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Denys Bédarride
13 June 2022 Last update on Monday, June 13, 2022 At 9:27 AM

On April 27, the bill submitted to the United States Congress by Democrat Gregory Meeks, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States House of Representatives, was adopted with 419 "yes" votes against 9 "no" votes. to counter Russia's "malicious activities" in Africa.

US takes action against Russian presence in Africa

With the said law, the United States aims to develop a strategy against Russian activities on the continent, which “undermines its objectives and interests in Africa”. The law also covers close monitoring of Russian political influence attempts, disinformation activities and military operations. Attention is also drawn to strengthening democratic institutions in Africa, monitoring and evaluation in the areas of transparency, accountability, human rights, anti-corruption, natural resources and mining, and the development of principles of good governance.

While Africa is the only solution to the current food and energy crises, the fact that the continent finds itself between the conflicts of different protagonists will negatively affect the whole world.

Eager to regain its long standing Cold War prestige, Russia is taking steps to achieve this goal with its political, military and economic activities in different parts of the world, especially in Latin America and Africa. The United States, on the other hand, is acting with a similar strategy to limit and encircle Russia on its own continent. Due to the recent Russian-Ukrainian war, the attitude of the United States and Europe towards Russia has led to the escalation of the said struggle.

Russia has increased its influence in Africa

In contrast, 17 African countries abstained in the vote on the United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution on March 3, 2022, when all condemned Russia’s military attack on Ukraine, while the Eritrea, another African country, was among the five countries that voted “no” to this resolution. This image, which shows how active Russia is on the continent, paved the way for the United States to take more concrete action.

Russian special military forces (Wagner) are increasingly active in the sub-Saharan region stretching from Sudan to Burkina Faso. For example, coups have occurred frequently in many West African countries, including former French colonial countries. It is known that Russian military forces played a role in these coups. Therefore, this situation greatly worries the Western powers. Thus, it is possible to observe in the countries where the coups d’état took place, people chanting anti-French slogans with Russian flags.

Furthermore, the role of Russian businessmen in the exploitation of the continent’s mineral resources, particularly in the Republic of South Africa, has become an element of political pressure on governments. This is why Gregory Meeks argues that Russia “seeks to create finance by exploiting Africa’s natural resources and underground riches”.

The United States also claims that Russia interferes with the democratic structures of African countries through the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation (AFRIC).[2] Rumors of corruption in the elections in Madagascar and support for certain groups in Zimbabwe are among the allegations against AFRIC. Despite this, the United States aims to break and even eliminate Russian influence on the continent by advocating democracy and human rights.

Russia in the crosshairs, all over the world

In this regard, the relevant institutions of the United States and the United Nations prepare reports on Russian crimes against humanity in Ukraine and register their activities in different parts of the world. In this context, we know that the allegations of human rights violations and war crimes committed by the Wagner group, particularly in Mali and the Central African Republic, have been filed against Russia to be used in court.

Accordingly, the United States aims to counter accusations of widespread human rights abuses, particularly on Russian fronts not only in Africa but also around the world.

What do Africans want?

On top of all this, many African countries, especially Egypt and North Africa, buy their wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Another important rival of the United States, China is increasing day by day its economic superiority on the continent. African governments and peoples, on the other hand, want to preserve their economic and political relations with the United States and European countries. Secondly, they aim to develop their relations with Russia and China within the framework of the win-win principle.

Besides Russia’s military and economic presence, another reason why it has become so strong in Africa is that Africans are fed up with the unilateral and selfish policies of the West. A similar situation was experienced when African countries gained independence. Many African countries had established ideological and military ties with Russia against the countries that had exploited them for years. Note that history is repeating itself today.

The USA could try to punish the governments of certain African countries within the framework of the policies which they will develop against Russia. However, in such a case, it will be up to him to pay the price. The fact that Africa sees China and Russia as alternative partners reveals that the West should review its policy towards the continent. In this context, the United States should aim to establish a realistic and equitable relationship with African countries rather than threaten them.

Finally, while Africa is the only solution to the food and energy crises in the world, the fact that the continent is between the conflicts of different protagonists will negatively affect not only African countries, but also the whole world. It is hoped that the new law enacted by the USA will not cause problems.

To know :

Ali Maskan wrote this analysis for Anadolu Agency on Russia and the United States’ struggle for influence in Africa. Ali Maskan, author of “From piracy to political Islam: social and societal change in Algeria”, writes about colonialism and Africa.

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