Obama expands military involvement in Africa

Sat, 2010-04-03 11:15 by admin

IPS – Inter Press Service News Agency
Obama Expands Military Involvement in Africa
Analysis by Daniel Volman*

WASHINGTON, Apr 2 (IPS) - When Pres. Barack Obama took office in January 2009, it was widely expected that he would dramatically change, or even reverse, the militarised and unilateral security policy that had been pursued by the George W. Bush administration toward Africa, as well as toward other parts of the world.

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After one year in office, however, it is clear that the Obama administration is following essentially the same policy that has guided U.S. military policy toward Africa for more than a decade. Indeed, the Obama administration is seeking to expand U.S. military activities on the continent even further.

In its FY 2011 budget request for security assistance programmes for Africa, the Obama administration is asking for 38 million dollars for the Foreign Military Financing programme to pay for U.S. arms sales to African countries.

The administration is also asking for 21 million dollars for the International Military Education and Training Programme to bring African military officers to the United States, and 24.4 million dollars for Anti-Terrorism Assistance programmes in Africa.

The Obama administration has also taken a number of other steps to expand U.S. military involvement in Africa.

In June 2009, administration officials revealed that Pres. Obama had approved a programme to supply at least 40 tonnes of weaponry and provide training to the forces of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia through several intermediaries, including Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, and France.

In September 2009, Obama authorised a U.S. Special Forces operation in Somalia that killed Saleh Ali Nabhan, an alleged al Qaeda operative who was accused of being involved in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, as well as other al Qaeda operations in east Africa. …

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* Daniel Volman is the Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC. He is the author of numerous articles and reports and has been studying U.S. security policy toward Africa and African security issues for more than 30 years.