The National Post’s Richard Johnson takes a look at the scale of America’s military bases across the globe. This is a huge graphic, you’ll have to click it more than once to get it big enough to read. There is a lot to learn from reading and studying it. It reminds me of the vampire squid.
Mapping the reach of military empire, between 800-1000 bases
** Central Intelligence Agency locations are a mixture of drone bases and rendition centers
Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations (link)
And from The Real Grand Chessboard and the Profiteers of War by Prof. Peter Dale Scott:
” … the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”
I have published the following graphics before, but they are worth contemplating in view of the information above.
Who really spends the most on their armed forces?
The following graphics are by David McCandless. The originals are at The Guardian DataBlog.
Which country has the biggest military budget per year?
The US military budget in context
GDPs of major nations as combined earnings of US states
Big spenders, yearly military budget as % of GDP
Active forces - who has the most soldiers?
Active forces - the number of soldiers per 100,000 people
Total armed forces - the number of soldiers, reservists, and paramilitary per 100,000 people
Bases occupy the seas as well as the continents. The following is also a very large graphic picturing a lot of information.
Seabase Overview - Joint Seabasing Responsive Scalable National Power Projection (this is a very large graphic, you may need to click more than once and scroll around to read it all)
You can read more about what is going on at Seabase Diplomacy.
You can view pictures of seabasing in action around the coasts of Africa at AFRICOM Along the Coasts and In the Creeks.
Full Spectrum Dominance, read what it means in the US, Africa, and globally.
The dumbest war ever continues.
When we thought Dubya had waged enough dumb wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We have kenya army with 2,000 infrantry invading a lawless somalia with apparently no plan; no objective;no real mandate from constitution or international law; no real support from international bodies; no support from somalis; no nothing. Just a shadowy suspicious dumb “war”. RV Pundit
The competition for the dumbest war ever is fierce, but the Kenyan invasion of Somalia is certainly in the running. The problem is, if they “win” what then? Who governs Somalia? And how?
As a headline in the East African put it: Kenya’s headache: Al Shabaab goes, then what?
Cartoon by Amin Amir of Kenyan troops trying to figure out the way forward in Somalia.
Kenya’s troops are untested and it isn’t clear if they are prepared for a long-term occupation requiring counterinsurgency skills — a scenario that ended U.S. and Ethiopian interventions during Somalia’s 20-year-old civil war. The Somalia operation is Kenya’s biggest foreign military commitment since independence in 1963. (Garowe online)
According to the same article the French are continuing their imperial military adventuring in Somalia:
Kenya on Sunday said that France’s navy bombed a town in Somalia near a stronghold of al-Shabab, the first confirmation that a Western military force is involved in the latest push against the Islamist militia.
Kenyan military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said the French navy bombed the town of Kuday near the southern al-Shabab stronghold of Kismayo on Saturday night. A Nairobi-based diplomat told The Associated Press last week that France was carrying out military attacks in Somalia; French officials in Paris denied French forces were carrying out any attacks.
The Ethiopians have returned: Ethiopian troops cross into Somalia
And the Israelis are getting involved: Israeli terror drones kill 17 in Somalia Thu Nov 24, 2011
This invasion certainly looks like the Kenyans are going into Somalia as US proxies. Although the article says this:
U.S. officials told AP last week that the United States had been pressuring Kenya to “do something” in response to a string of security incidents along the Kenya-Somalia border, but that Kenya’s invasion of Somalia took the U.S. by surprise.
I think I’ll maintain some skepticism about the US being surprised.
The same US/Anglo/French imperialists that used NATO and the UN to destroy Libya are at work on Somalia and Kenya. The Brits are staging their own commando raids into Somalia. British commandos raided into Somalia to snatch a clan leader for discussions. The Brits also claim Somalia is training UK born terrorists. The Chinese are meddling in Somalia as well.
The US has taken the opportunity created by the Kenyan invasion to practice the use of its assassination drones. There has been about one strike per day since the Kenyan invasion began on October 16. I am listing them here: Bombing The Starving For Target Practice In Somalia
From On Kenya’s war against Al-Shabaab by Abena Afia:
The invasion has already helped to revive Shabaab’s fading appeal, enabling them to appear as genuine freedom fighters to Somalis. Press statements released by the extremist group display a distinct and deliberate departure from their usual fundamentalist rhetoric, employing a more nationalistic approach that has earned them a growing support. Unanimity on their call could establish the ascent of Shabaab domination.
Somalis have resisted occupation from previous foreign interventions, the US in 1992 and Ethiopia in 2006, ending in humiliating withdrawals. Provisions in the road map would have allowed Kenya to hold a significant stake in Somali resources. If Somalia was occupied and annexed by Kenya, tourism and business would again flourish. The decision to resurrect Somalia’s territorial claims caused anxiety to its neighbours.
Deals long exist between Kenya and multinational petroleum companies for offshore exploration blocks; of particular interest is block L5, thought to have the highest concentration of oil. Pursuit of this part of the block lying within the perimeters of Somali territorial waters is illegal.
In accordance with Article 10 of Somali Law No. 37 Territorial Sea and Ports (1972), Somalia has the right to territorial waters of 200 nautical miles (nm) and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nm provided in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
It seems of little coincidence then that an invasion has taken place following the fall of the roadmap, reinforcement of Somali law and protection of its sea.
… Kenya has not sought permission to enter and war crimes increase each day that they remain. Somalis already in a desperate situation continue to suffer.
Somalia, a current hotspot for international interest owing to its East African coastal location, oil explorations and other ‘free for all’ attractions such as illegal fishing and lucrative international piracy activity, now hosts Blackwater and Saracen mercenaries who have built base in Puntland. The unsettling presence of such ‘private security firms’ could see the orchestration of Somalia’s current internal war handled and controlled by more lawless but “professional” killers, whose interests do not coincide with those of Somalis.
The calamity engulfing Somalia is often blamed on an inability to manage its own country but active aggressors play a major role in its stagnation and underdevelopment.
Meanwhile, there is another pressing issue in Kenya that everyone is ignoring. Somalia is not an ideal breeding ground for terrorists. There is little infrastructure and strangers stand out. Kenya on the other hand does provide an ideal breeding ground for terrorists:
Kenya: Perfect breeding ground for Al-Shabaab terrorists by Rasna Warah
Kenya is a perfect breeding ground for terrorists and suicide bombers because it has the two ingredients that make recruitment to terrorist organisations so attractive – a high unemployment rate among youth and widespread corruption.
Impressionable and unemployed youth who have nothing much to look forward to can be easily lured to become terrorists, if presented with incentives such as money or a better afterlife.
Jobless, dejected and disillusioned youth may find the idea of becoming a martyr to a cause attractive. Some may become terrorists just for adventure.
Corruption ensures that would-be terrorists escape the security dragnet easily. I wonder how many Al-Shabaab have got away scot-free at police checks and border posts by parting with as little as Sh200.
Corruption, incompetence and lack of respect for ordinary citizens are the conditions under which terrorism thrives.
In addition to the corruption and high youth unemployment, Kenya has a third feature making it a welcoming environment for terrorists. Kenya has a diverse population and many urban environments into which people can blend or disappear far more easily than in Somalia.
William Oeri | NATION Kenyan troops heading to Amuma border entry point to flush out al Shabaab militants. The army captured a pirates haven of Ras Kamboni in southern Somalia on October 20, 2011 and were advancing towards the al Shabaab stronghold of Kismayu.
Regarding the coverage of the war, Henry Makori writes: Kenya’s media in bed with the military
These are the daily media images of the Kenyan war in Somalia. A clean war. Not a drop of blood. There have been frequent reports of killings of al-Shabaab militiamen and bombing of their bases. But no one has seen any images of the ‘frontline gains’ as NTV once described the army’s progress.
The headlines on TV and in the newspapers have been entirely celebratory since the fighting began on 16 October 2011 – except on those days when suspected retaliatory grenade attacks rocked Nairobi; the media has played down subsequent grenade attacks in other parts of the country.
Some observers believe Kenya decided to enter Somalia after a plan to create a new state (Azania) in the south of the country to act as a buffer between Kenya and al-Shabaab-controlled areas failed. The question that has not been openly asked – or answered in the military and political briefings – is why Kenya decided to pursue al-Shabaab inside Somalia and not the other militias inside other neighbouring countries which have for years attacked, killed and robbed Kenyans living near the national borders.
The invasion was said to be in response to the kidnapping of some Western tourists by al-Shabaab. But the militia group never claimed responsibility for those kidnappings, but actually denied the allegations.
One could get an idea of what is going on at the ‘frontline’ by speaking to reporters who have been there. Patrick Injendi, a journalist with Citizen TV, spent three weeks with the soldiers. The media has been reporting that the Kenyan army has ‘captured’ or ‘liberated’ town after town in Somalia apparently with little resistance from al shabaab as the soldiers make their way to the militia’s stronghold in the port city of Kismayu. But Injendi says the only ‘towns’ he ever saw were settlements with two or three buildings.
How do the reporters get their ‘frontline’ stories? ‘There is no freedom of movement’, Injendi says. ‘You couldn’t just wake up and decide you were going to look for news in a certain place. You must be accompanied by soldiers for security.’ That means the media reports are merely what the soldiers tell the reporters.
What about Somali civilians killed in the bombings? How many are they so far? No numbers have been published, or even the mention of civilian deaths.
The vice-chair of the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights, Hassan Omar says the anger may not be reported in the Kenyan media but it is there, boiling in blogs run by Somalis. … ‘There is a lot of anger there. Don’t ever underestimate it because of the fact that it is not reaching the Kenyan media.’
Because of civilian casualties, says Omar, the Kenyan army could end up facing charges of war crimes.
Radio journalist Kassim Mohammed who has reported on Somalia … ‘The Kenyan media has failed in reporting this war. On the other hand, the Somali media has done very well: they question, they criticise a lot of the things going on.
… there is no doubt that the truth about what is exactly happening will eventually come to light. Trouble is, immense damage would already have been done.
With no real plan and no truthful reporting in Kenya, there is a lot of supportive evidence to RV Pundit’s observation that this is the dumbest war ever.