From the formation of AFRICOM in 2006, the Pentagon has had designs on having permanent bases in and around Africa, and since 9/11 they’ve been building up their presence across the Middle East. That constant growth is continuing, but now with ISIS as the excuse.
Citing ISIS’ regional ambitions, the Pentagon is renewing its push for the bankrolling of a string of new bases, some of them massive, permanent bases in war-torn countries, that would put additional US forces across myriad sites from Spain to Afghanistan.
Pentagon officials downplayed how much effort would be needed to expand its number of bases in Africa, noting it’s secretly set up shop in a bunch of these sites at any rate, converting apparently civilian airstrips in several nations into sites from which to launch surveillance flights.
One of the most ambition bases would be in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where the Pentagon wants a “hub” for its bases across the region. The establishment of a permanent, major base in Irbil would all but guarantee that the US would be brought into any attempted secession by the Kurdistan government, which has been openly talking of secession for years.
In many cases, the bases appear totally unrelated to ISIS at all, with the Spain base, for instance, targeting northwestern Africa, where the Islamist groups are overwhelmingly al-Qaeda affiliates, not ISIS affiliates.