Etter det katastrofale angrepet på USAs konsulat i Benghazi i september 2012, besluttet USA å styrke sitt nærvær i Afrika.
180 mann er forlagt til Djibouti og kan dekke Øst-Afria. Det nordlige og vestlige Afrika dekkes fra en base i Spania som å utvides til 850 mann.
Selve Africa Command består av 2.000 mann som skal dekke 38 afrikanske land, og den har base i Stuttgart!
Nå skal det sies at ytterligere 5.000 soldater står til rådighet for oppdrag og opplæring. Antall står likevel ikke i forhold til områdets størrelse.
Det er islamistenes fremvekst som har fått USA til å styrke nærværet i Afrika. Fra Nigeria i vest til Somalia i øst utgjør jihadistene en trussel mot myndigheter og samfunn som forsøker å bevare et minimum av log og rett.
Amid a surge of Islamic militancy in North Africa, a team of fewer than 50 U.S. special operations troops with a single helicopter arrived at a remote base in western Tunisia last month.
Their mission: train Tunisian troops in counter-terrorism tactics.
The operation was one of dozens of U.S. military deployments in Africa over the last year, often to tiny and temporary outposts. The goal is to leverage American military expertise against an arc of growing instability in North Africa and many sub-Saharan countries, from Mali in the west to Somalia in the east.
Men amerikanerne må balansere; lokale myndigheter ønsker ikke et synlig amerikansk nærvær. Amerikanerne i Tunisia må oprere fra baser i ørkenområder.
Oppgaven er å styrke lokale militære og lære opp team av spesialsoldater.
Classified guidance approved by the White House last fall called for the Pentagon to «deter» terrorist attacks from Africa on U.S. territory, facilities or allies without creating a large military footprint, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified material.
U.S. military commanders working in Africa thus rely on small teams of special operations troops, U.S.-trained forces from friendly African countries, and European allies, especially France, that have stepped up their own military presence and operations.
In Niger, for example, U.S. and French air forces based at an airport in Niamey, the capital, are flying unarmed Reaper drones to gather intelligence. They conduct aerial surveillance across several Saharan countries where some members of the Tuareg minority group have joined Islamist warlords and farther south in Nigeria, U.S. military officers say.
Three violent extremist organizations are the chief U.S. concern. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is active in northern and western Africa, especially Mali, and is considered the greatest threat to Americans.
But U.S. troops also are advising the Nigerian army as it establishes a special operations command to combat Boko Haram — which has launched hundreds of violent attacks across Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria — and supporting African Union troops against extremist Shabab militants in Somalia.
USA offentliggjorde i januar at det for første gang siden 1993 har sendt instruktører til Somalia. De ankom landet i desember.
I Djibouti har USA en forpost på 180 mann som kan nå langt hvis en krisesituasjon skulle oppstå.
«Most of the countries we’re dealing with don’t want a large U.S. presence,» said Army Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee Magee, the commander of a 130-soldier «crisis response» unit stationed in Djibouti, a tiny former French colony in the Horn of Africa, where the U.S. maintains its only major military base on the continent.
Known as the East Africa Response Force, Magee’s unit was formed after the September 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound and nearby CIA base in Benghazi, Libya. Africa Command was unable to send troops in time to help CIA and State Department security personnel fend off militants who stormed the compounds and left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
If a U.S. diplomatic post in East Africa comes under attack or U.S. citizens need to be quickly evacuated, Magee said, his unit can deploy within 18 hours and up to 1,500 miles from Djibouti.
Ellers dekkes det nordlige og vestlige Afrika fra en base i Spania.
Another new quick reaction force of 550 Marines, stationed at an air base in Moron, Spain, is charged with responding to crises in North and West Africa, officials say. The force has six V-22 Ospreys, tilt-rotor aircraft that take off and land like helicopters, as well as two refueling tankers. They give the Marines the capability to fly thousands of miles to remote locations in Africa, said Col. Scott Benedict, the commander.
The Pentagon said Friday that the Spanish government had approved an expansion of the force to 850 Marines in April, with the number of aircraft increasing to 16.
Anne Wolf, a Tunis-based analyst who has written for the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center, said even a small number of U.S. troops could inflame Tunisia’s tense security situation.
«Any involvement of foreign troops would risk provoking further responses from violent Salafists,» she said, referring to Tunisia’s Sunni Muslim extremists. «It would confirm their allegations that the government is controlled by foreign powers who are meddling into Tunisian affairs.»