Concerning Angola

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]


  1. One tiny detail that was missing from this briefing: the US supported UNITA with weapons and intel until the end of the cold war, since the USSR directly supported MPLA, the now ruling party. So yeah, it's a major US shift to actually build ties with a government it once worked against.

  2. Welcome to Dissecting Society, Scott.
    I missed this one on LinkedIn, but I'm glad you decided to post it here too. It was a good call, from America, to turn to Angola; and given the instability in Nigeria - with BH and all - I'd say that Luanda will be able to guarantee a more stable energy flow.
    What would be interesting to see is how this US shift will affect the Cabinda issue; do you have any thoughts on that?

  3. Hi Scott,

    Thanks for accepting my invitation. Interesting that the US is going after former Portuguese colonies but not surprising: so far, they have been immune to the scourge of Islamism. Angola, the biggest Catholic country in the continent, is surely a good partner in this fight against Islamic terror and I'm wondering if that wasn't a factor in the Angolan involvement in Guinea-Bissau's attempted coup (we know that that country is a fertile ground for terror groups and drug dealers)...


  4. I would enjoy a lot more info on Angola.

  5. A new writer in dissecting town? Welcome to the crazy bunch hehehe :-) It's great to see the Americans dealing with yet another corrupt leader. For a country that spends half her time bitching about rights, freedoms and democracy, it's nice to see her dealings with an African oppressive dictator. But hey, it's life and better the Americans than the Chinese!

  6. Angola may present many opportunities, it's true but I'm thinking about one thing: is America ready to just do business or will it in the end try to influence change in Angola? I read somewhere that America is not in the business of changing regime no more, but will the next president follow the policy?


Post a Comment

Dissecting Society welcomes all sorts of comments, as we are strong advocates of freedom of speech; however, we reserve the right to delete Troll Activity; libellous and offensive comments (e.g. racist and anti-Semitic) plus those with excessive foul language. This blog does not view vulgarity as being protected by the right to free speech. Cheers