Actualité militaire au Niger

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Topic author
malikos
Musaïd Awal (مساعد أول)
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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 28 août 2018, 21:55

U.S. Identifies 3 ISIS Militants Who Led Deadly Ambush in Niger
Image
Two French helicopters evacuating American service members in Niger in October.CreditCreditDepartment of Defense, via Associated Press
By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Helene Cooper
May 29, 2018

WASHINGTON — The United States has identified at least three Islamic State leaders accused of planning and directing an ambush last October in Niger that killed four American soldiers, officials said, locking the American military in an additional and possibly lengthy campaign to hunt and kill members of a little-known extremist group in northwest Africa.

The group, known as ISIS in the Greater Sahara, claimed responsibility in January for the Oct. 4 attack. The group was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department two weeks ago.

One of the three militants that led the ambush, Doundoun Cheffou, is most likely alive, according to government documents that were described to The New York Times by two United States military officials who were not authorized to discuss them publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The other two militants — Tinka ag Almouner and Al Mahmoud ag Baye, the latter of whom is believed to have trailed the team of Americans until shortly before they were attacked — were killed in the ambush.

Two higher-ranking militants are also likely alive and connected to the attack, although it is unclear how, according to one of the military officials.

Mr. Cheffou’s whereabouts is unknown, according to the documents. The American soldiers and Nigerien troops were searching for Mr. Cheffou, a one-time cattle herder and a senior lieutenant of a former affiliate of Al Qaeda, when they left their base on the fateful mission in October that was later code-named Operation Desolate Bastion by the Pentagon.https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/us/p ... collection


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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 28 août 2018, 22:53

Une base aérienne américaine proche des frontières sud algérienne
Algeriatoday.info/ 27 août 2018- Rédigé par Mourad

L’armée de l’air américaine est sur le point d’achever la construction d’une base aérienne au Niger pour des drones armés qui cibleront des groupes militants opérant dans la région, a déclaré à VOA (voanews.com) un responsable militaire américain.

« A ce jour, l’armée de l’air a dépensé environ 86,5 millions de dollars pour le projet de construction de la base aérienne nigérienne 201 », a déclaré à VOA Auburn Davis, porte-parole de l’US Air Force Europe et Air Force Africa.

« Le coût total estimé de la construction, y compris les projets prévus pour l’exercice 19, est de 98,5 millions de dollars », a ajouté Davis.

Elle a déclaré que la base, située dans la ville d’Agadez, dans le nord du Niger, est le plus grand projet de construction mené par l’US Air Force de son histoire.

Agadez est une ville stratégique située dans le désert du Sahara, avec un accès facile pour les militants et les passeurs vers et depuis la Libye, l’Algérie, le Mali et le Tchad.

Environ 650 militaires américains seront déployés sur la base une fois qu’ils seront opérationnels. Un nombre indéterminé de drones militaires, dont des MQ-9, opérant actuellement depuis la capitale, Niamey, seraient transférés à la base, selon l’armée américaine.

Militarisation du Sahel
Certains analystes de la sécurité, tels que William Assanvo, coordinateur régional pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest à l’Institut des études sur la sécurité en Afrique, estiment que cette décision indique que la région devient de plus en plus militarisée.

« Cette tendance soulève certaines inquiétudes quant à l’intrusion de puissances étrangères au Sahel pour poursuivre des intérêts nationaux qui ne sont pas toujours clairs, et qui ne correspondent peut-être pas aux intérêts nationaux des pays d’accueil », a déclaré Assanvo.

« Cela pourrait aussi déclencher une escalade des attaques et des affrontements pou rjustifier le soi-disant Jihad, certains groupes extrémistes prétendent se battre », a ajouté Assanvo.

Les responsables nigériens, cependant, considèrent la construction de la base d’Agadez comme une nécessité pour faire face à la menace croissante du terrorisme qui constitue une menace pour la sécurité du Niger et de la région.

« Nos problèmes proviennent de la Libye. La région [entre Agadez et la frontière libyenne] est vaste, non peuplée. Les terroristes se déplacent librement », a déclaré à la VOA Kalla Mountari, ministre nigérien de la défense.

L’armée américaine a déclaré que la décision de transférer les actifs de Niamey à Agadez et de construire la base là-bas avait été prise en consultation et en coordination avec le gouvernement du Niger.

« Le gouvernement du Niger a demandé au Commandement des Etats-Unis pour l’Afrique (AFRICOM) de transférer les avoirs des ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance et Reconnaissance] de Niamey à Agadez », a déclaré à VOA le porte-parole de l’US Air Force Africa.

Assanvo, de l’Institute for Security Studies Africa, estime que cette décision pourrait également faire partie des efforts déployés par l’armée américaine pour éviter une présence discrète dans la région sans provoquer une opposition potentielle de la part de la population locale.

« La base d’Agadez a l’avantage de rendre la présence américaine moins visible, loin de la capitale nigérienne, Niamey », a déclaré Assanvo. « Ceci est important, étant donné l’opposition évidente d’une partie importante de la population nigérienne au sujet de la présence croissante de l’Occident dans le pays ».

L’intervention militaire étrangère au Sahel ne sera jamais la solution
l’expert et chercheur algérien en questions sécuritaires et stratégiques, Ahmed Mizab a estimé, à l’université M’hamed Bouguerra à Boumerdès, que « l’approche sécuritaire proposée par les partisans de l’intervention militaire étrangère dans la région du Sahel n’a pas été et ne sera jamais une solution aux problèmes de la région ».

Dans son intervention sur « La situation sécuritaire au Sahel africain et ses répercussions sur la cause sahraouie », lors des travaux à l’avant dernier jour de l’université d’été des cadres et militants du Front Polisario et de la République sahraouie, M. Mizab a précisé que « l’approche sécuritaire proposée par les partisans de l’intervention militaire étrangère dans la région n’a pas été, et ne sera jamais une solution aux problèmes de la région, un principe et une notion que défend constamment la diplomatie algérienne ».

Le chercheur a estimé, par ailleurs, que l’intervention militaire étrangère et le déploiement dans la région de bases militaires pour drones « n’avaient pas pour but de lutter contre le terrorisme et le crime organisé, mais s’inscrivaient plutôt dans le cadre des batailles et concurrence entre grandes puissances à des fins économiques »,https://www.algeriatoday.info/une-base- ... lgerienne/


Topic author
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Musaïd Awal (مساعد أول)
Musaïd Awal (مساعد أول)
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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 03 septembre 2018, 21:03

training needed, yes indeed. Get trained by the algerians, we are the experts. :D
Niger ambush prompts training changes for special operations in Africa

Soldiers from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) train Senegal soldiers on how to clear a room in a glass house during Flintlock 2018 in Tahoua, Niger, April 13, 2018. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said changes are in the works for how special operations forces are assigned to missions in Africa.

HEATHER DOPPKE/U.S. ARMY

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By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: August 29, 2018

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the military will modify how special operations forces are prepared for missions in Africa because of a deadly ambush by extremists last year in Niger that revealed a lack of training for troops heading into hot spots.

“On the Niger situation, we are making changes on the personnel assignment policy,” Mattis told Pentagon reporters on Tuesday. “As you know, one of the things we uncovered was some of those troops did not train together, what we thought was for a sufficiently long — long enough time.”

Mattis, who is reviewing changes recommended by U.S. Africa Command, said some new requirements have already been put into place.


A soldier from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) demonstrates how to clear a room in a glass house as part of Flintlock 2018 in Tahoua, Niger, April 13, 2018.
HEATHER DOPPKE/U.S. ARMY

An AFRICOM investigation of the October ambush, which killed four U.S. soldiers and brought intense scrutiny to a previously obscure American counterterrorism campaign, determined that the members of the Green Beret and Nigerien team known as Team Ouallam had little experience together as a unit.

The investigation found that there were areas where training was insufficient, including pre-deployment collective training for Team Ouallam due to high turnover and the assignment of new members,” Maj. Karl Weist, an AFRICOM spokesman, said Wednesday in a statement.

Mattis directed AFRICOM, U.S. Special Operations Command, the Army and the Pentagon’s personnel and readiness office to develop plans to fix the various shortcomings. Those recommendations were recently submitted to Mattis’ office for consideration.

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AFRICOM said it will release more details once Mattis’ review is finished.

While the investigation into the ambush highlighted errors in training and planning, lower-level officers were singled out for missteps rather than senior AFRICOM and SOCOM leaders.

Mattis said there would be no pause in counterterrorism efforts.

“As far as … our continued operations there, we continue in support of the French-led trans-Sahel effort down there. And in building … our partner nations’ capacity to fight this enemy.”

On Sunday, France launched an attack in Mali against members of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, a group that was blamed for the attack against U.S. and Nigerien troops last year. The French military said Mohamed Ag Almouner, the leader of the group, was killed in the strike near Mali’s border with Niger. https://www.stripes.com/niger-ambush-pr ... +Headlines


Topic author
malikos
Musaïd Awal (مساعد أول)
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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 03 septembre 2018, 21:06

...however that is even better :super:
After Deadly Raid, Pentagon Weighs Withdrawing Almost All Commandos From Niger
Image
United States Special Forces troops helped train Nigerien soldiers in first aid in Agadez in April.CreditCreditTara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times
By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt
Sept. 2, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of a deadly October ambush that killed four United States soldiers.

Three Defense Department officials said the plans, if approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, would also close military outposts in Tunisia, Cameroon, Libya and Kenya, as well as seven of the eight American elite counterterrorism units operating in Africa.

The shift in forces is part of the Pentagon’s defense strategy to focus on threats from China and Russia. But they represent a more severe cut of Special Operations forces in Africa than initially expected, leaving a lasting, robust military presence primarily in Somalia and Nigeria.

The proposal does not say that any additional troops would return to Africa even as Special Operations units gradually draw down. Officials said that could reverse progress that has been made against Al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates, while diminishing alliances across Africa as both Russia and China move to increase their influence.

With the reassignment of the counterterrorism teams, American troops could also lose the ability to partner with local forces who act as surrogates to help track and hunt down insurgents. It could also strip those local forces of some of the more advanced American gear they are given when teamed up with American troops.

The military’s Special Operations Command is authorized to spend up to $100 million annually to support partner forces around the world under the program that the counterterrorism teams fall under, known as 127e. The command spent $80 million during the 2017 fiscal year to finance 21 of the programs worldwide, Gen. Tony Thomas, the Special Operations commander, told Congress in February.


The Pentagon’s defense strategy, issued in January, represents a renewed shift from fighting the insurgent wars of the last 16 years to large state-on-state conflicts.

To comply with the proposed change, the United States Africa Command will reassign hundreds of American troops that are currently spread across the continent. That move is expected to be carried out over the next 18 to 36 months, but one Defense Department official said the timeline was likely to be accelerated once the proposal was approved and final.

In an interview with The New York Times in July, Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, head of the Africa Command, said other training teams could still rotate in periodically for days or weeks of instruction if the Pentagon reduced its permanent troop presence in Africa.

He said those teams could be brought in from National Guard units from California, Indiana, Michigan and other states.

“We won’t walk away and abandon this,” General Waldhauser said.

The defense strategy that was unveiled in January, coupled with the deadly attack in Niger, has fast-tracked decisions by Mr. Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to end some of the missions in Africa, military officials have said.

General Dunford and Mr. Mattis, a former four-star Marine general, had little experience working directly with commando units when they were younger officers progressing up the chain of command. That has fostered an institutional skepticism about the American military’s increasing reliance on Special Operations Forces in recent years, like those spread across Africa.

In the interview, General Waldhauser said that other combatant commands, such as those that cover the Middle East and the Pacific, will face similar changes. But one Defense Department official familiar with the deliberations said the Pentagon’s changes would largely affect the Africa Command, which was created only in 2007, years after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan got underway.

Another Defense Department official said the move to close the commando outposts would greatly diminish American influence in Africa and could prove to be shortsighted.

The first official, however, said local African forces had become increasingly capable in fighting extremists on their own, and do not need permanent assistance from American troops, at least in some areas. Additionally, that official said, the American commandos could return if necessary.

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American troops on the ground in Africa have already found their missions scaled back by stringent restrictions placed on Special Operations forces following the Oct. 4 ambush in Niger. Extremists linked to the Islamic State attacked the Green Beret team following its search for a militant near the Mali border, leading to an hourslong gunfight that killed four American soldiers, their translator and four Nigerien troops. A Pentagon investigation found failures at every level of the mission.

Since then, American commandos have been refocused strictly to advising and assisting missions from within the walls of their remote bases. During a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Mattis said the Pentagon was changing training requirements for Special Operations teams to be better prepared for missions in Africa.

Under the new plans, American forces would most likely work on limited missions in certain countries in Africa for what are called Joint Combined Exchange Training programs. The missions, conducted in nonhostile environments, last 30 to 60 days.

Many American commandos in Africa are currently on six-month deployments that seek to forge relationships and provide training that has a lasting impact on local troops.

An Africom spokesman referred questions about the plans to the Pentagon. As of yet, said Maj. Karl J. Wiest, “there has been no direction at this time to adjust forces operating in any combatant command.”

Alice Hunt Friend, a senior fellow at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, said the proposal’s impact depended on whether the Pentagon continued to prioritize certain missions — whether aerial reconnaissance out of drone bases like the one in Agadez, Niger, where roughly 400 troops are based, or supplying local forces with weapons and equipment.

She expressed doubt that local governments would continue to sustain pressure against extremist groups without support from American troops in the ground fight.

“The idea that capitals are going to project governance into the sparsely populated areas is just ahistorical,” Ms. Friend said. “If the theory that sustained pressure on militant groups keeps them from being able to topple governments, then we should see some serious challenges in the wake of U.S. reductions.”

There are about 1,200 Special Operations forces in Africa. The proposal calls for cutting them — and supporting troops — by 50 percent over the next three years. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/02/worl ... niger.html


Topic author
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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 03 septembre 2018, 21:09

1


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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 09 septembre 2018, 22:18

...and another "secret" drone base....
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/worl ... itary.html

C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump
Video
How a C.I.A. Drone Base Grew in the Desert

By Christoph Koettl, David Botti and Eric Schmitt

Officials from the U.S. and Niger have confirmed the location of a new C.I.A. drone base to The New York Times. We’ve analyzed its construction and location.Published OnSept. 9, 2018CreditCreditImage by Planet Labs
By Joe Penney, Eric Schmitt, Rukmini Callimachi and Christoph Koettl
Sept. 9, 2018

DIRKOU, Niger — The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.

Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.

But now the C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.

Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. Satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.

One American official said the drones had not yet been used in lethal missions, but would almost certainly be in the near future, given the growing threat in southern Libya. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive operations.

A C.I.A. spokesman, Tim Barrett, declined to comment. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, said the military had maintained a base at the Dirkou airfield for several months but did not fly drone missions from there.

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The drones take off from Dirkou at night — typically between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. — buzzing in the clear, starlit desert sky. A New York Times reporter saw the gray aircraft — about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long — flying at least three times over six days in early August. Unlike small passenger planes that land occasionally at the airport, the drones have no blinking lights signaling their presence.

“All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.

Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security. “It’s always good. If people see things like that, they’ll be scared,” Mr. Jerome said.

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Mr. Obama had curtailed the C.I.A.’s lethal role by limiting its drone flights, notably in Yemen. Some strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere that accidentally killed civilians, stirring outrage among foreign diplomats and military officials, were shielded because of the C.I.A.’s secrecy.

Image
A Niger Airlines plane at the airstrip in Dirkou last month.CreditJoe Penney for The New York Times
As part of the shift, the Pentagon was given the unambiguous lead for such operations. The move sought, in part, to end an often awkward charade in which the United States would not concede its responsibility for strikes that were abundantly covered by news organizations and tallied by watchdog groups. However, the C.I.A. program was not fully shut down worldwide, as the agency and its supporters in Congress balked.

The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to President Trump that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained. The Dirkou base was already up and running by the time Mr. Pompeo stepped down as head of the C.I.A. in April to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.

The Pentagon’s Africa Command has carried out five drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago. The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from bases in Sicily and in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou.

But the C.I.A. base is hundreds of miles closer to southwestern Libya, a notorious haven for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. It is also closer to southern Libya than a new $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou, where the Pentagon plans to operate armed Reaper drone missions by early next year.

Another American official said the C.I.A. began setting up the base in January to improve surveillance of the region, partly in response to an ambush last fall in another part of Niger that killed four American troops. The Dirkou airfield was labeled a United States Air Force base as a cover, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational matters.

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The C.I.A. operation in Dirkou is burdened by few, if any, of the political sensitivities that the United States military confronts at its locations, said one former American official involved with the project.

Even so, security analysts said, it is not clear why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya. France also flies Reaper drones from Niamey, but only on unarmed reconnaissance missions.

“I would be surprised that the C.I.A. would open its own base,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which tracks military strikes against militant groups.

Despite American denials, a Nigerien security official said he had concluded that the C.I.A. launched an armed drone from the Dirkou base to strike a target in Ubari, in southern Libya, on July 25. The Nigerien security official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

A spokesman for the Africa Command, Maj. Karl Wiest, said the military did not carry out the Ubari strike.

Ubari is in the same region where the American military in March launched its first-ever drone attack against Qaeda militants in southern Libya. It is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya’s borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area’s seminomadic residents are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.

Image

Dirkou is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, 300 miles south of the Libyan border.CreditJoe Penney for The New York Times
Some of the residents have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.

Dirkou, in northeast Niger, is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, bordered by a small mountain range. For centuries, it has been a key transit point for travelers crossing the Sahara. It helped facilitate the rise of Islam in West Africa in the 9th century, and welcomed salt caravans from the neighboring town of Bilma.

The town has a handful of narrow, sandy roads. Small trees dot the horizon. Date and neem trees line the streets, providing shelter for people escaping the oppressive midday heat. There is a small market, where goods for sale include spaghetti imported from Libya. Gasoline is also imported from Libya and is cheaper than elsewhere in the country.

The drones based in Dirkou are loud, and their humming and buzzing drowns out the bleats of goats and crows of roosters.

“It stops me from sleeping,” said Ajimi Koddo, 45, a former migrant smuggler. “They need to go. They go in our village, and it annoys us too much.”

Satellite imagery shows that construction started in February on a new compound at the Dirkou airstrip. Since then, the facility has been extended to include a larger paved taxiway and a clamshell tent connected to the airstrip — all features that are consistent with the deployment of small aircraft, possibly drones.

Five defensive positions were set up around the airport, and there appear to be new security gates and checkpoints both to the compound and the broader airport.

It’s not the first time that Washington has eyed with interest Dirkou’s tiny base. In the late 1980s, the United States spent $3.2 million renovating the airstrip in an effort to bolster Niger’s government against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, then the leader of Libya.

Compared with other parts of Africa, the C.I.A.’s presence in the continent’s northwest is relatively light, according to a former State Department official who served in the region. In this part of Niger, the C.I.A. is also providing training and sharing intelligence, according to a Nigerien military intelligence document reviewed by The Times.

The Nigerien security official said about a dozen American Green Berets were stationed earlier this year in Dirkou — in a base separate from the C.I.A.’s — to train a special counterterrorism battalion of local forces. Those trainers left about three months ago, the official said.

It is unlikely that they will return anytime soon. The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of the deadly October ambush that killed four United States soldiers.

Joe Penney reported from Dirkou, Niger, Eric Schmitt from Washington and Rukmini Callimachi and Christoph Koettl from New York. Omar Hama Saley contributed reporting from Agadez, Niger, Dionne Searcey from Dakar, Senegal, and Helene Cooper from Washington.

Dernière modification par malikos le 09 septembre 2018, 23:00, modifié 1 fois.


Topic author
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Musaïd Awal (مساعد أول)
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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 09 septembre 2018, 22:25

...troops on the ground out....drones in...
(to me sounds like a bad joke)
Shadowy U.S. Drone War in Africa Set to Expand
Deployment of armed drones in Niger coincides with a new U.S. plan to withdraw some troops.
BY LARA SELIGMAN | SEPTEMBER 4, 2018, 1:51 PM
A French soldier involved in the regional anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane stands guard next to a Reaper drone at the French military air base in Niamey, Niger, on March 14, 2016. (Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images)
A French soldier involved in the regional anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane stands guard next to a Reaper drone at the French military air base in Niamey, Niger, on March 14, 2016. (Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images)
The U.S. military will begin flying armed drones out of a remote base in Niger in the coming months, marking a significant escalation of the Defense Department’s little-noticed war against violent extremists in Africa.

The MQ-9 Reapers will operate from new facilities the U.S. Air Force is building at an existing Nigerien base in Agadez for nearly $100 million. Until recently, the drones have been based in Niger’s capital and used solely to collect intelligence on militant groups operating in the region.

But last November, following an attack that killed five Nigerien and four American troops near the village of Tongo Tongo, the government of Niger requested that the United States begin deploying armed drones against jihadi groups.

The Tongo Tongo ambush spotlighted a policy issue that draws little public attention in the United States—the ongoing war in Africa’s Sahel region against militant groups emboldened by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

It also brought new scrutiny to the Agadez project, offering a window into the U.S. military’s quiet buildup on the continent.

I suspect it is part of this concern around the terrorist organizations in the Sahel region that give no sign of being defeated anytime soon,” said Joshua Meservey, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, citing groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram, and others.

“They have carried out a number of attacks that have been high profile and very concerning,” he said.

Much of the violence is centered in Niger’s volatile southwest region. One of the poorest nations in Africa, Niger has all the ingredients for instability and violence: economic woes, an illicit drug and weapons trade, human trafficking, and borders with volatile nations, particularly Libya and Mali.

The French military is also heavily involved there, deploying thousands of troops across West Africa to fight Islamist militants.

The Pentagon insists that U.S. troops do not have a direct combat mission in Niger. Its 800 personnel there include special operations troops who train Nigerien forces to conduct counterterrorism raids and defend themselves against ambushes.

But the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Tongo Tongo have raised concerns about mission creep. Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command, said this year that the soldiers were playing a backup role for Nigerien forces on a mission against jihadis and did not intend to get involved in direct combat.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, during their meeting in Sochi, Russia, on May 17. (Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP/Getty Images) Trump’s Post-ISIS Retreat Leaves Syria Vulnerable to Russia and Iran
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“The direct cause of the enemy attack in Tongo Tongo is that the enemy achieved tactical surprise there, and our forces were outnumbered approximately 3 to 1,” said Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier Jr., who was then Africom’s chief of staff and now commands U.S. Army Africa. “There was some processes at all levels of the chain of command that need to be improved.”

Agadez will be only the second place the United States deploys armed drones in Africa. Drones stationed in Djibouti are used for airstrikes in Yemen and Somalia, while drones used against targets in Libya are flown from Sicily. (The United States reportedly began flying armed drones out of Air Base 101 in Niamey in January, but these reports are unconfirmed.)

The United States also flies unarmed surveillance drones from bases in Tunisia and Cameroon.

Meservey said the deployment of armed drones in Agadez would “give a little bit more teeth to the ongoing operations.”

The relocation of the MQ-9 Reapers from Air Base 101 to the new facilities at Agadez has been planned since 2014. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

The buildup coincides with calls within the Pentagon to draw down troops in the region. Following the Tongo Tongo ambush, Waldhauser proposed reassigning hundreds of U.S. troops on the continent and winding down special operations missions there. More recently, the New York Times reported that the Defense Department plans to accelerate that drawdown.

That has caused the Pentagon to rethink … the special operators’ posture in that region,” Meservey said. “Drones have a smaller footprint, they are easier to run and deploy, and they don’t [attract as much] attention.”

Maj. Karl Wiest, a spokesman for Africom, told Foreign Policy that the Pentagon is reviewing operations around the globe in accordance with the new National Defense Strategy’s pivot away from counterterrorism operations and toward coping with broad threats posed by Russia and China. But he said the Pentagon has not yet directed any combatant command to adjust forces.

The key question will be whether the armed drones help the United States sustain gains made against militants as it draws down its troop presence—without upsetting the delicate political balance in the region, said Alice Hunt Friend, a senior fellow in the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

I think the government-to-government relationship with Niger for the moment will hold steady, but from a community relations perspective and from a public relations perspective … African communities are extremely sensitive to U.S. presence,” Friend said. “Drones could certainly upset that latent anxiety.https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/04/sh ... to-expand/
Dernière modification par malikos le 09 septembre 2018, 23:01, modifié 1 fois.


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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 09 septembre 2018, 22:36

...punishment shall follow...may this is the beginning of a rise against US presence and particular on illegal warfare worldwide.
Clearly, Algeria is in the committee which issued that note against drone use...I guess that is another way of saying:
"...get out, we do not want your drones flying over us..."
https://www.justsecurity.org/60589/nige ... ights-law/

Niger Facing Pressure to Ensure U.S. and French Drone Strikes Comply with Human Rights Law
by Rahma A. Hussein, Alex Moorehead and Jonathan Horowitz
September 6, 2018

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Thanks to the diligent work of journalists, Just Security readers probably know by now that the United States has a squadron of armed drones based in the West African nation of Niger. Recent reports suggest that the U.S. military is on the brink of expanding this deployment, even as it plans to withdraw troops in the aftermath of a now infamous October 2017 incident in which four Army Special Forces members were killed. What has received less attention is that one of Africa’s top human rights institutions is starting to apply its legal standards to the use of these drones.

At its February session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) reviewed Niger’s compliance with its human rights obligations. In that review—published only recently—the Commission called on Niger to:

“Ensure respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, particularly regarding the use of combat drones and carry out independent and impartial investigations into all deaths caused by drones and bring the alleged perpetrators to justice, including payment of compensation to the victims and members of their family.

The Commission’s recommendation urging Niger to ensure that armed drone use complies with international law comes at a particularly significant moment and foreshadows concerns about the potential expansion of drone use from Niger’s territory. Even before expanding its military footprint to Niger, the U.S. actively operated drones (both armed and unarmed) on and from the African continent to counter suspected terrorist threats for years. The U.S. military is also just one of several foreign militaries that has expanded its military presence in Niger and across the African continent in recent years. (Note, however, that U.S. military policy in the region is in a state of flux: after the Niger raid, the Defense Department considered withdrawing all its special operations forces from Niger and recently submitted a plan that seeks to reduce the number of special operations troops and missions in West and Central Africa, even as it continues construction of a new air base in Niger. With fewer ground forces, it is possible that the United States will rely more heavily on drones to counter presumed threats in the region.)

Despite this presence, until the Commission’s recommendation to Niger earlier this year, African human rights institutions have not provided explicit guidance to member states on these kinds of consent-based foreign military operations and drone use. The Commission’s timely remarks to Niger mark the first time it has seriously assessed the issue of armed drones on the continent and urged a state to take action.

U.S. and French involvement in Niger

The Commission is right to be concerned. U.S. military involvement in Niger flew almost completely beneath the radar for years until four members of the Army Special Forces were killed in a high profile incident in October 2017. Detailed reporting in the aftermath of the incident revealed both that the U.S. military had a sizeable presence in Niger that was much larger than many realized and that members of Congress apparently knew very little about it.

In the weeks that followed, it became clear that the Army Special Forces incident was part of increasingly robust U.S. engagement in Niger and the region. As early as 2013, the U.S. and Niger struck a deal allowing the U.S. to build an airbase that would house surveillance drones to support the French-led operation in Mali. In late 2017, news reports revealed that Niger had agreed to let the U.S. outfit surveillance drones already stationed in Niger with armed capabilities. Pursuant to this agreement, U.S. Africa Command confirmed in July that it had been operating armed drones out of Niamey, the country’s capital, since “early 2018.” In March, the U.S. reportedly killed an al-Qaeda leader in Libya with an armed drone flown from its base in Niger. And, today, a new U.S.-constructed air base in Agadez in central Niger, dubbed “Nigerien Air Base 201,” is only a few months away from completion. The base, with a construction cost of around $100 million, could reportedly host approximately 650 military personnel and be the new home for a U.S. armed drone squadron.

The French also have a sizeable military presence in Niger and have made similar moves to enhance their operational capabilities there. In September 2017, French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced a plan to arm its Niger-based surveillance drones that were supporting “Operation Barkhane,” France’s sprawling regional counter-terrorism effort that began in 2014 and consists of 3,000 to 4,000 troops across five countries. France reportedly has five drones in Niger, although more are on the way.

The U.S. and France both state that the main purpose of their presence in the Sahel is to combat terrorism. In June, President Donald Trump asserted that U.S. forces are in the Sahel region “to provide support to African and European partners conducting counterterrorism operations in the region, including by advising, assisting, and accompanying these partner forces.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), even while admitting he did not know U.S. forces were in Niger, claimed that “U.S. forces were there to prevent another platform to attack America and our allies.” Yet experts in the region, while acknowledging the significant security challenges countries face, have expressed concern that armed groups in the Sahel “pose at most a minimal threat to the continental United States.

Similarly, France has maintained its presence in Niger under the banner of Operation Barkhane, with the French defense minister saying in 2014 that France needed to stay in the region as “there still is a major risk that jihadists develop in the area that runs from the Horn of Africa to Guinea-Bissau.” However, commentators expressed concern at the time that “France is starting a lengthy and risky military endeavor in a vast region, with no apparent end in sight.”

Accordingly, ACHPR’s decision to hone in on a key aspect of the foreign military presence in the Sahel seems both timely and a portent of greater oversight of armed drone use in the context of open-ended foreign military engagements in Niger and the Sahel region more broadly.

Main Implications

Foreign Drone Use in Niger: The Commission’s recommendation is especially salient to U.S. and French military operations in Niger. Although we are not aware of any instances of U.S. or French drones strikes occurring in Niger, the Commission is staying ahead of the game by placing legal obligations on a state in which armed drones might be used—in this case by a state that not only consented to their use, but reportedly requested that at least one of those states (the U.S.) use them. And while the Commission’s recommendation focuses on armed drones, its legal reasoning applies equally as strongly to the use of lethal force more generally by, for example, any foreign ground forces operating in Niger.

In many ways, this is nothing too extraordinary. The legal reasoning simply builds upon an already generally accepted principle of human rights law that, as the Commission has written elsewhere, a state has “a positive duty to protect individuals and groups from real and immediate risks to their lives caused either by actions…of third parties.” To that end, the Commission’s Principles and Guidelines on Human and Peoples’ Rights while Countering Terrorism in Africa also instructs states to protect human rights by taking “all practical steps to determine whether foreign entity activities on, and movements through, their territory involve such practices,” and to “withhold cooperation that would result in a violation of international human rights, humanitarian, or refugee law.”

The Commission’s recommendation is an important reaffirmation of the principles that 1) a state cannot detach itself from its human rights obligations when another state engages in lethal action on its territory and 2) a state cannot consent to another state’s activities on its territory if those activities would be unlawful for the host to do them (a topic one of us has written about extensively).

The implications of this are significant. In practice, the Commission is telling Niger that it cannot give U.S. and France carte blanche drone use. The Commission is 100 percent correct on this point. To implement and operationalize the Commission’s recommendation, at a minimum Niger should notify both countries of the legal standards that apply to drones strikes in its territory and obtain an agreement that foreign states will apply those legal standards. Niger should also study, analyse, and monitor the policies, practices, and lawfulness of U.S. and French drones use to date, and prohibit the use of armed drones on its territory if it is known that they were used unlawfully or it is reasonably foreseeable that their use will result in unlawful strikes.

The second half of the Commission’s recommendation—calling on Niger to conduct independent and impartial investigations into drone-caused deaths—is also relevant to to ensuring U.S. and French drones comply with international law: Niger must have in place effective accountability mechanisms that can respond to allegations of unlawful strikes. The Commission’s recommendations are consistent with international standards on investigations into the use of lethal force by state actors in situations outside an armed conflict. The recommendation also closely aligns with experts and international standards, which hold that “civilian casualties must be determined” and that where “it appears that casualties have resulted from an attack, a post-operation assessment should be conducted to establish the facts” when those deaths occur in situations of armed conflict.

Foreign Drone Use Beyond Niger: The context in which the Commission framed its recommendation is, potentially, also immensely important. There is good reason to interpret the Commission’s recommendation as not only placing a responsibility on Niger to ensure that future drone strikes in its territory comply with international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL), but also as placing a responsibility on Niger to ensure the same with respect to extraterritorial strikes that the U.S. and France launch from its territory in Libya or the broader Sahel region.

The Commission’s recommendation flows from its concern that drones have “caused deaths among the civilian population.” We are not aware of any reports that the U.S. or France have launched drone strikes within Niger (if readers know differently, we would be most interested to hear) and, as such, this leads us to believe that the geographic broadness of the Commission’s concern, and therefore the geographic broadness of its recommendation, may be purposeful.

Also notable was the Commission’s decision to locate its concern and recommendation about drones under the heading of “Right to Peace and Security” in its report, which corresponds to Article 23 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Commission has previously found that Article 23 of the African Charter places far-reaching geographic obligations on states to respect the right to international peace and security. Under this article, states are under an obligation to resolve disputes peacefully and, in preserving peace, must not violate the rights of people in other states that have signed up to the Charter.

Given this context, the Commission appears to be addressing the issue of drones not just as a human rights issue but also as a matter of international peace and security due to the tensions that may arise when drones launched from one nation result in the death of people living in another country. When seen through this lens, framing drones as an Article 23 issue is both appropriate and adds a level of conceptual depth that is rarely discussed during technical legal debates around drones and the scope of a country’s human rights obligations. This framing also echoes growing concerns about the increased proliferation of armed drones and the impact that a minority of powerful states are having on the international order and peace and security due to their expansive views on when force is permitted under international law.

Domestic Drones Use: This post focuses on how Niger must ensure foreign drone use complies with IHRL and IHL. There is nothing, however, in the Commission’s recommendation that prevents this legal reasoning from extending to how Niger, or any other African state may use armed drones domestically. It is legally obvious that a state’s domestic use of lethal drones must comply with IHRL and IHL (when applicable). It is equally obvious that independent and effective investigation mechanisms need to be in place to address instances of drone-caused deaths. That the weight of the recommendation does not hinge on third party drone use makes the Committee’s recommendation especially strong, and of normative value, addressing an issue (domestic armed drone use) that has yet to be widely seen on the continent, but certainly might become relevant. Nigeria in particular, the only party to the African Charter known to have carried out a drone strike on its own territory, should take note of where the Commission is headed. The first known strike took place in Nigeria in 2016..

Next steps

There is a clear need for those concerned about the human rights implications of armed drones to ensure follow up and state compliance with the African Commission’s recommendations, not least because U.S. and French armed forces will be in Niger for the foreseeable future. As with any similar international mechanism, nongovernmental organizations and the media have a key role to play to support implementation of the Commission’s recommendations and demand from the Nigerien government (or any other government that allows foreign states to base their armed drones in its territory) answers to a number of important, practical questions, including:

What safeguards has Niger put in place to ensure that U.S. and French actions are in accordance with Niger’s own international and domestic legal obligations?
What is Niger doing to monitor the actions of France and the U.S.?
What are the details of Niger’s agreements with France and the U.S.?
What measures does Niger have in place to ensure accountability for allegations of wrongdoing by France and the U.S.?
What procedures does Niger have in place to withhold or withdraw its consent to foreign operations on or from its territory if there are concerns that France and the U.S. are engaging in unlawful strikes?
Dernière modification par malikos le 09 septembre 2018, 23:05, modifié 1 fois.


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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 09 septembre 2018, 22:38



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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 09 septembre 2018, 22:49

In summary...and as most here in the forum suspected, there are more bases in niger, which have semi-permanent character.

Still, lies are presented to us, and the word lie is the best I can grasp for the responsibility and relationship of the missions and control of those drones. They are to 100% US controlled, for 100% US lead missions, with no proof what so ever of the contrary, or any mission oversight or approval process by the host nation. The memorandum signed by the host nation niger gives all sovereignty away and precludes the US of any host nation oversight, as well as control procedures, or legal claims against US personnel.

The African Human Rights Commission is very right to "rost" the government of niger and put pressure on them. Drone strikes are extrajudicial killings and illegal in almost all cases. When does a nation or an international organization take a host nation or the Drone sending the nation to the international court of justice in Den Haag? For how long do we need to wait for that?

Enough is enough...


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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 10 septembre 2018, 21:05




Le commandant du G5-SAHEL reçu par le président Nigérien
-AA+A
Soumis par lawan le ven, 07/09/2018 - 19:50
Version imprimableEnvoyez par emailVersion PDF
Par Agence Nigérienne de Presse
septembre 7, 2018
NIAMEY, 7 sept (ANP) – Le Président de la République Chef de l’Etat Issoufou Mahamadou a reçu ce vendredi 7 septembre 2018 les nouveau Commandants entrant et sortant de la Force conjointe G5 Sahel, les Généraux de Division Hanana Hanana et Didier Dacko.
Le Général mauritanien Hanana Hanana remplace à la tête de ce commandement le malien, Didier Dacko.
A leur sortie d’audience, ils n’ont pas fait de déclaration à la presse. ils se sont rendus ensuite au centre de commandement de la Force conjointe G5 Sahel de Niamey. le Fuseau centre qui regroupe les forces du Niger, du Mali et du Burkina Faso pour la cérémonie de décoration du Commandant sortant, le Général de Division Didier Dacko.
Après la revue des troupes par les commandants de la force conjointe et du Chef d’état major des armées, le Général de Corps d’armée Ahmed Mohamed, le Ministre de la Défense Nationale Kalla Moutari a pris la parole pour rappeler que Didier Dacko a su « mettre en place les structures du commandement de cette force tout en insufflant une coopération dynamique entre les forces armées des pays concernés ».
« Par votre action, vous avez pu coordonner plusieurs des exercices et opérations qui ont permis de mettre hors d’état de nuire, plusieurs groupes armés dans l’espace du G5 Sahel contribuant ainsi à la sécurisation des populations et à l’établissement de la paix dans la zone » a annoncé le Ministre de la Défense.
C’est pour toutes ces raisons et d’autres que le Ministre Kalla Moutari a, au nom du Président de la République, fait le Général de Division Didier Dacko, Commandeur de l’Ordre du Mérite du Niger.
Le G5 SAHEL est un regroupement sous régional de 5 pays sahéliens (Niger, Mali, Mauritanie, Tchad et Burkina Faso) engagés dans la lutte contre le terrorisme dans le sahel.
SML/MHM OO25 ANP SEPTEMBRE 201 http://www.anp.ne/?q=article/le-command ... nEQRf.dpbs


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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 11 septembre 2018, 18:04



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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 11 septembre 2018, 18:12

C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump
Video
Officials from the U.S. and Niger have confirmed the location of a new C.I.A. drone base to The New York Times. We’ve analyzed its construction and location.Published OnSept. 9, 2018CreditCreditImage by Planet Labs
By Joe Penney, Eric Schmitt, Rukmini Callimachi and Christoph Koettl
Sept. 9, 2018

154
DIRKOU, Niger — The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.

Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.

But now the C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.

Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. Satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.

One American official said the drones had not yet been used in lethal missions, but would almost certainly be in the near future, given the growing threat in southern Libya. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive operations.

A C.I.A. spokesman, Timothy Barrett, declined to comment. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, said the military had maintained a base at the Dirkou airfield for several months but did not fly drone missions from there.

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The drones take off from Dirkou at night — typically between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. — buzzing in the clear, starlit desert sky. A New York Times reporter saw the gray aircraft — about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long — flying at least three times over six days in early August. Unlike small passenger planes that land occasionally at the airport, the drones have no blinking lights signaling their presence.

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Image
A Niger Airlines plane at the airstrip in Dirkou last month.CreditJoe Penney for The New York Times
“All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.

Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security. “It’s always good. If people see things like that, they’ll be scared,” Mr. Jerome said.

Mr. Obama had curtailed the C.I.A.’s lethal role by limiting its drone flights, notably in Yemen. Some strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere that accidentally killed civilians, stirring outrage among foreign diplomats and military officials, were shielded because of the C.I.A.’s secrecy.

As part of the shift, the Pentagon was given the unambiguous lead for such operations. The move sought, in part, to end an often awkward charade in which the United States would not concede its responsibility for strikes that were abundantly covered by news organizations and tallied by watchdog groups. However, the C.I.A. program was not fully shut down worldwide, as the agency and its supporters in Congress balked.

The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to President Trump that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained. The Dirkou base was already up and running by the time Mr. Pompeo stepped down as head of the C.I.A. in April to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.

The Pentagon’s Africa Command has carried out five drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago. The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from bases in Sicily and in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou.

But the C.I.A. base is hundreds of miles closer to southwestern Libya, a notorious haven for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. It is also closer to southern Libya than a new $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou, where the Pentagon plans to operate armed Reaper drone missions by early next year.

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Another American official said the C.I.A. began setting up the base in January to improve surveillance of the region, partly in response to an ambush last fall in another part of Niger that killed four American troops. The Dirkou airfield was labeled a United States Air Force base as a cover, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational matters.

Image

Dirkou is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, 300 miles south of the Libyan border.CreditJoe Penney for The New York Times
The C.I.A. operation in Dirkou is burdened by few, if any, of the political sensitivities that the United States military confronts at its locations, said one former American official involved with the project.

Even so, security analysts said, it is not clear why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya. France also flies Reaper drones from Niamey, but only on unarmed reconnaissance missions.

I would be surprised that the C.I.A. would open its own base,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which tracks military strikes against militant groups.

Despite American denials, a Nigerien security official said he had concluded that the C.I.A. launched an armed drone from the Dirkou base to strike a target in Ubari, in southern Libya, on July 25. The Nigerien security official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

A spokesman for the Africa Command, Maj. Karl Wiest, said the military did not carry out the Ubari strike.

Ubari is in the same region where the American military in March launched its first-ever drone attack against Qaeda militants in southern Libya. It is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya’s borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area’s seminomadic residents are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.

Some of the residents have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.

Dirkou, in northeast Niger, is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, bordered by a small mountain range. For centuries, it has been a key transit point for travelers crossing the Sahara. It helped facilitate the rise of Islam in West Africa in the 9th century, and welcomed salt caravans from the neighboring town of Bilma.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/worl ... itary.html


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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 06 novembre 2018, 00:04

yep...did say so long ago...

Le Pentagone sanctionne six militaires après l’embuscade au Niger
Le Monde.fr avec AFP | 04.11.2018 à 01h20


Une opération ratée en octobre 2017 avait coûté la vie à huit soldats. L’enquête conclut à une série d’erreurs humaines de la part des militaires américains.

L’armée américaine a sanctionné six militaires pour leur rôle dans une opération ratée au Niger, qui avait coûté la vie à quatre soldats américains et quatre Nigériens dans un guet-apens djihadiste en 2017, selon le New York Times samedi 3 novembre.

Une patrouille conjointe de 11 soldats des forces spéciales américaines et 30 soldats nigériens a été attaquée par des combattants affiliés au groupe Etat islamique (EI) équipés d’armes automatiques, de grenades et de mitrailleuses, le 4 octobre 2017 à proximité du village de Tongo Tongo, à une centaine de kilomètres de Niamey, près de la frontière avec le Mali.

En mai dernier, le Pentagone avait rendu public le résumé d’un rapport d’enquête concluant à une série d’erreurs de la part des militaires américains, mal préparés et envoyés dans cette mission sans avoir reçu de feu vert à un niveau hiérarchique suffisamment élevé.

Lettres de réprimande
Selon le Times samedi, les militaires sanctionnés incluent deux membres de l’unité attaquée : le capitaine Mike Perozeni et son numéro deux. Ils ont reçu des lettres de réprimande leur reprochant un entraînement préalable insuffisant et l’absence de simulations de combat avec les soldats nigériens. Des lettres de réprimande, selon leur degré de sévérité, peuvent signifier la fin d’une carrière militaire. Deux officiers supérieurs ayant approuvé la mission n’ont en revanche pas été réprimandés, selon le quotidien.

Le Pentagone n’a pas confirmé immédiatement ces informations, mais une porte-parole a annoncé que le ministère avait demandé à ses services de lui présenter une « revue complète des procédures, politiques et programmes d’entraînement ».

Le secrétaire à la défense James Mattis « a reçu ces rapports commandés dans un délai de 120 jours et procède actuellement à un examen approfondi de leurs conclusions », a ajouté la porte-parole, Candice Tresch.

Cible introuvable
Le but original de l’opération était de capturer un chef du groupe djihadiste « Etat islamique dans le Grand Sahara » (EIGS), Doundoun Cheffou, soupçonné d’être impliqué dans l’enlèvement de l’humanitaire américain Jeffery Woodke.

Mais les militaires n’ont pas trouvé leur cible. En repartant du village, relativement peu équipés et ne portant pas leurs gilets pare-balles, ils avaient été attaqués par surprise par une cinquantaine de combattants lourdement armés. Des chasseurs français étaient ensuite intervenus pour faire battre en retraite les assaillants.

L’embuscade avait provoqué un vif débat aux Etats-Unis sur la justification de la présence de 800 soldats américains dans cette région du monde.

Depuis, le général Thomas Waldhauser, chef du commandement Afrique, a déclaré que les forces américaines étaient devenues « beaucoup plus prudentes » dans leurs opérations.

https://lemonde.fr/international/articl ... _3210.html?


Topic author
malikos
Musaïd Awal (مساعد أول)
Musaïd Awal (مساعد أول)
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Re: Actualité militaire au Niger

Message par malikos » 06 novembre 2018, 00:21

An Operation in Niger Went Fatally Awry. Who Is the Army Punishing?
In one of the final chapters in a lengthy investigation into how four Americans died on an obscure battlefield, some of those who fought in the pitched firefight have been reprimanded, while senior officers who approved the mission have gone unpunished.

Image
A ceremony last year where the names of four Special Forces soldiers killed in Niger were added to a memorial wall at Fort Bragg, N.C.CreditCreditAndrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer, via Associated Press
Thomas Gibbons-Neff
By Thomas Gibbons-Neff
Nov. 3, 2018

The Army has punished two members of the Special Forces team ambushed in Niger last October for their decisions before the mission and for insufficient training alongside their Nigerien allies in advance, according to military officials. Four others in their chain of command were also disciplined.

Some of those punished in recent weeks included the Green Beret team leader, Capt. Mike Perozeni, and his second in command, a master sergeant. Those absent from the six letters of reprimand include the two senior officers who approved the mission and who then oversaw the operation as it went fatally awry.

The punishments appear to run counter to another narrative the Army has pushed in past months: the heroism displayed by the troops under fire. Almost all of the soldiers on the 11-man team, including those who were killed, have been nominated for valor awards, though they have yet to be approved. According to one official, senior officers at Special Operations Command believe that members of the team can be held responsible for failures before the mission and still be awarded commendations for their actions during the ambush.

Capt. Jason Salata, a spokesman for Special Operations Command, said in a statement that he would not discuss “any accountability actions.” But he added that “we remain committed to learning all we can from this ambush as a way to continue to honor the sacrifice and commitment of our fallen soldiers.”

What happened on the night of the ambush?
The events that led up to the ambush are the result of three separate missions.

The first, which took place on Oct. 3, began with the Green Beret-led unit, Team 3212, departing from an outpost in Oullam and heading toward the Niger-Mali border. The team’s stated initial plan was to visit a vulnerable checkpoint of Nigerien troops and speak with the soldiers there. The investigation said the mission was misrepresented to higher-ups by a lower-ranking officer. According to Pentagon officials, the officer failed to disclose that the team’s actual plan was to go after an Islamic State leader named Doundoun Cheffou.

The second mission, which was launched on the night of Oct. 3 after intelligence located Mr. Cheffou, involved an operation against the leader’s camp with a helicopter-borne team of American commandos and Nigerien counterterrorism troops from the town of Arlit, along with Team 3212.

Because of bad weather, the helicopter mission was canceled. Team 3212 was told to go to the campsite alone in what was the third and final mission. After searching the empty campsite, the team headed back toward Oullam. It was ambushed outside the village of Tongo Tongo by a large group of Islamic State militants that had been tracking its movements for hours.

Before the Oct. 4 ambush, many Americans were unaware that the Green Berets and 800 other American troops were deployed in Niger. The attack led to the largest loss of American lives in combat in Africa since the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia.

The deaths of the four soldiers — Sgt. First Class Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright and Sgt. La David Johnson — set off an intense debate over what the American military is doing in Africa, and why.

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Why are they getting punished for the battle?
The initial findings by Africa Command released in May focused on missteps by junior officers before the 11-man Green Beret team and 30 Nigerien soldiers headed into western Niger’s desert scrub. That report yielded 23 separate findings, six of which were then investigated separately by Special Operations Command. Troops on the ground in Africa answer to Africa Command as the geographic headquarters. Special Operations Command is responsible for training, equipping and sending the forces to the military’s regional commands.

The drawn-out inquiry process resulted from a clash between Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine four-star general, and Gen. Tony Thomas of the Army, the head of Special Operations Command, according to officials.

General Thomas, in the weeks after the ambush, insisted that it would fall primarily on the Special Operations leadership to helm the investigation into the attack. But Mr. Mattis thought differently, ensuring that Africa Command — commanded by a Marine general — would lead the inquiry. After the investigation, it would then fall on General Thomas to ensure that any of Africa Command’s findings that pointed to missteps within the Special Forces team and its chain of command would be investigated and those involved appropriately punished.

Who is getting punished
As of now, four officers and two enlisted soldiers received letters of reprimand, known as a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand. Maj. Gen. Edwin J. Deedrick Jr., the commanding officer of the First Special Forces Command, administered five of the letters. The sixth was given by General Thomas to Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks of the Air Force.

A letter of reprimand’s severity is based on where it is placed in a soldier’s file. If the letter is considered “local,” it will disappear after the soldier changes jobs. But, if it is permanent, the punishment will stay with the soldier throughout his time in the military. In short: A permanent letter of reprimand often means the end of a career.

Below are the members of Third Special Forces Group and Special Operations Command-Africa who were punished and why.

The Team
Captain Perozeni was the leader of Team 3212, Alpha Company, Second Battalion, Third Special Forces Group. He received a letter of reprimand citing his actions before the mission, including insufficient training and rehearsals before leaving base on Oct. 3. One of the main criticisms outlined in the letter states that Team 3212 had rarely trained with the Nigerien soldiers who fought alongside his team that day.

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Team 3212 had been in Niger less than a month and had focused on training another counterterrorism unit before the Oct. 3 mission. Captain Perozeni was recommended for the Silver Star, a medal for valor third to the Medal of Honor. He was wounded during the ambush.

The team’s second in command, a master sergeant, was punished for many of the same reasons Captain Perozeni was faulted for: not doing enough training with the Nigerien troops, along with a lack of rehearsals before the mission. His name, and others, have been withheld because of privacy concerns. The names have not been published throughout the investigation.

The next echelon of Team 3212’s leadership
Maj. Alan Van Saun, the company commander for Alpha Company, was home on paternity leave when Team 3212 was ambushed. He was reprimanded for improper training before the company was sent to Niger.

While Major Van Saun was stateside on leave, the acting company commander was a junior captain, meaning most of his responsibilities were left instead to a more experienced chief warrant officer. Even though the warrant officer’s role meant he was not in charge of Alpha Company, he carried out most of the company commander’s responsibilities. Because of this, the chief warrant officer’s letter of reprimand faulted him for the inaccurate mission plan that helped launch the first of the three missions.

Investigators believed Team 3212 and its immediate leadership in Niamey lied about the first mission because the team had an American intelligence contractor, who was able to detect and locate cellphone and radio communications, accompanying the team. The investigators thought that by bringing the civilian, Team 3212 had counted on finding and going after Mr. Cheffou. Team 3212 brought him, however, because dated intelligence pointed to Mr. Cheffou’s presence in the area and it was worth at least trying to locate him when the team was at the Nigerien checkpoint, according to military officials.

The Army also punished Alpha Company’s sergeant major, who left the unit before Team 3212 deployed. As the top enlisted soldier in Alpha Company, he was responsible for the overall training of the company and ensuring that the six teams in the company were properly staffed.

He was faulted for improperly training the company while it was in North Carolina. His replacement who deployed to Niger was not punished.

The highest-ranking person punished was General Hicks, the commanding officer of all Special Operations forces operating in Africa. He was aware of the third mission but was not a part of the approval process. He was punished by General Thomas for not having appropriate oversight of the officers below him. He has long been set to retire after finishing his command.

And who is going unpunished
High-ranking officers with direct oversight of the ill-fated mission
The commander who oversaw Alpha Company and Team 3212, Lt. Col. David Painter, was not punished. He approved the first and second missions and ordered the third. As battalion commander, he oversaw and approved all of his soldiers’ assignments and training, both back in the United States and in Niger. He told Team 3212 to continue on the final mission despite Captain Perozeni’s pushing back on the operation, stating that the team had been out too long and lacked the resources for the operation. Colonel Painter is now a battalion commander in the Army’s new advising unit, the Security Force Assistance Brigade.

Col. Brad Moses, the commanding officer of Third Special Forces Group and Colonel Painter’s direct superior, received no punishment. He approved the second mission and was closely consulted regarding the third and final mission to send Team 3212 into the campsite and the ambush that followed. He is now the chief of staff at United States Army Special Operations Command, the headquarters that oversees the unit charged with investigating and punishing those in Team 3212.

What’s next for the American military mission in Africa?
After the ambush, Africa Command instituted a number of restrictions on Special Operations forces deployed across the continent, including a requirement for more overhead reconnaissance and stricter mission plans. Back in the United States, Army Special Forces units are revisiting how long their units are deployed and how teams train before they travel to combat zones.

Africa Command is also looking at scaling back its presence on the continent in an attempt to align with the current defense strategy, which views Russia and China as leading threats instead of militant groups such as those spread across the Sahel and eastern Africa.

In the end, after more than a year of investigations, the American military punished those involved in the ambush for a series of small-unit training choices before the mission.

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Military officials did little to examine the ramifications of the mission these troops were asked to undertake in western Africa, or how they were asked to accomplish it. The more senior officer who ordered the fateful mission, over the objections of the officer leading the team on the ground, went undisciplined and will continue in his career.

Video

3:10
How the Ambush of U.S. Soldiers in Niger Unfolded
One of the American soldiers ambushed by militants in Niger was wearing a helmet camera – we analyzed the footage to understand what happened.Published OnMarch 19, 2018
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Thomas Gibbons-Neff is a reporter in the Washington bureau and a former Marine infantryman. @tmgneff
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/03/worl ... ished.html

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