Why Mali? Why is the West Militarizing Africa? Short Answer - China
To increase its military presence, the United States has acquired basing rights and access to airfields in Djibouti, Uganda, Mali, Senegal and Gabon, along with port facilities in Morocco and Tunisia. In addition, it has also expanded its covert intelligence operations across Africa in the name of combatting terrorism. Yet, these operations also serve another purpose. By expanding its military presence in Africa, Washington is reminding its rivals that it is both willing and able to respond to threats to its strategic interests, the likes of which include the unimpeded flow of African oil.
In 2007, the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) was established as the ninth of the Unified Combatant Commands under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD). The alleged purpose is to oversee American military operations on the African continent in order to enhance the stability of the region and to promote U.S. national security objectives. Many critics of AFRICOM, including energy security expert Michael T. Klare, believe there is a direct relationship between the existence of AFRICOM and America’s interest in African oil...
There may be another, often overlooked, purpose of AFRICOM. The presence of China in Africa is creating some concern for American officials. Beijing is competing with Washington for both the loyalty of African governments and the steady supply of African oil. There is a growing sentiment in Washington that China’s presence in Africa could challenge U.S. security interests now and in the years to come. China’s unconditional financial aid and its steady flow of cheap goods to African states (in exchange for oil contracts) have often made it a more appealing trading partner than America. Indeed, a 2005 DoD report indicated that China’s need to forge close ties with African governments to secure energy supplies could lead to ‘a more activist [Chinese] military presence abroad’. In this regard, AFRICOM would monitor Chinese activity and contain any Chinese incursion into American zones of interest by flexing America’s naval presence.
[link to oilprice.com