Western Intervention Fosters Instability in Africa

Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, about efforts by the US and Saudi Arabia to undermine uprisings in Middle East and North Africa.   

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Let’s take a look at Libya first. The country, the way it’s been described: lawlessness, ripe with terrorists, extremists overflowing with arms without a strong central government. What is going on in this country years after Gaddafi’s ouster?

Azikiwe: Well, there’s a clear breakdown in the internal security of Libya. There has not been a consistent stable government established since 2011. A lot of it has to do with the fact that the NATO-Pentagon bombing of the country destroyed the internal infrastructure. The collection of groups that will put together to replace the Jamahiriya government have not received any form of assistance from the general population in terms of stabilizing the country.

Therefore, what we have is consistent instability, chaos not only against the citizens and residents of Libya, but also against foreign nationals. For examples, embassies which are stationed in the country have come under attack, there have been diplomats kidnapped by these various rebel groups inside Libya and the country has fractured along regional lines.

There are efforts in the eastern part of the country to break away from Tripoli.  The government in Tripoli is extremely unstable. There have been numerous coups d’état just over the last several months.

So, I think that the United States and NATO efforts in overthrowing Gaddafi government has resulted in this type of instability and it has spread throughout the entire region of North as well as East Africa. We had a situation in Mali a year and a half ago where the country fractured. It precipitated internal invasion and occupation by France. We had a similar situation that took place in Algeria where there were attacks against the In Amenas gas facility there a year ago. There’s also a spread into Niger where France as well as the United States has considerable economic interests.

I don’t believe the intervention by the United States or NATO has done anything except fostered greater instability and underdevelopment in this region of Africa.

Press TV: Let’s find out from you Abayomi Azikiwe, here you have a country, in this case in point Egypt that we are talking about. They go through this revolution and then our gentleman [the other guest of the program] there from Cairo says they had to go through a second revolution. Sometimes one revolution is enough for a country. Don’t you think that it’s kind of odd that the army comes in? Then you have the influence of Saudi Arabia, financially speaking, gave to the country and of course after that recently we have the United States which it had freed the ten Apache helicopters that it had promised and it freed up some of the aid – of which accumulatively after Israel Egypt gets the most aid – of one billion dollars. Do you think that this can be categorized as a way for Saudi Arabia perhaps with America’s consent, you can tell us, moved in to bring in the army at point this government and at this point have Sisi run for presidency?

Azikiwe: Yes, we have to look at the history of the United States involvement in Egypt. We can go back some thirty five years when there was a shift in Egyptian foreign policy under the Sadat government during the late 1970s where they embarked upon a separate peace agreement with the … Israel [entity]. In 1978, the so-called Camp David Accords that were signed.

Since this time period Egypt has been heavily influenced and dominated by the United States. It’s no secret that the aid that was given to Egypt by the United States, the bulk of it went to the Egyptian military. I don’t think that’s an accident. I think it’s deliberate because Egypt played a very important role vis-a-vis US foreign policy in North Africa and throughout the Middle East since the late 1970s.

In 2011, when there was an uprising inside the country, masses of people went into the streets. They were demanding the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. It was not the organizations that were in the streets that seized power. It was the military, elements within the military who seized power in Egypt in February of 2011 under the guise that was going to be a political transition to a democratic government there. There were problems associated with that for well over a year and when the elections took place, the results were delayed in June if the 2012 and then when Morsi was deemed to be president, there were still problems inside the country.

The coups d’état that took place on July third of the 2013, they claimed it resulted from Tamarod movement and other organizations that weren’t to remove the Freedom and Justice Party form its governmental authority. But at the same time again it was not the popular organizations that stormed Morsi’s office that took control of the political apparatus in Cairo. It was again the military.

And thousands of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained, they have been killed. There’ve been these show trials that have taken place over the last several months and even today we have a field marshal who has taken off his military uniform and put on civilian clothes and now he is said to be the leading candidate in the upcoming elections but the US is still very much involved in directing the domestic and foreign policy of the Egypt.

Press TV: I’d like to discuss Bahrain a little bit further here and reflect more on it, if you can Abayomi Azikiwe, in terms of the US stance. It’s really odd, now aside from Bahrain which they have the Fifth Fleet, let’s look at the way they’ve reacted, for example, let’s look at the way they have reacted to Thailand. They come out almost immediately after the coup and said that we want democracy to prevail there. But you don’t see that reaction of reaction coming on US when it comes to Egypt or when it comes to Libya, especially with Egypt. They are saying right now with Egypt; correct me if I’m wrong that it’s going through the transition to democracy. It’s not talking about government that has, I think the last count was over six hundred people that court sentenced to death penalty on. What kind of democracy are they supporting if they are talking about this that way?

Azikiwe: I believe that the situation in Egypt and other countries throughout the region represent the role of the United States in maintaining its interests in these countries. You mentioned Bahrain, the United States has a military fleet there and they were committed to maintaining the monarchy in power in Bahrain. That’s why you hear very little information inside the Unites States in regard to the corporate media about developments in Bahrain over the last three and a half years since there have been mass demonstrations, human rights violations, the murder of protesters, the detention of activists and so forth in Yemen. They want to make sure that Yemen stays with the United States. Its fear of influence, they periodically engage in drone attacks in Yemen. There was a cosmetic change in the government there in response to the mass demonstrations. But there’s been no fundamental change in the political system in Yemen.

The same is true of Egypt. In the 1980s, we had the AWACS program which Egypt played a very important strategic role in maintaining US aerial surveillance of developments that were going on throughout the region.

The United States operates not on the basis of human rights considerations or the need to facilitate democracy, but it is based upon their own economic and political interests in the entire region. That is what guides US foreign policy. It has very little to do with considerations involving democracy. For example, when Mr. al-Sisi took power last year the United States State Department refused to even label this as a military coup d’état and they maintained relations with Egypt. They are going to continue to maintain relations with the Egypt because they feel that if the military is in charge or forces allied with the military, they have a much better chance of maintaining control and direction of the foreign policy as well domestic policy of Egypt.


Articles by: Abayomi Azikiwe

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