Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Leading From The Shadows

Train! Assist! Enable!

In Africa - they think they"ve found it... 
And they’re testing it on a large scale. The officials teach the counterterrorism lessons learned in the last decade to foreign militaries, empower them with U.S. capabilities such as intelligence-gathering, and then let the African militaries police their own backyards. 

Doesn’t mean Great Satan will never ever again intervene militarily in another foreign place with boots on the ground, but the more proactive she is in engaging with foreign partners, and the more predictive she is in identifying common threats, the less likely a future intervention will be necessary. 

American officials here call this “African solutions to African problems.” Which is convenient, because borderless "Slamist militants are also American problems. This model represents a new style of American war-fighting for an era of austerity. Call it leading from the shadows. 

Al-Qaida’s affiliates appear to have pivoted their attentions to North Africa and the Middle East after the core leadership was decimated in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Syria, al-Nusra Front, an Islamic extremist group with close ties to the master bomb-makers of al-Qaida in Iraq, has emerged as perhaps the most brutal and successful rebel faction battling Bashar al-Assad. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula captured broad swaths of territory in Yemen last year in the chaos that followed the Yemeni president’s Arab Spring resignation. Meanwhile, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which emerged from Algeria’s civil war of the 1990s, has made $90 million over the past decade from drug smuggling and kidnapping.

Now American officials want to help other African governments fight back, as they have in Somalia. They’ve offered pre-deployment training for nations willing to send troops to Mali, as well as air transport, midair refueling, and intelligence to French troops rushed there to counter an offensive launched by Islamic extremists. U.S. Africa Command has already launched a new drone base in nearby Niger. And American officials are reportedly considering a plan to share intelligence from surveillance drones with Algeria  

The partnership works this way: The United States and its (mostly European) partners provide the expertise and money; Africans provide the fighters. That approach drives the Humanitarian Peace Support School outside of Nairobi. African troops embarking for Somalia receive “pre-deployment” training at the school, where the United States paid to build replicas of a rural village and a town square for realistic tactical exercises. According to State Department sources, once they leave the school, many AMISOM troops fly into Somalia aboard U.S.-funded aircraft, where they will be equipped with U.S.-supplied armored personnel carriers, body armor, and night-vision equipment. 

African tacticians also use U.S.-supplied intelligence, including reconnaissance from Raven unmanned drones. Once in-country, they fight alongside Somali National Army troops that draw a salary from Uncle Sam. If wounded, African Union troops will very likely be evacuated aboard U.S.-funded medevac flights.

A third, unseen and unspoken, pillar of the campaign is direct targeting of enemy leaders. Although sources refused to comment on these attacks, which are carried out by the special operations forces at Camp Lemonnier, Great Satan conducts the same kind of targeted-killing strikes here—reportedly by drone and special operations teams—that it does in Pakistan and Yemen.  

The next front in the shadow war beckons.

Pic - "Using a blend of drones, Special Operations Forces and proxy soldiers, Great Satan has rapidly, but quietly escalated her foothold in Africa"