US General Claims Iran Plotting Attacks on Americans in Africa

US envoy accuses Iran of diverting aid to benefit elite

In the wake of tit-for-tat attacks between Iran and the United States, both sides seemingly decided not to further escalate the matter militarily. Despite this, US officials continue to talk up the idea of Iran as a grave enemy, and the end-all, be-all military adversary. The US is accusing Iran of planning attacks in Africa, and diverting humanitarian aid.

Special Envoy Brian Hook confirmed the first ever transaction into Iran’s new humanitarian channel. The channel is meant to allow aid deliveries despite US sanctions blocking most of them.The transaction will provide drugs for Iranian cancer patients.

Hook claimed Iran was diverting money from humanitarian aid to “finance warfare in the gray zone,” and selling such goods on the black market. What was supposed to be good news about humanitarian aid ended up, instead, a chance to lay allegations against Iran without evidence.

But there’s no point in that if you can’t use allegations to drive military policy. To that end, AFRICOM head Gen. Stephen Townsend claimed Iran is plotting to attack Americans in Africa as a way of retaliating over the US assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Gen. Townsend claimed there was intelligence behind the claim, but it’s not hard to see where this actually came from. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has been highly publicizing his planned Asia pivot, and has said some of those troops would be transferred from Africa to the area around China.

Some in Congress were expressing opposition to taking the troops away from AFRICOM, because there were years of emphasizing Africa as a terrorism haven to justify putting them there in the first place. Making it even tangentially about Iran is Gen. Townsend’s best chance to keep his troops, and it has been a popular tactic within the Pentagon to try to keep their share of military assets and funding. Iran isn’t always the excuse, but right now it seems to be the favorite one.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of