US considers unilateral strikes on northern Nigeria, Mali and Somalia
The Washington Post reports President Obama is considering the use of “unilateral strikes” against Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia and Azawad held territory in northern Mali. Possibly the use of drone strikes and or military interventions by regional proxies. The US AFRICOM now has surveillance bases situated in a corridor from west to east Africa – Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Seychelles.
The White House is mulling the use of “unilateral strikes” in Africa as part of its ever-expanding war on terror, the Washington Postreports.
The Washington Post reports that “secret meetings”
reflect concern that al-Qaeda’s African affiliate has become more dangerous since gaining control of large pockets of territory in Mali and acquiring weapons from post-revolution Libya. The discussions predate the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. compounds in Libya but gained urgency after the assaults there were linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.
U.S. officials said the discussions have focused on ways to help regional militaries confront al-Qaeda but have also explored the possibility of direct U.S. intervention if the terrorist group continues unchecked.
“Ways to help regional militaries” has included, according to the Washington Post, giving military aid or training to Mali after the March coup and giving millions in military equipment for Mauritania and Niger.
The report cites unnamed officials who say there has been no decision on whether armed drones would be used, though the U.S. has been operating “surveillance flights” from a U.S. Special Operations forces base in Burkina Faso.