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American Intervention in Africa

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American Intervention in Africa


America has a rather long foreign intervention history. However, when it comes to the military policy of the United States, it should be mentioned that for more than two hundred years it has been involved with Africa, starting with the Barbary Wars, which took place1801-1805 and 1815, forging ahead of the World War II North Africa Campaign till these days. The American military policy extended its role in Africa in the 1980s due to three regional commands of the United States: the U.S. European Command, the U.S. Pacific Command, and the U.S. Central Command. It was in 2007 when the American Africa Command was established, thus, authorizing the Defense Department to approach the security and the continent’s related needs. Therefore, this paper will describe the negative interventions of the United States in African countries.

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Current Situation

Petrol-imperialism is definitely the main reason for the American’s intervention in Africa. However, in general, African people could have gained something. But, it is still a disputable matter whether the problems of the African countries have decreased or at least have become less severe. Moreover, it is controvertible whether the constantly growing militarization of the American policy in Africa has resulted in any improvements for 54 countries.  In 2007, the United States military founded an Africa Command, putting it together with the actual local commands in Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America, the last one since the tragedy of 9/11. AFRICOM had approximately 2,000 troops at its very beginning. Meanwhile, today its force level is at 5,000.  It should be mentioned that AFRICOM was founded to bring security, democracy, peace, and, of course, possible economic growth to the African continent. However, it is rather difficult to determine whether the presence of AFRICOM (in other words United States Africa Command) adds troubles, or helps to solve them.

Over the past few years, Al-Qaida is believed to dramatically increase in Africa. Typically, this is based on facts that in some African countries the "offshore" personnel are included in the militant Islamic organization. A variation is that some of the Islamic organizations of Africa have connections with al-Qaida. As a sample, the following countries may be named: Nigeria, Somalia, and Mali.


Nigeria is regarded as the most crowded nation, being extremely rich in oil of the African continent. In fact, in the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, it is a major power.  Since its independence in 1960, it has been experiencing a lot of problems because of its population division into half Muslims in the Northern part and, obviously, half Christians in the Southern part. Therefore, Nigeria’s problems along with its oil wealth, giving more than 10% of American oil imports, are definitely worth the attention of the United States.

Meanwhile, the source of its problems together with its leaders and people's independence tend to rule out any beneficial working contacts between the military forces of America and Nigeria. The constantly growing activities in the North by a militant Islamic organization are likely to feature a real attraction both to AFRICOM and to the Nigerians. Nevertheless, the Obama administration should strenuously avoid the military involvement of the U.S. in Nigeria.


As a matter of fact, for more than 21 years Somalia failed to have any government at all. The existence of the provisional government is possible only because of the protection, which is provided by the forces of the African Union, which, in their turn, are paid for by America, having the discontinuous involvement of military forces since 1992. Therefore, for the singular American military base in Africa, Camp Lemonnier in nearby Djibouti the conflict of Somalia serves as part of the justification. It is not known when the problems of Somalia could finally be solved.


Mali featured a rather bumpy post-independence time and, afterward, former French Sudan settled down to a rather balanced, democratic government. Moreover, in the form of AFRICOM, America in the long run thought that for the military of the United States the armed forces of Mali were likely to be invaluable partners. Therefore, it is obvious that earlier this year all proved to go wrong.

It should be noted that Captain Amadou Sanogo, the officer trained by the U.S., had a rather beneficial coup against the government, which was elected democratically. The two-thirds of the Northern population seceded, presuming the benefits of the anarchy, with the disputed governance between traveling Tuaregs and a militant Islamist movement.

In principle, America tends to have finished its military aid program; nevertheless, only one month later, when Americans were believed to have been already away, it turned out that three officers of the United States Special Forces, along with the Moroccan prostitutes, went off a bridge into the Niger River. Therefore, it is rather difficult to figure out where America stands now, and besides, it is also tough to determine why the U.S. was, or maybe is there at all. Needless to mention that, in fact, there are no data regarding the intervention’s great impact on mortality rates. Maybe Operation Restore Hope saved thousands of lives, but nobody knows for sure unless the investigations are done.


In Rwanda, America endorsed a cease-fire along with numerous negotiations, a policy that could be called “rote diplomacy”, resulting in bringing far more harm than the good. It is well-known that for any beneficial negotiation there must be an inclusion of all relevant actors, and the U. S. should have pressured for the return of Rwandan refugees, who were dislodged during 1959 and 1963, assisting the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in the reestablishment of these men. America should have been straight with Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of Uganda claiming that the Rwanda invasion by uniformed members of the Ugandan Army was completely unacceptable.

Anyway, America has employed a lot of countries as the so-called “regional military proxies”, for example, Djibouti and Ethiopia in Northeast Africa, Rwanda in Central Africa, and Kenya in both parts. Moreover, the United States has designs on Liberia, South Africa, and Senegal for common purposes. Of course, it is evident that the ruling elite in Africa, which is identified by America, is likely to greatly benefit from the African- American connection, however, it is rather doubtful that a great number of African people will also benefit. As a matter of fact, history reveals the secret that the people’s interests, in general, are not important when it comes to main forces scrambling for scarce resources. Meanwhile, American impact in Africa will most obviously be common to that in Iraq, i.e. perpetual occupation, imbalance, and anti-Americanism.


Therefore, it may be concluded that there have been a lot of U.S. intervention issues in African countries. However, still, it is not clear whether problems of the African countries have lessened or maybe have become less severe at least. It is controvertible as well whether the keeping militarization of the American policy on the African continent has caused any enhancements for any African countries. Military intervention is a violent and drastic measure, which men can and have to undertake only when there is a real necessity. U.S. impact in African countries will be like in Iraq: perpetual occupation, imbalance, and the constantly increasing anti-Americanism. To keep their oil interests protected, the American oil organizations have been using the military and security forces of African countries for a long time. Moreover, the American military should feature more direct oversight over the operations. But, risks may greatly outweigh the possible benefits.

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