The U.S. vs. The Lord’s Resistance Army

President Obama focused his aim on ridding the civilian population of Uganda and surrounding countries of the scourge of the LRA.

In a plan presented to Congress:

“(AFP) The plan’s four objectives also include promoting “the defection, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters; and… increase humanitarian access and provide continued relief to affected communities.”
“The development of the strategy,” the White House said in a statement, “relied on the significant involvement of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Agency for International Development, and the Intelligence Community.”

For those not familiar with the LRA,
Bloomberg says:

“The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, began its insurgency in the 1980s after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni purged the army of members of the Acholi community, whose interests the LRA says it is defending. The Ugandan army’s recent offensive against the group has dispersed the rebels into remote parts of Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. …”

“The rebels have killed more than 2,000 people and forced more than 400,000 to flee throughout central Africa since December 2008, according to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.”

The UK Guardian writes:

“More than 2,300 people in these countries have been killed by LRA fighters over the past two years, with 400,000 forced to flee their homes.

At least 3,000 men, women and children have been abducted – the rebels’ primary form of conscription.”

Obviously, disarming the LRA is a commendable goal. Nevertheless, LSW experiences a sense of unease at the thought of even more U.S. military presence in Africa.

Foreign Policy in Focus reports on a 2009 Africom blunder in Uganda to oust the LRA.

“News reports from the ground indicate that, largely because of the poorly executed military incursion, the LRA initiated a series of retaliatory attacks against Congolese civilians, killing nearly 1,000, displacing over 180,000 to date, and abducting hundreds of new child soldiers. Complaints also emerged that the Ugandan and Congolese forces involved in the operation did little if anything to protect civilians, leaving them vulnerable to the LRA’s killing spree. By any reasonable definition, Operation Lightning Thunder was an abject military failure.”

FPIF says this about Africom:

“The Pentagon claims that AFRICOM is all about integrating coordination and “building partner capacity.” But the new structure is really about securing oil resources, countering terrorism, and rolling back Chinese influence. Given AFRICOM’s emphasis on defense over diplomacy, resistance to the initiative is possible not only from civic movements but even the U.S. State Department.

Real Reasons for AFRICOM

Professional military officers have made it clear that the new Africa Command has three main purposes. First and foremost, the new command’s main mission is to protect American access to Africa’s oil and other resources, preferably by enhancing the ability of African allies to guard these resources themselves on behalf of the United States. But, to prepare for the day that Washington decides to try to use American troops in a desperate bid to keep them flowing, the United States is also acquiring access to local African military bases and dramatically expanding its naval presence off Africa’s coastline, especially in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea region. Imports from Africa are expected to reach 25% by 2015, making Africa one of the largest future suppliers of U.S. oil – larger even than the Persian Gulf.”

Thus, it is not hard to be nervous about Obama’s apparent desire to oust the LRA and do away with its horrendous terrorizing of civilians, but (is it just a knee jerk reaction) one wonders about the true intentions and the actual results of the operation.

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