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WAR: U.S. Pushes Anti-Terrorism In Africa

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posted on Jul, 26 2005 @ 01:18 PM
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Pentagon plans to train thousands of troops from 9 African nations in order to counter terrorism in Africa. The troops to be trained are from Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia. This initiative is a bid to head off an infiltration by international terrorist groups.
 



www.washingtonpost.com
The U.S. military is embarking on a long-term push into Africa to counter what it considers growing inroads by al Qaeda and other terrorist networks in poor, lawless and predominantly Muslim expanses of the continent.

The Pentagon plans to train thousands of African troops in battalions equipped for extended desert and border operations and to link the militaries of different countries with secure satellite communications. The initiative, with proposed funding of $500 million over seven years, covers Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia -- with the U.S. military eager to add Libya if relations improve.

Foreshadowing a new phase in the war against terrorism, the Pentagon plan is to mobilize Africans to fight and preempt militant groups while only selectively using U.S. troops, who are already taxed by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in mustering African forces, the U.S. military confronts not only a highly elusive enemy across a vast, desolate terrain but also the competing agendas of authoritarian African governments and corrupt and chaotic militaries on the ground.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


There is a growing threat of armed Islamic groups (like Al Qaeda) in the sub-Saharan African countries which have to be dealt with. However, competing agendas among the African governments and corrupt and chaotic militaries is a big problem. Arming and training these militaries could easily backfire.

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posted on Jul, 26 2005 @ 02:06 PM
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This is kind of interesting, but I think it could go both ways. On one hand, every extra pair of hands helps. Can't have too many people fighting along side you. At the same time though, didn't we try training certain foreign soldiers (in Afghanistan, for example) to help fight a common enemy back in the 70's/80's? And we're reaping the "benefits" of that now...

This could very easily backfire much the same, unless our government has learned what went wrong that time and is prepared to not make the same mistake this time around.



posted on Jul, 26 2005 @ 03:28 PM
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I found this rather interesting. It´s on page two from the main article. 14-year-old boys?



Ranging from 14-year-old boys to men pushing the limits of Chad's male life expectancy, 46 years, some had zero experience and others were combat veterans of Chad's decades-long civil war. They wore everything from Vietnam-era tiger-stripe uniforms to gym clothes, along with flip-flops, boots, dress shoes or no shoes.

Gary's team trained a group of 160 men equipped with 23 AK-47 assault rifles. Some aimed with the wrong eye and fired wildly, but most learned to shoot and clean the guns. Brian's team worked with a more experienced battalion of 200 men outfitted with weapons, radios and 13 Toyota trucks. They appeared enthusiastic but still lacked basic skills. So, the Americans started demonstrating tactics using GI Joe action figures in the sand, until one day the Chadians appeared ready for a platoon-size attack on "the Cardboardians," a row of cardboard torsos set in tires.

"The biggest thing is making sure they don't shoot each other," said Jasper, striding through the brush preparing for a live-fire drill.

and this:


A squad of Chadian soldiers, crouching low, began moving toward the target. But suddenly, before the signal had been given, a machine gunner on their flank started shooting. His ammunition ran out before the assaulting squad got into position -- leaving them dangerously vulnerable. Jasper shook his head and ordered the squad that misfired to practice again without ammo.

"Bang! Bang! Bang-bang-bang!" the Chadian soldiers shouted.



posted on Jul, 26 2005 @ 06:28 PM
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Did they not learn the first time?

What happened when they trained Bin Laden against the U.S.S.R?
Now they'll train African Nations against Bin Laden?
It's a cycle, which they need to stop.



posted on Jul, 26 2005 @ 06:41 PM
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I find it interesting that they think they will head off Al-Qaeda in Africa. Just what exactly were the Al-Qaeda bombings of U.S embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya in 1998 then? One would of logically started there in the fight against Al-Qaeda, where the first Al-Qaeda attacks came from.

Also I think Niger should get food aid as a priority instead of more military funding. 2.5 million people on the verge of starvation should warrant all the food aid we can muster, military aid secondary.

Again the comments about supporting fighters who now apparently need us (Africans) but could turn on us later due to the debt we've foisted on them, could see us fighting them as the next round of economic terrorists. The injustices weve levied on the African nations should be expected to procure terrorism, not hoped it wont.



posted on Jul, 27 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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This is a complicated issue and there is no easy solution. Here is an excerpt from an article by Douglas Farah about these counterterror exercises in Africa.


Douglas Farah: Africa's Counterterror Exercises

What are the tradeoffs in training troops whose primary loyalty will be to an abusive president and his small ethnic group, as is the case in Chad, with president Deby, who has not a democratic bone in his body? Will the Chadian troops (and those in surrounding nations such as Niger, Mali, Maurtiania) actually get better at patrolling their borders and facing the growing threat of armed Islamic groups in the region? Or will they focus their new-found skills on cracking down on internal dissent, patrolling the capital and generally becoming slightly more sophisticated in their repression?

These are complicated questions that need to be thought about and addressed as Africa becomes ever more relevant in the counterterror efforts. There is no doubt that sub-Saharan Africa is an increasingly attractive recruitment ground for al Qaeda and affiliated groups such as the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the "al Qaeda in Nigeria" cells that appear to have been planning to attack U.S. targets in Lagos and Abuja. African are also appearing in Iraq and elsewhere in the jihadi struggles.

What are acceptable tradeoffs between two vastly different goals and approaches in combatting the spread of terror, or armed groups, in states that hover on the brink of disintegration and failure? Should bringing democracy, as President Bush is so fond of talking about in the Middle East, be the priority? If so, arming and training militaries that have histories of atrocities and repression could be counterproductive. Or is the terrorist threat primarily military in nature, necessitating a rapid increase in the capacity of armies that are underpaid, undertrained and underarmed? If so, then the move toward democracy would be postponed.
[---]
Training is sporadic, spread over a moving group of units whose members come and go, therefore necessitating starting at the beginning almost every time out. Command and control is not a concept easily understood.

Click the link to read the full article...



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 08:40 PM
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I think it's probably a good idea. I've seen many reports about al Qaeda trying to really get a foothold in that area...




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