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Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:16 AM

U.S. Sends Troops To Niger For Drone Missions

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Source: LA TIMES

By David S. Cloud and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times
February 22, 2013, 8:28 p.m.

WASHINGTON About 100 U.S. troops have deployed to the West African country of Niger to help establish a drone base for surveillance missions, in the latest step by the United States to aid French forces battling Islamic militants in neighboring Mali.

In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Obama said the deployment would "provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region."

The last 40 American troops in the deployment arrived in Niger on Feb. 20 with the consent of the government, Obama said.

A senior U.S. officer described the troops as a security unit that will protect crews flying and maintaining U.S. Air Force drones now operating from an airfield near the capital, Niamey. The force includes drone pilots, intelligence liaison officers and aircraft maintenance personnel, the officer said.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-obama-drone-20130223,0,7202135.story

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:18 AM

1. U.S. Opens Drone Base in Niger, Building Africa Presence

WASHINGTON Opening a new front in the drone wars against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, President Obama announced on Friday that about 100 American troops had been sent to Niger in West Africa to help set up a new base from which unarmed Predator aircraft would conduct surveillance in the region.

The new drone base, located for now in the capital, Niamey, is an indication of the priority Africa has become in American antiterrorism efforts. The United States military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in Djibouti, more than 3,000 miles from Mali, where insurgents had taken over half the country until repelled by a French-led force.

In a letter to Congress, Mr. Obama said about 40 United States military service members arrived in Niger on Wednesday, bringing the total number of those deployed in the country to about 100 people. A military official said the troops were largely Air Force logistics specialists, intelligence analysts and security officers.

Mr. Obama said the troops, who are armed for self-protection, would support the French-led operation that last month drove the Qaeda and affiliated fighters out of a desert refuge the size of Texas in neighboring Mali.

MORE...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/world/africa/in-niger-us-troops-set-up-drone-base.html?google_editors_picks=true&_r=0

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:47 AM

2. is gw bush still president? nt

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:56 AM

3. And we're supposed to pivot to the Pacific while we ramp up in Africa?

This is just great.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:46 AM

6. it could be argued that this new scramble for Africa is a part of that "Pacific pivot"

 

and that "Pacific pivot" should, of course, be read with "kneecapping China" as the subtext barely underneath the surface.

The interests of the English, Germans, and French could be summed up as being the same simple avarice they had a hundred years ago when they held pretentions of ruling over the continent: their economic systems require cheap resources and cheap labor, and the best way to achieve that is to blast their way in and prop up collaborationist governments. It seems like there are never a shortage of local collaborators willing to wield their power behind the strength of foreign armies, and some mistake this fact for being a validation of the invaders' propaganda.

The US and China have these same interests (it would be naive to suggest otherwise in either case), but also consider their personal rivalry in such things as paramount above all other matters. Chinese trade and investment in the continent finally surpassed that of the other imperialist powers a few years ago, and has been rising ever since. Somehow, they managed to do this without sending in the air force or foot soldiers, but I suspect that will not always be the case--particularly as the NATO countries continue their directly predatory assaults. The old powers of Europe and their American bosses are sinking their claws deep into a number of areas with the intent of reversing this trend, by any means necessary. And as usual "by any means necessary" means a lot of bodies put into the ground and PR campaigns loudly justifying these graves with the loftiest of sentiments.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:23 AM

4. Militants, hiding out in African deserts, are a threat to the United States?

What the fuck ever.

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Response to ronnie624 (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:34 AM

5. the present scramble for resources in Africa has nothing to do with "threats", real or imagined..

 

except in the minds of the PR robots who have a job to promote and sell the campaigns to subject populations.

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Response to Alamuti Lotus (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:51 AM

7. Maybe the French need the resources, but that surely isn't what we are after.

We uncovered trillions of rare earth materials, that currently China has a stranglehold on, in Afghanistan. I don't think we are sticking around to mine and pillage, I think we are (hopefully) getting the hell out of there.

2010-2012 will prove to be a key period in technological development that pushed back peak-oil decades if not more. Unfortunately the extraction will also ruin our environment, not just the burning of the fuel.

Between the US becoming the #1 producer of oil in the next 5-10 years again, and the current natural gas boon......and the vast fields discovered in Australia (if they are dumb enough to allow fracking) make me doubt that we are in Africa for natural resources.

I realize why we are/were in Somalia, even though I disagree with anything other than the anti-piracy efforts, but this latest French-led colonial-era BS has be baffled.

Hopefully the French don't try going back to Vietnam, forgetting that we are basically "allies" at this point.


Oh what a fustercluck we have....

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 04:37 AM

8. duplicate topic - locking

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