When the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2007, the White House announced that this military operation would “enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy, and economic growth.” However, critics (including AFJN) have long argued that it functions more often as a mechanism to protect US economic and political interests in Africa (e.g., access to oil resources) at the expense of the African people, and lends support to unaccountable African leaders who often use the threat of terrorism as an excuse to, among other things, use US trained troops and equipment to suppress dissent and change the constitution to stay in power.

Is the United States and Europe’s war on terrorism masking another kind of war?  “Shadow War in the Sahara”, an Al Jazeera documentary eloquently answers this question.? From February 18 to March 1 of this year, AFRICOM held a special operations forces exercise known as “Flintlock 2019” in Birkina Faso, where roughly 2000 personnel from 30 countries gathered for counter-terrorism training. At the same time, however, the number of jihadists in the Sahel region of West Africa is growing with the return of fighters from Iraq and Syria, while the Trump administration has decided to reduce the American military presence in Africa by 10%. These developments have raised fresh concerns about the future of AFRICOM and its long-term impact on human rights and justice issues in Africa. Read more:

U.S. Military Presence and Activity in Africa: North Africa

Should AFRICOM be holding an exercise in this country with a spotty security and human rights record?

Understaffed AFRICOM cutting hundreds more troops

AFRICOM Adds Logistics Hub in West Africa, Hinting at an Enduring US Presence