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Obama increases military funding in Africa 300%

One year in and anti-war Obama has become MORE pro-war and MORE supportive of “nation building,” and “empire building” than Bush ever was.


But, after a little more than one year in office, it is clear that the Obama administration is essentially following the same policy that has guided US military involvement in Africa for more than a decade. Indeed, it appears that President Obama is determined to expand and intensify US military engagement throughout Africa.

Thus, in its budget request for the State Department for the 2010 financial year, the Obama administration proposed significant increases in funding for US arms sales and military training programmes for African countries, as well as for regional programmes on the continent, and is expected to propose further increases in its budget request for the 2011 financial year.

The 2010 budget proposed to increase foreign military funding spending for Africa by more than 300 per cent, from just over US$8.2 million to more than US$25.5 million, with additional increases in funding for North African countries. Major recipients included Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.

The 2010 budget request for the International Military Education and Training programme proposed to increase funding for African countries from just under US$14 million to more than US$16 million, with additional increases for North African countries. Major recipients slated for increases include Algeria, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

The 2010 State Department budget request also proposed increased funding for several other security assistance programmes in Africa, including the African Contingency Operations and Training Assistance programme (which is slated to receive US$96.8 million), the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement programmes in Algeria, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda, anti-terrorism assistance programmes in Kenya and South Africa, and the Africa regional programme.

The same is true for funding in the Defense Department budget for the operations of the new Africa Command (AFRICOM) which became fully operational in October 2008 and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) forces, which have been stationed at the US military base in Djibouti since 2002. The Obama administration requested US$278 million to cover the cost of AFRICOM operations and Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership operations at the AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The administration also requested US$60 million to fund CJTF-HOA operations in 2010 and US$249 million to pay for the operation of the 500-acre base at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, along with US$41.8 million for major base improvement construction projects. And the administration is now considering the creation of a 1,000-man Marine intervention force based in Europe to provide AFRICOM with the capability to intervene in Africa.

The continuity with Bush administration policy is especially evident in several key regions. In Somalia, for example, the Obama administration has provided some US$20 million worth of arms to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and initiated a major effort to provide training to TFG troops at the CJTF-HOA base in Djibouti and in Europe. Furthermore, President Obama has continued the programme initiated by the Bush administration to assassinate alleged al-Qaeda leaders in Somalia and, in August 2009, he authorised an attack by US Special Forces units that killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who was accused to being involved in the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaeda in August 1998.