Après le Moyen-Orient, l'Afrique ? Le pentagone voudrait y
jouer un rôle croissant et envisagerait déjà d'installer des
bases militaires en Tunisie et au Maroc...
Military Assistance for Africa: A Better Solution
The Heritage Foundation 15/10/2003
(ce rapport a été rendu public et mis en ligne le 17/12/03)
"The United States
is facing increasing international pressure to play a more
prominent role on the world's most troubled continent. The
continuing civil wars in Liberia and the Congo, the specter of
tyranny and man-made famine in Zimbabwe, the global spread of
infectious diseases, and the rising threat of international
terrorism in East Africa are all issues of mounting concern.
Most of Africa's own militaries are not up to the task of
supporting their civilian leaders in tackling these problems. U.S.
military assistance can play an important role in helping them,
but U.S. peacekeepers are not the answer.
Instead, the Bush Administration ought to give the continent a
higher priority in the Pentagon's regional military command
structure. The Administration should seriously consider expanding
its U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) to include Africa. This
organization could help facilitate the establishment of a more
effective African-led military intervention force, reducing the
need for direct U.S. involvement.
A dedicated command could also more efficiently oversee U.S.
anti-terrorism efforts in East Africa and provide American
political leaders with more thoughtful, informed military advice
based on an in-depth knowledge of the region and continuous
planning and intelligence assessments. In turn, better situational
awareness of military-political developments could preclude the
need for intervention or limit the prospects for engaging in
open-ended or unsound military operations.
Finally, a sub-regional command for Africa would ensure a greater
degree of success if Washington does ultimately need to intervene
militarily in the future.
A review of the U.S. national security strategy suggests that
while the Administration's priorities are on target, the Pentagon
lacks suitable supporting initiatives and forward-looking
organizational solutions to address Africa's problems. If an
African command could be set up, appropriate solutions could be
built around this basic building block..."
"...According to the National Intelligence
Council (NIC), the United States is likely to draw 25 percent of
its oil from West Africa by 2015, surpassing the volume imported
from the Persian Gulf.
(Sub-Saharan Africa currently provides the U.S. with 16 percent of
its oil needs.)..."
"...With responsible governments, prudent
management of their vast natural resources, free-market economies,
and open trade, the nations of Africa could become vibrant members
of the global community. Regrettably, however, much of Africa
continues to be blighted by poverty, disease, misrule, corruption,
and inter-tribal rivalry fed by the wide availability of arms
ranging from land mines to shoulder-fired missiles..."
"...The United States must also be vigilant for
its own security, remaining alert to the rise of African
"enabler" or "slacker" states that might
foster global terrorism. Enabler states are countries willing to
facilitate transnational terrorism, share intelligence, or sell
weapons or weapons technologies to those who in turn might
threaten the United States. Libya, for example, has a long history
of support for terrorist groups in the Middle East and more than
30 terrorist groups worldwide..."
"...Slacker states are nations with lax laws or
poor law enforcement, which unintentionally allow transnational
terrorist groups to operate within their borders or permit state
or non-state groups to obtain weapons or support illicitly from
the private sector. Somalia offers a case in point. With a
dysfunctional central government, chronic instability, and porous
borders, it serves as a potential staging ground for international
"...Enabler and slacker states are potentially
important components of the global terrorist threat because such
countries can expand the resource base of lesser states and
terrorist groups, making it possible for them to field more
substantial threats than they might represent otherwise.
Transnational terrorism already has a prominent foothold in Africa. It is no coincidence that Osama bin Laden found safe haven
in Sudan in the 1990s. The al-Qaeda threat continues to grow in
countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. Al-Qaeda cells are also
operating in neighbouring Somalia..."
"...EUCOM has remained actively engaged in
Africa, with mixed results. U.S. participation in recent
peacekeeping operations in Liberia has been effective and
appropriately limited. The command is also looking at
establishing basing arrangements in countries like Tunisia and
Morocco so that U.S. forces can deploy to the continent more
effectively if American troops are required..."
"...U.S. military strategy is supposed to
amplify how the armed forces will achieve the objectives outlined
in the national security strategy. While the United States has not
released a formal national military strategy, the Department of
Defense's 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) marks out the
Pentagon's priorities. The QDR also places special emphasis on
building the capacity of partner nations for performing collective
security. The current leadership in the Defense Department,
however, has provided little additional insight into shaping the
American approach to Africa..."
"...EUCOM's plan for sub-Saharan Africa
includes several objectives such as promoting regional stability,
democratization, and military professionalism. The plan directs a
litany of actions concerned primarily with training in basic
peacekeeping duties, humanitarian assistance, and the mechanisms
of civilian control..."
"...Today's geostrategic realities suggest that
Africa shares interests with the countries in the Middle and Near
East that are aligned with the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). In
matters of transnational threats and economic issues like energy
(specifically oil) and trade, not to mention the significant
Islamic populations in Africa, there are good reasons to view
Africa and the Middle East as an appropriate grouping for U.S.
In addition, some foresee the emergence of an African
"religious fault line" that could bring an Islamic North
Africa and a Christian sub-Saharan Africa into increasing conflict. If such a confrontation does
emerge, the United States
would be wise to have a single U.S. combat commander monitoring
In an increasingly globalized world, the United States and other
leading nations cannot afford to ignore Africa's problems. But
while the U.S. should intervene militarily in Africa where U.S.
vital interests are threatened, it cannot police the continent by
sending in ground forces to all its numerous trouble spots.
Instead, the U.S. ought to establish a command that can focus more
closely on Africa's problems, lend assistance to favorable African
militaries so that they can tackle their own problems better, and
build up the ability of regional superpowers South Africa and
Nigeria to resolve regional problems. Ultimately, the
establishment of such a U.S. Africa command will reduce the need
for Washington to intervene in the continent..."
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