The Washington Post ran an interesting article yesterday, but the accompanying map didn’t do the piece justice. We’ve taken the trouble to re-create the map using their data:
The lighter-shaded countries are where U.S. personnel have been active, and the soldiers represent troop numbers confirmed/reported by the Post. The 4,000 troops in Djibouti are more than likely spending a good chunk of their time focusing on al-Qaeda in Yemen; though based in Africa and probably dealing with al-Shabab in Somalia, their theater of operations includes the southern part of the Middle East as well. Nevertheless, it’s a striking map that draws into stark relief just how involved the United States is in African affairs—and how underreported this involvement actually is.
Another uncomfortable truth that’s not explicitly represented in the above map and that most papers like to sweep under the rug: Most of these countries are in the belt of increasingly tense relations, especially between Christians and Muslims. Like it or not, America is increasingly involved in Africa’s god wars.