RealNews

Oil and terrorism drive the presidential tour

President Bush’s trip to Africa this week signals a recent strategic decision to increase America’s military presence to bolster what Washington now sees as two important national interests on the continent – the supply of oil and the struggle against terrorism. On the eve of departure, General James Jones, the commander of the US European command with responsibility for African operations, said the US was trying to negotiate the long-term use of a “family” of military bases across the continent. This would include big installations for up to 5,000-strong brigades “that could be robustly used for a significant military presence,” Gen Jones told the New York Times. It would also involve smaller, lightly equipped bases available in times of crisis to special forces or marines. The bases would not only be established in north African states such as Algeria, where Islamic extremism is already a potent force, but also in sub-Saharan African nations such as Mali. Full Story

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