From Shadow Wars To Overt War: The Pentagon's New 'Scramble For Africa'

Tyler Durden's picture

When news broke of the October 4 ambush and deaths of four elite Green Beret soldiers in Niger, the immediate reaction voiced among congressional leaders and echoed generally in the media was: we have troops in Niger? But the bigger questions of the US military's increasingly sizable footprint in Africa (or what has long been called our 'Shadow War') quickly disappeared from public debate, instead, in usual fashion the media quickly focused on myopic details of phone calls and whether Trump's handling of the aftermath was "presidential" enough. 

Gone were the larger looming questions the average American might rightly ask: when did Congress authorize or oversee operations in Africa which would put "boots on the ground" in potential live combat zones? What is the ultimate purpose in our being in Africa? Were the tragic deaths, and subsequent sufferings of their families worth whatever nebulous mission they were tasked with? If this was about fighting ISIS in Africa, how did ISIS establish a presence in Africa to begin with? (hint: it could have something to do with US-driven regime change wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria). 

But as has been the case with all administrations going back to 9/11, the moment the White House and congressional leaders invoke those magical letters, AUMF (the 16-year old authorization for use of military force), the media quickly falls in line, in spite of the fact that the War Powers Resolution (WPR) was designed to prevent the president from unilaterally placing US troops in harm's way (though because it's Trump, and not Obama, even CNN will publish the occasional and rare anti-war op-ed).

'Shadow Wars' become overt wars: Regime change begets terrorism begets more regime change ad absurdum. 

Meanwhile on the "serious" network talk shows with "expert" panels, such inconvenient big picture questions are never dealt with, not even as the Pentagon absurdly offers the rationale of military expansion in Africa as key to a "global strategy" as ISIS is a "global threat" - or so we are told. AFRICOM (US Africa Command) defines its mission as to defeat “transnational threats in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability, and prosperity.” 

So if we are now in the business of defeating all potential threats labelled "transnational" then of course a large-scale military presence can be justified just about anywhere, no questions asked (akin to Dick Cheney's notorious "one percent doctrine": if there was even “a one percent chance” that a threat was real “we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.”) Indeed, at the very moment the Islamic State is in rapid retreat and is on the verge of collapsing in Iraq and Syria, the mantra is now once again (conveniently) ISIS! ISIS! EVERYWHERE! ...And now especially on a whole new continent: Africa.

The below map has been around for a while, but its creators assure us it was approved by "respected counter-terrorism experts"...

Map source: The Daily Mail

Senator Lindsey Graham, of course, loves such jingoistic talk. He told Meet the Press over the weekend that "he had no idea" there were 1000 troops in Niger, and it then took him less than a minute to invoke 9/11 and the AUMF (predictably) to say "the war [on terror] is going to places we haven't heard of before" - after which he literally described it as "endless". But for Graham and other hawks, however, this presents yet another opportunity for US military expansion, including ever-swelling defense budgets, and more "projection" of US power abroad. Though the US now has troops in 53 out of 54 countries, Graham was elated at the idea that the US military was fighting "radical Islamic extremism" in Niger and throughout Africa.

Sen. Graham said further, "If you don't think it's a generational struggle, you don't understand the war. If you think it's limited to the Mid East, you don't understand the theology. It is spreading throughout the world," and added, "Particularly Africa." Of course, Graham - with his chicken-hawk non-existent war record understands neither war nor Africa: this is simply the classic Graham-McCain-neocon recipe for being everywhere, all the time.

And keep in mind this was his reaction upon discovering there were troops in Niger in the first place after learning of the deaths of four young soldiers. Senator Rand Paul responded best when he said on Monday, "You know you are in too many wars in too many places when even warmonger Lindsay Graham can’t keep track anymore."

But the big question ignored in mainstream media is this: Is the United States in the midst of a new military "scramble for Africa"?

Below are astounding statistics and figures excerpted from veteran Pentagon and Africa researcher and journalist Nick Turse's new investigation into the Pentagon's presence in Africa titled appropriately, The war you've never heard of:

  • U.S. troops are now conducting 3,500 exercises, programs, and engagements per year, an average of nearly 10 missions per day, on the African continent, according to the U.S. military’s top commander for Africa, General Thomas Waldhauser.
  • Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly indicated to two senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee Friday that these numbers are only likely to increase as the U.S. military shifts even greater attention to counterterrorism in Africa.
  • When U.S. Africa Command first became operational in 2008, it inherited 172 missions, activities, programs, and exercises from other combatant commands. Five years in, that number shot up to 546.
  • Today’s figure of 3,500 marks an astounding 1,900 percent increase since the command was activated less than a decade ago, and suggests a major expansion of U.S. military activities on the African continent.
  • These developments stand in stark contrast to early assurances that AFRICOM’s efforts would be focused on diplomacy and aid.


  • But despite a claimed "diplomacy and aid" presence, AFRICOM has launched 500 airstrikes in Libya in the last year alone, and U.S. forces have regularly carried out drone attacks and commando raids in Somalia.
  • In May, for example, a Navy SEAL was killed by al Shabaab militants in Somalia while “assisting partner forces,” according to AFRICOM. Earlier this month, four Special Forces soldiers were killed in an ambush while providing “advice and assistance” to local forces in Niger.
  • U.S. troop deaths or scandals are frequently the only mechanism by which Americans come to know about military deployments to African nations like Niger.
  • Every day, 5,000 to 6,000 U.S. personnel are deployed across the African continent.
  • These near-constant training exercises, missions, and activities with troops from Benin and Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Chad, Gabon and Guinea Bissau, not to mention Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda, among other nations, remain largely unknown to most Americans.


  • The number of African troops trained by U.S. military personnel jumped 89 percent... from 22,825 trained in 2014 to at least 42,815 individuals a year later.
  • This month, Donald Yamamoto, the acting assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Trump administration’s proposed $5.2 billion African aid budget would address “key priorities” such as “assist[ing] partner nations to defeat ISIS branches and affiliates and other terrorist organization threats and networks in Mali and the Sahel, Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, Somalia and the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere.”
  • Experts warn that further militarizing African countries which have "inadequate civilian control of the military” will result in absurdities such as... in 2012, for example, a U.S.-trained Army captain, Amadou Sanogo, overthrew Mali’s elected government. Two years later, Lt. Col. Isaac Zida, another U.S.-trained officer, seized power in Burkina Faso.


  • Six years ago, a deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Special Operations Command gave a conservative estimate of 116 missions being carried out at any one time by Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other special operations forces across the globe.
  • Today, according to U.S. military documents... special operators are carrying out nearly 100 missions at any given time — in Africa alone. It’s the latest sign of the military’s quiet but ever-expanding presence on the continent, one that represents the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops to any region of the globe.
  • In 2006, just 1 percent of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa. In 2010, it was 3 percent. By 2016, that number had jumped to more than 17 percent.

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TylerDurden6mil's picture

At this point are we just chasing the next chinese investment?

totenkopf88's picture

WTF ever happened to NoKo nukes? Can we just concentrate on one imagined threat at a time?

Cynicles II's picture

Don't worry, we know you typed contrived, not imagined.

Recently my spell check has been crap too.

loebster's picture

FIXING the headline:

From Shadow Wars To Overt War: The Pentagon's New 'Scramble For Middle East and N Africa' To Benefit IsraHell

SafelyGraze's picture

we have always been at war with niger tanzania



NoDecaf's picture


Just imagine how many guilt ridden whites are squirming with that one.

how to pronounce it

how to refer to it...that 'N' country

much less find it on a map or pretend to even have any knowledge of life there.

Bes's picture


willing to destory

their mothers

their ancestors

to take the prize continent

jealous because of their resourcesless land

forgetting that it was their home

not willing to share it

with those who have been there for hundreds of thousands of years

unable to respect and

striving and scheming to take it away

only to

eventually and inevitably destroy it

and thus themselves

because they are incapable of

being at peace

in balance

with the natural world

always needing more

demanding more

expecting more

taking more

until nothing is left

inventing myth, religion, folklore,


and pseudoscience to

support the genocides

and justify the taking of africa

the new world


and oceania

to this very day.


thus is the history of the white man

for almost 600 years

and counting


Vigilante's picture

Listen ye butthurt niggro

If it wasn't for whitey you'd  still be in the stone age.

philipat's picture

Funny how Washington ignored Africa for decades. Until after China moved in.....

JimmyJones's picture

If the BS EPA regulations are repealed there is no need for there to be fighting over Africa territory because the US could resume the mining and processing of rare earth materials / minerals. 

The Thorium Problem

Food Loaf Junkie's picture

1000+  China has been consolidating control of resources globally  for years, in South America and Africa.  Timber, minerals, food production land, and not the least-OIL.  Between One Belt-One Road and money funneled into third world .GOV's everywhere they are in the driver's seat for the next twenty years at least.

A. Boaty's picture

Where does China get off exploiting Africa's natural resources? That's our job!

JimmyJones's picture

Please explain the eastern European countries that are doing well and don't have terrorist attacks? 

Grimaldus's picture

Is moar proof necessary that the US FEDGOV has been usurped by progressives and their tyranny?

A standing army is un American.

"There is no instance of any government being reduced to a confirmed tyranny without military oppression; and the first policy of tyrants has been to annihilate all other means of national activity and defence, and to rely solely upon standing troops."


Bloody progressives own this shit.

To have a crime, you must first have a progressive.








loebster's picture

Nothing will happen to N Korea. Israhell is not in that area.

Blankone's picture

What ever happened to Trumps promise that something Big was going to happen almost immediately?

JimmyJones's picture

Uranium One scandal / Cover up with bribery and open violations of National Security getting blown wide open seems pretty big to me. Time will tell. 

natxlaw's picture

You mean attacking China via its intetests? We can do more than one.

Dr. Engali's picture

That and we need to destroy the place so we can create moar refugees. I’m sure Germany will welcome them.

Thugocracy's picture

Is this mostly to destabilise the area as the Chinese move in? 


idontcare's picture

The Chinese are already there.  However, they are predominately in the northwest and west regions -  you know, the regions which aren't succumbing to The Plague right now.

Anarchyteez's picture

Madagascar is off SE coast dipshit!

idontcare's picture

It's not only Madagascar, dipshit, but the entire eastern side of Africa.  7 countries are affected.

BTW, dipshit, I said the Chinese were in the NW and W of Africa which left the entire E portion of the continent if you couldn't figure that out on your retarded literacy level.  Learn to read and maybe your boss will allow you to work the drive through window one day.

Lost in translation's picture

As a former Air Force man my message to all current service personnel and possible future recruits, is this:

If you voluntarily sign up or re-up for this mierda then you deserve everything you’re about to get.

Oberst-Gruppenfuhrer's picture

but those free sex change operations for the he-shes! LMAO

Son of Captain Nemo's picture


"Problem -> Reaction -> "Solution" = Made in the U.S.A. Al Qaeda/ISIS/ISIL/Tarar Al Sham/Al Nusra/Daesh/FSA/SDF x______(any name you want to call U.S. cause we're a "Team"!

Puts U.S. every place we want be for our banks and big oil... Cause we're short on buyers for our $$$ "EVER SINCE WE KILLED OUR OWN 16 YEARS AGO"... And all we got left IS THE "STICK"!!!

directaction's picture

The US needs to bomb a bunch of African nations thereby creating millions of war refugees all of whom will come to Europe and North America.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

If we thought more brown was good, wait till we get more black refugees. 

HRH Feant2's picture

I am predicting a lot more pneumonic plague. Cheaper than bombs with the same end result.

Anarchyteez's picture

Leave infrastructure in tact and kill w in 24 hrs.


If the world lasts I’m buying the beer.

OverTheHedge's picture

Is this another Bill and Linda initiative? Is it a more aggressive, easier to transmit, never before seen version of the old Black Death?

Inquisitive minds want to know

JimmyJones's picture

Very true. Also as much as we like to pretend we are all the same physiologically,  we are not and there are many bacterial / Viral illnesses that affect Africa blacks as well as some mixed people much more severely than Asians and Caucasians. Don't forget that Bill Gates father was a big time eugenics fan. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Evil Satanist. Now who wants to have a Spirit Cooking session?

In my opinion I agree with some scientist that this is where Neanderthal DNA found in Caucasians and Asians comes into play.

land_of_the_few's picture

Perhaps it will make its way to Chicago, NY and SF via air travel passengers.

quadraspleen's picture

With any luck and a following wind, yes

haruspicio's picture

I see from the map.....sourced from that ultra respectable rag the Daily Mail....that conveniently Iran is designated as having an ISIS presence. What more justification could possibly be needed to nuke Iran?

HRH Feant2's picture

There isn't much any country can do to fix Africa. Not China, not the US. The average IQ is 70 or 75 which means people are functionally retarded and illiterate. The only way to fix that is with religion, education, and good food, none of which will be showing up in Africa anytime soon.

Anarchyteez's picture

Mother fucker! I thought I was cynical!?

Damn dude.

Yup. Can’t fix retarded/moron populous spiraling towards extinction..., unless you call it racism.

shovelhead's picture


They need the Catholics telling them not to use rubbers in Aidsville and that having 10 kids is a good thing cause it makes Jesus happy.

newworldorder's picture

Come on now. I dont mind you being anti Christian, but you could at least mention the #1 alleged religion on the planet encouraging their members to have as many kinds as possible, from as many marriages as possible.  

Now what could that alleged religion be?  Does the name Islam ring a bell with you?

Thanks for playing however.

Umh's picture

You are a hopeless optimist.

Anarchyteez's picture

Oil drugs or both.

We are nowhere else.

Wake up space monkeys.

I am a Man I am Forty's picture

This is off topic but this seems like a pretty big coincidence.  The same law firm that paid Fusion GPS also hired Crowdstrike, the cyber security firm that said Russians hacked the DNC and the FBI relied on them and never looked at the DNC server.


Cynicles II's picture

"this presents yet another opportunity for US military expansion, including ever-swelling defense budgets..."

Defense budgets used for agressions in other nations. Illogical.

The US' actions in other nations fuels terror and hate toward the US far more than any legitimate prevention of hate and terrorism geared toward the US. 

No need to defeat the false narrative of US "intervention" aka war. We know all war is a racket. The Banksters win every war.

OverTheHedge's picture

Didn't we have another article recently which suggested that this is a direct response to Chinese success in Africa? US is now creating terrorism to then require a military presence, to keep the natives from getting uppity. More random drone strike creates MORE uppityness, which in turn creates a greater need for more military. China is getting shunted out.

Depressing reading. My personal worry is that Greece, as the crossroads of East and West, will once again get torn apart, just because of where it is. Selfish self-interest, as I don't really care about the poor folks of Burkina Faso, et al,  even though I should.

chunga's picture

Nothing a few rousing national anthems won't fix.

Bank_sters's picture

Call it blow back or call it karma.  One day the psychopaths are going to get kicked in the dick.  Pandora's box is wide open.

buttmint's picture

....sorry ZHers....I am caught in a Time Warp of sorts---reading this article and watch Homer Simpson is not the best for one's health!

We all live in Springfield!  Or is that Shelbyville?

newworldorder's picture

And your point is what?

It could also be you are living in Beecher City.

Dr. Engali's picture

I get down on my knees every night and thank God that our leaders toiled night and day to put together and pass the 2000 page Patriot act just days after those nasty 19 cave dwelling barbaric savages attacked us with an elaborate plan that only those creative geniuses at Hollywood could dream of. God bless George W.Bush and God bless America! Stand up and salute the flag bitchez! And God save the Queen. Fuck, I need another drink.