(The Root) — The legacy of colonialism has saddled the African continent with crippling poverty, widespread hunger and incurable disease. But there is a new threat on the horizon: an era of perpetual war.
America’s war on terror was supposed to end, or at least subside, under President Obama’s watchful eye. Withdrawal from Iraq was the first step. An orderly drawdown of combat forces in Afghanistan by 2014 was supposed to be the end. But conflicts in northern, western and central Africa have emerged as the new frontier of American aggression against al-Qaida. And though hardly discussed, the regions now harbor the most clandestine activity within Obama’s foreign policy agenda: namely, a secret war in Africa conducted by drones.
Last month, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb seized an oil refinery in Algeria. More than 81 hostages were killed — American, Japanese and British citizens among them. This followed last year’s Sept. 11 attack on America’s consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In Mali, a former Francophile colony in West Africa, al-Qaida sympathizers occupied the country’s northern territory, declaring an independent Islamist state and waging war against Malian soldiers ill equipped to challenge the well-armed militias. France sent troops — ostensibly to protect its own financial interests in the region — to restore a tenuous order.