U.S. lawmakers are pushing our military to stay in the Sahel to help the French, who have failed to pacify the region for decades.
s the coronavirus swept through American cities in early March, a small group in Congress focused on a different threat. For these lawmakers, despite the clear magnitude of the crisis, distant conflicts in West Africa – not pandemic preparations at home – were the priority. To make their point, the bipartisan band introduced legislation aimed at restricting the Pentagon from removing U.S. troops from the region this year.
The most fervent among them, Senator Lindsey Graham, threatened Secretary of Defense Mark Esper if he follows through with a widely reported AFRICOM drawdown, which Esper and other officials believe is necessary to refocus the Pentagon’s resources on China. “I can make your life hell,” Graham reportedly told Esper. […]
Many of the several thousand U.S. troops in the region support an ongoing French military effort to combat insurgent offshoots of al Qaeda and the Islamic State. But after a 2013 intervention in Mali that was forecasted to last mere months, France is bogged down in the Sahel, and the violence has worsened. Several weeks ago, Boko Haram militants killed nearly 100 Chadian soldiers in a pre-dawn ambush, and another insurgent assault in Mali last week took the lives of dozens of government troops in that country’s restive northern region. […]
In the face of a global pandemic and a potentially unprecedented economic freefall, pacifying West Africa should be the last thing on the minds of U.S. policymakers. America spent two decades, thousands of lives, and over $6 trillion in failed nation-building efforts in places once deemed vital to U.S. interests. If France wants to relearn past lessons in a place that is decidedly unimportant to Americans, let us wish her luck. Läs artikel
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