Washington Has Conducted at Least 23 Secret Proxy Wars Since 2017

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from 21st Century Wire:

The history of Washington’s covert overseas operations goes way back, even before the Cold War, with numerous operations being conducted before and during both World Wars. The purpose of these ‘shadow wars’ was normally the same: to destabilize any unfriendly governments and install a new regime with which Washington could ‘do business with.’ Unless you read certain international publications, you would hardly hear about any of these proxy wars, although in some rare cases such covert operations could eventually escalate into a full-blown conflict. 

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Back in 2014, The Nation ran a story on how the deployment of US Special Operations forces had become a growing form of overseas power projection. The report revealed that in the year 2013 under President Barack Obama, elite US forces were deployed in 134 countries around the globe, according to Major Matthew Robert Bockholt of SOCOM Public Affairs.

Of course, in historical terms, this is only the tip of a much larger iceberg which stretches back a century, some of which has been well documented by the National Security Archive.

More recently, new revelations have come to light about a secret directive used to launch at least two dozen such proxy wars across the globe…

RT international reports…

The US has reportedly used a secretive authority called ‘127e’ to launch at least two dozen proxy wars since 2017, according to an article published on Friday by The Intercept. The outlet claims to have obtained never-before-seen documents and spoken to top officials with intimate knowledge of these programs.

The Intercept received the documents through the Freedom of Information Act, claiming these papers are the first ever official confirmation that at least 14 so-called ‘127e programs’ were active in the greater Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions as recently as 2020. In total, the Pentagon reportedly launched 23 separate 127e programs across the globe between 2017 and 2020, which cost US taxpayers $310 million.

The Intercept explains that 127e is one of several virtually unknown authorities granted to the Defense Department by Congress over the last two decades. It authorizes US commandos to conduct “counterterrorism operations” in cooperation with foreign and irregular partner forces around the world with minimal outside oversight.

The program allows the US to arm, train, and provide intelligence to foreign forces. However, unlike traditional foreign assistance programs, which focus on building up local capacity in partner countries, 127e “surrogate forces are expected to follow US orders and conduct Washington-directed missions against US enemies to achieve US goals, essentially serving as the Pentagon’s proxy armies.

According to the outlet, almost no information about these operations is ever shared with any members of Congress or State Department officials. It is generally unknown where these operations are conducted, their frequency, targets, or even the identity of the foreign forces the US cooperates with to carry them out.

Critics of the programs warn that they could lead to unanticipated military escalation and engage the US in over a dozen conflicts around the world, since 127e does not allow for any oversight or input from foreign affairs officials.

The outlet notes that although the latest batch of documents sheds more light on the 127e program, it still remains mostly unknown to both the public and members of Congress, who almost never receive any reports pertaining to the program.

A government official familiar with the program, who requested anonymity to discuss it, told The Intercept that most congressional staffers don’t even have the clearance to view 127e reports, and those who do rarely ask for them.

“It was designed to prevent oversight,” he explained.

Stephen Semler, a co-founder of a US foreign policy think tank, told The Intercept that the Pentagon prefers to run its operations with minimal oversight, input or bureaucracy from Congress and has done so for many years. “The Special Operations community likes autonomy a lot,” he explained to the outlet, adding that “the problem is this stuff is so normalized.”

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