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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Hidden motives lie behind US mission to Uganda

By Pan Jinghai (PLA Daily)

16:44, October 20, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced a plan to send about 100 Special Forces to Central Africa to help the army of Uganda and other nations fight the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The first batch of the troops arrived in Uganda on Oct. 12.

The United States said that the 100 troops' mission is limited to providing information and advice as well as "helping train local forces" to combat the LRA, adding that the troops are not called upon to "actively fire on" the LRA, though they will defend themselves when necessary. Analysts believe that the move of the United States deserves special attention.

According to media reports, the LRA has been creating chaos in northern Uganda since the 1990s, which has caused the deaths of thousands of civilians. The International Criminal Court issued a warrant of arrest for the LRA's leader Joseph Kony in 2005, charging him with crimes against humanity and war crimes in Uganda.

Although the Ugandan military estimated earlier this year that the LRA was composed of merely 200 to 400 fighters, Richard Downie, an Africa expert at the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, warned that this operation may not be plain sailing. The United States has once before, at the end of 2008, sent advisers and logistical backup to help the Ugandan army root out the LRA, but intelligence leaks, poor cooperation between the Ugandan and other African armies and bad weather hampered the operation.

The deployment of U.S. troops in Uganda has shown the country's growing concerns about the security threats in Africa from "terrorist networks, pirates, and unstable nations." At present, the U.S. efforts to combat terrorism in Africa have been mainly focused on the Horn of Africa, a region in East Africa including Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and other countries, and on the trans-Sahara region. This time, the United States has expanded its counter-terrorism activities to Uganda and other nearby countries.

Certainly, the mission in Uganda also indicates that the United States is seeking to secure a new foothold in Africa. Such a foothold can possibly be developed into a new headquarters of the U. S. Africa Command at an appropriate time. The United States established the U.S. Africa Command in October 2007. The United States once tried to establish the headquarters in Africa, but it finally had to set it up in Stuttgart, Germany because of the opposition from African countries. The U.S. military has so far had only a military base in Djibouti in northeastern Africa. The United States will likely ask for the permissions from related countries to deploy troops there if the U.S. operations in Uganda make some progress. In fact, the U.S. military has stepped up its assistance to Uganda over recent months. The United States provided Uganda and Burundi with 45 million U.S. dollars worth of military assistance in June 2011, including four unmanned aircraft, night vision facilities and telecommunications equipment.

Obama has explained the reasons behind such assistance and the military operation in Uganda that deploying these U.S. armed forces "furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy." According to public opinion, apart from the need to find footholds for the fight against terrorism, the United States is also coveting African oil and natural gas resources.

African countries have already questioned the U.S. military operation. Although the United States said that the Ugandan government had already agreed on the deployment of the U.S. military personnel, a spokesperson for the Ugandan military said, "We did not request this kind of assistance and only expect the U.S. troops to help us to remove the threat of the Lord's Resistance Army."

The realistic attitude adopted by countries such as Uganda implies that they will not surely satisfy the demands of the United States such as establishing military bases. Furthermore, if any African country wants to meet the demands of the U.S. military for military deployment must take into account the feelings of its neighboring countries.


Leave your comment6 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2011-11-16203.177.74.*
They are not hidden. Economics are a priority. Why is this news? It certainly is not new worthy.
PD User at 2011-11-13207.98.251.*
Translation of Obama's "furthers U.S. nationalsecurity interests and foreign policy." is theU.S. and Europe can't allow an enlightened,prosperous Africa, especially a United Statesof Africa modeled like Libya for the benefitof Africans. The U.S. and Europe need Africa'senormous natural resources to be accessible tocorporations to exploit and plunder as theyhave done for the last 150 years.U.S. military involvement in Uganda and otherAfrican countries is backed by internationalbankers who fund both sides of a conflictcausing countries to borrow money from centralbanks leading to debt and loss of sovereignty.This banker/military strategy has been used inthe U.S. since the privately owned FederalReserve System was established in 1913. Lookat the U.S., it's now $15 trillion in debt tothe international bankers.
Taharka at 2011-11-1386.166.133.*
I don't think China is yet really in a position to militarily do anything about this obvious push for control. Of vital resources like copper and Coltan, water as well as oil I don't think there is anyway a white US President could have made such a move on African soil. With the racist Brits quietly cheering behind they don't want yet another ex colony doing more business with China.I wish more people could see the chaos and mayhem these elite Europeans bring with them. Africa no longer needs Europe its the other way around if I am a being dishonest. Perhaps France should unlock the African CFA from its currency and let its ex colonies choose their own partners.I fear for the future however, in a way this adventure may stir up nationalist sentiment like has happened in Ivory Coast. I think Obamma should sort out the massive Black/Hispanic unemployment in his own country and stop treating poor people like dirt.$45000,000 in national terms is not a great deal of money it costs more than that to fight these wars they are having.
Adam at 2011-10-22184.97.182.*
For the love of God, keep writing these artclies.
Pato at 2011-10-2141.202.225.*
I am also of the view that US has a sinister agenda in this endeavor. LRA has not been a threat since 2006 or at best 2008, US has not said a thing about them, why now? When Ugandans are quarreling about oil? Obama and his people should get serious. They should send troops to Central African Republic not Uganda. Let them leave us alone with our oil, they cannot be trusted this time. Museveni should not allow these men to deceive him. God bless Uganda, let US not bring us chaos.

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