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Arkady Savitsky

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US Military Presence in Africa: All Over Continent and Still Expanding

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Around 200,000 US troops are stationed in 177 countries throughout the world. Those forces utilize several hundred military installations. Africa is no exemption. On August 2, Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier took command of US Army Africa, promising to “hit the ground running.”

The US is not waging any wars in Africa but it has a significant presence on the continent. Navy SEALs, Green Berets, and other special ops are currently conducting nearly 100 missions across 20 African countries at any given time, waging secret, limited-scale operations. According to the magazine Vice, US troops are now conducting 3,500 exercises and military engagements throughout Africa per year, an average of 10 per day — an astounding 1,900% increase since the command rolled out 10 years ago. Many activities described as “advise and assist” are actually indistinguishable from combat by any basic definition.

There are currently roughly 7,500 US military personnel, including 1,000 contractors, deployed in Africa. For comparison, that figure was only 6,000 just a year ago. The troops are strung throughout the continent spread across 53 countries. There are 54 countries on the “Dark Continent.” More than 4,000 service members have converged on East Africa. The US troop count in Somalia doubled last year.

When AFRICOM was created there were no plans to establish bases or put boots on the ground. Today, a network of small staging bases or stations have cropped up. According to investigative journalist Nick Turse, “US military bases (including forward operating sites, cooperative security locations, and contingency locations) in Africa number around fifty, at least.” US troops in harm’s way in Algeria, Burundi, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan Tunisia, and Uganda qualify for extra pay.
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Senator Rand Paul Visits Russia to Encourage ‘Vital Engagement’ Between Lawmakers

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Donald Trump is not the only American politician to be striving for a better relationship with Moscow in defiance of multiple opponents who are raising a ruckus about his stance on Russia. The hysterical reaction to the US president’s summit with the Russian leader in Helsinki did not keep Republican Senator Rand Paul from doing what he believes is right — going to Moscow as the head of a US delegation, which also included Texas State Senator Don Huffines and the president of the Cato Institute, Peter Goettler, in order to spur contacts with Russian lawmakers.

During the talks in Moscow on Aug.6, he invited Russian senators to visit Washington.“Today, I met with Chairman Kosachev, and we agreed on the importance of continued dialogue. I invited the Russian Federation to send a delegation to the Capitol, and they have agreed to take this important next step,” Mr. Paul stated. It’ll be the first Russian parliamentary delegation to have traveled to Washington in nearly three years. The senator thinks "our biggest problem right now is no dialogue," emphasizing that"engagement is vital to our national security and peace around the world."

Last year, Rand Paul, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, was one of two senators who voted against the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which included  massive sanctions against Russia. Prior to that, he had voted against Montenegro’s NATO membership, which was also opposed by Moscow. According to Sen. Paul, “Currently, the United States has troops in dozens of countries and is actively fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen (with the occasional drone strike in Pakistan). In addition, the United States is pledged to defend twenty-eight countries in NATO. It is unwise to expand the monetary and military obligations of the United States given the burden of our $20 trillion debt.”
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