Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 07 June 2021)
It began on 7 June the African Lion (African Lion), the largest military exercise on the continent, planned and led by the US Army. It includes land-based maneuvers, air and naval in Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and adjacent seas - from North Africa to West Africa, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. They participate approximately 8.000 military, half of them Americans, with approx 200 tanks, self-propelled guns, planes and warships. La African Lion 21, the cost of which is foreseen in 24 Millions of dollars, it has implications that make it particularly important.
With a political move fundamentally decided in Washington, the exercise takes place this year for the first time in Western Sahara, ie in the territory of the Sahrawi Republic, recognized for over 80 United States, whose existence is denied and fought by any means by Morocco. Rabat declares that in this way "Washington recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara" and invites Algeria and Spain to abandon "their hostility towards the territorial integrity of Morocco". Spain, accused by Morocco of supporting the Polisario (liberation front of the Western Sahara), does not participate in the African Lion this year. Washington reiterates its full support for Morocco, calling it "major non-NATO ally and partner of the United States".
The exercise takes place this year, for the first time, within the framework of a new US command structure. Last November, the US Army Europe and the US Army Africa were merged into a single command: lo US Army Europe and Africa. General Chris Cavoli, who is in charge of it, explains the reason for this decision: «The regional security problems of Europe and Africa are inextricably linked and, if left unchecked, they can quickly spread from one area to another ". Hence the decision of the US Army to merge the Command of Europe and the Command of Africa, so as to "dynamically move forces from one theater to another, from one continent to another, improving our response times to regional emergencies ".
In this framework, la African Lion 21 is merged with Defender-Europe 21, in which they are engaged 28 thousand military and beyond 2 thousand heavy vehicles. Basically it is a single series of coordinated military maneuvers that is taking place from Northern Europe to West Africa, planned and commanded by the US Army Europe and Africa. Official purpose: counter an unspecified "maleficent activity in North Africa and Southern Europe and enemy military aggression", with obvious reference to Russia and China.
Italy participates in the African Lion 21, come alla Defender-Europe 21, not only with its own strength but as a strategic basis. The exercise in Africa is led by Vicenza, by the US Army's Southern Europe Task Force, and the participating forces are resupplied, through the port of Livorno, with war materials from Camp Darby, the neighboring US Army logistics base.
Participation in the African Lion 21 it is part of the growing Italian military commitment in Africa. The mission in Niger is emblematic, formally "as part of a joint European and US effort to stabilize the area and to combat illegal trafficking and security threats", actually for the control of one of the richest areas of strategic raw materials (Petroleum, uranium, coltan and others) exploited by US and European multinationals, whose oligopoly is jeopardized by the Chinese economic presence and other factors.
Hence the use of the traditional colonial strategy: guarantee their interests by military means, including support for local elites who base their power on the military, behind the smokescreen of the fight against jihadist militias. In reality, military interventions aggravate the living conditions of the populations, strengthening the mechanisms of exploitation and subjugation, with the result that forced migrations and consequent human tragedies increase.
(Il Manifesto, 07 June 2021)