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Thread: Africom Stands Up 2006-2017

  1. #361
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Quietly the US 'footprint' expands

    SWJ Blog has had a couple of links to articles etc this month on the slow expansion of AFRICOM's on the ground commitments in Africa:

    1) Starting with a training team in Tunisia:http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/...#axzz2vMIAB8IH

    Within I noted the USMC ground & air mission to protect diplomats in South Sudan had a problem, which leads me to speculate whether a similar future mission would have CAS:
    ..the operation also highlighted the risks the Pentagon faces when it seeks to intervene with light forces in remote places. Three Ospreys were hit by gunfire and had to abort their mission.
    2) AFRICOM's commander giving a threat briefing:http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/afr...-across-africa

    Open Democracy today has a long article by a new name to me, Nick Turse the managing editor of TomDispatch.com. It covers the French too and refers to the various other European commitments - to training. It is critical, asking whether the missions are desirable, I'll leave it at that.

    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensec...ionary-warfare
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    SWJ Open Democracy today has a long article by a new name to me, Nick Turse the managing editor of TomDispatch.com. It covers the French too and refers to the various other European commitments - to training. It is critical, asking whether the missions are desirable, I'll leave it at that.
    My impression of Turse is that he is quite good at running down big sets of raw data, but that his analysis of it can be less than nuanced. http://www.npr.org/2013/01/28/169076...he-vietnam-war
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    What does AFRICOM hope to achieve in Africa?

    Unlike France that "gets their hands dirty", what is the US end game? Sit on the sidelines until it gradually gets sucked into some African crisis?

    What is the strategy behind US engagement in Africa?

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    Default Nick Turse

    I've briefly mentioned Turse - without going into his veracity. Here's Nick -



    Nick Turse (born in 1975, 7 years after My Lai; Wiki), who has made himself a career in "war crimes" from the time of his 2005 Columbia University Ph.D dissertation, "Kill Anything That Moves: United States War Crimes and Atrocities in Vietnam, 1965-1973", to the present - his 2013 Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

    The Amazon readers' reviews of KATM are interesting; especially this one and the comments to it (the review tried to be middle of the road and gave the book 3 stars):

    This book is polarizing and graphic; read at your own risk
    ...
    This book seems to bring out the worst in a lot of reviewers. Either they give it 5 stars because it finally "reveals the truth" about the evil U.S. involvement in Vietnam, or they give it 1-star because it ignores the evil North Vietnamese involvement in Vietnam and slams U.S. soldiers. At the risk of sounding wishy-washy, I give it 3 stars.

    Mr. Turse documents the abuses of SOME units and the emphasis on body counts that encouraged such abuses. It appears to me that his documentation is MOSTLY limited to areas near the DMZ and parts of the Delta, where a lot of the population did in fact support the North. (Please note the limitations mostly and some; I don't want a lot of comment posts telling me I said something more or less than I actually said). Other units in other places and times faced different challenges, and when soldiers say Mr. Turse doesn't reflect their experience, I accept their statements. ...
    Whether Turse's agitprop about Vietnam is black, white or gray is not going to be an issue for me here.

    Of some infamy is Turse's 2000 article, New Morning, Changing Weather: Radical Youth of the Millennial Age:

    On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold engaged in a shooting and bombing spree in Columbine High School that left fifteen students, including the alleged gunmen, dead. ...
    ...
    When a youngster decides to make war on his school and classmates, the media leaps to vilify him, his alleged influences, his weaponry, and his parents. Politicians are keen to do the same, and capitalize on the shootings by pushing for new firearm regulations and stiff penalties. And why not? Don’t we punish psychotics bent on threatening life and property, set upon destroying the "American" way of life? Shouldn’t we condemn those who take the lives of others through "senseless" violence? Or should we try to make sense of it? Preferring the latter option, I propose that kids killing kids may be the radical protest of our age, and that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold may be the Mark Rudd and Abbie Hoffman figures of today.
    ...
    While these young boys may have no Port Huron statement, no manifesto, and no coordinated actions (that we know of), they are a legitimate radical faction that may have one-upped the violent Weather Underground and the revolutionary Abbie Hoffman. These boys have truly embraced "revolution for the hell of it," maybe better than Abbie ever did. The randomness of their "non-campaign" may be the ultimate expression of "rage against the machine," ripping into the system, as it were, at its most vulnerable and fundamental level, perhaps more so than Weatherman’s bombing of the U.S. Capitol.
    ...
    The violence unleashed by these juveniles also acts as a call to action for like-minded individuals. Their ability to gain recognition and exert power grows with each like incident, forcing us to look for connections and search for scapegoats. Maybe they have no pithy slogans, no unifying symbol, maybe Marilyn Manson is no Bob Dylan, and maybe their Woodstock ’99 is a poor rip-off of the original (which "ripped off" Monterey), but no one can deny the radicalism of their murderous behavior. Who would not concede that terrorizing the American machine, at the very site where it exerts its most powerful influence, is a truly revolutionary task? To be inarticulate about your goals, even to not understand them, does not negate their existence. Approve or disapprove of their methods, vilify them as miscreants, but don’t dare disregard these modern radicals as anything less than the latest incarnation of disaffected insurgents waging the ongoing American revolution.
    His March 2014 article Back to the future: America's new model for expeditionary warfare seems relatively restrained stylistically. The reader's basic problem is how much of it to believe without checking each and every source - not a bad idea with any article, but especially where the author typically has an agenda. That includes my work - gentle reader.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 03-15-2014 at 10:57 PM.

  5. #365
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    Default Africom's Strategy

    Here you go - from the horse's mouth:

    Cornerstones

    Deter and Defeat Transnational Threats
    ... by engaging with partners to deter the threat posed by al-Qa'ida and other extremist organizations, deny them safe haven, and disrupt their destabilizing activities.

    Protect U.S. Security Interests
    ...by ensuring the safety of Americans and American interests from transnational threats, and by strengthening the defense capabilities of African states and regional organizations.

    Prevent Future Conflicts
    ...by working with African militaries and regional partners to address security concerns and increase stability on the continent.

    Support Humanitarian and Disaster Relief
    ... by providing military assistance, when directed, in response to human and natural crises.
    and its political bosses are:



    That should cheer you up.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 03-15-2014 at 10:55 PM.

  6. #366
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default AFRICOM's intelligence base

    Well it will not be in Africa, instead a quiet corner of an English county; RAF Croughton is the official name for a USAF support facility, in south-west Northamptonshire close to Oxfordshire:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Croughton

    The Independent reports the DIA's hub for AFRICOM will be built there:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...n-9391406.html
    davidbfpo

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    Default Africa Military Moves by US Reflect Iraq, Afghan Wars

    Africa Military Moves by US Reflect Iraq, Afghan Wars

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  8. #368
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    A 35 page report from the Oxford Research Group and the New Remote Control Report: 'The new frontier of counter-terrorism in the Sahel':http://oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/si...hel-Sahara.pdf

    It is based on open sources, so much is familiar, except for the logistic aspects e.g. deliveries of jet fuel to selected African airports. Non-US contributions are covered, notably France.
    davidbfpo

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    David,

    What is happening in the Sahel (and across Africa) is the failure of post-colonial states. America needs to focus on that, not the "terrorist boogeyman".

    There's a lot happening in my native Nigeria (not Boko Haram) that doesn't result in international media attention but has the same roots - state failure.

    Just like the Middle East, the problem is not "terrorism" per se, but state failure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    David,

    What is happening in the Sahel (and across Africa) is the failure of post-colonial states. America needs to focus on that, not the "terrorist boogeyman".

    There's a lot happening in my native Nigeria (not Boko Haram) that doesn't result in international media attention but has the same roots - state failure.

    Just like the Middle East, the problem is not "terrorism" per se, but state failure.
    I agree. Alas for a variety of reasons, including bureaucratic politics, few UK politicians want to stand up and say "Africa has problems, some are a colonial legacy, which we admit. There are problems since independence. We can help Africa - the people, not the rulers. Can we talk. We have more to offer than drones, SOF, expats, NGOs and aid".

    Wiser African "hands" will chuckle and say WAWA - they want the money and power, sod the people.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    David,

    What is happening in the Sahel (and across Africa) is the failure of post-colonial states. America needs to focus on that, not the "terrorist boogeyman".

    There's a lot happening in my native Nigeria (not Boko Haram) that doesn't result in international media attention but has the same roots - state failure.

    Just like the Middle East, the problem is not "terrorism" per se, but state failure.
    Even if we did focus on it what on earth could we actually do? Not much. Places like Nigerian and Congo are great big and filled with lots and lots of people of whom we know not much.

    State failure in Africa is just going to have to play itself out on its own. The best we can do is try to keep the Boko Harams suppressed as best we can. The rest is up to you guys.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Even if we did focus on it what on earth could we actually do? Not much. Places like Nigerian and Congo are great big and filled with lots and lots of people of whom we know not much.

    State failure in Africa is just going to have to play itself out on its own. The best we can do is try to keep the Boko Harams suppressed as best we can. The rest is up to you guys.
    You either deal with the root causes or you do nothing at all. You're experience in Iraq should have taught you that.

    Anyway, the future is very predictable. If US couldn't figure out Sunni & Shia in Iraq until it was a bit too late, one assumes they know next to nothing about what's really going on in Nigeria.

    Don't touch this tar baby unless you've fully figured out what's going on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Wiser African "hands" will chuckle and say WAWA - they want the money and power, sod the people.
    I often wonder why people other than African "hands" haven't got the message yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    You either deal with the root causes or you do nothing at all. You're experience in Iraq should have taught you that.

    Anyway, the future is very predictable. If US couldn't figure out Sunni & Shia in Iraq until it was a bit too late, one assumes they know next to nothing about what's really going on in Nigeria.

    Don't touch this tar baby unless you've fully figured out what's going on.
    I disagree that "we" have to deal with root causes. We have thousands of political, social and economic theorists who all think they understand root causes, but their models for resolving them are either unfeasible or fail when tried. For military intervention, we should focus on achieving limited military objectives, which may be reducing the BH threat. Some problems can be solved, but they can be managed. I'm not advocating for the U.S. to get involved unless we believe important interests are threatened, and then we reduce the threat to those interests.

    Underlying issues must be addressed by the locals. If we desire, we can provide capacity building, though we haven't been very successful with that effort. The bottom line is not every problem needs to be solved, it just needs to be managed. Most Americans, myself included, suffer from the savior syndrome. The first step in mitigating the ill advised behavior that this syndrome encourages is self-awareness of it. We can't save the various African nations from themselves, but we can protect our key interests and we might be able to help Africans solve their own problems by providing limited technical assistance (along with the UN and a lot of other nations).

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    This graphic illustrates one problem Africans have. Sorry you will have to work out who owns the flags, I only id'd Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Eight of the ten are in Washington DC today.

    OK I relented awhile:

    1) Equatorial Guinea
    2) Swaziland
    3) Angola
    4) Uganda
    5) Zimbabwe
    6) Burkina Faso
    7) Cameroon
    8) Sudan
    9) Congo (Brazzaville)
    10) Gambia
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-07-2014 at 09:37 AM.
    davidbfpo

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    Default How will Christians in Africa see the US?

    Totally unrelated to anything on this thread.

    Christians in Africa generally view the US positively, but with America's seeming abandonment of Iraqi Christians, Christians in countries like Nigeria (where Muslim/Christian tensions are high) are beginning to have doubts about the utility or relevance of US/West to their situation.

    Does this have any political implications now? Not sure, but it might have in future. Quite a few prominent Christian voices in Nigeria are saying (not openly yet), that US is more pro-Muslim than pro-Christian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    This graphic illustrates one problem Africans have. Sorry you will have to work out who owns the flags, I only id'd Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Eight of the ten are in Washington DC today.

    OK I relented awhile:

    1) Equatorial Guinea
    2) Swaziland
    3) Angola
    4) Uganda
    5) Zimbabwe
    6) Burkina Faso
    7) Cameroon
    8) Sudan
    9) Congo (Brazzaville)
    10) Gambia
    That is 10 nations out of 54/55, hardly any kind of majority - what about the other 44/45 nations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    That is 10 nations out of 54/55, hardly any kind of majority - what about the other 44/45 nations?
    Well, one might argue that it’s better for the citizenry’s day-to-day life to have a static grifter in power than to be forced to choose a new one every X number of years. “At least he’s already fat,” as I have heard Burkinabé say, implying that any successor to Blaise would go through a fresh round of sating himself on the public dime.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    Totally unrelated to anything on this thread.

    Christians in Africa generally view the US positively, but with America's seeming abandonment of Iraqi Christians, Christians in countries like Nigeria (where Muslim/Christian tensions are high) are beginning to have doubts about the utility or relevance of US/West to their situation.

    Does this have any political implications now? Not sure, but it might have in future. Quite a few prominent Christian voices in Nigeria are saying (not openly yet), that US is more pro-Muslim than pro-Christian.
    Brilliant point. Even better because it is so absolutely politically uncorrect to bring it up.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default US-Nigeria relations falter

    A diplomatic spat, which includes AFRICOM's efforts, as Nigeria disputes whether the USA is a helper in the struggle with Boko Haram:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/01/wo...s-falter.html?

    How about such snippets as these; citing an anonymous AFRICOM official / officer:
    Ounce for ounce, Boko Haram is equal to if not better than the Nigerian military
    Then a classic "get stuffed" ploy:
    When Maj. Gen. James B. Linder, the head of American Special Operations forces in Africa, visited Nigeria in late October, he was barred from visiting the base where American trainers were instructing the new Nigerian Army battalion created to help fight Boko Haram. General Linder was left waiting at the gate....
    davidbfpo

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