The House Appropriations Committee initially made huge cuts in the stand up budget for AFRICOM. But much of that money has been restored. The original request was for $389 million. That was cut down to $80 million in committee. But it is back up to $266 million. This is only a $123 million cut instead of a $309 million cut. $266 million gives AFRICOM a lot more to work with.
According to a summary of defense appropriations posted on the committee’s Web site, Congress members decided to provide $123 million less than the president asked for “… because of the failure to establish an AFRICOM presence on the continent and to correctly account for a funding transfer.”
… the budget request was designed to support “well over 100″ programs that the command inherited from EUCOM, the U.S. Pacific Command and various other entities that have been operating in Africa during the past several decades.Those programs include operating a joint task force in Djibouti; an effort with the State Department and Northern African nations to target regional terrorism; helping to form modern coast guards to take on pirates, trafficking and illegal fishing; training peacekeepers and educating and training militaries in several countries; and building military partnerships throughout the continent.
AFRICOM is set to become fully operational Oct. 1. The Air Force designated the 17th Air Force as its AFRICOM component earlier this month and the other services are expected to announce their contributions shortly.
There are possible positive things the US military can do in Africa, they are spelled out in the report from Refugees International U.S. Civil Military Imbalance for Global Engagement (link fixed). The overwhelming dangers of the current militarization of of US foreign policy are spelled out in detail as well.
Frida Berrigan points out in Military Industrial Complex 2.0:
Top to bottom, the Pentagon’s war machine is no longer just driven by, but staffed by, corporations.
And as a result:
… corruption, incompetence, and callous indifference become ever more ingrained in the military way of life.
The map above, from this article, AFRI(OIL)COM, shows US military involvement, and oil corporation involvement, throughout the countries of Africa. Click here for the interactive version of this map.
Oil is the primary reason for AFRICOM, going back to the initial proposal for an Africa Command from the Heritage Foundation: US Military Assistance for Africa: A Bettter Solution.
With its vast natural and mineral resources, Africa remains strategically important to the West, as it has been for hundreds of years, and its geostrategic significance is likely to rise in the 21st century. According to the National Intelligence Council (NIC), the United States is likely to draw 25 percent of its oil from West Africa by 2015, surpassing the volume imported from the Persian Gulf.
In matters of transnational threats and economic issues like energy (specifically oil) and trade, not to mention the significant Islamic populations in Africa, there are good reasons to view Africa and the Middle East as an appropriate grouping for U.S. security interests.
They speak at length about terrorism as well, to ramp up the fear, but oil is the target. The article concludes by recommending that the US establish an Africa command. This is the new and latest scramble for Africa, now manifested in AFRICOM. This command and this policy need to be watched very carefully. There is enormous danger here. And more money in the AFRICOM budget means more danger for Africans.