Since before the heinous ravaging of Africa as a source of human beings denied their humanity, lives and freedom as chattel in the slave trade, the continent has been brutally exploited by European colonial (and later US) powers.
Now, the continent is targeted by developing nations as a rich source of natural resources and for its coveted geopolitical military positioning. Researcher and author Nick Turse, managing editor of TomDispatch.com, offers a sobering, thorough account of the extension of the US military mission in Africa, known as Africom.
Mark Karlin: What is Africom and how does it fit in with the structure of the US military presence around the world?
Nick Turse: In 2008, US Africa Command or Africom became the newest of the Department of Defense’s six geographic combatant commands with a responsibility for all military missions in Africa (aside from those in Egypt, which fall under the purview of Central Command or Centcom). After 9/11, the US military began to focus increased attention on Africa, ramping up counterterrorism operations, proxy interventions and the training of local allies while constructing an increasing number of outposts from which to launch missions.
Creating an umbrella command like others around the world was the natural response for the Pentagon, one that has grown in importance in the years since.