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Pentagon's Last Frontier: Battle-Hardened Troops Headed To Africa

By       Message Rick Rozoff       (Page 2 of 4 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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It has taken over regular U.S. military training and other exercises in Africa like Operation Flintlock, Africa Endeavor, Natural Fire and African Lion. This year's Flintlock, one of fourteen major AFRICOM exercises scheduled for 2012, was canceled because of the coup in Mali.

 

In addition, over the past decade the Pentagon has maintained a multi-service (Army, Marine, Air Force and Navy) detachment of as many 3,000 service members, along with armored vehicles, aircraft and drones, at Camp Lemonnier in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti where AFRICOM's Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa is based.

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The U.S. military also has training centers and forward, logistics, drone and other bases and camps in Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and elsewhere.

 

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Five years ago U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa launched the Africa Partnership Station program which in the interim has brought U.S. warships to every African coastal country except for those in North Africa (the province of the Naples, Italy-based U.S. Sixth Fleet), Ivory Coast (which since the "regime change" of last year is now a candidate for inclusion), Somalia (because of the ongoing armed conflict there), Eritrea (considered to be governed by a "rogue regime") and Madagascar (due to the last three years' political instability). Naval forces from Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies are integrated into the initiative. 

 

This March the U.S. Air Forces Africa's complementary African Partnership Flight was inaugurated during an exercise in Ghana.

 

Last year the Obama administration announced an initial deployment of 100 special forces troops to Uganda, Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan for counterinsurgency operations against the Lord's Resistance Army. The number of troops and the range and nature of missions will undoubtedly widen in the future.

 

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As the Pentagon's main expeditionary branch, the U.S. Marine Corps has been especially active in Africa in recent months.

 

Last month Associated Press reported that "drawing on lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan," U.S. Marines joined American military contractors at a remote base in Uganda to train local soldiers in combat skills, including house-to-house fighting, under the auspices of the State Department's Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program (which "includes marksmanship, urban warfare and explosives handling") with a budget of $3.8 million this year.

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/

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