US Drills in Africa is Part of ‘Offensive:’ Expert on Large-Scale African Lion Military Exercise

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US Drills in Africa is Part of 'Offensive:' Expert on Large-Scale African Lion Military Exercise
US Drills in Africa is Part of 'Offensive:' Expert on Large-Scale African Lion Military Exercise

Africa-Press – Ghana. The US Africa Command’s largest annual joint exercise, African Lion 2024, began May 1 in Tunisia and will run through May 10 and continue through May 31 in three other host nations: Morocco, Ghana and Senegal.

The exercises the US is conducting in West Africa are part of Washington’s “offensive” and are “a bit suspicious” because of the large number of military personnel, Prof. Francis Onditi, an associate professor of Conflictology and Head of Department, the School of International Relations and Diplomacy, Riara University, Nairobi, Kenya, told.

“The US deploys two things in Africa: one is active military, and two is what we call the kinetic diplomacy […] And so, yes, it is true that this formation or this exercise that is happening in West Africa, that has been happening in West Africa, is part of the US offensive,” he said. “I would agree that the large number of military and the timing is a bit suspicious, and it also raises eyebrows as to whether it’s just an ordinary foreign policy of the US.”

Addressing concerns about the selection of specific countries for the exercise, the professor highlighted the alignment of Senegal, Ghana, and Morocco with US bilateral and multilateral relations. He emphasized Morocco’s geostrategic significance in surveillance of the Mediterranean and North Atlantic, providing a natural opportunity for US engagement.

“For example, the US has done quite a bit of investment in Senegal. Now, the geostrategic vantage point that Morocco provides, especially when it comes to surveillance of the Mediterranean and in the North Atlantic, it’s a natural opportunity for the US to conduct such an activity in those areas,” Onditi noted.

However, the expert noted the shifting dynamics of global influence, with growing interest in Africa from Eastern powers such as Russia and China. He noted the appeal of alternative development models presented by these nations, contrasting with the perceived shortcomings of Western approaches that “haven’t worked for the last 60 years.”

“Now, if the East offers alternatives to the West, especially in terms of models of development and peace and security, there will be massive dissent against the West. Particularly if the Western model, which has always been the ones that I’ve just mentioned above, is either kinetic diplomacy or active military operation,” the analyst opined.

He added that enthusiasm for Western models of development, peace and security is “waning” on the continent, and if African countries feel that these models have not benefited them, they can look for alternatives.

The professor cited Russia’s growing influence in Burkina Faso and Mali, which he linked to “so much about what the West has not been able to do for the past 60 years.”Onditi also pointed to the resonance of socialist development ideologies with African concepts of solidarity, suggesting a potential alignment with Russia and China.

“This chemistry that seems to blend well between Russia, China, and Africa may just work well for the East as opposed to the West, because the West, with their democracy and good governance, seems not to have brought food on the table for many African people,” he stressed.

Concluding, the expert called for a reevaluation of Africa’s place in the global system, emphasizing the need for meaningful contributions and partnerships that serve the continent’s interests.

Sputnik Africa

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