By Roni Drukan
The last decade was dominated by the war against terror. Throughout the post 9/11 era, Al Qaeda and the threat of Islamic terrorism have played a central role in defining Washington’s diplomatic agenda. Terror has become a global concern and the war against terror is wide spread. Just how wide spread is this global anti terror initiative is demonstrated by the recent deployment of US troops in central Africa.
President Barack Obama announced a few days ago he is dispatching about 100 U.S. troops — mostly special operations forces — to central Africa to advise in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, a guerrilla group accused of widespread atrocities across several countries. While the rebels are quite weak, capturing LRA leader Joseph Kony is of high priority to Uganda’s President Museveni. The U.S. contingent will aid local forces fighting Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan
Why does the US intervene in a local crisis in central Africa? Well, apparently President Museveni has committed thousands of troops to the African Union force in Somalia to fight militants from al-Shabab, a group with ties to Al Qaeda.
So the US helps Uganda fight its local battles while freeing up Uganda’s soldiers to deal with Al Qaeda in Somalia.
America has upped its game in Africa since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, creating its first-ever Africa Command. A particular focus has been on Somolia and North Africa, where Al Queda has established several spin-off groups. Pirating has also become another security headache.
“Our presence on the African continent is part of our network of building partners, of gaining intelligence,” said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, “.. we have to be networked against the specific threat, and part of that requires our presence in Africa.”
While budget cuts may force the US to reduce its involvement in the hotbeds of Al Qaeda, such global cooperation with leading African countries like Uganda can help to contain the threat.