Africa‟s fundamental geopolitical shape is beginning to change with the “New Scramble for Africa” well underway by Western governments and corporations, on the one hand, and the governments and corporations of India and the People‟s Republic of China on the other. Not only that, the discipline enforced by the old Organization for African Unity (OAU) on strict adherence to colonially-established borders is now falling into disrepute, or dis-use. This is partly due to the declining relationships between the African states and their former colonial powers, and partly due to the rising influence of the PRC, India, Iran, and to some extent a revived thrust by the United States.
The African Union (AU), which replaced the OAU, has also largely lost control of the African dynamic, in part because of infighting at the top. Indeed, the OAU was sidelined in favor of the AU directly as a result of such power plays by Mu‟ammar al-Qadhafi‟s Libya (which could never get what it wanted from the OAU) and the African National Congress (ANC) leadership in South Africa. And infighting in the ANC leadership in the wake of the death on December 5, 2013, of former South African (and ANC) leader Nelson Mandela is now having a direct contributory rôle in the paralysis of the AU.
Much of the malaise in the AU is being brought to the fore by the proposed “African Summit” of 47 African leaders invited to Washington, DC, by US Pres. Barack Obama, on August 5-6, 2014. Essentially, Obama was seeking “members in good standing” in the AU for his Summit, and that automatically makes the Summit one which hardly represents the real dynamism of Africa: the King of Morocco (a stalwart ally of the US) has not been invited because Morocco is not a member of the AU; Egypt‟s Pres. Adly Mansour cannot be invited because Egypt was suspended from the AU when Pres. Mohammed Morsi was forced from office by overwhelming public sentiment in July 2013; even the Central African Republic (CAR) cannot participate, even though the US and France went to great lengths to pressure the installation in January 2014 of interim Pres. Catherine Samba-Panza. That Zimbabwean Pres. Robert Mugabe would not be invited was a foregone conclusion. The same applies to Sudanese Pres. Omar al-Bashir, who faces International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants if he travels abroad.
But to proceed without two of the key African players such as Egypt and Morocco? Hardly a way for the Obama White House to work with its historical allies.
Ironically, with Egypt now suspended from the AU, the major opponent to the induction of the Republic of Somaliland into the AU is presently neutralized from that debate, but, despite that, nothing has been done to bring about recognition of that legitimately sovereign state of Somaliland into the AU fold. [The present corrupt and Islamist leadership in Somaliland has not helped its cause, and has been temporizing with al-Shabaab in neighboring Somalia.] Clearly, the Republic of Somaliland, which controls much of the southern egress of the Red Sea, to the Indian Ocean, will not be invited to the Summit.
Obama‟s August 2014 “African Summit” is an attempt to grasp the momentum of African allegiance away from the PRC, but Pres. Obama has been ill-advised in going with the “AU model”. Significantly, this model brings with it the widely-discredited AU membership of the Algerian-supported non-State, the POLISARIO creation of the Saharan African Democratic Republic. Inviting the Algerian-based terror-based SADR leadership to Washington would add doubly to the White House‟s insult to Morocco — which has not been invited — given the SADR‟s claim that it represents Morocco‟s Western Sahara region.
Extracts from Defense& Foreign Affairs Special Analysis - January 24, 2014 GIS Confidential © 2014 Global Information System, ISSA