John C K Daly for ISN Security Watch reported back in February that
The Pentagon reportedly plans to establish another dozen bases in the region; in Algeria, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia.
That is nine countries and twelve bases. I suspect that means at least two for Ghana. And there are at least two places in Ghana where the US military is very active right now.
The rising violence in Nigeria’s Delta region may well be the rock upon which AFRICOM’s humanitarian focus founders.
Assuming the focus was ever humanitarian,
If a combination of militant attacks and general strikes completely paralyzed Nigerian production, it would seem rather unlikely that US military forces would sit by idly as oil shipments from America’s third largest oil importer ground to a halt.
During this same time, from other sources:
Irregular warfare is a growth market, and converting fishing boats into riverine patrol veseels could soon be a booming business with the US Navy, which is standing up a new riverine command for the first time since the Vietnam War.
So far, no company has applied the same approach with aviation, but that will probably change. US Air Force Special Operations Command is talking about standing up an Irregular Warfare wing, with a full squadron of single-engine turboprop fighters to serve as counter-inusrgency aircraft in the mold of the Vietnam-era Douglas A-1 Skyraider.
Due to current war demands, the Navy provides selected intelligence specialists an eight-week “ground intelligence” course that had previously been reserved for sailors in the naval special warfare community. The course covers terrain analysis, land navigation, tactics and other subjects.
Graduates of the course get assignments with Navy forces operating ashore or close to shore, such as the new riverine squadrons, Seabees, explosive ordnance disposal units, maritime interdiction teams and coastal warfare squadrons, as well as special warfare units.
It seems obvious to me that the Gulf of Guinea and the Niger Delta are the major reason for the renewed US interest in riverine warfare. The US is saying:
Campbell (outgoing US ambassador in Nigeria,) dispelled claims of US military base in the Gulf of Guinea: “There are no military bases in the Gulf of Guinea. We have no plan or intentions to establish any; the relationship between Nigeria military and the US military is primarily training.
“There is no permanent US military presence in the Gulf of Guinea. Obviously, US military vessels would pass through the Gulf of Guinea going from one point to another; it is an open waters.”