Sub-Saharan African nations currently with a US Military Presence (Image Credit: Washington Post)
Total number: 13 (1 more, Chad, as of 2 days ago)
This is US neo-imperialist aggression in action. And it is crucial to remember that the charter for AFRICOM (United States Africa Command) is explicitly to “advance U.S. national security interests.”
There is no altruism here, and there is no such thing as “limited” anything with regard to the US military industrial complex. This is why three years ago the US House of Representatives homeland security committee, even as thousands of Nigerians were being slaughtered by Boko Haram and tens of thousands more being displaced, cooly issued a report, ‘Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the US Homeland’, in which they stated:
Boko Haram has already adopted many of al-Qaida’s targeting tactics. If Boko Haram continues this trend, Nigerian oil facilities will be in the crosshairs
Altruism and dedication to helping the Nigerians being hurt and killed in droves by Boko Haram, or a resource grab by the US like we saw in Iraq? From the above, we see in their own words their underlying intentions suddenly become transparent and obvious. Additionally they state:
The rising threat of Boko Haram presents the United States an opportunity to expand diplomatic and military engagement with both Abuja and Nigerian Muslims in the north
Boko Haram is “an opportunity” for the United States. Read that carefully and meditate on it. An Islamic insurgency killing and kidnapping thousands of people is “an opportunity” to “expand diplomatic and military engagement.” The US has its own interests in going into all of these countries and expanding their presence on the ground, and issues like #BringBackOurGirls and #KONY2012 are simply window dressing and manufactured consent for US military and diplomatic ambitions.
Moreover, The Guardian in covering this story also noted:
There is also suspicion in Nigeria that American pressure for a greater role will be used by Washington to justify the establishment of the US Africa Command and to get it a foot on the ground after Abuja rejected pressure for it to be based in Nigeria and openly opposed its creation.
These are blatant power grabs that are part of a long history of neo-imperialist aggression by the United States on the continent. US military intervention is not the answer, and has long term repercussions that will shake out for years to come. Moreover, it fundamentally decenters the conversation away from accountability from local government officials, even as hashtags like #BringBackOurGirls have levied incredible pressure on them for their moral bankruptcy. We do not need Western saviors, who in many cases have caused the instability in the first place and are simply catering to their own neo-imperialist ambitions; what we need is for our leaders to actually be held to account for their failures and inaction. International pressure levied in a coordinated fashion with activists on the ground can make that happen, military intervention with boots on the ground and drones hammering us from the skies are not needed.
I have no patience for people who see news reports about the US sending troops into countries and act like these are all isolated incidents. The history is all around us in stark relief, and the current US military presence has been increasing across the continent and in other parts of the globe as well (US forces recently returned to the Philippines, one of our former colonies, as well). Competition with China, one of the other major neo-imperialistic power currently brutalizing and carving up Africa as well, or what have you—what we do know, though, is that the US does not appear to be leaving anytime soon, and that they are here to serve their interests and not those of the people in these African countries.
This map and larger trend should be troubling and disturbing to us all, and leaves me wondering—What country is next? The US seizes opportunities like #BringBackOurGirls and #KONY2012 for exactly this reason, to make seemingly “justifiable” this long term roll out of US military personnel and assets across the content. And as an African seeing it all laid out here in stark relief in graphic form has left me incredibly unsettled and apprehensive about what’s to come.
Check out more about the history of US military aggression in Africa in this great PolicyMic piece, “This Map Shows All the Countries in Africa Where the U.S. Has Active Military Operations”
The Problematics of #BringBackOurGirls (Audio Post)
Say ‘No’ to US military intervention to #BringBackOurGirls