US Pouring More Military Aid into Africa, Chasing Non-Threats

Like previous interventions, the increased military involvement in Africa will produce blowback

by John Glaser, August 02, 2012

The United states is pouring increasing amounts of military funding into client states in Africa to counter trumped up “terrorist” threats from militant groups the Pentagon indiscriminately claims are al-Qaeda-linked.

The Pentagon has already sent more than $82 million into counterterrorism assistance for six African countries so far this year. The top recipients are Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti – all key proxies for Washington’s covert war on al-Shabab in Somalia, where the most US interventions are concentrated.

“The group poses no direct threat to the security of the United States,” writes Malou Innocent, Foreign Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute. “However, exaggerated claims about the specter of al Qaeda could produce policy decisions that exacerbate a localized, regional problem into a global one.”

Even the Obama administration has quietly acknowledged the fact that their military involvement in Somalia may create more problems than it solves, with one administration official telling the Washington Post in December there is a “concern that a broader campaign could turn al-Shabab from a regional menace into an adversary determined to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.”

Shabab is not the only non-threat Washington is chasing; the Nigerian group Boko Haram, although weak and ineffectual, is also on their radar. A Congressional report issued at the very beginning of December said ”Boko Haram has quickly evolved and poses an emerging threat to US interests and the US homeland,” and justifies entrenching military and security interests with the Nigerian government.

But Patrick Meehan, chairman of the US Congressional committee that drew up the report, said “While I recognize there is little evidence at this moment to suggest Boko Haram is planning attacks against the [US] homeland, lack of evidence does not mean it cannot happen.” Some would say this isn’t exactly how grand strategy should be formed.

The Obama administration has increased its covert military incursions and intelligence operations throughout Africa as well, although the extent of it is not known, since they don’t think it’s any of the American people’s business.

The strategy is characterized by military aid to and reliance on brutish, undemocratic regimes, proxy militias, and targeted special operations as opposed to invasion and occupation. All of this is done without the consent of Congress and for the most part in secret.

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