While media is focusing on the U.S. elections, the Pentagon has expanded its secret drone war on the African continent. For a while, Washington has been focusing on Northern Africa and Tunisia has become one of the main settings of the U.S. government's shadow war. Unmanned aircraft and U.S. military personnel have been transferred to the country, according to recent reports, as the Obama administration tries to shore up Tunisia's fledgling democracy and position the country as a key partner in the region's "War on Terror." Tentatively, espionage missions in neighboring Libya are the reason for the move.
Since the NATO intervention in 2011, Libya has been a failed state. Today, several extremist groups including the so-called Islamic State group dominate on the ground. Hillary Clinton, then U.S. Secretary of State, played a leading role in fueling the chaos in the country. Since last August, U.S. military intervention in Libya continued anew. Over the past few months, more than 300 air strikes were conducted in the coastal town of Sirte of alone.
The Pentagon has not excluded the possibility of using armed drones in Libya in the near future. The recent expansion can be considered a new step in the U.S. shadow war in Africa. Other drone bases already exist in Niger and Djibouti while another base was set-up in Ethiopia before being shut down in January 2016.
However, the U.S.'s secret war in Africa does not just include drone missions but also secret operations undertaken by U.S. special forces, including classical air-strikes and training and the arming of local armies and militias. It is worth mentioning that these procedures increased by 200 percent during President Obama's time in office.
The result of Obama's policies are a war-zone spanning almost 50 African countries, a size no smaller than the U.S., China, India and most of Europe combined. Yet despite the clear evidence, this war zone does not officially exist, at least according to the U.S. administration and military which claims it is not at war in Africa.
In countries like Somalia, U.S. drone strikes remain part of daily life. The U.S. government regularly points out that it is just targeting members of the extremist al-Shabab group. But civilians are also being killed. On one day last March, at least 150 people were killed by drone strikes in Somalia, all "terrorists" or "suspected al-Shabab militants," according to the White House. Many media outlets adopted official statements without scrutiny. But the truth is that until today, nobody actually knows the identity of those killed. On the ground data is rare while it appears nobody in the West really cares about the Somali dead. The country hardly plays an important role in the West's media coverage.
Other supposed aims of U.S. operations in Africa are groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria, Ansar al-Dine in Mali or the Lord's Resistance Army of infamous warlord Joseph Kony in Uganda. However, by targeting these groups, the U.S. often fuels more violence, especially by funding corrupt governments and arming brutal armies or militias. Besides—and this might be too obvious—the White House is not really interested in ensuring order but in fighting proxy wars against other political players. For that reason, Africa has become a battleground for different superpowers such as the United States and China. It might not come as a surprise that the mentioned militant groups are a result of these imperialist power games, mainly based on resources and markets.
Hillary Destructive Foreign Policy Doctrine
In this context, the main question is how the United States' Africa policy, including its shadow war on the continent, will continue in the post-Obama era. At this point, the focus should be on Hillary Clinton, who has already served as Foreign Secretary of State. As mentioned, Clinton was mainly responsible for the chaos in Libya, especially by imposing a no-fly-zone and strengthening rising militant groups.
However, at the moment the Pentagon wants to fuel this chaos again by increasing operations including drone missions and air strikes. Its recent expansion in the region is a big hint in that direction. Last but not least, Clinton has often repeated that she does not regret her actions in Libya.
With Henry Kissinger being one of Clinton's main mentors in foreign policy terms, we know what Africa can expect from a future President Hillary Clinton: more war and exploitation, nicely packed in the optimistic promise of "sustainability, partnership and democracy." This includes the ongoing shadow war on the continent, whose brutal instruments have been fully endorsed by Clinton. Especially in the case of drone warfare, her attitude has been very clear. Clinton not only considered killing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with a drone strike, she also approved drone assassinations with her cell phone – and, in fact, became a murderer herself.