Another counterterrorism effort, the Pan-Sahel Initiative, worked with autocratic regimes in Chad and Mauritania. The US European Command further collaborated with African countries, including SA, to upgrade ports and airfields. The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative sought to build the capacities of African states to patrol borders and intercept terrorist groups.
Many Africans were concerned by the American decision to establish Africom in 2007. This plan was championed by Donald Rumsfeld, the hawkish US defence secretary and disgraced architect of the Iraq debacle. The Pentagon was seeking to consolidate three commands covering Africa into one.
The first African-American president, Barack Obama, embraced Bush’s militaristic policies as 2,000 American soldiers remained in Djibouti and officials of the US’s Germany-based Africom still roamed the continent in search of “mad mullahs” in a seemingly endless “war on terror”. The Obama administration deployed killer drones to Somalia and Libya, even as 100 US special forces operated inside Somalia. An American drone centre was established in Niger to track terrorists in Mali. By some estimates, Uncle Sam had military operations in about 20 African states by 2016.
After the neocolonial French military intervention in Mali in January 2013, another violation of Pax Africana, then SA president Jacob Zuma advocated the creation of a 5,000-strong African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), before a 25,000-strong permanent African Standby Force — meant to have been established by 2010 — could be set up. Despite the failure to create ACIRC, African leaders incredibly declared the standby force to be fully operational in December 2020.