Africa

How US Military Failed in Africa

Rear Admiral Milton Sands, Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAF) greets Ghanaian soldiers during Flintlock 2023 at Sogakope beach resort, Ghana, Tuesday, March 14, 2023. InternationalIndiaAfricaThe US risks losing its grip in Africa, with its great power competitors quickly filling the gap, as per a recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.The latest study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, titled “Less is More: A New Strategy for US Security Assistance to Africa” and released earlier this week, arrived at the uncomfortable conclusion that US military assistance in Africa “does not work.”The report was released in the wake of the military takeover in Niger, which has received around $500 million in US security aid since 2016. To add to the embarrassment, the takeover was conducted by at least five former US military trainees. Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s trip to Niger earlier this month proved futile. On Friday, Niger’s military leaders reportedly gave the French, German, Nigerian, and US ambassadors 48 hours to leave the country.”US policy in Africa has for too long prioritized short-term security to the detriment of long-term stability by prioritizing the provision of military and security assistance,” the report reads. “Yet, this strategy has neither produced security in Africa nor reduced threats to the United States and its interests.”According to the authors, “the rise of great-power competition exacerbates the risk that the US national security establishment will double down on its security cooperation strategy in the region out of concern that doing otherwise would leave a vacuum that America’s competitors might fill.” However, the crux of the matter is that the US should be more selective in disbursing its military aid, enhance government oversight, and adopt a more comprehensive and holistic approach to supporting African nations. What’s at stake are US values and reputation, the report highlights.AfricaCIA Veteran: Nuland’s Niger Trip Meant to ‘Intimidate’, ‘Threaten’ New Government8 August, 17:22 GMT

US Cannot Win Its 20-Year War on Terror in Africa

The report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is far from the first assessment of Washington’s security failures in Africa.Back in October 2022, Rolling Stone shed light on a Pentagon report that was “quietly released” a month earlier and unveiled systemic US flaws across Africa. The report indicated that despite sending forces to at least 22 countries in Africa, the US had not reached its objectives over the past two decades in degrading and disrupting violent extremist organizations (who continue to gain ground across the continent).Commenting on the Pentagon’s paper, CIA veteran Larry Johnson told Sputnik at the time:”[T]here’s an assumption, I think, at large in the world that the United States has a clear plan and objectives in what is happening on the ground there, when in fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s almost reactive. There is no grand strategy. There is no long-term plan. It is more like putting out grass fires that spring up. I know from my own experience working with AFRICOM from its inception for about 10-15 years, that AFRICOM was always focused on getting training experience in the region but has not reflected any broad political strategy.”AfricaIs Chaos the Deliberate Strategy? How Pentagon ‘Failures’ Enabling Putschists & Terrorists in Africa21 October 2022, 14:12 GMTWashington’s supposed patchy African strategy has resulted in protracted violence with US African trainees using their skills and modern weapons to foment regime changes.The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a DC-based think tank, has found that at least 15 US-supported officers have been involved in 12 coups in West Africa and the greater Sahel during the “War on Terror.” The think tank’s list includes military personnel from Burkina Faso (2014, 2015, and twice in 2022); Chad (2021); Gambia (2014); Guinea (2021); Mali (2012, 2020, 2021); Mauritania (2008); and Niger (2023).”The total number of US-trained mutineers across Africa since 9/11 may be far higher than is known, but the State Department, which tracks data on US trainees, is either unwilling or unable to provide it,” the think tank pointed out.WorldAll US Aid to Afghanistan ‘Was Plundered in Washington’6 August, 09:42 GMTWhere Do US Military Funds Go?The Chicago Council on Global Affairs report called for improved oversight of Washington’s African military initiatives. This raises questions as to who exactly benefits from the loosely controlled endeavors and how.The problem of US government oversight has taken on a new significance amid the Ukraine conflict, with Republican lawmakers calling for subjecting DC’s Ukraine spending to scrutiny. The Kiev regime’s botched counteroffensive, suspicions of insufficient NATO training, and repeated reports of Western weapons smuggling in the Eastern European state have added fuel to the flames.In April 2023, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh shed light on rampant corruption in Kiev amid the conflict: “One estimate by analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency put the embezzled funds at $400 million last year, at least; another expert compared the level of corruption in Kiev as approaching that of the Afghan war, ‘although there will be no professional audit reports emerging from the Ukraine.'”Indeed, audits by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) have repeatedly exposed mismanagement of finances and large-scale money waste during the 20-year long US military campaign in the South Asian nation. Against this backdrop, the astonishingly quick collapse of the Afghan regime and its armed forces does not look that surprising.AfghanistanEx-Afghan Finance Minister Says ‘Ghost Soldiers’ to Blame for Afghanistan Fallout11 November 2021, 18:09 GMTOne could assume that Washington’s African initiatives could have suffered from the same plague.Over the past few years, the US mainstream press has been raising the alarm over Russia’s military-technical assistance to some African states in the Sahel region and beyond who are increasingly turning their back on the West. The Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali, who requested help from Russian military consultants, are two of them.While Russia’s military budget ($75 billion in 2022) is nowhere near that of the US ($877 billion in 2022), the Russian military has proven to be highly efficient in numerous regions, be it Syria, Africa, or Ukraine. This again raises the question of US military spending, oversight, and accountability.AnalysisNo, Biden Can’t Wage Forever War in Ukraine26 August, 18:25 GMT

BRICS Role for Global South is Growing

During the latest 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburgh, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and China signaled their willingness to deepen cooperation with the African continent. This cooperation includes infrastructure projects, agricultural endeavors aimed at ensuring food security, new logistics routes, new financial mechanisms alternative to the US dollar, and a comprehensive security doctrine for sustainable development of the continent.US observers agree that the expansion of BRICS, announced at the end of the forum, is a “big deal” and that Washington shouldn’t ignore it. Per the Quincy Institute, the US should reconsider its approach towards Africa and the Global South if it wants to remain a leading player.”Washington should respond to the message from Johannesburg by repairing its currently deficient, sometimes counterproductive, policy approach to the Global South. By doing so, it will recover its own eroding credibility and influence and help in the faster resolution of major global challenges facing the planet,” the think tank says.AnalysisPepe Escobar: BRICS 11 – Strategic Tour de Force25 August, 12:37 GMT

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