Why African leaders support Mugabe

African nations have been siding with Mugabe despite the intense pressure from the international community because Africans are a proud people who share a sense of pan-Africanism, solidarity, sovereign independence and unity against external parties, Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa told a United States Military chief when he visited Tripoli in 2009.

Kusa was briefing the Commander of U.S. Africa Command General William Ward. He told the army chief that though Libya supported engagement with the U.S. military to tackle the continent's security problems; it was against any US troops in Africa.

According to one of the cables released by Wikileaks, Kusa asked Gen. Ward for his views on Africa. Gen. Ward replied that the African continent is home to much diversity and complexity, and that throughout his travels across numerous countries he has come away with the clear sense that Africans have a strong desire for peace and stability.

“Kusa responded that it is true that Africans are a proud people who share a sense of pan-Africanism, solidarity, sovereign independence, and unity against external parties. Citing the example of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and the intense pressure levied against him by the international community, he noted that most African nations sided with Mugabe, despite Mugabe's mistakes. Kusa asserted that in Africa, Africans stay together to oppose external interference. Similarly, he said, when the United States imposed sanctions on Libya, the Arab world turned its back on the Libyan leader, but the Africans never did,” he said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI415, FM KUSA SUPPORTIVE OF ENGAGEMENT WITH U.S. AFRICA COMMAND --

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09TRIPOLI415

2009-05-25 13:01

2011-01-31 21:09

SECRET

Embassy Tripoli

VZCZCXRO2135

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN

DE RUEHTRO #0415/01 1451312

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

P 251312Z MAY 09

FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4850

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5380

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000415

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL:  5/22/2019

TAGS: PREL PTER MOPS LY

SUBJECT: FM KUSA SUPPORTIVE OF ENGAGEMENT WITH U.S. AFRICA COMMAND --

WITHIN LIMITS

 

TRIPOLI 00000415  001.2 OF 002

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

 

1.(S) Summary. Foreign Minister-equivalent Musa Kusa told visiting Commander of U.S. Africa Command General William Ward that Libya supports engagement with the U.S. military to tackle the continent's security problems, but draws the line at "no U.S. troops" in Africa. A visible U.S. military presence would do more harm than good, and serve as an attractive target for terrorists. Kusa welcomed U.S. support in the form of equipment and training. Kusa placed high importance on the effectiveness of national security/intelligence agencies in combating terrorism, and said Libya actively supports regional security cooperation through the African Union and Cen-Sad (Community of Sahelian and Saharan States). Gen. Ward's meeting with Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi reported septel. End Summary.

 

2.(S) On May 21, Secretary of the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation (GPCFLIC) (Foreign Minister) Musa Kusa hosted U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General William "Kip" Ward (Gen. Ward) at the GPCFLIC for an hour-long meeting. Also in attendance were Secretary for American Affairs Dr. Ahmed Fituri, Ambassador, U.S. Defense Attache, COS, and members of Gen. Ward's staff.

 

3.(S) After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Kusa asked Gen. Ward for his views on Africa. Gen. Ward replied that the African continent is home to much diversity and complexity, and that throughout his travels across numerous countries he has come away with the clear sense that Africans have a strong desire for peace and stability. Kusa responded that it is true that Africans are a proud people who share a sense of pan-Africanism, solidarity, sovereign independence, and unity against external parties. Citing the example of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and the intense pressure levied against him by the international community, he noted that most African nations sided with Mugabe, despite Mugabe's mistakes. Kusa asserted that in Africa, Africans stay together to oppose external interference. Similarly, he said, when the United States imposed sanctions on Libya, the Arab world turned its back on the Libyan leader, but the Africans never did.

 

4.(S) Turning to security issues, Kusa said that he naturally was well aware of security issues affecting the continent as he had spent the better part of the last ten years as the director of the Libyan External Security Organization (ESO). He added that he has shared his views frequently and openly with his U.S. contacts in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of State. He said that Libya and the Libyan people have been and will remain committed to the counterterrorism (CT) mission. He said that the Libyan ESO continues to do a good job with CIA and that cooperation between the two agencies was very good. He had also endeavored to encourage other African nations to work more closely together on CT. He highlighted the May 17-18 CEN-SAD (Community of Sahelian and Saharan States) meeting of the directors of security services hosted by the ESO in Tripoli, which he noted COS had attended. He said that the directors of 27 countries had met to discuss increasing cooperation.

 

5.(S) Kusa said that Libya remains committed to such engagements and to encouraging multilateral cooperation, emphasizing that he has long been a proponent of multilateral cooperation through organizations that are legally established within the framework of the African Union (AU) or other internationally recognized bodies such as the United Nations (UN). Kusa said that the U.S.' support was indeed needed to bolster such programs, particularly those affecting the Sahelian areas. Strengthening cooperation must be done in stages and one of the key outcomes of the CEN-SAD meetings was to focus on building the capabilities of host nation security services. In this regard, AFRICOM could provide equipment or training, he said, as Libya has limited resources and thus could not act alone.

 

6.(S) Kusa said that the presence of U.S. forces in Africa could be more harmful than helpful, as they would likely draw young extremists or would-be terrorists to consider attacking them. Kusa emphasized that North Africa has been a source of foreign fighters headed to Iraq and governments in the region have exerted tremendous efforts to stem this flow. However, the very presence of U.S. troops inside Africa could turn this flow inward into the continent which in turn would bring instability to the region. Kusa said that existing CT efforts are effective and that a low profile must be maintained.

 

7.(S) Addressing the overall bilateral military to military relationship, Kusa said that son of the Libyan leader and National Security Advisor Dr. Mu'tassim Billah al-Qadhafi had fully briefed him on U.S. military engagements conducted through the Libyan National Security Council (NSC). Kusa said that he was supportive of what Mu'tassim briefed and noted that the scope of work was good. Although Mu'tassim was not in Libya on this day, Kusa conveyed the message that efforts should be made to continue on the track that has been set with the NSC. TRIPOLI 00000415 002.2 OF 002

 

8.(S) In response, Gen. Ward said that he appreciated the good meetings that he had with Mu'tassim and that he appreciated Kusa's comments on the region and CT cooperation. He agreed that host nations should be in a position to handle the threats facing them, and providing equipment and training was important. Gen Ward stated that it was important for nations to work together to establish a framework of cooperation that would deny safehaven to terrorist groups on the continent. AFRICOM shares this vision and nations that share similar security concerns should work together to this end; the Trans-Sahel Counterterrorism Program (TSCTP) and Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans-Sahel (OEFTS) are intended to support these goals.

 

9.(S) Kusa commented that he saw areas of possible cooperation where both sides shared common objectives, especially regarding political and security matters, to be considered at the AU level. Kusa stated that the AU intended to call for the formation of a unified AU military contingent that would be presided over by an AU Secretary for the Military. Kusa opined that perhaps the United States could engage the AU and discover areas of potential military cooperation with the AU unified military command. Working through the AU construct would be beneficial to the U.S. and cooperation on the political level would support policies directed at unifying the African states. Kusa said that the union of African states was the most effective and beneficial solution for all African nations.

 

10.(S) Kusa raised what he characterized as the threat posed by the increasing presence of Chinese in Africa. Although Chinese do not interfere in internal political affairs, which is why African leaders find it easy to work with them, the Chinese have begun to indirectly interfere in the sovereignty of nations. The Chinese population in Africa is significant and growing, and China is intent on imbedding itself through its economic programs to build infrastructure, schools, etc.

 

11.(S) Kusa concluded the meeting by stating that the U.S. military engagement with Libya is positive and should continue. The Libyan leadership is supportive of these endeavors.

 

¶12. This cable was cleared by the U.S. Africa Command. CRETZ

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