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Public opinion turning against AFRICOM?

Recent U.S. military activity in Somalia is causing ripples throughout the African community. AFP is reporting that Monday’s closing of the American embassy in Pretoria, South Africa was due to threats from an al-Qaeda splinter group seeking revenge for Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan’s death last week in Somalia. Last week’s raid in Somalia signifies a ...

Recent U.S. military activity in Somalia is causing ripples throughout the African community. AFP is reporting that Monday’s closing of the American embassy in Pretoria, South Africa was due to threats from an al-Qaeda splinter group seeking revenge for Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan’s death last week in Somalia.

Last week’s raid in Somalia signifies a shift in US policy toward the region, and may be linked to the increasing militarization of AFRICOM since its inception in 2007. Officials continue to argue its role is as a "force for peace." However, the perception by others is increasing negative. Recently, the American National Conference on Black Lawyers petitioned Attorney General Eric Holder to dismantle the operation in an open letter blasting AFRICOM as:

"A military command that is designed to facilitate warfare. In the context of African politics, the mere presence of AFRICOM will be perceived as an act of aggression that will decrease, not increase, the likelihood of peaceful resolution of conflicts."

The embassy threat could be the beginnings of  increased hostility toward U.S. interests in southern Africa, opening up a new counter-terrorism arena rather than pre-empting one.

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