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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Trump Deploys Troops to Central Africa

President Trump has dispatched military personnel to Central Africa.

According to the Associated Press, Congo faces what could be its first democratic, peaceful transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960, but election observers and the opposition have raised numerous concerns about voting irregularities as the country chooses a successor to longtime President Joseph Kabila.



The first results are expected on Sunday, and the United States and the African Union, among others, have urged Congo to release results that reflect the true will of the people. The US has threatened sanctions against those who undermine the democratic process. Western election observers were not invited to watch the vote.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump said about 80 military personnel and ‘‘appropriate combat equipment’’ had deployed to nearby Gabon to support the security of US citizens and staffers and diplomatic facilities.

More from AP:
Leading opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, a businessman and lawmaker, has accused Congolese authorities of impeding his campaign. His campaign manager, Pierre Lumbi, on Saturday accused the electoral commission of being ‘‘in the process of postponing the publication of the results.’’ [Kabila’s preferred candidate is Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.] 
The commission’s rapporteur, Jean Kalamba, said ‘‘we will see tomorrow’’ and that 44 percent of the results had been compiled.
At stake is a vast country rich in the minerals that power the world’s mobile phones and laptops, yet desperately underdeveloped. Some 40 million people were registered to vote, though at the last minute some 1 million voters were barred as the electoral commission cited a deadly Ebola virus outbreak. Critics said that undermines the election’s credibility.
Internet and text messaging services were cut off the day after the election in an apparent effort by the government to prevent social media speculation about the results. The United States has urged that Internet service be restored, and a United Nations human rights spokeswoman has warned that ‘‘these efforts to silence dissent could backfire considerably when the results are announced.’
As for the minerals in the country, there appears little risk they will be shut off from world markets, It is the cash flow from the sale of such minerals that allows the government to continue running.

Trump's cover story for this operation is that he sent troops "to protect US assets from possible ‘violent demonstrations'" but it is more than that. The tell that this is a neocon "bring American exceptionalism to the world" operation is the U.S threat of sanctions if the election process does not go the way the U.S. would like it to go.

-RW 

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