US military build up in Africa

"It’s like going back to a Cold War era of politics where the US backs one political faction because their political profile suits their requirements", said Patrick Smith, editor of the newsletter Africa Confidential, widely read in policy circles, reported The Australian Financial Review (22/6/2007, p.3).

US moves into Africa: "It’s a move away from criteria of good governance to what is diplomatically convenient," according to Nicholas Shaxson, author of Poisoned Wells: the Dirty Politics of African Oil (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). At present, the US has 1500 troops stationed in Africa, principally at its military base in Djibouti, in the eastern horn. That could well double. The US was already conducting naval exercises off the Gulf of Guinea, in part with the intention of stopping Delta insurgents reaching offshore oil rigs.

Licence to oppress: It also planned to beef-up the military capacity of African governments to handle their dissidents, with additional "rapid reaction" US forces available if needed. But – echoing charges levelled at US allies elsewhere in the "war on terror" – there were fears that the many authoritarian governments in sub-Saharan Africa might use such units to crack down on internal dissent.

The Australian Financial Review, 22/6/2007, p. 3

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