Drones, Cash, and Advisers: US Escalates Role in Africa

Officials Express Concern About Various Militant Factions

by Jason Ditz, October 27, 2011

It is a war rarely talked about in the US – even less so than the US military operation in the Philippines or the efforts to prop up Yemeni Dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. It is the broad US war across Africa.

Ever since its 2007 creation, US African Command (AFRICOM) has been harping about militant factions inside Africa which pose virtually no conceivable threat to the US, and each time, the US throws a little something at the conflict to prove they’re doing something.

Sometimes it is drones, sometimes it is military advisers, sometimes it is just massive amounts of cash to whichever dubious dictator the US is pretty sure is the answer to militancy. But just four and a half years after AFRICOM’s creation, the US is in wars virtually across the continent, a war most Americans are totally unaware of.

America is at war in Libya, in Somalia, in Nigeria (against the technophobic Boko Haram), across the entire northwest of Africa (against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), across the entire center of Africa (with the new Uganda deployment), and always on the lookout for more nations to add.

AFRICOM officials couch much of this as just another front in the global war on terror, but many of the targets are internal militant factions with little interest in the US at all, and the insinuation of US involvement into the conflicts is creating all the more enemies.

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