Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Greek union issues grim unemployment forecast

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Greece's biggest labor union expects the country's unemployment rate to keep hitting record highs for more than a year and not return to single digits for at least two decades. The country is in a sixth year of recession, exacerbated by repeated spending cuts demanded by international bailout creditors. It already has the highest unemployment rate among the 17 European ...


Greek unions Job recovery will take 20 years

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Greece's biggest labor union expects the country's unemployment rate to keep hitting record highs for more than a year and not return to single digits for at least two decades. The country is in a sixth year of recession, exacerbated by repeated spending cuts demanded by international bailout creditors. It already has the highest unemployment rate among the 17 European ...


Austerity Costs Greek Workers 37B Euros

Greece’s main private sector workers union GSEE said in a report on Sept. 5 that three years of austerity measures have cost its members 37 billion euros ($48.5 billion) euros and will push a record unemployment rate of 27.6 percent to 31.5 percent. The estimate includes pay cuts and tax hikes imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders to write down the ...


ECB’s Draghi No Greek Debt Cut

ECB Chief Mario Draghi European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi has jumped on the no-debt-cut-for-Greece bandwagon being driven by German Chancellor Angela Merkel whos said Athens will have to pay back all it owes to international lenders even though many analysts believe the level is so high that it’s unsustainable. Draghi said allowing Greece to give a so-called ...


Zigras Tells Tsochatzopoulos To Confess

Nikos Zigras, a defendant and witness against his cousin, former Greek defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is being tried for money laundering and corruption charges, told him to step up and just confess and ';apologize to the world.'; ';We are grown men,'; Zigras said, urging Tsochatzopoulos to take responsibility for what his cousin has testified to is the former ...


Thessalonki Trade Fair Faces Protests

Police in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, are bracing for protests against austerity measures and the firing of public workers during the International Trade Fair from Sept. 6-7. Authorities said they would deploy 3,500 police and re-arrange traffic patterns and that the country’s Police Chief would be in the city to oversee security. On Sept. 6, representatives of the ...


Campaign for Appliance Recycling

The Appliance Recycling launched its new TV spot on Sept. 4 trying to get Greeks, who often throw their rubbish in recycling bins, to recycle their old appliances. ';Be the example. Recycle your old electrical appliance,'; is the campaign slogan to help the environment and to show the importance of reusing the materials in old appliances. Inspired by the charm of a hero, the campaign ...


Six Turkish overflights spotted in one day

Six Turkish military airplanes and a helicopter entered Greek air space without permission Thursday, according to the National Defense General Staff (GEETHA).Two of the jets, identified as F-16s, flew over the tiny island of Agathonisi at 14,000 ...


Rise in power disconnections

More than 500,000 Greeks had their electricity cut off or reconnected last year, a rise in excess of 100 percent compared to pre-crisis levels.According to the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE), a total of 513,944 applications were made for power to be cut or reconnected in 2012.This represented an 133 percent rise on the pre-crisis figure of 220,321 in 2008.RAE did not explain what exactly ...


Komotini man shoots wife then self

A 79-year-old man used a hunting rifle to shoot and kill his 69-year-old wife at close range at their home near the city of Komotini, northeastern Greece, before turning the gun on himself, police said Thursday.The 79-year-old telephoned police after shooting his wife, according to local police, who said they found the pair in a pool of blood in their home.Neighbors reportedly claimed to have ...


Hey Waiter, There Is Mold In My Chobani Yogurt

Greek yogurt maker pulls product from stores after numerous complaints of mold.


Greek Yogurt Latecomer Danone Eats Chobani's Lunch

Just two years after releasing its first product in 2007, Chobani became the biggest U.S. seller of Greek-style yogurt, which has more milk solids and a sharper taste than the conventional variety. This is not the kind of success that goes ...


Faith in action: Greek Fest, immigration walk, historic Mormon wards & more

Greek Festival 2013 The Greek Festival, an annual fundraiser for the Greek Orthodox Church, will have food, entertainment and bakery items. Visit for information. When • Saturday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Where • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 279 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City Tickets • $3 Meet Your Priests Mix and Mingle “Meet ...


European Central Bank chief rules out debt relief lifeline for Greece

Greece faces a funding gap of up to €11bn in second half of 2014, but Mario Draghi says ECB will not take part in any debt restructuring

The head of the European Central Bank has ruled out handing Greece a debt relief lifeline, hours after the head of the eurozone finance ministers admitted that Athens will need additional aid next year.

ECB president Mario Draghi was adamant that the ECB would not participate in any debt restructuring, despite growing speculation that Greece will be unable to fully return to the financial markets when its current bailout ends in 2014.

"It is pretty clear that we cannot do monetary financing," Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt on Thursday, insisting that the ECB's own treaty made it impossible. Asked directly if the ECB would take part in any Greek debt relief, he said: "No", adding that any future assistance for Greece must also come with strings attached, or "conditionality".

Greece faces a funding gap of up to €11bn in the second half of 2014, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. Rumours that a third bailout will be needed have swirled through the financial markets in recent weeks.

Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who also chairs the eurogroup of finance ministers, left MEPs in little doubt that euro governments will have to consider some extra help for Greece soon. Appearing at the European parliament, Dijsselbloem said it was "realistic to assume that additional support will be needed" when the existing bailout concludes at the end of next year.

"As far as the potential need for a third programme for Greece is concerned, it's clear that despite recent progress, Greece's troubles will not have been completely resolved by 2014," said Dijsselbloem, who warned that Greece would probably not be able to return to borrowing from the financial markets when its bailout ends.

Dijsselbloem said the Eurogroup "stood ready" to help Greece, while rejecting suggestions that a full-blown third bailout package would be needed. He argued that officials would not be able to assess Greece's progress until next April. But according to Reuters, Euro officials may need to take a decision this November.

Last week, Greece's finance minister Yannis Stournaras told the Guardian there was no imminent need of a bailout. But while tourism has picked up this summer, unemployment remains around record levels. It will not return to pre-crisis levels for 20 years, according to new research from the country's main private sector union, GSEE.

The euro fell almost one cent against the US dollar, after it emerged that the ECB's governing council had considered cutting borrowing costs across the eurozone to a new record low.

The ECB cut its forecast for growth in 2014 to 1%, from 1.1%, illustrating the weak nature of the recovery. Draghi warned that he was "very, very cautious", despite the eurozone exiting recession last month.

Jessica Hinds of Capital Economics was gloomy. "Despite the string of better economic numbers over the summer in the eurozone, we still expect the region to underperform the US and the UK. Indeed, we do not forecast the eurozone to grow at all next year, much less than the 0.8% growth that is expected by the consensus and the 1.0% by the ECB. By contrast, we are forecasting the UK to grow by 2% in 2014 and the US economy to expand by 2.5%."

Analysts at Nordea Markets predicted that the ECB could cut interest rates from 0.5% to a new record low of 0.25% before the end of the year, having voted to leave them unchanged this month.

GreeceEuropean Central BankMario DraghiEurozone crisisEuroGraeme © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Eurozone Chief Sees 3d Greek Bailout

Eurozone Chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem Reinforcing growing sentiment that disputes the Greek government’s assertion it’s on the road to recovery, Eurozone chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the European Parliament that the country needs a third bailout next year. Greece is surviving on $325 billion in two bailouts from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European ...


ECB Says No To Greek Debt Relief

Mario Draghi European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reiterated today that the bank would not takes losses on its Greek bond holdings in order to give Greece debt relief. ';It is pretty clear that we cannot do monetary financing,'; Mario Draghi said at a news conference. Asked directly if the ECB would participate in Greek debt relief, he said: ';No';. Greece is likely ...


University Protests Halt Registrations

With the beginning of the academic year in Greece, demonstrations are resuming in universities nationwide to protest against the government’s decision to place on temporary leave and then fire some 1,500 college administration employees. The national federation representing workers in the sector has called two 48-hour general strikes, from 10 until 13 September and another five-day walkout ...


Greece in the German election debate

One of the most hotly debated issues in Germany ahead of the federal elections, due to be held on 22 September is the future of Greece. But, unfortunately, what we mostly hear is the terrible noise of populism. There are hardly any voices of reason to soothe our ears.


Greek Festival a celebration of culture, outstanding food

This year marks the 28th annual Cranston Greek Festival, which opens Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. at the Church of the Annunciation, 175 Oaklawn Avenue, Cranston, and runs through Sunday. The three-day event will feature baklava, rice pudding with ...


Greek PV warns against job losses

Yesterday the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (HELAPCO) sent an open letter to the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warning him one third of the solar sector jobs have been lost in 2013 and asking him to take measures to "restart the ...


The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty (Part Three)

The following is excerpted from The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, available this month from Random House. This is the final excerpt of three. To read the first two excerpts, click here and here. ____________ Where on earth would the money come from to complete the work in the Millennium villages? I asked Sachs. "It is what it is," he replied. "And that's not meant to be callous." It was 2012. He was fifty-seven and his hair was grayer than I'd remembered. He looked tired--"battle-scarred" was the phrase later used by one member of his staff. In a long, rambling interview in his office at Columbia University's Low Memorial Library, he answered my questions slowly, with less energy and more caution than usual. Back in 2005, Sachs had set out to end extreme poverty once and for all, definitively: the title of his book, The End of Poverty, made clear the huge scope of his ambition. "This is a village that's going to make history," he had proclaimed in 2005, while visiting his first Millennium village with Angelina Jolie. "It's a village that's going to end extreme poverty." Now, seven years later, he insisted that I'd misunderstood him. "My goal was to help end extreme poverty," he demurred. "And that remains my goal." His quest was more modest, more realistic than I had assumed: the Millennium Villages Project was not the definitive answer to poverty, he hedged, but a "working model." He was "optimistic that he could reach his targets in most places." He "hoped" (but was no longer certain, I inferred) that the project would continue and that it would be "as self-sustaining as possible." "Am I trying to help governments see why this model is feasible and useful? Yes," he said. "Do they believe that? Yes. Do they want help doing that? Yes. Is that happening? In many ways, yes. Is it happening as well as it should happen? Not yet. One has to keep pushing." Officially, the Millennium Villages Project wasn't scheduled to end until 2015, yet it seemed to me that Sachs had distanced himself from his ongoing African experiment. His impassioned articles and speeches and interviews and tweets now centered on income inequality in the United States, climate change, the collapse of Greece, tax reforms, greed on Wall Street, the decline of moral standards, chaos in the euro zone, gun control, and the political vacuum in Washington. He was all over the place. Along with other left-leaning economists, he lobbied for a "Robin Hood tax" on Wall Street (take from the rich, give to the poor) and for raising America's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.80. Shouting from a soapbox at Zuccotti Park, he joined the Occupy Wall Street protesters, decrying the immorality of the rich and powerful and accusing "reckless billionaires" of destroying the nation. "That's why we're here!" he roared, in the midst of the crowd. "It's not because we're envious! It's not because we think wealth is bad! It's because we think you cheat! It's because you don't follow the law! It's because you don't pay your taxes!" He'd had a realization: the world's problems were so deeply interconnected that it was no longer possible to focus solely on poverty, hunger, and disease in Africa. "For a long time," he said, "I wanted to simplify the problems by putting aside the rich world's issues and so forth and focusing on extreme poverty. But it's all interconnected." A huge storm ("this very, very dark cloud," in his words) was moving in: humanity was facing an overwhelming number of urgent and overlapping economic, environmental, and social threats. The title of one of his many jeremiads is "A World Adrift." In one of his op-eds published in The New York Times ("The New Progressive Movement"), Sachs outlined a manifesto for radical change in society: "To put it simply: tax the rich, end the wars and restore honest and effective government for all." In the Financial Times, he accused both Democrats and Republicans of being "accomplices to the premeditated asphyxiation of the state." Using his Twitter account (@JeffDSachs), he fired off hundreds of 140-character screeds: "The ancient Greeks called it kakistocracy: government by the most unprincipled"; "The people who 'won't' help themselves are the Wall Street bankers getting $$$$ taxpayer bailouts"; "Incompetent German leadership is killing the Eurozone"; "The 'debate' on energy shows the deceit & shortsightedness of our politics. Not a word about climate change. Gutless"; "America's a corporatocracy now"; "Memo to the next president: Need a plan to reduce carbon emissions and help save this planet"; "News Corp is neck deep in corruption. Fox, WSJ: lies & more lies"; "Washington caters to the rich, ignores the rest." Sachs was like a sawed-off shotgun, scattering ammunition in all directions, and the result was a watering down of his message, whatever the message happened to be. The media no longer portrayed him as a "virtuoso" or a "wunderkind." The "Jeff Sachs for President" committee, established at the height of his celebrity in 2005, had been disbanded, its website a blank. His most recent book, The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity, published in late 2011, had not been particularly well received: The New York Times hadn't bothered to review it. For a brief time in the spring of 2012, Sachs put himself in the running to become president of the World Bank, though he had no hope of being elected. "Mr. Sachs's chances of getting the job are slim," to quote The Economist. "Mr. Sachs has . . . ridden the wave of celebrity, teaming up often with such stars as the U2 singer, Bono. But those days of poverty porn at rock concerts (slo-mo famine on giant screens to accompany the music) have also drawn to a close." Sachs's office window was streaked with rain. He had spent nearly two hours answering my questions, and they were starting to irritate him. It had been a long day. For a few moments, we sat in silence. Then he said: "I believe in the contingency of life." There are no certainties. Nothing can be predicted. "When I say I have conviction, it's the conviction that this is the best we can do. I'm not betting the planet on anything. This isn't one grand roll of the dice. The world is complicated, hard, and messy." In the beginning, Jeffrey Sachs had set out on a quest to validate his scientific approach to ending poverty. He'd used the Millennium Villages Project as a laboratory to test his theories and to prove that his series of "interventions" could transform the lives of the world's poorest people. He'd spent more than $120 million on his experiment. For all that, however, he had misjudged the complex, shifting reality in the villages. Africa is not a laboratory: Africa is chaotic and messy and unpredictable. "You can have a firm conviction even in an uncertain world--it's the best you can do, actually--and that is the nature of my conviction," Sachs concluded. "I don't feel it's worth asking if this is the best of the best--it's the best we can do with what we have."


Classical education: Latin, innit

FABRICIO FERREIRA, a 17-year-old from Brockley, in south-east London, is not a typical student of the ancient world. But his enthusiasm is infectious. “The Greeks were so messed up,” he opines, grinning beneath his thick glasses and afro. “I love Odysseus, because he’s so dodgy. He lies all of the time, he cheats, but he’s still the hero—like Batman.”Mr Ferreira is a student at Brooke House Sixth Form College (known as BSix) in Hackney, a school where 65% of students are on some sort of government financial support. He spoke to your correspondent while attending a week-long summer school hosted by Wadham College, Oxford, but arranged by BSix as part of its East End Classics Centre programme. There, he and 17 other A-level classics students spent four full days—9am to 6pm—learning about ancient societies and practising their Greek. The students then wrote a 1,500-word essay and attended a one-to-one tutorial with an Oxford academic.Giving inner-city students a taste of Oxford education helps them to think independently, says Ed Durbin, BSix’s “raising aspirations co-ordinator”. But it also helps Oxford University, which is under pressure to increase the proportion of students it takes from state schools. Overall, around 56% of Oxford’s students come from state schools. But in classics the figure is just 25%. Improving this ratio is difficult. Success rates are similar for...


The Cats Lovers Turn Out For Their Man

ASTORIA, N.Y. - It wasn't a traditional American torchlight procession, but there was powerful symbolism at work as John and Margo Catsimatides led supporters through the streets of Astoria chanting "Cats, Cats, Cats," as they traversed from Omonia Cafe to nearby Cretan House - Omonia for a get-out-the-vote rally. Omonia means harmony and unity in Greek, as was noted by one of the ...


ECBs Draghi says no to giving Greece debt relief

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reiterated on Thursday that the bank would not takes losses on its Greek bond holdings in order to give Greece debt relief."It is pretty clear that we cannot do monetary ...


Headwind for Merkel Euro Zone Head Says Greece Needs More Aid

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Greek finances will not be ...


Chobani recalls moldy Greek yogurt; CEO apologizes

Chobani, the biggest Greek yogurt maker in the U.S., has recalled some yogurt cups that contained mold after an unspecified number of people reported feeling ill, the company said Thursday.    


We Are The Millers, Greece And The Matter Of Homophobia (UPDATE)

We Are The Millers, Greece And The Matter Of Homophobia (UPDATE)Bleeding Cool NewsNewsbomb is the #1 ranking news website in Greece, with a reputation for being rather outspoken in a certain direction. A few weeks ago it ran an unsigned article openly supporting Putin's anti-gay legislation in Russia and calling for similar laws to ...


BC-BKO--European Championship Glance, BKO

by  Associated Press BC-BKO--European Championship Glance, BKO Associated Press - 5 September 2013 10:47-04:00 BC-BKO--European Championship Glance European Championship Glance At A Glance By The Associated Press Preliminary GROUP A GP W L PF PA Pts Ukraine 2 2 0 132 124 4 Britain 1 1 0 75 71 2 Germany 1 1 0 80 74 2 Israel 2 0 2 138 149 2 Belgium 1 0 1 57 58 1 France 1 0 1 74 80 1 Wednesday, Sep. 4

Israel 71, Britain 75

Belgium 57, Ukraine 58

France 74, Germany 80

Thursday, Sep. 5

Ukraine 74, Israel 67

Germany vs. Belgium

Britain vs. France

Friday, Sep. 6

Germany vs. Ukraine

Belgium vs. Britain

France vs. Israel

Sunday, Sep. 8

Britain vs. Germany

Ukraine vs. France

Israel vs. Belgium

Monday, Sep. 9

Britain vs. Ukraine

Germany vs. Israel

Belgium vs. France

GROUP B GP W L PF PA Pts Latvia 2 2 0 159 147 4 Montenegro 2 1 1 153 153 3 Serbia 1 1 0 63 56 2 Macedonia 1 0 1 80 81 1 Lithuania 1 0 1 56 63 1 Bosnia 1 0 1 75 86 1 Wednesday, Sep. 4

Latvia 86, Bosnia 75

Macedonia 80, Montenegro 81

Serbia 63, Lithuania 56

Thursday, Sep. 5

Montenegro 72, Latvia 73

Bosnia vs. Serbia

Lithuania vs. Macedonia

Friday, Sep. 6

Montenegro vs. Bosnia

Latvia vs. Lithuania

Macedonia vs. Serbia

Sunday, Sep. 8

Bosnia vs. Macedonia

Serbia vs. Latvia

Lithuania vs. Montenegro

Monday, Sep. 9

Latvia vs. Macedonia

Lithuania vs. Bosnia

Montenegro vs. Serbia

GROUP C GP W L PF PA Pts Croatia 2 1 1 117 144 3 Georgia 2 1 1 160 144 3 Spain 1 1 0 68 40 2 Slovenia 1 1 0 62 60 2 Czech Republic 1 0 1 60 62 1 Poland 1 0 1 67 84 1 Wednesday, Sep. 4

Georgia 84, Poland 67

Spain 68, Croatia 40

Czech Republic 60, Slovenia 62

Thursday, Sep. 5

Croatia 77, Georgia 76

Poland vs. Czech Republic

Slovenia vs. Spain

Saturday, Sep. 7

Spain vs. Czech Republic

Croatia vs. Poland

Georgia vs. Slovenia

Sunday, Sep. 8

Poland vs. Spain

Czech Republic vs. Georgia

Slovenia vs. Croatia

Monday, Sep. 9

Georgia vs. Spain

Croatia vs. Czech Republic

Slovenia vs. Poland

GROUP D GP W L PF PA Pts Greece 1 1 0 79 51 2 Finland 1 1 0 61 55 2 Italy 1 1 0 76 69 2 Russia 1 0 1 69 76 1 Turkey 1 0 1 55 61 1 Sweden 1 0 1 51 79 1 Wednesday, Sep. 4

Turkey 55, Finland 61

Sweden 51, Greece 79

Russia 69, Italy 76

Thursday, Sep. 5

Finland vs. Sweden

Italy vs. Turkey

Greece vs. Russia

Saturday, Sep. 7

Russia vs. Sweden

Italy vs. Finland

Turkey vs. Greece

Sunday, Sep. 8

Finland vs. Russia

Greece vs. Italy

Sweden vs. Turkey

Monday, Sep. 9

Greece vs. Finland

Italy vs. Sweden

Turkey vs. Russia

News Topics: Basketball, Sports

People, Places and Companies: Italy, Poland, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Germany, Czech Republic, Latvia, Georgia, Turkey, Russia, Slovenia, Finland, Serbia, Greece, Belgium, Ukraine, Western Europe, Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This article is published under the terms of the News Licensing Group, LLC. privacy policy, in addition to the terms of use and privacy policy for this website.


Greek Yogurt Recall: Chobani Pulls Moldy Products

Chobani says it's issuing a recall of some its Greek yogurt cups that were affected by mold after some customers reported claims of illnesses. The move comes about a week after the company first started asking retailers to pull the products ...


Decision on third Greek bailout set for November: officials

Decision on third Greek bailout set for November: officialsChicago TribuneThis is partly because euro zone central banks refused to delay repayment of Greek government bonds, contrary to an assumption by euro zone finance ministers, the Eurogroup, when they set up the current bailout. Greece is still deep in its worst post ...


Greek Foreign Minister Venizelos visits Cairo

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is visiting Cairo on Thursday for a series of meetings with top Egyptian officials.During the visit, Venizelos, who is also the government's vice president, is set to meet Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby and Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria.Venizelos is ...


European Central Banks Mario Draghi on Greece Eurogroup can decide on an extension of current program if extension is needed it will require further conditionality

Add a location to your Tweets When you tweet with a location, Twitter stores that location. You can switch location on/off before each Tweet and always have the option to delete your location ...


Greek Catholicism's Belief in Angels

The tenants of belief concerning angels in Greek Catholicism is basically the same as in Roman Catholicism, except with one major difference: being part of the Eastern Catholic Church, Greek Catholicism accepts some books into their canonical scripture ...


Euro Zone Head Says Greece Needs More Bailout Aid

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Greek finances will not be addressed until the end of next year. But Euro Group chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Thursday joined the chorus of voices saying Athens needs more help. It has become something of a campaign issue ...


FDA now reviewing Chobani's voluntary recall of Greek yogurt

Yahoo! NewsFDA now reviewing Chobani's voluntary recall of Greek yogurtOregonLive.comFDA now reviewing Chobani's voluntary recall of Greek yogurt. chobani2.JPG. A bloated, bubbling Chobani Greek yogurt container bought in Portland with a Sept. 26 expiration date and code 16-012. (Margaret Haberman/The Oregonian). Print · Lynne Terry ...The Greek Yogurt Culture WarWall Street JournalWhy the Air Force Banned Greek YogurtYahoo! NewsChobani pulling some of its Greek yogurt over quality concerns, but none made ...Syracuse.comNPR (blog) -The Seattle Times -HLNtv.comall 124 news articles »


ECB's Draghi rules out debt relief for Greece

Euro Exchange Rate NewsECB's Draghi rules out debt relief for GreeceCNBC.comEuropean Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi reiterated on Thursday that the central bank would not participate in any further debt relief for Greece, arguing that such a move would be tantamount to financing the country directly. "It is pretty ...ECB's Draghi says 'no' to giving Greece debt reliefTimes of MaltaEXTRA: Further aid for Greece would come with conditions, says ECBEurope Online MagazinePound Sterling to Euro (GBP/EUR) Exchange Rate – Pound climbs to three-and ...Euro Exchange Rate Newsall 206 news articles »


The Pivot to Africa

The Startling Size, Scope, and Growth of U.S. Military Operations on the African Continent Cross-posted from

They’re involved in Algeria and Angola, Benin and Botswana, Burkina Faso and Burundi, Cameroon and the Cape Verde Islands.  And that’s just the ABCs of the situation.  Skip to the end of the alphabet and the story remains the same: Senegal and the Seychelles, Togo and Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.  From north to south, east to west, the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, the heart of the continent to the islands off its coasts, the U.S. military is at work.  Base construction, security cooperation engagements, training exercises, advisory deployments, special operations missions, and a growing logistics network, all undeniable evidence of expansion -- except at U.S. Africa Command.

To hear AFRICOM tell it, U.S. military involvement on the continent ranges from the miniscule to the microscopic.  The command is adamant that it has only a single “military base” in all of Africa: Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.  The head of the command insists that the U.S. military maintains a “small footprint” on the continent. AFRICOM’s chief spokesman has consistently minimized the scope of its operations and the number of facilities it maintains or shares with host nations, asserting that only “a small presence of personnel who conduct short-duration engagements” are operating from “several locations” on the continent at any given time. 

With the war in Iraq over and the conflict in Afghanistan winding down, the U.S. military is deploying its forces far beyond declared combat zones.  In recent years, for example, Washington has very publicly proclaimed a “pivot to Asia,” a “rebalancing” of its military resources eastward, without actually carrying out wholesale policy changes.  Elsewhere, however, from the Middle East to South America, the Pentagon is increasingly engaged in shadowy operations whose details emerge piecemeal and are rarely examined in a comprehensive way.  Nowhere is this truer than in Africa.  To the media and the American people, officials insist the U.S. military is engaged in small-scale, innocuous operations there.  Out of public earshot, officers running America’s secret wars say: “Africa is the battlefield of tomorrow, today.”

The proof is in the details -- a seemingly ceaseless string of projects, operations, and engagements.  Each mission, as AFRICOM insists, may be relatively limited and each footprint might be “small” on its own, but taken as a whole, U.S. military operations are sweeping and expansive.  Evidence of an American pivot to Africa is almost everywhere on the continent.  Few, however, have paid much notice.

The U.S. Military’s Pivot to Africa, 2012-2013 (key below article) ©2013 TomDispatch ©Google

If the proverbial picture is worth a thousand words, then what’s a map worth? Take, for instance, the one created by TomDispatch that documents U.S. military outposts, construction, security cooperation, and deployments in Africa.  It looks like a field of mushrooms after a monsoon.  U.S. Africa Command recognizes 54 countries on the continent, but refuses to say in which ones (or even in how many) it now conducts operations. An investigation by TomDispatch has found recent U.S. military involvement with no fewer than 49 African nations

In some, the U.S. maintains bases, even if under other names. In others, it trains local partners and proxies to battle militants ranging from Somalia’s al-Shabab and Nigeria’s Boko Haram to members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.  Elsewhere, it is building facilities for its allies or infrastructure for locals. Many African nations are home to multiple U.S. military projects. Despite what AFRICOM officials say, a careful reading of internal briefings, contracts, and other official documents, as well as open source information, including the command’s own press releases and news items, reveals that military operations in Africa are already vast and will be expanding for the foreseeable future. 

A Base by Any Other Name...

What does the U.S. military footprint in Africa look like? Colonel Tom Davis, AFRICOM’s Director of Public Affairs, is unequivocal: “Other than our base at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, we do not have military bases in Africa, nor do we have plans to establish any.” He admits only that the U.S. has “temporary facilities elsewhere… that support much smaller numbers of personnel, usually for a specific activity.” 

AFRICOM’s chief of media engagement Benjamin Benson echoes this, telling me that it’s almost impossible to offer a list of forward operating bases. “Places that [U.S. forces] might be, the range of possible locations can get really big, but can provide a really skewed image of where we are... versus other places where we have ongoing operations. So, in terms of providing a number, I’d be at a loss of how to quantify this.” 

A briefing prepared last year by Captain Rick Cook, the chief of AFRICOM’s Engineering Division, tells a different story, making reference to forward operating sites or FOSes (long-term locations), cooperative security locations or CSLs (which troops periodically rotate in and out of), and contingency locations or CLs (which are used only during ongoing operations). A separate briefing prepared last year by Lieutenant Colonel David Knellinger references seven cooperative security locations across Africa whose whereabouts are classified.  A third briefing, produced in July of 2012 by U.S. Army Africa, identifies one of the CSL sites as Entebbe, Uganda, a location from which U.S. contractors have flown secret surveillance missions using innocuous-looking, white Pilatus PC-12 turboprop airplanes, according to an investigation by the Washington Post. 

The 2012 U.S. Army Africa briefing materials obtained by TomDispatch reference plans to build six new gates to the Entebbe compound, 11 new “containerized housing units,” new guard stations, new perimeter and security fencing, enhanced security lighting and new concrete access ramps, among other improvements.   Satellite photos indicate that many, if not all, of these upgrades have, indeed, taken place. 

Entebbe Cooperative Security Location, Entebbe, Uganda, in 2009 and 2013 ©2013 Google ©2013 Digital Globe

A 2009 image (above left) shows a barebones compound of dirt and grass tucked away on a Ugandan air base with just a few aircraft surrounding it.  A satellite photo of the compound from earlier this year (above right) shows a strikingly more built-up camp surrounded by a swarm of helicopters and white airplanes. 

Initially, AFRICOM’s Benjamin Benson refused to comment on the construction or the number of aircraft, insisting that the command had no “public information” about it. Confronted with the 2013 satellite photo, Benson reviewed it and offered a reply that neither confirmed nor denied that the site was a U.S. facility, but cautioned me about using “uncorroborated data.” (Benson failed to respond to my request to corroborate the data through a site visit.) “I have no way of knowing where the photo was taken and how it was modified,” he told me. “Assuming the location is Entebbe, as you suggest, I would again argue that the aircraft could belong to anyone… It would be irresponsible of me to speculate on the missions, roles, or ownership of these aircraft.” He went on to suggest, however, that the aircraft might belong to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) which does have a presence at the Entebbe air base. A request for comment from MONUSCO went unanswered before this article went to press.

This buildup may only be the beginning for Entebbe CSL. Recent contracting documents examined by TomDispatch indicate that AFRICOM is considering an additional surge of air assets there -- specifically hiring a private contractor to provide further “dedicated fixed-wing airlift services for movement of Department of Defense (DoD) personnel and cargo in the Central African Region.” This mercenary air force would keep as many as three planes in the air at the same time on any given day, logging a total of about 70 to 100 hours per week. If the military goes ahead with these plans, the aircraft would ferry troops, weapons, and other materiel within Uganda and to the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan.

Another key, if little noticed, U.S. outpost in Africa is located in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. An airbase there serves as the home of a Joint Special Operations Air Detachment, as well as the Trans-Sahara Short Take-Off and Landing Airlift Support initiative. According to military documents, that “initiative” supports “high-risk activities” carried out by elite forces from Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara. Lieutenant Colonel Scott Rawlinson, a spokesman for Special Operations Command Africa, told me that it provides “emergency casualty evacuation support to small team engagements with partner nations throughout the Sahel,” although official documents note that such actions have historically accounted for only 10% of its monthly flight hours. 

While Rawlinson demurred from discussing the scope of the program, citing operational security concerns, military documents again indicate that, whatever its goals, it is expanding rapidly. Between March and December 2012, for example, the initiative flew 233 sorties. In the first three months of this year, it carried out 193.

In July, Berry Aviation, a Texas-based longtime Pentagon contractor, was awarded a nearly $50 million contract to provide aircraft and personnel for “Trans-Sahara Short Take-Off and Landing services.”  Under the terms of the deal, Berry will “perform casualty evacuation, personnel airlift, cargo airlift, as well as personnel and cargo aerial delivery services throughout the Trans-Sahara of Africa,” according to a statement from the company. Contracting documents indicate that Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia are the “most likely locations for missions.”

Special Ops in Africa

Ouagadougou is just one site for expanding U.S. air operations in Africa.  Last year, the 435th Military Construction Flight (MCF) -- a rapid-response mobile construction team -- revitalized an airfield in South Sudan for Special Operations Command Africa, according to the unit’s commander, Air Force lieutenant Alexander Graboski.  Before that, the team also “installed a runway lighting system to enable 24-hour operations” at the outpost.  Graboski states that the Air Force’s 435th MCF “has been called upon many times by Special Operations Command Africa to send small teams to perform work in austere locations.” This trend looks as if it will continue. According to a briefing prepared earlier this year by Hugh Denny of the Army Corps of Engineers, plans have been drawn up for Special Operations Command Africa “operations support” facilities to be situated in “multiple locations.” 

AFRICOM spokesman Benjamin Benson refused to answer questions about SOCAFRICA facilities, and would not comment on the locations of missions by an elite, quick-response force known as Naval Special Warfare Unit 10 (NSWU 10).  But according to Captain Robert Smith, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Group Two, NSWU 10 has been engaged “with strategic countries such as Uganda, Somalia, [and] Nigeria.” 

Captain J. Dane Thorleifson, NSWU 10’s outgoing commander, recently mentioned deployments in six “austere locations” in Africa and “every other month contingency operations -- Libya, Tunisia, [and] POTUS,” evidently a reference to President Obama’s three-nation trip to Africa in July.  Thorleifson, who led the unit from July 2011 to July 2013, also said NSWU 10 had been involved in training “proxy” forces, specifically “building critical host nation security capacity; enabling, advising, and assisting our African CT [counterterror] partner forces so they can swiftly counter and destroy al-Shabab, AQIM [Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb], and Boko Haram.”

Nzara in South Sudan is one of a string of shadowy forward operating posts on the continent where U.S. Special Operations Forces have been stationed in recent years. Other sites include Obo and Djema in the Central Africa Republic and Dungu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  According to Lieutenant Colonel Guillaume Beaurpere, the commander of the 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, “advisory assistance at forward outposts was directly responsible for the establishment of combined operations fusion centers where military commanders, local security officials, and a host of international and non-governmental organizations could share information about regional insurgent activity and coordinate military activities with civil authorities.”

Drone bases are also expanding.  In February, the U.S. announced the establishment of a new drone facility in Niger.  Later in the spring, AFRICOM spokesman Benjamin Benson confirmed to TomDispatch that U.S. air operations conducted from Base Aerienne 101 at Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey, Niger’s capital, were providing “support for intelligence collection with French forces conducting operations in Mali and with other partners in the region.”  More recently, the New York Times noted that what began as the deployment of one Predator drone to Niger had expanded to encompass daily flights by one of two larger, more advanced Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, supported by 120 Air Force personnel.  Additionally, the U.S. has flown drones out of the Seychelles Islands and Ethiopia’s Arba Minch Airport. 

When it comes to expanding U.S. outposts in Africa, the Navy has also been active.  It maintains a forward operating location -- manned mostly by Seabees, Civil Affairs personnel, and force-protection troops -- known as Camp Gilbert in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.  Since 2004, U.S. troops have been stationed at a Kenyan naval base known as Camp Simba at Manda Bay.  AFRICOM’s Benson portrayed operations there as relatively minor, typified by “short-term training and engagement activities.”  The 60 or so “core” troops stationed there, he said, are also primarily Civil Affairs, Seabees, and security personnel who take part in “military-to-military engagements with Kenyan forces and humanitarian initiatives.” 

An AFRICOM briefing earlier this year suggested, however, that the base is destined to be more than a backwater post.  It called attention to improvements in water and power infrastructure and an extension of the runway at the airfield, as well as greater “surge capacity” for bringing in forces in the future.  A second briefing, prepared by the Navy and obtained by TomDispatch, details nine key infrastructure upgrades that are on the drawing board, underway, or completed. 

In addition to extending and improving that runway, they include providing more potable water storage, latrines, and lodgings to accommodate a future “surge” of troops, doubling the capacity of washer and dryer units, upgrading dining facilities, improving roadways and boat ramps, providing fuel storage, and installing a new generator to handle additional demands for power.  In a March article in the National Journal, James Kitfield, who visited the base, shed additional light on expansion there.  “Navy Seabee engineers,” he wrote, “...have been working round-the-clock shifts for months to finish a runway extension before the rainy season arrives. Once completed, it will allow larger aircraft like C-130s to land and supply Americans or African Union troops.”

AFRICOM’s Benson tells TomDispatch that the U.S. military also makes use of six buildings located on Kenyan military bases at the airport and seaport of Mombasa.  In addition, he verified that it has used Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport in Senegal for refueling stops as well as the “transportation of teams participating in security cooperation activities” such as training missions.  He confirmed a similar deal for the use of Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia. 

While Benson refused additional comment, official documents indicate that the U.S. has similar agreements for the use of Nsimalen Airport and Douala International Airport in Cameroon, Amílcar Cabral International Airport and Praia International Airport in Cape Verde, N'Djamena International Airport in Chad, Cairo International Airport in Egypt, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport in Kenya, Kotoka International Airport in Ghana, ‎ Marrakech-Menara Airport in Morocco, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Nigeria, Seychelles International Airport in the Seychelles, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Botswana, Bamako-Senou International Airport in Mali, and Tunis-Carthage International Airport in Tunisia.  ‎All told, according to Sam Cooks, a liaison officer with the Defense Logistics Agency, the U.S. military now has 29 agreements to use international airports in Africa as refueling centers. 

In addition, U.S. Africa Command has built a sophisticated logistics system, officially known as the AFRICOM Surface Distribution Network, but colloquially referred to as the “new spice route.” It connects posts in Manda Bay, Garissa, and Mombasa in Kenya, Kampala and Entebbe in Uganda, Dire Dawa in Ethiopia, as well as crucial port facilities used by the Navy’s CTF-53 (“Commander, Task Force, Five Three”) in Djibouti, which are collectively referred to as “the port of Djibouti” by the military.  Other key ports on the continent, according to Lieutenant Colonel Wade Lawrence of U.S. Transportation Command, include Ghana’s Tema and Senegal’s Dakar. 

The U.S. maintains 10 marine gas and oil bunker locations in eight African nations, according to the Defense Logistics Agency. AFRICOM’s Benjamin Benson refuses to name the countries, but recent military contracting documents list key fuel bunker locations in Douala, Cameroon; Mindelo, Cape Verde; Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire; Port Gentil, Gabon; Sekondi, Ghana; Mombasa, Kenya; Port Luis, Mauritius; Walvis Bay, Namibia; Lagos, Nigeria; Port Victoria, Seychelles; Durban, South Africa; and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. 

The U.S. also continues to maintain a long-time Naval Medical Research Unit, known as NAMRU-3, in Cairo, Egypt.  Another little-noticed medical investigation component, the U.S. Army Research Unit - Kenya, operates from facilities in Kisumu and Kericho.

(In and) Out of Africa

When considering the scope and rapid expansion of U.S. military activities in Africa, it’s important to keep in mind that certain key “African” bases are actually located off the continent.  Keeping a semblance of a “light footprint” there, AFRICOM’s headquarters is located at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart-Moehringen, Germany.  In June, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the base in Stuttgart and the U.S. Air Force’s Air Operations Center in Ramstein were both integral to drone operations in Africa.

Key logistics support hubs for AFRICOM are located in Rota, Spain; Aruba in the Lesser Antilles; and Souda Bay, Greece, as well as at Ramstein.  The command also maintains a forward operating site on Britain’s Ascension Island, located about 1,000 miles off the coast of Africa in the South Atlantic, but refused requests for further information about its role in operations. 

Another important logistics facility is located in Sigonella on the island of Sicily. Italy, it turns out, is an especially crucial component of U.S. operations in Africa.  Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa, which provides teams of Marines and sailors for “small-footprint theater security cooperation engagements” across the continent, is based at Naval Air Station Sigonella.  It has, according to AFRICOM’s Benjamin Benson, recently deployed personnel to Botswana, Liberia, Djibouti, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Tunisia, and Senegal.

In the future, U.S. Army Africa will be based at Caserma Del Din in northern Italy, adjacent to the recently completed home of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.  A 2012 U.S. Army Africa briefing indicates that construction projects at the Caserma Del Din base will continue through 2018. The reported price-tag for the entire complex:  $310 million.  

A Big Base Gets Bigger

While that sum is sizeable, it’s surpassed by spending on the lone official U.S. base on the African continent, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.  That former French Foreign Legion post has been on a decade-long growth spurt. 

In 2002, the U.S. dispatched personnel to Africa as part of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).  The next year, CJTF-HOA took up residence at Camp Lemonnier, where it resides to this day.  In 2005, the U.S. struck a five-year land-use agreement with the Djiboutian government and exercised the first of two five-year renewal options in late 2010.  In 2006, the U.S. signed a separate agreement to expand the camp’s boundaries to 500 acres.

According to AFRICOM’s Benson, between 2009 and 2012, $390 million was spent on construction at Camp Lemonnier.  In recent years, the outpost was transformed by the addition of an electric power plant, enhanced water storage and treatment facilities, a dining hall, more facilities for Special Operations Command, and the expansion of aircraft taxiways and parking aprons. 

A briefing prepared earlier this year by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command lists a plethora of projects currently underway or poised to begin, including an aircraft maintenance hangar, a telecommunications facility, a fire station, additional security fencing, an ammunition supply facility, interior paved roads, a general purpose warehouse, maintenance shelters for aircraft, an aircraft logistics apron, taxiway enhancements, expeditionary lodging, a combat aircraft loading apron, and a taxiway extension on the east side of the airfield. 

Navy documents detail the price tag of this year’s proposed projects, including $7.5 million to be spent on containerized living units and workspaces, $22 million for cold storage and the expansion of dining facilities, $27 million for a fitness center, $43 million for a joint headquarters facility, and a whopping $220 million for a Special Operations Compound, also referred to as “Task Force Compound.”

Plans for Construction of the Special Operations or "Task Force" Compound at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

According to a 2012 briefing by Lieutenant Colonel David Knellinger, the Special Operations Compound will eventually include at least 18 new facilities, including a two-story joint operations center, a two-story tactical operations center, two five-story barracks, a large motor pool facility, a supply warehouse, and an aircraft hangar with an adjacent air operations center.   

A document produced earlier this year by Lieutenant Troy Gilbert, an infrastructure planner with AFRICOM’s engineer division, lists almost $400 million in “emergency” military construction at Camp Lemonnier, including work on the special operations compound and more than $150 million for a new combat aircraft loading area.  Navy documents, for their part, estimate that construction at Camp Lemonnier will continue at $70 million to $100 million annually, with future projects to include a $20 million wastewater treatment plant, a $40 million medical and dental center, and more than $150 million in troop housing.

Rules of Engagement

In addition, the U.S. military has been supporting construction all over Africa for its allies.  A report by Hugh Denny of the Army Corps of Engineers issued earlier this year references 79 such projects in 33 countries between 2011 and 2013, including Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.  The reported price-tag: $48 million.

Senegal has, for example, received a $1.2 million “peacekeeping operations training center” under the auspices of the U.S. Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program. ACOTA has also supported training center projects in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda.

The U.S. is planning to finance the construction of barracks and other facilities for Ghana’s armed forces.  AFRICOM’s Benson also confirmed to TomDispatch that the Army Corps of Engineers has plans to “equip and refurbish five military border security posts in Djibouti along the Somalia/Somaliland border.”  In Kenya, U.S. Special Operations Forces have “played a crucial role in infrastructure investments for the Kenyan Special Operations Regiment and especially in the establishment of the Kenyan Ranger school,” according to Lieutenant Colonel Guillaume Beaurpere of the 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group.

AFRICOM’s “humanitarian assistance” program is also expansive.  A 2013 Navy briefing lists $7.1 million in humanitarian construction projects -- like schools, orphanages, and medical facilities -- in 19 countries from Comoros and Guinea-Bissau to Rwanda.  Hugh Denny’s report also lists nine Army Corps of Engineers “security assistance” efforts, valued at more than $12 million, carried out during 2012 and 2013, as well as 15 additional “security cooperation” projects worth more than $22 million in countries across Africa.

A Deluge of Deployments

In addition to creating or maintaining bases and engaging in military construction across the continent, the U.S. is involved in near constant training and advisory missions.  According to AFRICOM’s Colonel Tom Davis, the command is slated to carry out 14 major bilateral and multilateral exercises by the end of this year.  These include Saharan Express 2013, which brought together forces from Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, among other nations, for maritime security training; Obangame Express 2013, a counter-piracy exercise involving the armed forces of many nations, including Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Togo; and Africa Endeavor 2013, in which the militaries of Djibouti, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Zambia, and 34 other African nations took part.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  As Davis told TomDispatch, “We also conduct some type of military training or military-to-military engagement or activity with nearly every country on the African continent.”  A cursory look at just some of U.S. missions this spring drives home the true extent of the growing U.S. engagement in Africa. 

In January, for instance, the U.S. Air Force began transporting French troops to Mali to counter Islamist forces there.  At a facility in Nairobi, Kenya, AFRICOM provided military intelligence training to junior officers from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Sudan.  In January and February, Special Operations Forces personnel conducted a joint exercise code-named Silent Warrior with Cameroonian soldiers.  February saw South African troops travel all the way to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to take part in Cobra Gold 2013, a multinational training exercise cosponsored by the U.S. military.

In March, Navy personnel worked with members of Cape Verde’s armed forces, while Kentucky National Guard troops spent a week advising soldiers from the Comoros Islands.  That same month, members of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa deployed to the Singo Peace Support Training Center in Uganda to work with Ugandan soldiers prior to their assignment to the African Union Mission in Somalia.  Over the course of the spring, members of the task force would also mentor local troops in Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Liberia.

In April, members of the task force also began training Senegalese commandos at Bel-Air military base in Dakar, while Navy personnel deployed to Mozambique to school civilians in demining techniques. Meanwhile, Marines traveled to Morocco to conduct a training exercise code-named African Lion 13 with that country’s military.  In May, Army troops were sent to Lomé, Togo, to work with members of the Togolese Defense Force, as well as to Senga Bay, Malawi, to instruct soldiers there.

That same month, Navy personnel conducted a joint exercise in the Mediterranean Sea with their Egyptian counterparts.  In June, personnel from the Kentucky National Guard deployed to Djibouti to advise members of that country’s military on border security methods, while Seabees teamed up with the Tanzanian People’s Defense Force to build maritime security infrastructure.  That same month, the Air Force airlifted Liberian troops to Bamako, Mali, to conduct a six-month peacekeeping operation.

Limited or Limitless?

Counting countries in which it has bases or outposts or has done construction, and those with which it has conducted military exercises, advisory assignments, security cooperation, or training missions, the U.S. military, according to TomDispatch’s analysis, is involved with more than 90% of Africa’s 54 nations. While AFRICOM commander David Rodriguez maintains that the U.S. has only a “small footprint” on the continent, following those small footprints across the continent can be a breathtaking task.

It’s not hard to imagine why the U.S. military wants to maintain that “small footprint” fiction.  On occasion, military commanders couldn’t have been clearer on the subject.  “A direct and overt presence of U.S. forces on the African continent can cause consternation… with our own partners who take great pride in their post-colonial abilities to independently secure themselves,” wrote Lieutenant Colonel Guillaume Beaurpere earlier this year in the military trade publication Special Warfare. Special Operations Forces, he added, “must train to operate discreetly within these constraints and the cultural norms of the host nation.”

On a visit to the Pentagon earlier this summer, AFRICOM’s Rodriguez echoed the same point in candid comments to Voice of America: “The history of the African nations, the colonialism, all those things are what point to the reasons why we should… just use a small footprint."

And yet, however useful that imagery may be to the Pentagon, the U.S. military no longer has a small footprint in Africa.  Even the repeated claims that U.S. troops conduct only short-term. intermittent missions there has been officially contradicted.  This July, at a change of command ceremony for Naval Special Warfare Unit 10, a spokesman noted the creation and implementation of “a five-year engagement strategy that encompassed the transition from episodic training events to regionally-focused and persistent engagements in five Special Operations Command Africa priority countries.”

In a question-and-answer piece in Special Warfare earlier this year, Colonel John Deedrick, the commander of the 10th Special Forces Group, sounded off about his unit’s area of responsibility.  “We are widely employed throughout the continent,” he said. “These are not episodic activities.  We are there 365-days-a-year to share the burden, assist in shaping the environment, and exploit opportunities.” 

Exploitation and “persistent engagement” are exactly what critics of U.S. military involvement in Africa have long feared, while blowback and the unforeseen consequences of U.S. military action on the continent have already contributed to catastrophic destabilization.

Despite some candid admissions by officers involved in shadowy operations, however, AFRICOM continues to insist that troop deployments are highly circumscribed.  The command will not, however, allow independent observers to make their own assessments.  Benson said AFRICOM does not “have a media visit program to regularly host journalists there.” 

My own requests to report on U.S. operations on the continent were, in fact, rejected in short order.  “We will not make an exception in this case,” Benson wrote in a recent email and followed up by emphasizing that U.S. forces are deployed in Africa only “on a limited and temporary basis.”  TomDispatch’s own analysis -- and a mere glance at the map of recent missions -- indicates that there are, in fact, very few limits on where the U.S. military operates in Africa. 

While Washington talks openly about rebalancing its military assets to Asia, a pivot to Africa is quietly and unmistakably underway.  With the ever-present possibility of blowback from shadowy operations on the continent, the odds are that the results of that pivot will become increasingly evident, whether or not Americans recognize them as such.  Behind closed doors, the military says: “Africa is the battlefield of tomorrow, today.”  It remains to be seen just when they’ll say the same to the American people.     

Key to the Map of the U.S. Military's Pivot to Africa, 2012-2013 Green markers: U.S. military training, advising, or tactical deployments during 2013 Yellow markers: U.S. military training, advising, or tactical deployments during 2012 Purple marker: U.S. "security cooperation" Red markers: Army National Guard partnerships Blue markers: U.S. bases, forward operating sites (FOSes), contingency security locations (CSLs), contingency locations (CLs), airports with fueling agreements, and various shared facilities Green push pins: U.S. military training/advising of indigenous troops carried out in a third country during 2013 Yellow push pins: U.S. military training/advising of indigenous troops carried out in a third country during 2012

Nick Turse is the managing editor of and a fellow at the Nation Institute.  An award-winning journalist, his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Nation, on the BBC, and regularly at TomDispatch. He is the author most recently of the New York Times bestseller Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.  You can catch his conversation with Bill Moyers about that book by clicking here.  His website is   


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