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U.S. Troops in Niger

Obama has authorized the deployment of 100 U.S. troops for intelligence purposes to Niger aiding the French in operations in Mali:

The US military has deployed about 100 troops in Niger to help coordinate intelligence sharing with the French, whose forces are currently fighting to seize Islamist-controlled territory in Mali, President Obama announced Friday.

The US forces are armed with “weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security,” Obama said in a letter to Congress, adding that Niger officials consented to their deployment. The president said the troops will operate out of Niger to help gather intelligence information about the conflict in Mali, but did not elaborate on any specific plans that will be assigned to them.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after the Nigerian Defense Ministry revealed their approval to host an airbase for unarmed American spy drones, which could be used in Mali to monitor Islamists.

“This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for [the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (IRS) program],” an American military official told the New York Times.

Predator drones would be able to gather detailed information on the whereabouts and actions of militants in Mali, as well as monitor the flow of weapons and fighters from Libya.

While the president did not mention any plans regarding the airbase, his announcement regarding the latest deployment is the latest in a number of US moves to help the French. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in January proclaimed that the US would not get directly involved in the Mali conflict, but would provide assistance in forms of transportation and intelligence-gathering assistance.

4 comments to U.S. Troops in Niger

  • Texacalirose

    “No blood for oil, natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc!! No blood for oil, natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc!!”

  • Kit

    Can you say “Mission Creep”?

  • I have been saying for several years now that the main problem I have with UAV/S is that for a person with low morals, it allows them to participate in war without risking human life (except for the targets of course), making the entire process that much easier for them to do. You’d think the peace loving hippies of the USA would be fighting this concept tooth and nail, because it allows Barry, George or whomever to kill at will, and nobody except the people getting whacked care about it.

    One day the chickens will come home to roost, if we continue down this path.

    Not saying there aren’t uses for this technology, but things are getting out of kilter, if you ask me.

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