Drones Over Africa: Mapping America's Expanding Military Presence in Africa


America's military presence in Africa has been quietly, but steadily growing over the past decade or so.

And under President Barack Obama, "operations in Africa have accelerated far beyond the more limited interventions of the Bush years" in what Nick Turse has called "a twenty-first century scramble for Africa."

Recent developments include the announcement earlier this year of a U.S. drone base in Niger, and the deployment of additional U.S. troops in Mali.

And now Foreign Policy's John Reed has mapped America's expanding presence on the continent, providing a dramatic, and much needed, visual representation of American empire. The map reveals a U.S. presence in almost 20 countries across the continent, "from Cape Verde in the West to the Seychelles in the East and Morocco in the North." The U.S. has eight reported drone bases throughout equatorial Africa, and there are rumours of other sites that have been used for launches.

In 2012, "Africa Command planned 14 major exercises with African militaries" and according to Reed a "quick look at exercises and other activities conducted by U.S. Africa Command this spring alone reveals a U.S. military presence in more than a dozen countries."

As Turse points out, the "U.S. is now involved, directly and by proxy, in military and surveillance operations against an expanding list of regional enemies."

"Keep your eye on Africa," he warns. "The U.S. military is going to make news there for years to come" and as its presence expands, "the possibility of successive waves of overlapping blowback grows exponentially."