A US military patrol base in Al-Shaddadi, south of Syria’s northeastern Hasakah governorate, was targeted by two Katyusha missiles on 25 November, US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced in a statement. This was the second attack on a US military base in Syria in just over a week, following the 17 November attack on Washington’s Green Village military base near the Al-Omar oilfield. “Two rockets targeted coalition forces at the US patrol base in Al-Shaddadi, Syria, today at approximately 10:31 p.m. local time in Syria (4:31 p.m. EST). The attack resulted in no injuries or damage to the base or coalition property. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) visited the rocket origin site and found a third unfired rocket,” the CENTCOM statement read.
US Foreign Bases
In a major setback to plans for expanding US military presence in Japan, Denny Tamaki, the anti-US base governor of Okinawa, has won a second term in office, continuing his platform against US military bases in the prefecture. In the gubernatorial election held on Sunday, September 11, Tamaki won with a clear majority by defeating Japan’s ruling party candidate Atsushi Sakima. As per the final results released on Monday, Tamaki, supported by a coalition of opposition groups and local movements, secured 339,767 votes, nearly 51% of the total votes polled. Tamaki defeated his nearest rival Sakima for the second time, with a margin of nearly 10%. Local conservative politician Mikio Shimoji, also a former parliamentarian and minister, stood a distant third with around 8% votes.
Soon after the Second World War ended, the British government with its vast colonial empire made significant territorial concessions to the USA which could facilitate the rapid spread of USA military bases in many parts of the world. In addition of course the defeated Axis countries and their territories could provide another suitable place for the rapid proliferation of the US military bases that was to follow. In recent decades there have been several closures of these bases but there have been several new ones coming up as well. This together with definitional issues makes it difficult to give precise numbers, and it has been stated that even the Pentagon may struggle to give a precise number and list.
At a time when headlines were focused more on the heat wave in Europe, an event of great importance which should have received more attention was the melting of as much as 18 billion tons of ice sheets in just 3 days of mid-July in Greenland. Very frightening estimates have been presented of the extent of rise in sea level if melting on such a scale continues. This was not the first instance of such massive ice melting within a short time, nor is it likely to be the last. This has also highlighted the need for a more protective future for Greenland. But it appears that some powerful persons have an entirely different view on the matter. This came to attention during the tenure of Trump as USA President. It was reported that Donald Trump made an offer of a payment to Denmark to acquire control over Greenland.
On April 26, 2022, the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced that they had set up an office in the US Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia. According to AFRICOM Brigadier General Peter Bailey, Deputy Director for Strategy, Engagement and Programs, the Office of Security Cooperation would be based in the US Embassy building. Social media in Zambia buzzed with rumors about the creation of a US military base in the country. Defense Minister Ambrose Lufuma released a statement to say that “Zambia has no intention whatsoever of establishing or hosting any military bases on Zambian soil.”
The United States plans to spend tens of billions of dollars to surround China with missiles. But it’s having trouble finding an Asian country willing to host the offensive weapons. The US military commissioned a study from the RAND Corporation, a Pentagon-backed research group, to assess the feasibility of deploying intermediate-range missiles to the Pacific. The study closely analyzed the US government’s relations with its five treaty allies in the region: Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. Citing “an inability to find a willing partner,” the RAND report concluded that the chance of these nations hosting US ground-based intermediate-range missiles “is very low as long as current domestic political conditions and regional security trends hold.”
The seventh iteration of the Symposium on the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases was held May 4-6, 2022 in Guantanamo, Cuba, near the 125 year old US Naval Base located a few miles from the city of Guantanamo. The Naval Base is the site of the infamous US military prison that, as of April 2022, still holds 37 men, most of whom have never been tried as their trial would reveal the torture to which the US has subjected them. 18 of the 37 are approved for release if U.S. diplomats can arrange for countries to accept them. The Biden administration has released 3 prisoners so far including one who had been cleared for release in the final days of the Obama Administration but was kept imprisoned for 4 more years by the Trump administration. The prison was opened twenty years ago on January 11, 2002.
In short, the U.S. imperialism and its allies had already turned the world into a lawless wild west. Since the September 11, 2001 attack on New York, the U.S., at the instigation of its military industrial complex, had put its war machine into high gear, attacking one country after another and bringing death and destruction to many countries of the world, especially to those in Latin America and the Middle East. This period has witnessed the eastward expansion of U.S. and NATO military bases into 13 European countries and even a westward expansion of NATO into Latin America by making Colombia a global partner of NATO, and, according to New York Time, the presence of U.S. military personnel in 173 countries of the world.
The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.
Last month in Honolulu, Hawaii, Microensian President David Panuelo held high-level defense talks with US Navy Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) about “the United States’ broader defense and force posture in the Pacific,” among other topics. “The FSM and the United States collaborated on plans for more frequent and permanent US Armed Forces presence, and have agreed to cooperate on how that presence will be built up both temporarily and permanently within the FSM, with the purpose of serving the mutual security interests of both nations,” a news release by the Micronesian government noted. The release gave no further details about where the base would be located or what type of facility it would be. Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation after the summit, Panuelo said that while the small country of 58,000 people maintains diplomatic relations with China, he didn’t foresee the new US base as harming that relationship.
It was the spring of 2003 during the American-led invasion of Iraq. I was in second grade, living on a U.S. military base in Germany, attending one of the Pentagon’s many schools for families of servicemen stationed abroad. One Friday morning, my class was on the verge of an uproar. Gathered around our homeroom lunch menu, we were horrified to find that the golden, perfectly crisped French fries we adored had been replaced with something called “freedom fries.” “What are freedom fries?” we demanded to know. Our teacher quickly reassured us by saying something like: “Freedom fries are the exact same thing as French fries, just better.” Since France, she explained, was not supporting “our” war in Iraq, “we just changed the name, because who needs France anyway?”
A group of US peace activists has again joined protests at the Büchel Air Force Base in Germany, demanding the withdrawal of the remaining US hydrogen-bombs still deployed there. On July 12 the anti-nuclear and anti-war campaigners, together with colleagues from The Netherlands and Germany, began an “International Week” of protests focused on ousting the last approximately 20 US Air Force nuclear gravity bombs known as B61s kept at the base.* In the depths of the cold war, there were 7,000 US nuclear weapons in Germany, so this remnant seems like hardly more than radioactive waste. With the German group Gewaltfreie Aktion Atomwaffen Abschaffen (Nonviolent Action to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), the US activists will participate in vigils, blockades, and other demonstrations at the gates of the German air base.
Sunday June 13th saw us returning to Shannon Airport to recommence our monthly peace vigils. We had around 20 peace activists there, watched by around 20 Gardai. Inside the airport, security personnel, including an Irish army patrol, protecting three US Marine Corps Hercules KC-130J warplanes that had landed the previous night. They stayed overnight at Shannon, meaning that their crews and military passengers were almost certainly in local hotels for the night. Our vigil was poignant and emotional as we commemorated the more than 70 Palestinian children killed recently. Two members of Red Rebels Clare, which is a theatre group that accompanies Extinction Rebellion and other action in Clare, joined us in silent, solemn protest, while others read out the list of the children killed in Palestine. Inside the airport, security personnel, including an Irish army patrol, protecting three US Marine Corps Hercules KC-130J warplanes that had landed the previous night. They stayed overnight at Shannon, meaning that their crews and military passengers were almost certainly in local hotels for the night.
Most Americans trust the military; a 2020 poll found 72 percent with “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in that institution, edged out only by small business. Many were likely picturing enlisted persons, but their trust often extends to the leadership, both uniformed and civilian. However, those making life-and-death decisions for both U.S. troops and people of other countries — even in the absence of war — deserve our serious scrutiny. A new book, Poisoning the Pacific, examines the military’s long role in the environmental degradation of East Asia and Pacific islands, severely impacting the health of the region’s people and U.S. personnel stationed there. Author Jon Mitchell is a Tokyo-based journalist, and much of his book focuses on Japan, especially its southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.
For every State Department embassy, consulate, and mission there are nearly three U.S. military bases overseas. The disparity between the 277 U.S. diplomatic installations and the estimated 800 U.S. military bases abroad symbolizes how dangerously militarized U.S. foreign policy has become. Thankfully, across the political spectrum — and even within the U.S. military — there is growing recognition of the problem. Last month the Biden administration announced the Pentagon will conduct an urgently needed “Global Posture Review” to ensure the deployment of U.S. military forces around the world is, as President Joe Biden said, “appropriately aligned with our foreign policy and national security priorities.” This review offers a historic opportunity to close hundreds of unnecessary military bases abroad and improve national and international security in the process.