oppressive Arab regimes.
He added: “An additional problem has been racist attitudes in the discussion of so-called ‘African mercenaries’ in the Arab and Western media.”
Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. She specializes in Africa. Woods said today: “AFRICOM makes its first major foray in Africa with massive air strikes on Libya. The velvet glove of humanitarian trainer has at last been taken off to reveal the fist of the military and its dominant role in U.S. Africa engagement. Established under the Bush administration and strengthened under Obama, AFRICOM has been rejected by African governments, scholars, and human rights champions. AFRICOM’s lead role in the assault on Libya will breed greater anti-Americanism while draining much needed monies and threatening civilian lives, with each bomb dropped.”
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167