05:44 GMT +317 January 2019
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    This training, which included firing multiple weapon systems and different fire maneuvers, is to prepare the Marines to provide limited support in the event of a crisis in the U.S. Africom area of responsibility

    AFRICOM ‘Exerts a Huge Influence’ in Africa, Steps Up Airstrikes in Somalia

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    Over the weekend, US military airstrikes in Somalia targeted an al-Shabaab base near the capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 62 militants, according to Somali officials and intelligence sources.

    The al-Shabaab fundamentalist armed group is affiliated with al-Qaeda in a remote area of southern Somalia. A spokesperson for the Pentagon's Africa Command, or AFRICOM, said the strikes were carried out jointly with the Somali government and were designed to prevent future Shabaab attacks.

    ​"US Africa Command and our Somali partners conducted these airstrikes to prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire and recruit for future attacks," the US military said in a Monday press release.

    Glen Ford, the executive editor of Black Agenda Report, joined Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear Monday to discuss the recent military operation in Somalia. 

    "You should conclude that the United States' systems of warfare are intact in Somalia. I think, and some people suspect, that the slackening of the pace of the US military effort against al-Shabaab had to do with the weakness of the Somali government itself," Ford told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    "AFRICOM was designed to have a very low profile. It's a different kind of US basing strategy. What they didn't want was to stir up latent African nationalism… So, AFRICOM claims to only have one permanent base, that being a facility in Djibouti, a French colony where the French stayed militarily. Everybody and their mama has a base in Djibouti," Ford noted.

    "Elsewhere in Africa, the US AFRICOM forces live on the military bases off the coasts [of] African countries. That way the United States can claim it doesn't have any military bases in Africa except for the one in Djibouti. The actual reality is that the US, through its AFRICOM connections to every single country in Africa, with the exception of Eritrea and Zimbabwe, exerts a huge influence on all the militaries of Africa. The US, through AFRICOM, exerts a huge influence on every African country, and this is in stark contrast to… the lack of economic development in Africa," Ford added.

    The US military has conducted at least 46 airstrikes against al-Shabaab this year, according to the Associated Press. 

    On its website, AFRICOM describes its purpose: "United States Africa Command, in concert with interagency and international partners, builds defense capabilities, responds to crisis and deters and defeats transnational threats in order to advance US national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity."

    However, according to Ford, "AFRICOM can't explain what they are doing there [in Africa]."

    "Some of these wars are not being fought, they are being instigated. That is, the US special forces are sent in in order to create situations of warfare where none exist, and all of this is very difficult to explain to congressional committees that are supposed to then inform the rest of Congress, which then appropriates money to fund these wars," he added

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    airstrike, military, AFRICOM, Somalia, United States
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