It is not only in the Middle East where the empire of oil is seeking to regain lost territory, look at Africa:
George Bush said Africa’s greatest resource is “not its oil, it’s not its diamonds, it is the talent and creativity”.
But the reason why the U.S. military setup the new African military command station in 2007, called AFRICOM, was to control oil in the region, which means defending oil extraction. This project is praised by policy insiders. It was “long overdue” given that Africa supplies the U.S. with “nearly 20 percent of its petroleum needs” according to a writer for World Defense Review. Today, ExxonMobil operates in Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria, and is set to begin work in Libya. Its African holdings account for nearly 17% of the company’s global oil reserves. Africa is the final frontier as far as the world’s energy and natural supplies are concerned.
“In the next 15 to 20 years, most of the new oil entering the world market is going to be coming from African fields.”
As radical indigenist groups like MEND, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, have an armed populist resistance movement ready to strike against all foreign oil companies in their land, especially Shell and Chevron, AFRICOM has been arming and training the militaries of Angola, Algeria, Botwana, Chad, Cote d’Iviore, Republic of Congo, Equitorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan and Uganda.
What Africa has is a classic overseas expansion of American military and economic power, whereby the business interests control the military interests, whereby global military competitiveness is an extension of global business competitiveness. The connection between military and economic power are even more entangled: alliances within the core of the developed OECD economies, permitted by organizations like the G8, the World Bank, NATO and various military cooperation structures, make domination of the global “periphery” inevitable. Political scientists Leo Panitch and Samuel Gindin hold variations of this view.
Being the U.S. military means your duty is to ensure a subdued and supportive African continent. It means expressing the interests of the global economy in terms of Africa’s economic and humanitarian needs. Just to be fair, the U.S. will provide professional military assistance against rebellious African separatist and indigenist elements. It will “enable” democracy, and facilitate oil exports. The American military is there to rebuild, assist, and ultimately help the people of Africa improve their standard of living. Can they keep a straight face?
Being Exxon or Shell or Chevron or BP means never having to apologize for the kind of work you do. It means divvying up African into boundaries along pipelines and labor divisions, bypassing people and made-up national borders. It means asking friendly military powers to protect your professional practices. Big Oil wants to take an active role in the exploitation of global resources against the determination of the people who have historic entitlement, but the people there have no means of justifying their argument under the imperialist rubric.
Hence, it’s safe to say the new scramble for Africa is an oil and military scramble. But the story of the scrambles are as old as the European fascination with Africa: resources – whether human or natural – will always take priority over anything else so long as white people with flags and guns have anything to do with it.