Military Aid for Africa (I)

ADDIS ABABA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government is continuing its military aid to Addis Ababa,s one year after the Ethiopian military invasion of Somalia. According to information from the German Defense Ministry, in spite of the war being waged by their country and in spite of the accusations of serious war crimes against their army, Ethiopian soldiers have repeatedly participated in training programs organized by the German Bundeswehr. Aid to Ethiopia is part of Germany's efforts to intensify her control over the continent, through the buildup of African military structures under German-European influence. To attain this objective, selected regional powers, such as Ethiopia, and regional organizations are being financed, trained and equipped. On the continental level, Berlin is strengthening the African Union's (AU) military structures. The European Union is "by far, the most important financial contributor" to the AU's militarization, African politicians confirm. This not only spares the EU from having to deploy its own soldiers, to secure resource rich regions, the military influence of Berlin and Brussels also strengthens the German position vis à vis China's economic power in Africa.

War Crimes

Training programs were continued last year, that had been initiated for Ethiopian soldiers back in 2002.[1] These programs seek to build up a military regional power in East Africa. Ethiopia has not only been on the brink of war with Eritrea for years, a war that is supposed to be prevented by a UN mission [2], it also sent its troops to invade Somalia in December 2006, and is still occupying the country. These troops are being accused of grievous war crimes by human rights organizations, documenting arbitrary attacks on residential areas and executions of civilians.[3] This obviously poses no problem to Berlin's cooperation with the Ethiopian military. But in spite of Western aid, Addis Ababa has not been able to take control of Somalia. For several weeks, the armed Somali opposition has again been able to take the offensive. Recently, the Somali government, that had been installed by Addis Ababa, admitted that it was not even in control of one sixth of the country's territory. The "African Union Mission to Somalia" (AMISOM), to which the tasks of occupation are to be transferred, with its troops from several African nations, has, to date, only 1.700 of the projected 8.000 soldiers deployed and its formation is advancing very slowly.

Desired Interference

AMISOM is an attempt to establish a multinational African occupation force in Somalia and is an aspect of the emerging African Union's military structure. This has become possible only through the dissolution of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 2002 (which was founded in 1963) and the foundation of the African Union that same year. In accordance with international law, one of the principles of the OAU had been the non-interference in the internal affairs of member states. Written into the AU's founding document, by contrast, is the possibility of military operations on the territory of member states to guarantee "freedom and stability". This is the first time that so-called peace keeping missions in Africa are contractual. AU intervention troops were/are deployed mainly in two AU member countries: in Sudan (previously known as the "African Union Mission in Sudan" or AMIS, and today as the "United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur", UNAMID) and in Somalia (AMISOM).[4]

Deployment Support

Berlin and the EU are systematically supporting AU military interventions. For example, last July, the German government earmarked approx. 25 million Euros for the intervention in Sudan (AMIS) after having already supported the military mission with 3 million Euros and military hardware (communication equipment etc). An additional 282 million Euros was committed from the EU budget (the German share of this sum being approx. 65 million Euros). The German Foreign Ministry announced that the German Bundeswehr provided "EU coordinated airborne transport support for the AMIS" operation.[5] In addition, several German police officers were dispatched - "to support the civilian police component of AMIS." It further stated, that "corresponding to the 8.6% compulsory participation in the UN budget", Berlin will also "make a substantial contribution to finance the UN - AU's peace keeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Moreover up to 250 German soldiers are standing at the ready for UNAMID. The AU intervention in Somalia, still in the preparatory stage, is also being promoted by the EU. As the German ambassador to the UN announced in March 2007, "15 million Euros have now been earmarked for AMISOM in Somalia."[6]

Development Aid

The AU interventions in Sudan and Somalia are elements of the larger "African Peace and Security Architecture, APSA". The EU is APSA's main financial contributor. At the request of the African Union, Brussels officially created the "Peace Facility for Africa" fund at the end of 2003, allocating an initial 250 million Euros - from the European Development Fund (EDF). In 2006 an additional 300 million Euros was allocated for the period 2008 - 2010 [7] to finance the living expenses of the soldiers, the costs of troop transports and the development of the AU's military structures. A "Peace and Security Council" will be at the center of these military structures and will decide over the deployments of AU troops. It will be advised by a five member "Panel of the Wise", dispose of a "Continental Early Warning System" and command an "African Standby Force".

African Standby Force

The AU's decision to establish an "African Standby Force" dates back to 2002 and, according to present planning, should be completed by 2010. It will be comprised of 15.000 soldiers, who can be rapidly deployed to crises regions. As the German ambassador to the UN reported, a new € 20 million EU program, whose focus will also include "the African Standby Force (...) is now in the pipeline."[8] Observers are skeptical about the troops' projected schedule and strike capability, expecting considerable delays and initial practical problems. As a Bundeswehr expert on African affairs explained, "the substitution (...) for possible deployments of EU battle groups," particularly conceived for combat on the African continent "through highly mobile African forces (...) cannot be expected in the near future."[9]

Second Level

The "African Standby Force" will be put together from five brigades originating from Africa's five most relevant regional military organizations.[10] All five regional organizations, from the West, East, North, South and the center of the continent, are financed, trained and equipped by either Germany or the EU. The German European influence at the continental level of the emerging security structure of the African Union is further supported by regional programs aimed at completing the access to the emerging African Security Architecture. Germany will therefore secure itself an advantage over both the People's Republic of China, with its growing economic influence in Africa, as well as the United States.

[1] Schriftliche Fragen mit den in der Woche vom 8. Oktober 2007 eingegangenen Antworten der Bundesregierung; Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 16/6701
[2] Auch Deutschland entsendet Militärbeobachter im Rahmen der "United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea" (UNMEE).
[3] "Shell-Shocked: Civilians Under Siege in Mogadishu"; Human Rights Watch, August 2007
[4] AU-Missionen gab es außerdem auch in Burundi sowie auf den Komoren.
[5] Der Darfur-Konflikt im Sudan;
[6] EU statement by Ambassador Thomas Matussek on the Relationship between the United Nations and Regional Organizations, in particular the African Union, in the maintenance of International Peace and Security. Held in the Security Council on 28 March 2007
[7] Creation of a Peace Facility for Africa;
[8] EU statement by Ambassador Thomas Matussek on the Relationship between the United Nations and Regional Organizations, in particular the African Union, in the maintenance of International Peace and Security. Held in the Security Council on 28 March 2007
[9] Afrikanische Sicherheitsarchitektur - ein aktueller Überblick; GIGA Focus Afrika 1/2007
[10] Dabei handelt es sich um die "Economic Community of West African States" (ECOWAS), die "Southern Africa Development Community" (SADC), die "Economic Community of Central African States" (ECCAS), die "Arab Maghreb Union" (AMU) und eine ostafrikanische Organisation.