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US Flexes Muscles In West Africa

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Issue: 19 Section: International News Geography: USA, Africa

June 25, 2004

US Flexes Muscles In West Africa

The US has stated that it is planning a large naval exercise in the Gulf of Guinea, south of Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, as part of a series of military deployments designed to show that US forces are not overburdened by their commitments in Iraq. Described by spokesmen as an "unusual exercise", the deployment will involve an aircraft carrier and a number of smaller ships conducting operations in and around the developing offshore oil field in the region.

The US military has traditionally exercised with no more than three or four of its aircraft carriers deployed at a single time. This exercise will involve the simultaneous deployment of seven of its twelve "supercarriers" around the world in what the US hopes will end speculation about its ability to respond to new threats with so many resources committed to Iraq. The Iraq occupation is primarily land-based and involves relatively few naval and air force assets, which will be put on display in the coming weeks and months around the world.

Observers point out that this deployment to an oil-rich region of the world is curiously timed, given the recent increase in oil prices due to disruption of the supply in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. They suggest that the US is starting to look to other oil supplies and is positioning itself as a force in the Gulf of Guinea to exert control should the need arise. Although the offshore reserves in Africa promise to be large, they still don't exceed those in Canada, the holder of the world's second largest supply of proven oil reserves.

» BBC: US navy 'plans West Africa exercise'

» AFP: US navy plans 'show of force' off oil-rich West Africa

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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