- From Shadow Wars To Overt War: The Pentagon’s New ‘Scramble For Africa’
by Tyler Durden, http://www.zerohedge.com/
When news broke of the October 4 ambush and deaths of four elite Green Beret soldiers in Niger, the immediate reaction voiced among congressional leaders and echoed generally in the media was: we have troops in Niger? But the bigger questions of the US military’s increasingly sizable footprint in Africa (or what has long been called our ‘Shadow War’) quickly disappeared from public debate, instead, in usual fashion the media quickly focused on myopic details of phone calls and whether Trump’s handling of the aftermath was “presidential” enough.
Gone were the larger looming questions the average American might rightly ask: when did Congress authorize or oversee operations in Africa which would put “boots on the ground” in potential live combat zones? What is the ultimate purpose in our being in Africa? Were the tragic deaths, and subsequent sufferings of their families worth whatever nebulous mission they were tasked with? If this was about fighting ISIS in Africa, how did ISIS establish a presence in Africa to begin with? (hint: it could have something to do with US-driven regime change wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria).
But the big question ignored in mainstream media is this: Is the United States in the midst of a new military “scramble for Africa”? Below are astounding statistics and figures excerpted from veteran Pentagon and Africa researcher and journalist Nick Turse’s new investigation into the Pentagon’s presence in Africa titled appropriately, The war you’ve never heard of:
* U.S. troops are now conducting 3,500 exercises, programs, and engagements per year, an average of nearly 10 missions per day, on the African continent, according to the U.S. military’s top commander for Africa, General Thomas Waldhauser.
* Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly indicated to two senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee Friday that these numbers are only likely to increase as the U.S. military shifts even greater attention to counterterrorism in Africa.
* When U.S. Africa Command first became operational in 2008, it inherited 172 missions, activities, programs, and exercises from other combatant commands. Five years in, that number shot up to 546.
* Today’s figure of 3,500 marks an astounding 1,900 percent increase since the command was activated less than a decade ago, and suggests a major expansion of U.S. military activities on the African continent.
* These developments stand in stark contrast to early assurances that AFRICOM’s efforts would be focused on diplomacy and aid.