by Nick Turse
. . . Since 9/11, the U.S. military has been ramping up missions on the African
continent, funneling money into projects to woo allies, supporting and training proxy
forces, conducting humanitarian outreach, carrying out air strikes and commando raids,
creating a sophisticated logistics network throughout the region, and building a string
of camps, "cooperative security locations," and bases-by-other-names.
All the while, AFRICOM downplayed the expansion and much of the media, with a few
notable exceptions, played along. With the end of the Iraq War and the drawdown of
combat forces in Afghanistan, Washington has, however, visibly "pivoted" to Africa and,
in recent weeks, many news organizations, especially those devoted to the military, have
begun waking up to the new normal there.
While daily U.S. troop strength continent-wide hovers in the relatively modest range of
5,000 to 8,000 personnel, an under-the-radar expansion has been constant, with the U.S.
military now conducting operations alongside almost every African military in almost
every African country and averaging more than a mission a day. . . .
"The New Scramble For Africa: The Crown
Jewels," The Wisdom Fund, October 20, 2011
Jean Herskovits, "In Nigeria, Boko Haram Is Not
the Problem," New York Times, January 2, 2012
Blows Call On AFRICOM," firedoglake.com, June 17, 2014
Nick Turse, "Hushed Pentagon
Investigation Slaps U.S. Africa Command's Humanitarian Activities," tomdispatch.com,
September 7, 2014
J P Sottile, "School of
the Americas Morphs Into US Training Industrial Complex," truth-out.org,
November 21, 2014
[While SEAL Team 6 has received extensive coverage, what could be considered the
military story of the twenty-first century, the massive, ongoing expansion of a secret
force (functionally the president's private army) cocooned inside the U.S. military -
now at almost 70,000 personnel and growing - has gotten next to none.--Nick Turse, "A Secret War in 135 Countries,"
tomdispatch.com, September 24, 2015]
[With military presence in 53 of 54 of Africa's nations, the American empire has emerged
to pick up where the former European colonial powers have left off.--Justin Yun, "U.S.
expands secret wars in Africa," truth-out.org, May 10, 2016]
[Somehow, between 2015 and 2016, more than 200 missions from 2014 had simply
vanished--Nick Turse, "The Numbers Racket: U.S.
Africa Command Clams Up After Contradictory Statements to Congress,"
tomdispatch.com, June 23, 2016]
[U.S. Africa Command boasts that it"neutralizes transnational threats" and"prevents
and mitigates conflict," while training local allies and proxies"in order to promote
regional security, stability, and prosperity." Rodriguez's tenure was, however, marked
by the very opposite: increasing numbers of lethal terror attacks across the continent
including those in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote
d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria,
Somalia, South Sudan, and Tunisia. . . . In 2007, just before it became an independent
command, there were fewer than 400 such incidents annually in sub-Saharan Africa.
Last year, the number reached nearly 2,000.--Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt, "The U.S. Military Pivots to Africa and That Continent Goes Down the
Drain," antiwar.com, August 3, 2016]