The U.S. military has consistently expanded its footprint in Africa over the past decade. The most potent sign of this has been the creation of AFRICOM in 2008, a central command for all U.S. military activities in Africa, based in Stuttgart, Germany. Today the U.S. military runs a number of bases in Africa, some of them used for the deployment of armed and unarmed drones. The Pentagon has spent billions of dollars in Africa, most of it for military aid — that is, weapons — and training.
Most of the renewed interest in Africa comes from the War on Terror. Al Qaida and other guerrilla organizations have gained a foothold in a range of countries; the default response of U.S. foreign and military policy has been to support local authorities in suppressing violent dissent with violent means — even though corrupt local authorities are often causing the grievances underlying these conflicts. The result: Conflicts escalate to a level of violence that can’t be contained by local actors and makes outside intervention — in some form or another — necessary.
Probably the best example for this is Mali. Under the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative, more than $500 million in military aid and training was invested in the region, with considerable sums going to the Malian military and government. Nevertheless, terrorist activities and drug trafficking flourished in Mali, while the corrupt political elite skimmed off large amounts of the money. Frustration with the Malian government first led to a Tuareg rebellion and then a military coup in early 2012. The coup leader was a captain of the Malian army, who in the past had visited the United States as part of a training mission.” —Ready for more interventions in Africa? Obama is (via jayaprada)