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More blood for oil in Uganda

By: 
Farid Omar

November 20, 2011

Washington is beginning to militarize Central Africa by sending a contingent of 100 Special Forces to Uganda.

The US troops will also be deployed in neighboring countries including mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and oil-rich South Sudan, setting the stage for an impending large-scale militarization in the heart of Africa.

AFRICOM is one of US Defense’s six regional commands, with another notable example being the Central Command (CENTCOM), responsible for resource wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

AFRICOM’s strategic goals are to militarize the African continent to secure unfettered access to vital resources including oil reserves, gas and minerals as well as to counter China’s rapid ascendancy in the continent in a new scramble for Africa. AFRICOM’s response to China’s inroads into African oilfields is the waging of full-fledged military operations to strategically secure the continent’s vital resources.

Oil

The primary reason for American actions in Uganda is oil. Uganda is newly oil rich after what is believed to be one of Africa’s largest onshore oil reserves was discovered in 2006 in the Lake Albert Basin in western Uganda. According to the East African, exploitable reserves in Uganda are said to hold up to 2.5 billion barrels of oil. In a bid to secure both Uganda’s and South Sudan’s oil, the US has embarked on an aggressive campaign to militarize the entire resource-rich Central African region.

In addition to the need to secure resources, the US is also trying to counter the new revolutionary wave that began in North Africa and is now spreading to other parts of the continent. This year has seen the collapse of pro-Western regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and the violent uprising in Libya that threatened America’s interests in that oil-rich nation. Protesters have also taken to the streets to demand change in Gabon, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Swaziland, Botswana and Uganda.

The official reason given for US incursion into Uganda is to help the country “eliminate the threat” posed by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), which has been fighting the pro-US regime of President Yoweri Museveni.

Regional experts note that the now depleted LRA is a spent force having been largely flushed out of northern Uganda by Museveni’s US-backed forces. Already on the run, it is believed that the severely weakened rebel force has fewer than 400 men under arms, dispersed in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

By resorting to force in Uganda, the US is scuttling regional attempts to broker a comprehensive peace deal between the Ugandan government and the LRA that have been ongoing since 2006.

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