Hegemonic Rivalry

KHARTUM/N'DJAMENA/PARIS/BERLIN | | tschadsudanfrankreich

KHARTUM/N'DJAMENA/PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - Following the UN's decision to deploy troops to Sudan, war mongers in Berlin are pushing for German participation. German foreign policy specialists from the opposition, as well as, from circles close to the ruling CDU Party are calling for Germany showing a presence in the Western Sudanese province of Darfur, at least with military observers or high ranking officers. Because of a French offensive in Darfur, destined to strengthen the French standing in Eastern Africa, but in contravention to German plans, the German government is, for the moment, opposing another German military (Bundeswehr) troop deployment. Germany is rather seeking to secure its own influence via African allies. Last week Foreign Minister Steinmeier visited Ghana and Nigeria, two states having a prominent role in German plans to militarily control Africa. Ghana and Nigeria are playing decisive roles with their participation in the Sudan deployment and are receiving millions in German financial aid, for the maintenance of their troops. Further militarization of the African continent is a direct consequence.

The West vs. China

In its on-going conflict with Sudan, the UN Security Council resolved last week to deploy troops to the West Sudanese province of Darfur. The roots of the conflict lie in a struggle for repartition of the resources of the country. Since the mid 1990s, the West, under the leadership of the USA, has been taking action against the Islamist government in Khartoum, and seeks, in alliance with various rebel militias, to insure its access to the raw materials.[1] On the other hand, the People's Republic of China is cooperating with the Sudanese central government in Khartoum and, in the meantime, is obtaining nearly four-fifths of the extracted Sudanese oil. The western alignment has already obtained extensive autonomy for the Southern Sudanese separatists.[2] Khartoum's adversaries have been instigated to rebel and smoldering conflicts have been permitted to escalate.[3] It is, above all, Washington and Berlin, who are pushing for a UN mandated intervention in Darfur and seeking to militarily roll back the influence of the Sudanese central government. Regional secession is not being ruled out.

Paris vs. Berlin

Following the inauguration of its new government, France, seeking to preserve Sudan's territorial integrity and therefore its own influence throughout the country,[4] has launched its own Dafur offensive. France's former colony, Chad, is being brought into play. Chad borders on Darfur, shelters hundreds of thousands of refugees and serves also as an area of retreat for Sudanese rebel militias. Paris would like to see 4,000 EU troops stationed there under its command. A corresponding resolution is supposed to be passed in Brussels in mid-September. Accordingly the French commanded EU forces would do the preliminary work for the UN units in Darfur, thereby insuring new influence for France in Eastern Africa. Chancellor Merkel has turned down this request. German political advisors have suspected for years, that Paris wants to use the EU Army, that is in the formation process, to support its troops in Africa and thereby halt the French demise in the former colonies.[5] On the other hand, Berlin is using France's loss of standing [6] and is unwilling to give its inner-European rival a helping hand.

USA vs. France

The western contenders' struggle for hegemonic influence, including the Federal Republic of Germany, is determining the structure of the UN African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which is still in its formative stages, and is turning the allegation to derision that, with this intervention, Africans are taking the peace-making process into their own hands. The UNAMID's "Civilian Director of the Mission" is Rodolphe Adada, the former foreign minister of the Republic of the Congo ("Congo Brazzaville"). The Republic of the Congo is one of France's closest allies in Africa. As his country's foreign minister, one of Adadas responsibilities was to maintain the cohesion between the former French colonies (Francophone Africa). The UNAMID commander, Martin Agwai received his military training in the USA and was awarded one of the highest honors of the US National Defense University.

Dependent

For years Agwai has been the commander of the Nigerian army, which, since the end of this West African nation's military dictatorship, has been supported by Germany, including several million Euros annually in arms deliveries.[7] Nigeria furnishes a significant proportion of the African Union's troops, currently being stationed in Darfur and is, to a large extent, dependent upon Berlin. Germany furnished communication equipment to the badly equipped troops and provides air transport. In July, Berlin promised a supplementary 25 million Euros - supplementary to the German share of 23 percent the 282 million Euros furnished by the EU. Immediately following the UN's deployment decision, Germany's Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, traveled to Nigeria, to consult with the armed forces about the Darfur deployment. The Nigerian army commander will essentially be in charge of the Darfur expedition.

Gerhard Schroeder Hall

The Darfur intervention was also the main point on the agenda of the German foreign minister's consultations during his trip to Ghana after leaving Nigeria. Ghana receives more than 40 percent of its budget from western donor states, among them Germany. The German chancellor was on hand in the capital, Accra, in January 2004, as the "Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center" (KAIPTC) was inaugurated, a facility for preparing West African soldiers for deployment to war and civil war zones. Parallel events were taking place around the African Union's Darfur intervention. The UNAMID commander Martin Agwai had also made an appearance in this center. The KAIPTC was financed with millions from the German budget. The planning complex bears the name "Gerhard Schroeder Hall."

Taxes

The German government maintains a "steering group," comprised of representatives from the foreign ministry, the ministry for "development", the defense ministry, the so-called Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) to assert "German interests within KAIPTC."[8] In addition Berlin maintains 2 military advisors and a "long-term civilian advisor" at the center in Accra.

Militarization

Foreign Minister Steinmeier terminated his trip to Africa in the Gerhard Schroeder Hall, that had served the Germans for preparing the Darfur intervention in competition to the French strategy. Even if Berlin should choose not to broaden the current Sudan mandate for the Bundeswehr,[9] the struggle for hegemony between western nations will be sustained within the UNAMID. The consequences of the German-French struggle for influence will not only have to be borne by the inhabitants in the civil war zone, but also by the African nations contributing their troops. Ghana, for example, has sent one-fourth of its military to serve UN interventions, which would correspond in Germany to a Bundeswehr contingent of more than 60,000 soldiers, approx. eight times the current amount of German troops deployed. The militarization accompanying the escalating rivalry on a global scale between the western industrial powers, engulfs also their African vassals.

[1] see also Sudan: The Anti-Khartoum Front and Mit Rebellen gegen Khartum
[2] see also Die Bahn zur Unabhängigkeit, Nucleus of a Germ, Heißer Frieden, Nation Building and New Sudan
[3] see also "Wie im Kongo" and Mit Rebellen gegen Khartum
[4] "Frankreich hat immer eine ganz klare Haltung vertreten. Wir sind für die Einheit der afrikanischen Länder und besonders für die Einheit Sudans", bestätigte Außenminister Bernard Kouchner bei einer Pressekonferenz am 11. Juni 2007.
[5] see also Offensive in Afrika
[6] see also Unverdächtig, Kolonial-Kämpfe and In direkter Konkurrenz
[7] see also Beratungsprojekt für Westafrika and Aufmerksam verfolgen
[8] see also Big Push
[9] Das gegenwärtige Sudan-Mandat erlaubt die Entsendung von bis zu 200 deutschen Soldaten in das ostafrikanische Land.