Washington announces the establishment of a Military Command Centre in Liberia

Faced with the “unprecedented Ebola epidemic, which is spreading like wild fire across Western Africa” President Obama has announced that, “on the request of the Liberian government”, the United States will establish “a military command centre in Liberia”. Here we have a “Joint Force Command Headquarters” specifies the US African Command (whose “area of responsibility” covers the entire continent, except Egypt). On the orders of General Darryl Williams (already on the ground in Liberia), the new headquarters will provide at least 3,000 US soldiers, an airlift and a handling centre in Senegal. This headquarters will perform “command and control” of the entire international Ebola operation and will make arrangements to send out medical personnel and field hospitals. Obama thinks that this is, “an example of what happens when America assumes leadership when confronted by such huge global threats”. These he listed loudly and clearly in his recent speech, declaring that only America is “able and willing to mobilize the world against Isis terrorists”, and “to make a call to bring the world together against the threat of Russian aggression” and “to contain and weaken the Ebola epidemic”.

Even if the probability of Ebola spreading in the United States is extremely remote, Obama stressed in a speech he delivered at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta that in Western Africa, it has caused the death of “more than 24,000 men, women and children”. While this event is undoubtedly tragic, it is limited when placed in the context of Western Africa having around 350 million inhabitants and the entire Sub-Saharan region almost 950 million. Let us think today of the following:
• Aids causes the death of more than a million adults and children in Africa;
• Each year malaria triggers more than 600,000 deaths, mostly among African children;
• Each year, in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Southern Asia, diarrhoea kills around 600,000 children under 5 years (more than 1,600 per day).
Every year, these and other “illnesses of poverty” cause millions of premature deaths and cases of disability in Sub Saharan Africa. These [illnesses] in turn are due to the following:
• Undernourishment and malnutrition
• The shortage of drinking water
• The dreadful hygienic and sanitary conditions in which poor people live, which (according to World Bank data) constitutes 70% of the total population, of which 49% are found in conditions of extreme poverty

So, Obama’s campaign against Ebola appears strategic.

Western Africa, where the Pentagon is setting up its own headquarters on the official justification of fighting Ebola, is very well resourced with raw materials:
• oil in Nigeria and Benin;
• diamonds in Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast;
• phosphate in Senegal and Togo;
• rubber, gold and diamonds in Liberia;
• gold and diamonds in Guinea and Ghana; and
• bauxite in Guinea.

The most fertile land is reserved for the monoculture of cocoa, pineapple, nuts, cotton, meant for export. The Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest producer of cocoa. From the exploitation of these abundant resources, little or nothing flows back to the local people. This is because the proceeds are divided up among multinationals and local elites that are also made wealthy by exporting refined timber, [an activity] with serious environmental consequences due to deforestation. However the interests of US and European multinationals are endangered by popular rebellions (such as the one in the Niger Delta, triggered by the environmental and social consequences of oil exploitation) and competition from China, whose investments are much more useful and advantageous for African countries. To maintain their influence on the continent, in 2007 the United States established the African Command that, under the cover of humanitarian operations, recruits and established official and special local forces through hundred of military activities in African countries. An important base for such operations is Sigonella. Here a Task force of the Marine Corps has been deployed that, equipped with the hybrid Ospreys planes, sends to rotating teams in Africa, in particular, Western Africa.

Where Obama’s campaign against Ebola now begins now.

Anoosha Boralessa
Il Manifesto (Italy)