By Scott Morgan
Angola is considered to be one of the four main pillars of the US Policy towards Africa. The others are Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia.
Just how close are relations between Luanda and Washington? During the final phase of the Cold War Angola was a battlefield. It won its independence in 1975 from Portugal. Until 2002 it faced an Insurgency backed mostly by the Apartheid Era South African Government and received support from Cuba. In 2014 Angola replaced Nigeria as the main supplier of Petroleum to the United States.
This is a remarkable shift in Policy but how did this occur? The easy answer is with the end of the Cold War the US needed to search for new partners. One case in particular is the seemingly never ending state of violence that has plagued the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Angola and the DRC have had a checkered history. During the Civil War The Government of Mobutu Sese Seko supported the Western Backed UNITA Movement led by Jonas Savimbi by laundering Diamond to purchase weapons.
This has led to friction that has influenced some actions that have occurred in the fighting since the ouster of Mobutu. On more than one occasion the UN has asked for Angolan Assistance to intervene in the crisis. The Angolan Government has refused to stating that the issue regarding UNITA remains unresolved.
Another situation which could have seen the countries working together is Zimbabwe. The leadership in Luanda has close ties with President Mugabe in Harare. During a previous controversial election cycle in Zimbabwe Angola sent in several thousand troops to secure the country for a second round of elections to occur.
West Africa is another area where joint efforts could exist. Before the Coup took place in Guinea-Bissau in 2012 Angolan Troops were actually attempting an effort at SSR (Security Sector Reform). It will be considered to be a failed effort since the troops were removed just before Coup took place.
As uncertainty regarding the Nigerian Elections and the Parliamentary Debacle continues in South Africa these could lead the US to strengthen ties with Luanda. This could see the US improve relations with other Portugese speaking countries in Africa. This could lead to improved relations with other nations in Southern Africa as well.
(Scott Morgan is the President of Red Eagle Enterprises and is an expert on African Matters. This Briefing was originally Published on LinkedIn)
[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]