Monday, 18 November, 2019


White House under fire for handling of Niger operation

"I don’t know how this attack unfolded
Bennie Garza | 26 October, 2017, 08:41

He stressed that USA troops were conducting a reconnaissance mission to gather intelligence and that intelligence reports said that contact with an enemy force was "unlikely".

After Daesh lost its de facto capital Raqqa in Syria this month, and its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul earlier, the group "has aspirations to establish a larger presence" in Africa, the USA military's top officer General Joseph Dunford said on Monday. After Johnson's body was returned to the U.S., President Donald Trump credited himself with doing more to honor the dead and console families than any of his predecessors. Nor is it clear why they did not request support until an hour later and not - as previously stated by the Pentagon - half an hour after the battle begun.

Another hour went by before French fighter jets arrived, but the wounded weren't taken out until later in the afternoon when French helicopters arrived along with additional Niger troops.

In recounting the event, Dunford speculated that the troops thought they could defend themselves against the militants who attacked them, but added: "I don't know how this attack unfolded". "The unit stayed a little longer than expected because apparently people were aware that something was going on". "In a sense, that's not terribly unusual here". In reality, the steadily escalating USA military intervention in Africa has been a fairly open secret, provoking disquiet only after the October 4 debacle. He attacked Graham on Twitter on Monday as a "warmonger" who should have known about USA troops in Niger.

The commandos, with the secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), were deployed late on October 4 after three USA soldiers and five Nigerien troops partnered with them were declared killed in action, said three officials, who had familiarity with the operation and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of its sensitivity.

NBC reported: "One theory, said an official with direct knowledge of the military's investigation, said the soldiers were gathering information about the target, and, after learning his whereabouts, chose to pursue him".

The US is carrying out an undeclared war in Niger.

McCain added: "There's a mindset over there that they're a unicameral government".

But, investigative journalist Nick Turse said there is much more to this story.

"My guess is that Niger is just not something that is on the front of a lot of senators' minds and they have a lot of issues that they are working on, and they probably just have not been up to date on what is happening", he said. "But the bias is towards enabling local African partners to conduct operations in Africa". After the Middle East, Africa already has the greatest presence of American special forces. But the general public and USA lawmakers have also not exactly clamored for constant updates. "We're dealing with a challenge that exists from West Africa to Southeast Asia", he said.

According to a report to Congress by General Thomas Waldhauser, who heads the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), the American presence is notable in Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. "A lot is known about what's going on", said Biddle.

Fighting Islamic terrorist movements abroad is a worthy goal, but Congress, the only branch of the USA government empowered by the Constitution to take America to war, should own up to its responsibility under the Constitution and debate a new authorization for military operations overseas.

The event has brought into sharp focus the precarious nature of the U.S. military involvement in Africa. Dunford said the war is moving to multiple arenas.

How successful is the USA military engagement in Africa?

United States military provides training and security assistance to the Nigerien army. "We'll know how many soldiers are there, and if somebody gets killed there, that we won't find out about it in the paper". The ambush and its outcome also show the limits of American power in a country and region where the U.S. is expanding its presence and counterterrorism efforts. "For SFA, small footprints will usually mean small payoffs", it concluded.

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