It Began With Twelve, How Will It End? – Mozambique: AFRICOM’s Newest Adventure | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

It Began With Twelve, How Will It End? – Mozambique: AFRICOM’s Newest Adventure

White faces in fatigues – I’m sure that’s just what most Mozambicans were hoping to see upon their shores. After all, it certainly isn’t the first time. Ever since the Portuguese started planting trading posts and forts on what was known as the Swahili Coast around the year 1500, an arrival of armed whites has never really ended well for the locals. Now, if half a millennium late to the party, America recently shipped an army special forces detachment to the country.

The 12-man team hit the ground in mid-March, as part of a program that the New York Times described as "modest in size and scope," on a mission purportedly limited to training Mozambican marines – to combat an escalating and brutal Islamist insurgency in the country’s northernmost region – for the next two months. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on the operation remaining restricted to a dozen troops, sixty days, or strictly training. Given Washington’s two-decade track record, the safe money seems to always be on a healthy dose of mission creep.

Either way, The Pentagon’s chosen dirty dozen shouldn’t get too lonely – since they won’t be the only combatant expatriate game in town. Get this: Portugal’s planning a Mozambican homecoming any day now, sending in a team of “around 60” special forces soldiers, according to Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, to “support the Mozambican army in training special forces." It seems all fads – even colonialism – eventually find themselves back in style. Lisbon left way back in 1975 – after losing a ten-year anti-independence war in which some 50,000 civilians were killed – but even that era’s famed bellbottoms have already made a comeback. So why not? Well, I suppose there is the minor matter of wondering just how happy average Mozambicans will be to see their former masters moseying in.