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Pentagon dollars flowing into Africa

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US troops join Dutch, Spanish, British and Senegalese forces during patrols and amphibious landings in Dakar, Senegal, in September of 2013.
Press TV – October 21, 2013

The Pentagon has begun a surge of spending in Africa through expanding its main base on the continent and making investments in various fields there.

The Pentagon is currently increasing investments in air facilities, flight services, telecommunications and electrical upgrades in the African continent, The Tribune Washington Bureau (MCT) reports.

According to unclassified federal documents, hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing into Africa, indicating the importance the US is attaching to the continent.

Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, on the cost of Gulf of Aden north of Somalia, is the place where the Pentagon is expanding its activities the most.

The camp has been the Pentagon’s main facility in the continent for nearly 10 years now. It currently houses approximately 4,000 US military personnel and civilian contractors.

The Pentagon views the base as the constellation center of US military sites across Africa, including facilities in Manda Bay, Kenya; Entebbe, Uganda; and the West African nation of Burkina Faso.

Last month, $200 million was awarded in contracts to revamp the power plants at the base and construct a multistory operations center, an aircraft hangar, living quarters, gyms and other facilities.

The project is just part of $1.2 billion which is projected to be spent there for improvement purposes during the next 25 year.

The US is also training regional militaries in the continent, increasing air strikes and conducting drone surveillance.

Thousands of US soldiers are now gearing up for missions in Africa as part of a new Pentagon strategy to train and advise indigenous forces, the New York Times reports.

In addition to training African militaries, the US has been launching a massive build-up of troops into Italy, putting 13,000 troops in the nation to be able to launch raids into Africa, particularly northern Africa, at a moment’s notice.

There is also a growing constellation of small US drone outposts in countries like Niger, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, strategically placed on the Gulf of Aden.

October 21, 2013 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

US general urges Pentagon to boost its African spying missions by 15-fold

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Press TV – February 15, 2013

A US general nominated to lead the American military’s Africa Command has called for a 15-fold surge in US spying missions in Africa amid reports of Pentagon’s plans to further expand its growing military presence in the continent.

Army General David Rodriguez estimated in a written statement submitted to the US Senate Arms Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Thursday that the American military needs to boost its “intelligence-gathering and spying missions in Africa by nearly 15-fold,” The Washington Post reports Friday.

“I believe additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities are necessary to protect American interests and assist our close allies and partners,” said the four-star general who has previously commanded US-led intervention forces in Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The recent crises in North Africa demonstrate the volatility of the African security environment,” he added.

Rodrigues further emphasized during the hearing that Africa Command requires additional drones, other spying aircraft and more satellite imagery, adding that the US command currently gets only half of its “stated need” for North Africa and just seven percent of its total “requirements” for the entire continent, the report says.

The surging US military involvement in Africa has emerged despite earlier instructions by the Obama administration for the Pentagon to “pivot its forces and reorient its strategy toward fast-growing Asia,” the daily underlines.

The development comes as the American military has intervened over the past two years in internal conflicts in African nations of Somalia, Libya and Mali, as well as central Africa.

This is while the US Air Force is building its fourth assassination and spying drone base in the poor African state of Niger as American Navy warships are expanding their missions along the coastlines of East and West Africa, according to the report.

Despite insistence by US military authorities that they did not have plans to establish bases or move troops to Africa when they created the Africa Command in 2007, the Pentagon has since built a network of “staging bases,” including assassination drone facilities in Ethiopia and the Seychelles, and “a forward operating base for special operations forces in Kenya,” the report notes.

It further adds that the Pentagon has also expanded its military operations and construction at “the only permanent US base on the continent, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, which serves as a hub for ‘counterterrorism missions’ in Somalia and Yemen.”

Now, the daily emphasizes, there is a growing pressure to add even more bases in North and West Africa as the US military is set to build an assassination drone base in the West African country of Niger, which borders Mali, Libya and Nigeria, all nations that the Obama administration claims are threatened by an increasing influx of ‘al-Qaeda-linked’ Muslim militants.

The US Africa Command has been based in Stuttgart, Germany since it was established in 2007. Efforts to move the headquarters to an African country faced hurdles as numerous nations “expressed concern that the Pentagon was seeking to militarize US policy or infringe on their sovereignty,” according to the report.

February 15, 2013 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US expands drone base in Djibouti to hit Somalia, Yemen

Press TV – October 27, 2012

The US government is expanding its drone base in the East African nation of Djibouti to escalate its assassination strikes in Somalia and Yemen.

The US military has been flying armed drones over both countries from a base in Djibouti and is planning to build a second base in Ethiopia, a report by the Washington Post says.

The report added that the drones on missions over Somalia and Yemen take off or land at the base an average of 16 times per day.

The Lemonnier base has also become home to a squadron of US F-15 fighter jets, which it reports are flying combat missions over Yemen.

The US is also known to operate drones from two other East African countries — Ethiopia and the Seychelles islands.

The base in the Seychelles that was previously used to fly surveillance drones will now host armed drones capable of flying their lethal payloads the more than 1,500 kms that separate the Indian Ocean island chain from Somalia and the African mainland and back.

However, drone operations from Ethiopia and Seychelles are nothing compared to the one at Camp Lemonnier. According to the report Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding US network of drone and surveillance bases in Africa.

Washington has also been carrying out assassination attacks using the unmanned aircraft in other countries including Afghanistan, Libya and Pakistan.

The United States claims the CIA-run strikes are aimed at militants. But witness reports and figures offered by local authorities indicate the attacks have led to massive civilian deaths.

October 27, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment