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America's Empire of Bases on the Sly

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 11.17.2015 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

While the U.S. has always pursued parts of its imperial strategy in "the shadows," to use a phrase from my Cold War childhood, in this new strategy everyday basing, too, is disappearing into those shadows, which is why Nick Turse's latest piece on the subject is a small reportorial triumph of time and effort.

Does Eleven Plus One Equal Sixty?

Nick Turse | Posted 11.17.2015 | Politics
Nick Turse

In remote locales, behind fences and beyond the gaze of prying eyes, the U.S. military has built an extensive archipelago of African outposts, transforming the continent, experts say, into a laboratory for a new kind of war.

Problem Partners, Ugly Outcomes

Nick Turse | Posted 09.10.2015 | Politics
Nick Turse

Since 9/11, Africa has increasingly been viewed by the Pentagon as a place of problems to be remedied by military means. And year after year, as terror groups have multiplied, proxies have foundered, and allies have disappointed, the U.S. has doubled down again and again.

On Not Noticing America's Empire of Bases

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 06.15.2015 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

Really, you didn't hear a peep about all those bases? If you don't get the way this country has garrisoned the planet, if you never notice its empire of bases, there is no way to grasp its imperial nature, which perhaps is the point.

The U.S. Military Really Doesn't Want to Talk About What It's Doing in Africa

Bryan Maygers | Posted 06.01.2015 | Politics
Bryan Maygers

Nick Turse's new book of investigative reporting reveals that the U.S. military has been involved in one way or another -- "construction, military exercises, advisory assignments, security cooperation, or training missions" -- with more than 90 percent of Africa's 54 nations, despite military spokespersons insistence that the U.S. maintains only one permanent "base."

The U.S. Military Behaving Badly in Africa

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 06.21.2015 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) went out of its way to obstruct reporting on its sex scandals, and the documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act were so heavily redacted that ink companies must be making a fortune.

Sex, Drugs, and Dead Soldiers

Nick Turse | Posted 06.21.2015 | Politics
Nick Turse

For years, as U.S. military personnel moved into Africa in ever-increasing numbers, AFRICOM has effectively downplayed, disguised, or covered-up almost every aspect of its operations, from the locations of its troop deployments to those of its expanding string of outposts.

Why Failure Doesn't Daunt the National Security State

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 06.14.2015 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

In Africa, when the U.S. military first started moving onto the continent in a significant way, there were almost no Islamic terror organizations outside of Somalia. Now, with AFRICOM fully invested and operational across the continent, count 'em.

Military Missions Reach Record Levels After U.S. Inks Deal to Remain in Africa for Decades

Nick Turse | Posted 06.14.2015 | Politics
Nick Turse

In recent years, the U.S. has been involved in a variety of multinational interventions in Africa, including one in Libya that involved both a secret war and a conventional campaign of missiles and air strikes, assistance to French forces, and the training and funding of African proxies.

The Outpost That Doesn't Exist in the Country You Can't Locate

Nick Turse | Posted 01.20.2015 | Politics
Nick Turse

In its shadowy "pivot" to Africa, the U.S. military has compiled a record remarkably low on successes and high on blowback. Is it time to add Chad to this growing list?

The U.S. Military 'Pivot' to Africa That Goes Unnoticed

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 11.25.2014 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

Nearly everywhere in Africa, the U.S. military is in action. However, except in rare cases, like the recent announcement of an "Ebola surge" in Liberia, you would never know it.

Pirates of the Gulf of Guinea

Nick Turse | Posted 11.25.2014 | World
Nick Turse

From 2012 to 2013, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence found a 25 percent jump in incidents, including vessels being fired upon, boarded, and hijacked, in the Gulf of Guinea, a vast maritime zone that curves along the west coast of Africa from Gabon to Liberia. Kidnappings are up, too.

How Not to Win Hearts and Minds in Africa

Nick Turse | Posted 11.08.2014 | World
Nick Turse

The U.S. is trying to win a war for the hearts and minds of Africa. But a Pentagon investigation suggests that those mystery projects somewhere out there in Djibouti or Ethiopia or Kenya or here in Tanzania may well be orphaned, ill-planned, and undocumented failures-in-the-making.

The U.S. Military’s New Normal in Africa

Nick Turse | Posted 07.15.2014 | Politics
Nick Turse

Whatever Operation New Normal may be pales in comparison to the real "new normal" for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The lower-cased variant is bold and muscular. It's an expeditionary force on a war footing. To the men involved, it's a story of growth and expansion, new battlefields, "combat," and "war."

Washington Fights Fire With Fire in Libya

Nick Turse | Posted 06.15.2014 | Politics
Nick Turse

There may be no nation that can get things entirely right when it comes to Libya but one nation has shown an unnerving ability to get things wrong. Should that country really be the one in charge of the delicate process of building a cohesive security force to combat violent, fractious armed groups?

AFRICOM Goes to War on the Sly

Nick Turse | Posted 06.14.2014 | Politics
Nick Turse

What the military will say to a reporter and what is said behind closed doors are two very different things -- especially when it comes to the U.S. military in Africa.

U.S. Military Averaging More Than a Mission a Day in Africa

Nick Turse | Posted 05.27.2014 | Politics
Nick Turse

Since its inception, U.S. Africa Command has consistently downplayed its role on the continent. Meanwhile, far from the press or the public, the officers running its secret operations have privately been calling Africa "the battlefield of tomorrow, today."

Washington's Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa

Nick Turse | Posted 05.13.2014 | Politics
Nick Turse

Since 9/11, the U.S. military has been making inroads in Africa, building alliances, facilities, and a sophisticated logistics network. Despite repeated assurances by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) that military activities on the continent were minuscule, a 2013 investigation by TomDispatch exposed surprisingly large and expanding U.S. operations.

The Terror Diaspora

Nick Turse | Posted 08.18.2013 | World
Nick Turse

Ten years after Washington began pouring taxpayer dollars into counterterrorism and stability efforts across Africa, the continent has experienced profound changes, just not those the U.S. sought.

UN's Ban Ki-moon Visits Congo: Admonishes Army While Delivering Aid

Georgianne Nienaber | Posted 07.30.2013 | World
Georgianne Nienaber

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the Democratic Republic of Congo last week, and the publicity, coupled with a $1 billion aid package from the World Bank, inadvertently spotlighted President Joseph Kabila's image as an ineffective manager of the affairs of his impoverished nation.

Mali and the Primacy of Civil Authority

Christopher Holshek | Posted 07.28.2013 | World
Christopher Holshek

While it's also not clear the elections or MINUSMA will bring peace or more conflict to Mali, there seems to be a longer learning curve at work on peace and security in Africa.

America Should Stay Out of Africa

Sarwar Kashmeri | Posted 04.10.2013 | World
Sarwar Kashmeri

France will shortly be engaged in rebuilding Mali, a country twice the size of Texas. Does the U.S. really want to join in another nation-building exercise, in a Muslim country, on a continent where Americans are not welcome?

The Nature of the U.S. Military Presence in Africa

Nick Turse | Posted 09.25.2012 | World
Nick Turse

The U.S. military "presence" anywhere is much more than simply a question of troop levels. Nevertheless, given that the U.S. is technically not "at war" in Africa, the more than 200 percent increase in U.S. personnel there since 2005 seems striking to me.

Kony 2012 and the Failed Fantasy of Firepower in Libya, Syria, Uganda...

Lisa Schirch | Posted 05.10.2012 | World
Lisa Schirch

Echoes of victims call out to us over television or even twitter with bloodied images of civilians suffering. Those with empathy want to stop it. There is vast appeal for a fast fantasy of firepower solution

Libya and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Conn Hallinan | Posted 06.08.2011 | World
Conn Hallinan

War always has consequences, although not all of them are initially obvious. In war, as Carl von Clausewitz noted, the only thing you can determine is who fires the first shot. After that it is all fog and plans gone awry.