Lest anyone think I’m a fan of Secretary Clinton – I’m not. She’s been a consistently hawkish voice in the Obama camp, arguing for interventions and pushing the country towards ever more wars. But while the right is honing in on a single phrase for domestic political ends, her testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today contains far more worrying content. Luckily, Chris McGreal for The Guardian is paying attention.
Hillary Clinton has called for increased US military and political intervention in north Africa, and warned of a long, difficult but necessary struggle against a “spreading jihadist threat” in the region.
The US secretary of state singled out the French-led intervention against armed Islamists in Mali as the most urgent crisis, but said that al-Qaida in the region, newly armed and invigorated by the fallout of the Arab revolutions, also threatens important allies such as oil-rich Nigeria, as well as the fledgling government in Libya.
Clinton, who is expected to leave office shortly, told the Senate foreign relations committee that jihadists in north Africa pose a direct threat to the US, and called for an increased role for the American military command for Africa, known as Africom, as well as providing the resources for governments in the region to defend themselves.
…”What we have to do is to recognize we are in for a long-term struggle here. That means we’ve got to pay attention to places that historically we have not chosen to or had to,” she said.
So much for Obama’s inaugural ‘end to a decade of war’, unless you understand that as being followed by another decade of more war, and then some.
Clinton even realizes that taking the Great War On Terror to Mali may be a quagmire, to say nothing of the rest of the continent, but she doesn’t care enough to look for other solutions as long as the natives will do the bulk of the neocolonial heavy lifting for the West.
The US secretary of state singled out Mali, where American forces are giving logistical support to the French military fighting Islamist groups that seized the north of the country. Clinton warned that the fighting there has echoes of Afghanistan.
“This is going to be a very serious on going threat because if you look at the size of northern Mali, if you look at the topography, it’s not only desert, it’s caves – [it] sounds reminiscent. We are in for a struggle. But it is a necessary struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven,” she said.
…”We have been working to upgrade security around northern Mali, around a number of the countries. Algeria is the only one with any real ability to do that. Most of these countries don’t have the capacity to do that. We are now trying to put together an African force from Ecowas (the Economic Community of west African States) so that African soldiers will be in the front of this fight,” she said.
But don’t worry, military/industrial complex – you’ll get your pound of flesh.
“Africom was stood up about 10 years ago. I think a lot of people at the time wondered why would we have another command in the world and why in Africa. I now think we need to pay much more attention to Africom, to its capacity inside Africa,” she said.
France is already looking to send heavier units – two full mechanized brigades with heavy tanks and mobile artillery – into the Malian intervention. Now Clinton is confirming that “mission creep” isn’t just written into the base code of the African adventure, it’s a feature not a bug.