Why is the US government ramping up operations in Africa now? What is AFRICOM?
U.S. forces are in Africa and are growing at an alarming rate. Vice news reported that in 2006 only 1 percent of U.S. commandos were deployed to Africa. That number rose to 3 percent in 2010 and in 2016 that number rose to 17 percent.
The U.S. armed forces in Africa are known as AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command. AFRICOM’s website states “(the) United States Africa Command, in concert with interagency and international partners, builds defense capabilities, responds to crisis, and deters and defeats transnational threats in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability, and prosperity.” That is the mission of AFRICOM, at least that is the public portrayal of AFRICOM’s purpose.
Africa’s rich natural resources.
The continent of Africa is the most resource rich continent on the planet. It is home to diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver and petroleum. Many of these resources make up vital parts in electronics such as computers, cell phones, cars etc.
Africa is also home to Nigeria, the 13th largest oil producer in the world. Nigeria along with Libya, Angola, and Algeria are all members of the oil organization, OPEC.
Increasing foreign competition in Africa.
Because of the richness of Africa’s resources, foreign countries are taking a renewed interest in the continent. Competition for influence in Africa is heating up. One such country is China. In recent years China has rapidly expanded their investments in the continent.
The growth of the United States’ forces in Africa (Africom) is due to this increased interest and competition for Africa’s resources. We know this because of the history of the United States’ interest in foreign countries and the U.S.’ behavior in the Middle East.
There have always been three reasons used by the U.S. to justify attacking a country in the middle east: either humanitarian issues, a foreign evil dictator, or the rise of a terrorist group.
We are starting to see two of those factors play into the U.S.’ involvement in Africa. Suddenly the U.S. is taken an interest in fighting the rise of the terrorist group Al Shabaab. As for humanitarian reasons for the growth in AFRICOM, if this was truly a humanitarian effort one would expect aid workers and food being sent instead of soldiers and drones.
So why mask or cover up the possible motive of AFRICOM in Africa?
The true motivation won’t get support from the public, Congress, or the international community. Look at the Iraq invasion of 2003 when Bush Jr and his cabinet said Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons and were going to use them. This later turned out to not be true and evidence came out that U.S. officials knew this before invading Iraq. Whether the real motivation for the Iraq invasion was related to resources or part of a post 9-11 plan of attack is unclear. But it is clear that the real motivation for the Iraq invasion was hidden and the myth of WMD’s in Iraq was the cover story.
The increase of military activity in Africa by the United States is due to one factor and one factor only: the abundance of Africa’s resources, especially oil.
The dangers of AFRICOM.
The US getting involved in Africa should be a concern to the American people and the international community. If the recent adventures in the Middle East prove anything, it’s that there are always civilians caught in the crossfire when military gets involved. Innocent U.S. soldiers’ lives are also lost and the infinite military budget continually increases the national debt to greater heights.
The battle for natural resources results in a tragedy of death, loss and debt.