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

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.


Bes NoDecaf Fri, 10/27/2017 - 00:43 Permalink

anglo-euroswilling to destorytheir motherstheir ancestorsto take the prize continentjealous because of their resourcesless landforgetting that it was their homenot willing to share itwith those who have been there for hundreds of thousands of yearsunable to respect andstriving and scheming to take it awayonly toeventually and inevitably destroy itand thus themselvesbecause they are incapable ofbeing at peacein balancewith the natural worldalways needing moredemanding moreexpecting moretaking moreuntil nothing is leftinventing myth, religion, folklore,industriesand pseudoscience tosupport the genocidesand justify the taking of africathe new worldasiaand oceaniato this very day.------thus is the history of the white manfor almost 600 yearsand counting 

In reply to by NoDecaf

Grimaldus SafelyGraze Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:05 Permalink

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.     Grimaldus 

In reply to by SafelyGraze

idontcare Anarchyteez Thu, 10/26/2017 - 23:08 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Anarchyteez

Lost in translation Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:34 Permalink

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.

Son of Captain Nemo Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:35 Permalink


"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"!!!

JimmyJones OverTheHedge Fri, 10/27/2017 - 07:45 Permalink

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.

In reply to by OverTheHedge

haruspicio Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:37 Permalink

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 Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:37 Permalink

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.

Cynicles II Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:39 Permalink

"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 Cynicles II Thu, 10/26/2017 - 23:49 Permalink

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.… 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.

In reply to by Cynicles II

buttmint Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:47 Permalink

....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?

Dr. Engali Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:48 Permalink

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.