THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
May 15, 2014
tomdispatch.com

How 'Benghazi' Birthed the New Normal in Africa

U.S. military now conducting operations alongside almost every African military in almost every African country

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. . . .

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"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

DSWright, "Politifact 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]

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