A 75th anniversary salute to Vietnam’s August Revolution

Source: Workers’ World

August 21, 2020

We live in tumultuous times, and it is during times like this that we as socialists must look to the struggles and successes of our predecessors to give us inspiration to continue our struggle. As a Vietnamese-American, I take heart in remembering the struggles of my people in their fight for independence from colonial and imperialist powers. August 19 is a special day, for it marks the 75th anniversary of the Vietnamese August Revolution!

On this day in 1945, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh (aka League for the Independence of Vietnam), my people organized uprisings and demonstrations throughout Vietnam, with the Viet Minh eventually seizing the city of Hanoi.

Viet Minh troops enter Hanoi, 1945

Comrade Ho then declared independence for the newly formed Democratic Republic of Vietnam on Sept. 2, 1945. However, the French colonizers were not going to just allow their imperial holdings to remain free without a fight; in the early months of 1946, they arrived back in the country with full military force to re-establish control, causing the Vietnamese people to launch the French Resistance War.

For almost ten long, bloody years, my people fought against the invaders, until eventually the Viet Minh struck the final blow against the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, ending the war. However, the test for the newly independent socialist nation had only just begun, because as soon as the French left, U.S. imperialists took their place.

Thus began what is often called the Vietnam War, a conflict we Vietnamese call “the War of American Aggression.” (A much more fitting name, if I do say so myself.) For nearly 20 more years the brave Vietnamese, under the leadership of the National Liberation Front, fought against the most powerful military force in the world, and by 1975, declared victory as the last of the U.S. imperialists were driven out.

Why is this important, besides celebrating such an important day in the history of our Vietnamese comrades? The answer is simple: we struggle every day here “in the belly of the beast,” as Che Guevara put it, fighting for the freedom of the working class at the very imperial core. Times are tough now, but when we look at our past as socialists and see the example the Vietnamese people—my people—set for us, we should take heart. Our struggle continues, just as theirs did against the French and U.S. imperialists.

And just like my people, we will win!

Haiti Marks Independence Anniversary Day Amid Deepening Crisis

Source:  TeleSUR
January 1 2020

Haiti has been struggling for more than two centuries to establish itself as a modern and stable state.Haiti has been struggling for more than two centuries to establish
itself as a modern and stable state. | Photo: Reuters

Over 4.5 million Haitians, almost half of the population, will be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2020, the United Nations warned. 

Haiti celebrated Wednesday its 216th independence day in the midst of political turmoil and a profound social and economic crisis.

RELATED: Hundreds of Haitian Children Fathered, ‘Left in Misery’ by UN Peacekeepers: Report 

The government of President Jovenel Moise has been facing nationwide protests calling for its removal after scandals emerged involving the head of state along with other officials in cases of severe corruption, and after fuel shortages, dwindling food supplies, and mismanagement of public funds further plunged the impoverished country in one of its worst economic and social crisis in years.

To mark the day of independence, Moise gave a speech and denounced graft, urging Haiti’s elite to work with the government.

“We’re still extremely poor,” he said at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, adding that “those who continue to get rich find it normal that they do not pay taxes, find it normal that there can be no competition, find it normal that they set prices for consumers, especially when this consumer is the state itself.”

The world’s first black-led republic

Moise’s speech marked 216 years since the Caribbean nation gained its independence and became the world’s first black-led republic, forcing France to surrender its colonial rule over the slave-driven plantation formerly known as Saint-Domingue.

Led by Toussaint-Louverture, who declared the abolition of slavery, former slaves fought against France between 1791 and 1804 when General Jean-Jaques Dessalines finally defeated French forces and declared independence, reviving the island’s native name: Ayiti.

Haiti’s problems, however, which can be traced back a long way, have only been getting worse since its birth as a Republic.

The country has been fighting and struggling for more than two centuries to establish itself as a modern and stable state, but it has been mercilessly punished, used, and exploited by the West, making a sustained political, social and economic development almost impossible.

Illegitimate debt imposed by France

The island was, for instance, burdened with an illegitimate debt imposed by France in exchange for lifting a naval and diplomatic blockade. The former colonial power demanded that Haiti pay 150 million gold francs in “reparations” to former French slaveholders. According to several estimates, that was 10 times the country’s yearly revenue.

For over a century, Haiti was required to finance the debt, hampering the possibility to invest in infrastructure, social services, and industrial development.

19-year-long occupation by the United States

It wasn’t until 1947 that Haiti was finally capable of paying compensation to slaveholders and human traffickers. By then, it had already suffered a 19-year-long occupation by the United States (1915 – 1934), during which racial inequalities were exacerbated.

In 2004, Haiti officially demanded France to pay back the money, stressing that it was a “grave injustice” that prevented Haiti from developing as fast as other countries. France has so far rejected any possibility of paying back the illegitimate debt it claimed from Haiti.

And as Haitians commemorate one more year of independence, it seems there is little to celebrate as the United Nations (U.N.) estimates that more than 4.5 million Haitians representing almost half of the population will be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2020. Among the most vulnerable, about 60 percent are women and more than 45 percent are children.

“One in three Haitians needs urgent food aid, that is 3.7 million people, a significant increase compared to 2.6 million people at the end of 2018. If no immediate action is taken, between March and June 2020, 1.2 million people will be able to eat a meal every two days and around 2.8 million people will be able to eat a single meal a day, “ U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, expressing that a worsening economic crisis is the last thing Haitians need, given the poor quality of life in the island.

France: Yellow Vests Protest Reaching a Showdown With Macron

Source:  Popular Resistance
March 23 2019

By Richard Greeman, Popular Resistance

RESIST!

resistance.jpgThe situation in France may be reaching a showdown between the Macron government, which is now considering using the Army against the Yellow Vests, and the social movement, to whose demands the regime continues to turn a deaf ear.

In the last week, we have seen a nation-wide strike of High School and other students demanding immediate government intervention to stop the global warming that threatens their future lives. The government response: police brutality against teenagers.

On Saturday, there was a massive March for the Climate all over France, perhaps 150,000 demonstrators, which converged with the “19th Act” of the weekly Yellow Vest demonstrations, which have just celebrated their fourth monthly anniversary. Again, much police brutality, but only against the Yellow Vests, not the Climate people.

On Tuesday (Mar 19th) the CGT and a coalition of other unions sponsored a one-day nation-wide interprofessional strike, which the Yellow vests supported and joined in the name of “convergence” and common goals: restore public services, retirement, social security, salaries, and a demand to be listened to.

Radio silence from Paris.

Simultaneously, the Macron government has hastily passed several new repressive laws making demonstrations all but illegal. Macron has fired the Police Prefect for being too soft on demonstrators (!) and for not using enough of the Flashballs that have already killed an old woman on her balcony and seriously injured (blinded) over a hundred demonstrators, thousands of whom have been arrested. These weapons, made in Switzerland and labeled as weapons of war there, have been proclaimed ‘medium crowd control defense weapons’ by France, despite the protests of Michelle Bachelet and the European and UN Human Rights groups.

yellow vests protest

France: Police Threaten To Join Yellow Vests Protesters

Source:  Popular Resistance
March 12 2019

By Matt Agorist, Secretspaceprogram.com

FRANCE-SOCIAL-POLITICS-ENVIRONMENT-OIL-DEMO

Police in France are being ripped off by their government which is refusing to pay them for policing the protests—now they are threatening to join the yellow vests.

France — As the “gilets jaunes” or “yellow vests” protests continue to take place across France, the government has been slowly acquiescing to the demands of citizens. However, the concessions have not been enough and so they’ve stayed in the streets although mostly calm. Also in the streets are the French police, who, according to reports, are also growing wary with the French state. The protests have been ongoing for around a month now and the police force is tiring out—and they aren’t getting paid for it. Police in France have racked up a massive 23 million hours of overtime as they work protests and not a single one of them have been paid for it.

Once the union realized that their officers were not being paid the money they were owed, the Alliance Union called on officers across France to only handle emergencies only as they negotiated with the interior ministry over their compensation.

On Wednesday, activists called on police to cross the line and join them. Police did not rule this option out and they went so far as to threaten the French government with doing just that.

Negotiations between three unions—Alliance, UNSA-Police and Unity-SGP-FO—and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Tuesday failed to reach a settlement, according to Newsweek. As talks resumed on Wednesday, France 24 reported that activists were calling on forces across the country to commit to a “slowdown” and only respond to emergencies until the dispute had been settled.

The slowdown took place and yet the government still failed to address their concerns. So, police held a “black day for the police” protest on Wednesday. Now, they are threatening Act II, and even Act III. Using the term ‘Act’, the police are aligning themselves with the yellow vests as this is a similar tactic used in the current demonstrations.

“Despite our repeated appeals to the President of the Republic to announce an emergency plan for the security forces, so far nothing has been said,” the union said this week.

The Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner claims that paying the officers what they are owed will “take time” and finding the money isn’t easy.

“It is in a spirit of dialogue and mutual trust that we will provide concrete responses to our security forces,” he said.

However, the police do not appear to be buying into the rhetoric and a “blue vest” protest now appears to be imminent.

Although many police officers and protesters have been clashing—often violently—over the past few weeks, many of the officers have found compassion for the yellow vests.

“Most cops have ‘yellow vests’ among their close circles or at least people who sympathize with the movement, it’s not easy to be on the other side of the barricade every day,” a police source told Le Monde newspaper.

Backing up this notion is the fact that police have been seen on video removing their helmets and joining in with the yellow vests in solidarity.

As TFTP reported earlier this month, despite the violence, many of the police officers in France understood the anger coming from the citizens. Instead of clashing with the peaceful protesters, many of the officers were seen joining them in solidarity.

In at least two different cases, police were seen on video removing their helmets to show the people that they were on their side.

French Policemen Forced to Run Away from Yellow Vests in Paris

Source:  TeleSUR
December 24 2-18

french police run awayA police motorcycle officer pulls a gun during a demonstration of
the “yellow vests” movement on Champs Elysees in Paris | Photo: Reuters

The government has been actively using the violence of a few dozens of the protesters in a bid to discredit the entire movement.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for “order” on Sunday after the sixth weekend of “yellow vest” anti-government protests that saw a violent confrontation between protesters and the police in Paris.

RELATED:  Portugal’s Yellow Vests to Protest Against Social Inequity

Speaking during a visit to the Saharan state of Chad where he was visiting French troops serving in a counter-terrorism force, Macron said: “There must be order now, calm and harmony. Our country needs it.”

The 41-year-old former bank executive has struggled to tamp down the anger of the working poor in small-town and rural France over falling spending power and policies seen as tilted towards the rich.

Nearly 40,000 people took part in a sixth round of nationwide protests on Saturday, according to the interior ministry — around half the number who demonstrated a week earlier. Many people took to social media complaining about the police cordon impeding them to reach the demonstration.

In Paris, the protests were mainly peaceful, but as evening fell, violence broke out again on the iconic Champs Elysees avenue when policemen started violently evicting peaceful protesters with tear gas and grenades.

In one incident that was widely used by the government to discredit the whole movement, three police officers on motorbikes were forced to make a hasty escape after coming under attack near the Champs Elysees from demonstrators who threw paving stones and other objects at them.

A video of the incident, which was widely shared on social media, showed one officer pulling his gun and pointing it at the advancing protesters. He and his two colleagues — one of whom had his motorbike knocked to the ground — then made their getaway.

The video showed that, seconds before the attack, the police had lobbed stun grenades at a group of protesters, who were some distance away.

Speaking to the BFMTV channel, Macron said those responsible for the violence would face “the most severe” legal punishment.

From there the protests quickly morphed into a full-scale revolt against Macron’s policies, his aloof, top-down governing style, and the political class as a whole.

A total of 142 people were detained and 19 taken into police custody in the capital, including one of leaders of the movement, Eric Drouet.

Drouet was released on parole on Sunday and will face trial on June 5 for “carrying a prohibited category D weapon,” a judicial source told AFP.

At least ten people have died in incidents linked to the demonstrations, mostly in accidents at roadblocks set up by the protesters.

French Workers Go on General Strike in Support of Yellow Vests

Source:TeleSUR
December 14 2018

workers in france strike.jpgFrance has been overcome by demonstrations for roughly a month as
people protest living conditions, fuel tax, social inequality, and workers’ rights.
| Photo: Reuters

The leadership of the CGT said the call to strike is in support of the social and wage demands driven by the popular movement of the yellow vests.

In solidarity with the popular ‘yellow vests’ movement, France’s workers have gone on national strike Friday, a move called by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT).

RELATED:  Despite Police Repression, France’s ‘Yellow Vests’ Continues as Leftist Parties, Student Movements Join Forces

“The best way to protest is to go on strike,” the CGT’s Philippe Martinez told BFM TV Friday. “We must multiply actions at companies. We must strike everywhere.”

The French trade union announced the day of action Tuesday after negotiations with the government over unemployment benefits failed.

“The CGT, like the yellow vests, is fighting for claims on salaries, what (French president Emmanuel) Macron announced is not enough because there isn’t any general raise in salaries,” Union representative for health workers Francoise Doriate told Reuters.

“The minimum wage isn’t a minimum wage… the increase of an income tax on only a part of pensioners is a scam and there is a freeze on pensions which means we are losing buying power.”

On Monday, President Macron announced wage rises for the poorest workers and tax cuts for pensioners in further concessions meant to quell weeks of often violent protests that have challenged his authority. However, the government’s decision has been seen by some as a sham.

“Emmanuel Macron thought he could hand out some cash to calm the citizen’s insurrection that has erupted,” Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the far-left La France Insoumise, said. “I believe that Act V (of the protests) will play out on Saturday,” he said referring to a new round of protests planned this weekend.

lawyers burn codes france.jpgFrench lawyers burn legal codes as part of a nation-wide
strike against planned justice reform law. | Reuters

The move to strike puts pressure on companies as labor unions use their collective power to create disruption just as demonstrators prepare for a fifth-weekend wave of protests across the country since the movement began Nov. 17.

“Of course it is not a question of shouting victory but of amplifying the mobilization: that is why all the general assemblies are maintained!” CGT leadership said in a statement.

The administration of Macron also declared a state of economic and social emergency Monday, and requested the cancellation of the ‘yellow vest’ protests this weekend, citing Tuesdays shooting in Strasburg in which three people were killed and 13 others wounded. Police killed the shooter late on Thursday.

Police have been cracking down on the protests using tear gas and water cannon and many fear that the government is preparing a major repression as the movement announces a fifth round of demonstrations.

66,000 Yellow Vests Protest Macron’s Austerity in France

Source:  TeleSUR
December 15 2018

yellow vest protesters.jpg“Yellow Vest” protesters wave French flags in demonstrations against
Macron’s economic policies. | Photo: Reuters

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of French cities Saturday in the fifth weekend of nationwide demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron’s government, despite calls to hold off after a gun attack in Strasbourg earlier this week.

RELATED: French Workers Go on General Strike in Support of Yellow Vests

Police fired water cannon and tear gas in the afternoon to disperse groups of protesters in sporadic, brief clashes with riot police on the Champs-Elysees and adjacent streets.

The Interior Minister said around 69,000 police were active on Saturday with a reinforced presence in the cities of Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Saint-Etienne. According to authorities, the number was down compared to last Saturday. As of 5 p.m. local time, authorities counted 66,000 protesters throughout France. Last Saturday, official forces said 126,000 joined demonstrations.

Protester Loic Bollay, 44, said the protests were more subdued than in previous weeks but the movement would go on until the demonstrators’ grievances were addressed.

“Since the Strasbourg attack, it is calmer, but I think next Saturday and the following Saturdays…it will come back.”

The “yellow vest” movement started in mid-November with protests against fuel tax increases, but it quickly became a wider mobilization against Macron’s austerity policies and reforms that affect working-class people. Students, professionals, union workers, pensioners, and general citizens have joined the movement.

RELATED:  France: Pensioners Protest Against Macron’s Economic Policy

Macron, dubbed the “president of the rich,” has faced several episodes of intense social protest since the beginning of his presidency in May 2017.

During the Yellow Vests’ mobilization on Saturday, Dec. 8, at least 1,500 people were detained and 135 injured.

This Saturday, in Paris, a group of protesters gathered in the Opera square and knelt with their hands behind their heads in a reference to the over 140 students of Mantes la Jolie who were intimidated and humiliated by French police last week.

yellow vest protesters kneel.jpg

Yellow Vests kneeling with their hands on their heads, making reference to the students of Mantes la Jolie.

In Paris, where thousands marched in splintered groups, 168 had been arrested until 5 p.m., according to a Paris police official.

In a televised address to the nation Monday, Macron announced wage increases and tax cuts for pensioners in an attempt to end the movement but many said they would maintain pressure.

This Saturday, the Champs Elysees is again the epicenter of the Yellow Vests’ call. All subway lines in the vicinity have been cut off and the bus lines diverted. Various monuments, museums, and Parisian shops have closed their doors.

Libya in chaos seven years after NATO’s ‘liberation’, but who cares?

Source:  rt.com
September 7 2018

libya seven years after.jpgA historic building ruined during a conflict, Benghazi, Libya, February 28, 2018 © Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters

Libya remains a lawless land, with rival militias fighting battles in the streets of Tripoli and over 1 million people in need of aid. But the West’s ‘liberal interventionists’ aren’t interested in the catastrophe they created.

Hundreds escape prison amid deadly clashes in Tripoli,” a headline on the BBC News website declared this week.

Over 60 people have died in the current fighting with many more injured and hundreds of ordinary citizens displaced. The latest disturbances began after the Tarhuna’s 7th Infantry ”Kaniat‘ Brigade made advances into the capital from the south and clashed with a coalition of Tripoli militias.

The situation in Libya is worse than in Syria

It’s really hard to keep up with who’s fighting who. If you think the situation in Syria is complicated, you haven’t been paying much attention to Libya. As the BBC article acknowledged: “Libya has faced continuing chaos since NATO-backed militia forces, some of them rivals, overthrew long-serving ruler Colonel Gaddafi in October 2011.”

Libya has rival governments but even they don’t control the majority of the country. There is no ‘rule of law’, only the rule of the gun. Libya’s regression from the country with the highest Human Development Index figure in the whole of Africa just ten years ago, to a fragmented and very dangerous failed state, is hard to take in. Last year, the UN Agency IOM reported that slave markets had returned to the country.

Economic and societal collapse

Economic and societal collapse has had a devastating impact on the life of ordinary Libyans.

Take health care. A 2017 Service Availability and Readiness Assessment survey, conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health, found that 17 out of 97 hospitals are closed and only four hospitals were functional between 75-80% of their capacity. Over 20% primary health care facilities are closed and the rest are not “well ready for service delivery“.

In May 2016, the WHO also expressed ‘great concern’ over the deaths of 12 new-borns in the Sabah Medical Centre neonatal intensive care unit in Sabha, southern Libya. It records: “The deaths occurred as a result of a bacterial infection and lack of specialized health staff to provide medical care.

Education

The education system is also in a state of collapse or near-collapse. In 2016, it was reported that the start of the school year was postponed because of a “lack of books, lack of security and many other factors.”

It was noted that the Libyan school year had not been regular since the fall of Gaddafi. This year, UNICEF said that 489 schools were affected by the conflict and that around 26,000 students had been forced to change schools due to closures.

1.1 m people in Libya are in need of humanitarian assistance

UNICEF also says that 378,000 children in Libya are in need of humanitarian assistance, 268,000 are in need of safe water, sanitation and hygiene and 300,000 are in need of education in emergency support. Overall 1.1m people in Libya are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Given the dire situation it is no surprise that so many Libyans have left, or are leaving. In 2014, it was reported that between 600,000 and 1m had fled to Tunisia.

If we add those who went to Egypt and elsewhere, the figure is likely to be in excess of 2 million, quite staggering when you consider that the 2011 population of Libya was around 6 million.

An invasion based on lies

As I argued in a previous op-ed, the Western assault on Libya was an even worse crime than the invasion of Iraq because it came later. There was really no excuse for anyone, seeing how the ‘regime change’ operation of 2003 had turned out, supporting a similar venture in North Africa.

Yet, those responsible for what happened have faced no comeback. The UK Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, is blamed for Brexit (by Remainers), but not for what he did to Libya and the claims he made to justify the military action. This is despite a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report concluding, five years later, that “the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President in 2011, faces a trial (or trials) in relation to three different investigations, including accepting money from Gaddafi to help his election campaign, but he has not yet been prosecuted for his role in the war.

Bernard-Henri Levy, the philosopher considered by some to be the intellectual godfather of the Western intervention – and who boasted “we are the first to say that Qaddafi is no longer the legal representative,” is performing a one-man anti-Brexit play, as the country he helped ‘liberate’ burns.

What Obama and Clinton did to Libya is far worse than anything Trump has done up to now.

Stateside and in ‘liberal’ circles across the West, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are lionised for not being Donald Trump, but what the duo did to Libya is far worse than anything Trump has done up to now.

And the British Home Secretary under whose watch control orders on members of the anti-Gaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were lifted, one Theresa May, is now Prime Minister, and trying to take the moral high ground against Russia. To add insult to injury, it is a politician who opposed the NATO action in 2011, Jeremy Corbyn, who is under constant media attack and painted as beyond the pale. Just how wrong is that?

A great crime has been committed

Returning to the current violence, a UN-brokered ceasefire to end the fighting in south Tripoli is reported at time of writing to be holding, but bearing in mind how previous ceasefires have collapsed, we can’t be optimistic. Part of the problem is that the country is awash with arms. The sad truth is that Libya is broken and probably will never be put back together again. A great crime has been committed, but you would never think it, judging by the lack of media coverage.

We’ve had a lot of debate this summer in Britain about Israel’s ‘right to exist’- and whether challenging this makes one ‘anti-Semitic’ but the reality is that Libya – as a modern, functioning state – has ceased to exist. And no one in elite, establishment circles seems the least bit bothered. Consider how many column inches were devoted to ‘saving’ Libya in the build up to NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ intervention seven and a half years ago, with the lack of opinion pieces about the country today.

Try googling the names of some of the leading media war hawks and ‘Libya’ and you see they tend to go as silent after 2011 – shifting their attention to propagandising for ‘regime change’ in Syria. The only conclusion one can draw is their sole interest in the country was seeing Muammar Gaddafi toppled. After that was achieved, who cares?

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AFRICOM – Staggering But Not Yet Down For The Count

Source:  Black Agenda Report
February 21 2018

“The AFRICOM serpent has spent more than a decade slithering into almost every African country and establishing a venomous presence.”

africom staggering but.jpg

Even though Donald Trump thinks Africa is a “shit hole” the continent forced its way into his life anyway in October when four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger. After Trump deflected blame to others and made a soldier’s widow cry, he apparently returned quickly to his fantasies about boatloads of Norwegian immigrants swarming Ellis Island.

The military establishment was not so quick to change the subject. Their detailed investigation of the Niger matter has produced what is reported to be a damning assessment of the capacity of the U.S. military to carry out its imperialist agenda in Africa. The rest of us aren’t allowed to read it yet because, as the New York Times explained: “…public release has been delayed until General [Thomas] Waldhauser [head of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)] appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee to present the command’s annual ‘posture hearing,’ scheduled for the last week of February.”

The New York Times goes on to say: “Defense officials said that the delay in part aims to keep senators from focusing on the Niger ambush during the hearing and, in turn, excoriating General Waldhauser when he testifies before the committee.” The convenient temporary suppression of the report will allow the General to present senators with the usual upbeat AFRICOM propaganda about U.S. soldiers digging wells and bringing medicine to downtrodden African villagers while giving friendly advice to African armies about how to fight terrorism.

“The convenient temporary suppression of the report will allow the General to present senators with the usual upbeat AFRICOM propaganda.”

Findings about failures of the campaign to militarize Africa are welcome news after the AFRICOM serpent has spent more than a decade slithering into almost every African country and establishing a venomous presence. Even better news is that the study reportedly “…calls for the Pentagon to scale back the number of ground missions in West Africa, and to strip commanders in the field of some authority to send troops on potentially high-risk patrols.”

With respect to the military deaths in Niger, the New York Times noted: “…[T]he ambush has exposed holes in the argument that the Pentagon has made under three different administrations: that in many far-flung places, American troops are not actually engaged in combat, but just there to train, advise and assist local troops.” Not only is the U.S. military engaged in combat, it has also formed an unholy alliance with France that gives both countries the opportunity to wreak havoc in Africa tag-team style. For example, in 2012 when one of Mali’s soldiers, who had been trained by AFRICOM, staged a coup that displaced Mali’s democratically elected government, the French military stepped in to try to clean up the mess.

“The study calls for the Pentagon to scale back the number of ground missions in West Africa, and to strip commanders in the field of some authority to send troops on potentially high-risk patrols.”

The U.S. has also had France’s back. State Department documents show that while Muammar Gadhafi lived, France coveted Libya’s oil and wanted desperately to stop plans to create a Pan-African currency backed by Libyan gold. In an effort to satisfy French desires, the U.S. stepped in and did the dirty work of arming vicious Libyan racists and terrorists who, in turn, not only committed a grisly assassination of Gadhafi, but also began a campaign of genocide against blacks in Libya.

In Niger, when French uranium mining operations in Arlit and a military installation in Agadez were attacked in 2013, the U.S. military stepped in, and its continuing involvement there eventually cost the lives of four U.S. soldiers last year. A Guardian article about the 2013 attacks said: “The militants vowed to hit any country that helped France…” Someone apparently made good on that threat.

Meanwhile, U.S. politicians claim they are clueless. Senator Lindsey Graham said: “I didn’t know there were 1,000 troops in Niger. This is an endless war without boundaries, no limitation on time or geography. We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world militarily and what we’re doing.” Even though Donald Trump is probably less informed than Graham, his administration not only increased the number of drone strikes in Somalia, but also removed limits on drone strikes and commando raids that Barack (The King of Drones) Obama established in 2013.

“The U.S. has formed an unholy alliance with France that gives both countries the opportunity to wreak havoc in Africa tag-team style.”

Nevertheless, AFRICOM itself may already be downsizing. Lauren Ploch, a Congressional Research Service Africa analyst commented: “AFRICOM’s security cooperation spending was down in 2017 from the previous few years.” If the recently completed report on U.S. military engagement in Niger has the expected impact, the U.S. military presence in Africa will be scaled back even more — at least temporarily. But because the long-term interests of the U.S. Empire demand the continuing western capitalist domination of the African continent, the generals and strategists will no doubt huddle and figure out a more effective way to sell the AFRICOM idea, and it will return.

A temporarily scaled-back AFRICOM will present a window of opportunity that will probably close quickly. Those who want to prevent the further military domination of Africa must therefore make haste to do whatever possible to ensure that an already disintegrating AFRICOM project crumbles into dust and is swept away forever by African desert winds.

Mark P. Fancher is an attorney who writes frequently about the U.S. military presence in Africa. He can be contacted at mfancher(at)comcast.net