Entries Tagged as 'Africa'

US Boosts War Role in Africa

Wall Street Journal
By Adam Entous (Washington), David Gauthier-Villars (Paris) and Drew Hinshaw (Accra)
March 4, 2013

The U.S. is markedly widening its role in the stepped up French-led military campaign against extremists in Mali, providing sensitive intelligence that pinpoints militant targets for attack, U.S. and allied officials disclosed.

U.S. Reaper drones have provided intelligence and targeting information that have led to nearly 60 French airstrikes in the past week alone in a range of mountains the size of Britain, where Western intelligence agencies believe militant leaders are hiding, say French officials.

The operations target top militants, including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the mastermind of January’s hostage raid on an Algerian natural gas plant that claimed the lives of at least 38 employees, including three Americans. Chad forces said they killed him on Saturday, a day after saying they had killed Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, the commander of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s Mali wing.

French, U.S. and Malian officials have not confirmed the deaths of Mr. Belmokhtar or Mr. Zeid, citing a lack of definitive information from the field. But they say the new arrangement with the U.S. has led in recent days to a raised tempo in strikes against al Qaeda-linked groups and their allies some time after the offensive began in January. That is a shift for the U.S., which initially limited intelligence sharing that could pinpoint targets for French strikes.

On Monday, French Army Chief Admiral Edouard Guillaud said Mr. Zeid was likely dead, but couldn’t confirm it. …

Read on: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324539404578338590169579504.html

Obama’s Military Presence in Niger: US Control over Uranium under the Disguise of Counter-terrorism

Center for Research on Globalization
By Wayne Madsen
March 3, 2013

President Obama’s military incursion into Niger, ostensibly to establish a drone base to counter “Al Qaeda” and other Islamist guerrilla activity in neighboring Mali, has little to do with counter-insurgency and everything to do with establishing U.S. control over Niger’s uranium and other natural resources output and suppressing its native Tuareg population from seeking autonomy with their kin in northern Mali and Algeria.

The new drone base is initially located in the capital of Niamey and will later be moved to a forward operating location expected to be located in Agadez in the heart of Tuareg Niger… The base is being established to counter various Islamist groups – including Ansar Dine, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Nigeria-based Boko Haram, and a new group, Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) – that briefly seized control of northern Mali from Tuaregs, led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, who took advantage of a coup d’etat in Mali to establish an independent Tuareg state called Azawad.

The U.S. has long been opposed to any attempt by the suppressed Tuareg people to establish their own independent state in the Sahara. American opposition to the Tuaregs dovetails with historical French opposition to Tuareg nationalism. …

Read on: www.globalresearch.ca/obamas-military-presence-in-niger-uranium-control-under-the-disguise-of-counter-terrorism/5325002

U.S. troops arrive in Niger to set up drone base

The Washington Post
By Craig Whitlock
February 22, 2013

President Obama announced Friday that about 100 U.S. troops have been deployed to the West African country of Niger, where defense officials said they are setting up a drone base to spy on al-Qaeda fighters in the Sahara.

It was the latest step by the Pentagon to increase its intelligence-gathering across Africa in response to what officials see as a rising threat from militant groups.

In a letter to Congress, Obama said about 40 U.S. service members arrived in Niger on Wednesday, bringing the total number of troops based there to “approximately” 100. He said the troops, which are armed for self-protection, would support a French-led military operation in neighboring Mali, where al-Qaeda fighters and other militants have carved out a refuge in a remote territory the size of Texas.

The base in Niger marks the opening of another far-flung U.S. military front against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, adding to drone combat missions in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. The CIA is also conducting drone airstrikes against al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan and Yemen. …

Read on: www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-troops-arrive-in-niger-to-set-up-drone-base/2013/02/22/2a3348c0-7d01-11e2-9e84-3fbb5d2ef2a9_story.html

U.S. Military Preparing to Establish a New Drone Base in Africa Related to the Mali Mission

The Ledger
By Eric Schmitt
January 28, 2013

The U.S. military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa so that it can increase surveillance missions on the local affiliate of al-Qaida and other Islamist extremist groups that U.S. and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.

The move is an indication of the priority Africa has become in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. The U.S. military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in the country of Djibouti, more than 3,000 miles from Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling al-Qaida-backed fighters who control the northern part of Mali.

A new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small air strips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft. …

Read on: www.theledger.com/article/20130128/NEWS/130129245/1410?Title=U-S-Military-Preparing-to-Establish-a-New-Drone-Base-in-Africa-Related-to-the-Mali-Mission

Nigeria: U.S. Forecloses Setting Up AFRICOM Headquarters in Africa

By Senator Iroegbu
7 September 2012

The United States has stated that it will no longer establish the headquarters of African Command (AFRICOM) in any part of the African continent henceforth due to its heavy financial demand.

The Commander, USAFRICOM, Gen. Carter Ham, disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at the just-concluded Military and Media Symposium organised by the Public Affairs Department of the USAFRICOM in Garmisch near Munich, Germany.

Ham explained that after due considerations, a decision was arrived at to situate AFRICOM Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany where US already had established large military base.

He also explained that Germany was considered because it was the headquarters of European Command (EUROCOM), which in its old formation supervises US military activities in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The USAFRICOM commander added that several African countries secretly approached the US government to express their willingness to offer AFRICOM a base should they wish to establish their headquarters in the continent while there were other countries as well, which resisted any attempt to bring the US military base to Africa.

The AFRICOM Commander however noted that the decision not to base the headquarters in Africa was taken based more on financial and logistic considerations than inability to secure approval by African countries.

He said: “You guessed right to say that when African command was formed there was a lot of discussion on where the headquarters, and specifically whether it should be located in the African continent. …

Read on: http://allafrica.com/stories/201209070198.html

US to build drone base in Ethiopia

Sudan Tribune
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
September 24, 2011

The United States is reportedly set to build a new drone base in Ethiopia for counter-terrorism operations in the Horn of Africa, the Washington Post reports.

The establishment of the drone base in the East African country will be used to carry out strikes against targets in the region mainly to confront the activities of designated terrorist groups such as Al-Shabab an al-Qaeda affiliate who are fighting the the weak transitional government of Somalia.

Ethiopia has in recent years proved as “a valued counterterrorism partner to deal with the threats posed by al-Shabaab.” according to US officials who spoke to the Washington Post.

“The CIA and other agencies also employ Ethiopian informants who gather information from across the border,” the Washington Post reported.

The United States and Ethiopia have been discussing creating a drone base inside the Horn of Africa nation for the past four years according to one US official…

The US government had carried out unauthorised deadly drone attacks in at least six countries namely Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen where in most cases the attacks have sparked public anger.

Read in full: www.sudantribune.com/US-to-build-drone-base-in-Ethiopia,40239

AFRICOM…..Establishments in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and other African nations

By yahyasheikho786

AFRICOM…..Establishments in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and other African nations, the US will gradually establish a network of military bases to cover the entire continent« Niqnaq

Oct 1 marked the one-year anniversary of the activation of the first US overseas military command in a quarter of a century, Africa Command. AFRICOM was established as a temporary command under the wing of US European Command a year earlier and launched as an independent entity on Oct 1 2008. Its creation signalled several important milestones in plans by the US and its NATO allies to expand into all corners of the earth and to achieve military, political and economic hegemony in the Southern as well as the Northern Hemisphere. AFRICOM is the first US regional military command established outside of North America in the post-Cold War era. The Pentagon set up Northern Command in 2002 after the 9/11 attacks to take in the US, Canada and Mexico. Its area of responsibility includes more nations than any other US military command: 53.


US Africa Command Chief Vows Support for Somali Government

VOA News
By Alan Boswell
August 21, 2009

The top general from the U.S. military’s Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, said on Friday that the rise of radical Islamist militant group al-Shabab in Somalia makes East Africa a central focus of the U.S. military on the continent.

General William Ward has pledged continued support to Somalia’s transitional federal government and the African Union forces operating there. He made his remarks during a visit to Nairobi, Kenya, which is a key U.S. ally in region.

The general said that al-Shabab’s alleged link to international terrorist group al-Qaida means that the region is a priority for AFRICOM on the continent. The commander thanked Kenya for its ongoing partnership with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. …

When asked about U.S. warnings to Eritrea against its alleged support of al-Shabab, the U.S. general condemned any outside support for the Somali rebels.

“Any time a nation or a state is purposely doing things that incite, contribute to instability, insecurity – that is something that none of us would agree with. And we would hope that any legitimate government, any legitimate nation would in fact be doing otherwise,” he said. …


The American base at Molesworth (Cambridgeshire) is crucially linked to AFRICOM.