After Iraq departure, U.S. sends new forces to Africa, Middle East

On Oct. 30, The New York Times announced that in anticipation of the departure of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, the Pentagon is preparing to deploy more than the equivalent number of troops to Kuwait and to dramatically boost the U.S. naval presence in the Gulf region.


According to The Times, new basing and military cooperation agreements are rapidly being drafted with the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in order to make sure that the U.S. is even more capable than ever of deploying rapid response teams in the broad military zone now made up of Middle East, Central Asia and the North and East of Africa.

The U.S. was recently denied the right to keep 23,000 combat troops in Iraq, who would have been invulnerable to prosecution in 2012 and beyond by the Maliki government, a regime that is quite dependent on the U.S. military presence but under intense political pressure from broad sections of the Iraqi population to oppose a new troop agreement.

“Withdrawal” is something of a misnomer for what will occur, even without addressing the regional buildup just outside Iraq’s borders, as the State Department is building a private army of over 5000 to guard the huge U.S. “embassies” planted permanently on Iraqi soil, and thousands of contractors will remain.  

The escalation announced on Oct. 30 came directly on the heels of a series of shocking confirmations of the decidedly inhuman character of the supposedly humanitarian U.S.-NATO intervention in Libya. Amnesty International and other international human rights organizations confirmed the sickening roundups and beatings carried out by TNC-led forces against Black migrant workers.

At the same time, the whole world watched as NATO planes bombed Gadhafi’s hometown Sirte to smoking rubble, displacing and killing an unknown number of civilians.

In the aftermath, the images of more than 50 bodies that showed evidence of being executed by a bullet to the head while handcuffed flashed around the world, revealing that summary execution rather than trial was likely to be modus operandi of the so-called liberators.

The ritual torture, rape, and murder of Gadhafi, followed by the grotesque prolonged and public mutilation of his corpse, made it clear to the world that the emancipatory ethos and vision that have historically accompanied the toppling of dictators was not easily found among either the troops or the TNC leadership, who refused to even try to be shocked by the events. In the end, many have been forced to admit that the U.S.-NATO intervention had nothing to do with the liberation of the Libyan people and everything to do with securing the military presence of the U.S., NATO, Qatar, and mercenaries on the ground in North Africa.

“Having secured Libya,” said Guardian writer John Pilger on Oct. 19, “an American invasion of the African continent is underway.” Pilger was referencing the announcement by Barak Obama that U.S. combat troops are heading to Uganda to intervene in the civil war there in support of the current regime, and that this would be the first of a series of special operations deployments to Central Africa. Uganda already receives $45 million dollars in U.S. military aid to carry out proxy wars for the United States in Central Africa.

According to Pilger, the latest U.S. military intervention is designed to reward Uganda’s “president-for-life” Yoweri Museveni for his willingness to intervene against what America describes for public consumption as the “Islamic threat” in Somalia.

These special ops, part of the new 60,000-soldier arm of the U.S. military revealed in Wikileaks as destined for deployment in 75 countries, will be joining those operating the new constellation of some 60 drone bases reported upon by the Washington Post on Sept. 20. The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 21 that new drone installations in the Seychelles would be used to increase military activity and assassinations in Somalia and Yemen. The war in Somalia, international law expert Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois-Champaign says, is really all about gas and oil. 

The U.S. is also involved in black ops in the Sahara and the Saheel, where according to Jeremy Keenan, author of “The Dark Sahara: America’s War on Terror in Africa,” the Pentagon fears independence movements may threaten the pro-U.S. rule of Nigeria, a nation which supplies a modest but important 10% of U.S. supplies, or the proposed route of an important new Nigeria to Algeria oil pipeline.

In truth, the U.S. has increased military support to its friends all over the continent, as it perceives a threat in the Chinese economic penetration of Africa and China’s access to Africa’s massive energy, mineral, and land resources.   

> The article above was written by Christine Marie, and first appeared in the November 2011 print edition of Socialist Action newspaper.