[Dehai-WN] The Fiscal Times.com: Libyan Mission Over, But U.S. Deeper into Africa

[Dehai-WN] The Fiscal Times.com: Libyan Mission Over, But U.S. Deeper into Africa

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2011 22:01:51 +0200

Libyan Mission Over, But U.S. Deeper into Africa

By <http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Authors/F/David-Francis.aspx> DAVID
FRANCIS, The Fiscal Times

October 21, 2011

(Lagos, Nigeria) - The death of
or-Oil-Rebound.aspx#page1> Moammar Qaddafi marks the end of an eight-month
NATO military campaign that supported the rebels who brought down the Libyan
dictator. While the future of Libya is uncertain and NATO's mission there
comes to a close today, it is not the end of American engagement in Africa.

The U.S. military is now involved in an advisory capacity in a series of
conflicts across the volatile African continent. For instance, small teams
are with working with the Yemeni military to track down members of al-Qaeda
in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that intelligence analysts say is now more
dangerous than al-Qaeda in Afghanistan or Pakistan. U.S. drones are active
in Yemen, recently killing the American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.

Meanwhile, U.S. drones are also in use in Somalia, another Islamic militant
hotspot. And the Obama administration has committed 100 military advisers to
Uganda to assist in the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army, a militant
group responsible for a whole host of atrocities, including sexual
enslavement and forced child soldiering. In Nigeria, the U.S. has pledged
support in the battle against Boko Haram, an Islamic group in the north that
is threatening to pull the country into civil war. The group is suspected to
have ties to al-Qaeda, although proof of any connection remains tenuous at

So while the United States' work in Libya might be done, its role in many
other African conflicts could change quickly. Africa is an unpredictable
place. As long as the U.S. military is involved here, America's engagement,
both financial and in terms of manpower, will remain equally unpredictable.

Still, the Administration has racked by one more win in the war on
terrorism. The U.S. backing of the
other-Victory-for-Obama.aspx> European-led NATO operation was met with early
criticism. Some Republicans accused the Obama administration of
irresponsibly opening a new front as the U.S. missions in Iraq and
Afghanistan continued. (President Obama announced today that the last
American troops in Iraq will return home by the end of December.)
Republicans also complained about the cost of the mission, a figure that has
never been confirmed publicly. As the U.S. was largely seen as bearing the
biggest burden of the Libyan operation, despite France and Britain taking
the public lead in the fight against Qaddafi.

However, ending Qaddafi's 42-year reign over Libya - an era marked by human
rights abuses, institutional support of terrorism, and the dictator's
murderous eccentricities --is one of the alliance's rare modern successes.
According to reports, it was a NATO airstrike that sent Qaddafi into the
drainage pipe where rebels found him. "After 42 years, Colonel Gaddafi's
rule of fear has finally come to an end," NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh
Rasmussen said Thursday. "Libya can draw a line under a long dark chapter in
its history and turn over a new page. Now the people of Libya can truly
decide their own future."

Where the NATO alliance goes in the future remains unclear. It is in a state
of transition and search for relevancy. Members like Britain, Germany, and
France are making drastic defense cuts that are diminishing military
capabilities. The mission in Afghanistan is drawing to a close, with
European countries biding time until troops can be brought home and
war-weary citizens appeased. By next year, the United States will be the
sole military power left in Afghanistan. As the America prepares to make
defense cuts of its own, its commitment to NATO remains an unanswered

Francis, based in Nigeria, is an International Reporting Project Fellow


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