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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/2/11

Pentagon And NATO Apply Afghanistan-Pakistan War Model To Africa

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Pentagon And NATO Apply Afghanistan-Pakistan War Model To Africa
Rick Rozoff

The New Year began with three North Atlantic Treaty Organization soldiers killed in Afghanistan and 20 people, all portrayed as militants, killed in four American missile strikes in northwest Pakistan. The third drone missile attack killed four people attempting to rescue and remove the bodies of the victims of the first, a technique used by the U.S. and NATO in their war against Yugoslavia in 1999.

The West's war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is currently the longest, largest and deadliest in the world. Fatalities among U.S. troops, non-U.S. NATO and allied forces, Afghan National Army soldiers and anti-government fighters reached a record high last year: 498, 213, 800 and an unknown number (by U.S. and NATO accounts well into the thousands), respectively. The United Nations estimated 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed in the first ten months of last year, a 20 percent increase over the same period in the preceding year. Approximately a thousand people were killed by U.S. drone missile strikes in Pakistan.

It says something discouraging about a world of almost 200 nations that perhaps no more than half a dozen countries - so-called rogue states (alternatively Condoleezza Rice's "outposts of tyranny") - have voiced opposition to the war.

Washington's self-designated global war on terror (sometimes capitalized), in recent years more politely and antiseptically called overseas contingency operations, has not diminished in intensity but rather escalated in breadth and aggressiveness from West Africa to East Asia and against targets not remotely related to al-Qaeda, which has proven as nebulous and evasive as the West portrays it being ubiquitous.

From 2001 to the present the U.S. has engaged in and supported military operations against Marxist guerrillas in Colombia and the Philippines, ethnic Tuaregs in Mali, nominally Christian insurgents in Uganda and Shiite Houthi militia in northern Yemen in the name of The Wahhabist school of extremism that characterizes al-Qaeda and analogous groups derives its doctrinal inspiration and material support from Saudi Arabia, yet last October Washington announced a $63 billion arms package with the kingdom, the largest foreign weapons deal in American history. 

Washington and its NATO military allies have opened a war front across the Arabian Sea from Pakistan in the east to Somalia and Yemen in the west as the central focus of operations that began almost ten years ago. [1]

On October 1, 2008 the Pentagon formally launched its first overseas military command in the post-Cold War era, U.S. Africa Command, which takes in 53 nations and an entire continent except for Egypt, which remains in Central Command.

The second command's area of responsibility reaches from the eastern border of Libya to the western border of China and southern border of Russia. From Egypt to Kazakhstan. The Horn of Africa region, including Somalia, was ceded by Central Command to Africa Command (AFRICOM), but the Arabian Peninsula, including Yemen, remains in Central Command.

Though the Pentagon's Combined Joint Task Force -" Horn of Africa, now subsumed under AFRICOM and based in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, includes thirteen nations in East Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Peninsula in its area of operations: Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen. Operation Enduring Freedom, under which the U.S. conducts its greater Afghan war, encompasses sixteen countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Yemen.

The U.S. maintains at least 2,500 troops in Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti and in late 2009 deployed over 100 troops, Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) equipped for guided bombs and missiles and three P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft to Seychelles.

Washington was accused by Houthi rebels in the north of Yemen of participating with Saudi Arabia in deadly bombing raids against them in the northwestern province of Sa'ada in December of 2009. They stated American jet fighters launched 28 attacks in the province which included bombing the governor's house and killing 120 people in one attack. [2]

Later in the same month the U.S. conducted cruise missile and air strikes with the use of cluster bombs in southern Yemen which killed over 60 civilians, mostly women and children. Another air strike was launched in March of 2010.

Leading American officials have demanded drone missile strikes in Yemen and several hundred U.S. special forces are deployed to the country.

The U.S. and its allies in NATO and the European Union are actively involved in the civil war in Somalia, across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen.

The Pentagon supported the Ethiopian invasion of the country in 2006 and launched two days of air strikes in January of the following year. In the autumn of 2009 U.S. special forces conducted a deadly helicopter gunship raid in southern Somalia.

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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:
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