The US’s Invasion of Africa That Nobody Knows About

John Glaser, April 15, 2014
U.S. Army Spc. Tyler Meehan observes Kenyan trainees

U.S. Army Spc. Tyler Meehan observes Kenyan trainees

The U.S. is assembling the rudiments of imperial infrastructure throughout Africa, and hardly anybody knows about it. Hardly anybody knows about it because the government and military refuse to divulge much of U.S. foreign policy towards Africa. You see, U.S. foreign policy is really none of our business.

The Obama administration has been slowly – and very quietly – peppering the U.S. military throughout the continent and putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of government contractors to build the necessary infrastructure for a permanent U.S. military presence.

Washington has been increasing its support for African regimes, many with records of human rights violations, and boosting efforts to train African militaries to keep them dependent on the Pentagon. The U.S. is training and equipping militaries in countries including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia – not to mention operations in Libya, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, et al.

Reporter Nick Turse has been at the forefront of reporting on America’s gradual infiltration of Africa. He writes this week about, among other things, the difference between what military officials say about Africa policy when asked by reporters and what they tell U.S. contractors looking to do business for taxpayer money. To journalists, the Pentagon maintains that we’re hardly doing anything in Africa beyond “humanitarian assistance.” To the military industrial complex, they say America is “at war” in Africa and is looking for a “permanent footprint” throughout the continent.

Captain Rick Cook, the chief of US Africa Command’s Engineer Division, was addressing an audience of more than fifty representatives of some of the largest military engineering firms on the planet—and this reporter. The contractors were interested in jobs and he wasn’t pulling any punches. “The eighteen months or so that I’ve been here, we’ve been at war the whole time,” Cook told them. “We are trying to provide opportunities for the African people to fix their own African challenges. Now, unfortunately, operations in Libya, South Sudan, and Mali, over the last two years, have proven there’s always something going on in Africa.”

Cook was one of three US military construction officials who, earlier this month, spoke candidly about the Pentagon’s efforts in Africa to men and women from URS Corporation, AECOM, CH2M Hill and other top firms. During a paid-access web seminar, the three of them insisted that they were seeking industry “partners” because the military has “big plans” for the continent. They foretold a future marked by expansion, including the building up of a “permanent footprint” in Djibouti for the next decade or more, a possible new compound in Niger, and a string of bases devoted to surveillance activities spreading across the northern tier of Africa. They even let slip mention of a small, previously unacknowledged US compound in Mali.

Turse sums up some of the activities the U.S. is known to be engaged in: “Over the last several years, the US has been building a constellation of drone bases across Africa, flying intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions out of not only Niger, but also Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the island nation of the Seychelles.”

[The US military] now averages far more than a mission a day on the continent, conducting operations with almost every African military force, in almost every African country, while building or building up camps, compounds, and “contingency security locations.” The US has taken an active role in wars from Libya to the Central African Republic, sent special ops forces into countries from Somalia to South Sudan, conducted airstrikes and abduction missions, even put boots on the ground in countries where it pledged it would not.

Meanwhile, CNN is preoccupied with its 500th hour straight of the missing Malaysian airline coverage. Fox is busy with its perennial Benghazi conspiracy theories and antagonistic coverage of Russian policy in Ukraine. And MSNBC doesn’t dare cover anything but Obama’s benevolent domestic social policies. In the newspapers, one can find the occasional report of U.S. missions in Africa, but they hardly question the wisdom or legitimacy of such interventions (and hardly anyone reads the newspapers anyhow).

Mix this deficient news media environment with the Pentagon’s utter refusal to answer straight questions about U.S. interventionism in Africa, and you have a public that is completely uninformed about a growing chunk of U.S. foreign policy that will soon (as it already has) render dangerous unintended consequences.




21 Responses to “The US’s Invasion of Africa That Nobody Knows About”

  1. Bullshit. A lot of the listed countries asked for the US to train their military.

  2. Asked? More likely accepted "an offer they couldn't refuse"?

  3. Johan please, USG-EU been involved in Africa since Bank of America started operating, since Henry Ford started making cars. Let me give you an example Kongo, read the history of that country, over 6 million Congolese are killed since 1960s, the Swedish far right politician, Dag Hammarskjöld was elected as UN general secretary, it was him, with the blessing of USG, Belgium kings and other EU government-bankers and other, arrested Patrice Lummomba, it was Dag Hammarskjöld who ordered the UN "peace keeper" military to hand over Patrice to Mousa Chombeh, whom he knew that will kill Lummomba, an democratically elected president of Kongo.

    The Libyan orchestrated, planed coup de Etta-regime change against Khadaffi was part of Saudis-UAE-Obama-English-French-Italy-Sweden and rest of EU to open a new front into Africa, if you wait enough you will se the time when the USG and EU Neo liberal fascist regimes will extend their war machinery toward South Africa.

  4. You must be one of those liberal democrats who would falsify everything in history just because, because you don't know the history, nor you are interested, because you believe in yourself and you have thought yourself that: what your kind of government is saying is the truth, because you have no other knowledge, nor willing to understand or question more, so you give up and believe in what you don't know, but rather what they say is true. Like Obama once said, referring to Syrian war: they always been at war, he meant Arab nationals. What he don't know is that: the nations in Middle East been fighting for their social political rights before USA was founded, yet Middle East was under control of English empire, so, people needed to fight the English first, when English left the Middle East in 1970s the Americans in cooperation with English, already had succeeded with few coup de Etta in that region, now in 2014 USA has developed into a militarism regime presenting itself to the world as such, rest is up to you to understand, but before that, don't take my word for it, study the subjects, look at African history, the colonialism time in Africa, the uprising of Africans people against colonialists and ask yourself these questions: why USG is interested in Africa, because of Obama being a African American you might say, the answer is yes, but whom are behind Obama and his foreign policies all over that are beneficial by Obama being SO interested in Africa and etc, and for what?

  5. Where ever there is massive corruption, the US can easily get its foot in the door and then start weaving its web of covert destabilization.

  6. […] http://antiwar.com/blog/2014/04/15/the-uss-invasion-of-africa-that-nobody-knows-about/ […]

  7. It is sad that the "login disease" has infected antiwar.com. I refuse to give my name and e-mail address to such nefarious organizations as facebook or twitter who may use it in ways over which I have no control. These organizations and not our government are ending the open internet.

  8. Africa is stable? That's news to me.

  9. The sun does NOT set on the 800 military bases the US Empire has all over planet Earth.
    Meanwhile – the Empire is collapsing here at home in the US.

  10. I wish all the war could end. World peace please!

  11. The US have been destroying the world step by step, but at he same time destroying their invaluable contribuition to democracy, and hope for a better world. That makes no sense. The world used to trust the US, but nowadays American foreign policy and military policy are just the same. It is time that they look at themselves. New bases, new military contractors, new invasions will drive the US nowhere.

  12. Its all about maintaining the toilet paper dollar as reserve currency. Oligarchs want to wipe on their ivory toilets but this requires forcing other nations to wipe in their outhouses.

  13. […] This commentary first appeared on Antiwar.com […]

  14. So the US thinks its invading Africa?
    We live in a parallel universe.
    China (and India) are also invading Africa.
    Only they're doing it economically, not militarily.
    I wonder who will come out on top, in the long run?

  15. The Obama administration has been slowly – and very quietly – peppering the U.S. military throughout the continent and putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of government contractors to build the necessary infrastructure for a permanent U.S. military presence.

  16. The Obama administration has been slowly a?? and very quietly a?? peppering the U.S. military throughout the continent and putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of government contractors to build the necessary infrastructure for a permanent U.S. military presence.

  17. […] The US’s Invasion of Africa That Nobody Knows About, Antiwar.com Blog, […]

  18. […] The US’s Invasion of Africa That Nobody Knows About, Antiwar.com Blog, […]

  19. It may not be a competition, it may be a combined effort between the 'super powers'.

  20. Yes maybe
    But how is that
    the US seems to have drawn the "short-straw"
    in this particular relationship?

  21. […] headline (April 15) read, The US’s Invasion of Africa That Nobody Knows About.” The article observed, “The Obama administration has been slowly – and very quietly – peppering the US military […]