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General Category => General Forum => Topic started by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 01, 2020, 10:52:25 pm

Title: Americans in Africa are like rats deserting a sinking ship…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 01, 2020, 10:52:25 pm

from The New York Times…

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Prepare to Pull Back Officers From Africa

An expected withdrawal of military forces would lead the C.I.A. and other agencies to reduce
their presence, leaving some officials and experts fearful of a gap in stopping terrorist threats.

By JULIAN E. BARNES | 1:35PM EST — Monday, December 30, 2019

(https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/12/25/us/politics/25dc-intel1/merlin_151340679_9f087314-fe14-49b3-a0a1-d87dfc7fd09f-jumbo.jpg) (https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/12/25/us/politics/25dc-intel1/merlin_151340679_9f087314-fe14-49b3-a0a1-d87dfc7fd09f-superJumbo.jpg)
The opening ceremony of a joint military exercise between African and Western nations in Burkina Faso in February.
 — Photograph: Laetitia Vancon/for The New York Times.

WASHINGTON D.C. — American intelligence agencies face a significant reduction in their counter-terrorism collection efforts in Africa if a proposed withdrawal of United States military forces (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/24/world/africa/esper-troops-africa-china.html) is carried out by the Pentagon, intelligence officials said.

The new planning to pull back intelligence officers deployed in Western Africa and other parts of the continent has been partly driven by the troop deployment review, which is expected to reduce American forces in Niger, Nigeria and other countries in the region.

The presence of American troops allows intelligence officers to travel far from traditional diplomatic outposts. The troops also provide protection in the event of spreading chaos or instability. Stark evidence of the risk was seen in the lethal 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and increased security was ordered for those outposts.

If service members are soon pulled out of Africa, the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies simply would not be able to safely deploy their officers far beyond embassy walls, officials say.

One intelligence official called the potential shift of C.I.A. officers out of Africa stunningly dangerous. The decision would not just hurt the United States' ability to detect and stop terrorism threats, the official said, but also hinder America's ability to collect intelligence about what rival nations, like Russia and China, are doing in Africa.

While it is difficult to assess how much of an intelligence deficit would follow a troop pullback, the loss would be real, said Nicholas J. Rasmussen, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

“With a smaller military and intelligence presence, we limit how much intelligence we collect. Our analysts have a less rich pool of information on which to draw when reaching conclusions and forecasting threat conditions,” said Mr. Rasmussen, the acting executive director of Arizona State University's McCain Institute. “Our confidence levels in the analysis we produce end up being lower.”

Trump administration officials would not say how many intelligence officers could be affected by the changes because the number of officers in the field is a closely guarded secret.

(https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/12/25/us/politics/25dc-intel3/merlin_143224710_5b943b06-1cea-48a9-ab55-d9a02485a5a9-jumbo.jpg) (https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/12/25/us/politics/25dc-intel3/merlin_143224710_5b943b06-1cea-48a9-ab55-d9a02485a5a9-superJumbo.jpg)
President Xi Jinping of China with Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, last year. China, Russia and the United States
are jostling for influence in Africa. — Photograph: How Hwee Young/Pool Photo.

The pullback of intelligence officers is not driven only by the planned troop reductions. Counter-terrorism officials are also being asked to rethink their work and narrow their focus to the most dangerous terrorist groups, according to current and former intelligence officials.

After the September 11 attacks, the United States shifted resources to fighting terrorism. While most of those were focused on groups like Al Qaeda and then the Islamic State, both with the reach to orchestrate or inspire attacks on the United States homeland, American military and intelligence agencies also built up resources against regional terrorism threats.

The Trump administration, hoping to prevent the United States from becoming entangled in more long wars, wants the military and intelligence forces to scale down their ambitions. Under the plans now being discussed, fewer resources would be allocated to monitoring regional threats — terrorist groups that might spout anti-American speech but do not have the wherewithal to mount a significant attack on United States territory.

Mr. Rasmussen said no terrorist organization in Africa so far had successfully been able to attack the American homeland, giving credence to the idea that too much emphasis had been put on such groups. But without military and intelligence personnel on the ground, working with partner nations to help combat regional terrorist organizations, it becomes difficult to assess which groups have or could have the capabilities to mount an attack on the United States, Mr. Rasmussen said.

“If our intelligence picture is degraded significantly by a drawdown in presence, we run the risk of failing to collect that critical bit of intelligence that might give us insight on the capability part of the equation,” Mr. Rasmussen said.

The shift, military and intelligence officials said, is also part of an effort to move resources toward countering the rise of China and to more adroitly compete with Beijing.

But some American officials believe that cutting back the intelligence and military presence will reduce the United States' clout in Africa at the very time it is becoming a front line in the influence battle with Russia and China.

(https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/12/25/us/politics/25dc-intel2/merlin_154833597_01a93994-8fb3-4344-88a2-ec33ad5664b0-jumbo.jpg) (https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/12/25/us/politics/25dc-intel2/merlin_154833597_01a93994-8fb3-4344-88a2-ec33ad5664b0-superJumbo.jpg)
Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group guarding the V.I.P. stand during a parade in Bangui, Central African Republic, in May.
 — Photograph: Ashley Gilbertson/for The New York Times.

The three nations are jostling for prominence (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/13/world/africa/china-loans-africa-usa.html) in sub-Saharan Africa. Russia's mercenary force, the Wagner Group, has had a presence in the Central African Republic (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/07/world/europe/central-african-republic-russia-murder-journalists-africa-mystery-murders-put-spotlight-on-kremlins-reach.html) and other countries, said Sean McFate, a professor at the National Defense University and the author of “The New Rules of War.” China has a military support base in Djibouti and is using its Belt and Road Initiative (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/business/china-belt-and-road-infrastructure.html) to expand its connections throughout the continent.

“Where we are competing with China is in Africa,” Mr. McFate said. “It seems shortsighted to cede the field. It is strategically myopic to move intelligence — which is the only way we are going to find out on the ground in these places — out of the region.”

Some intelligence officials insist that even if American military forces or C.I.A. officers are collecting less front-line intelligence, analysts in Washington can still draw valuable insights and warnings on terrorist threats.

But Mr. McFate said gathering knowledge about Africa was not like Eastern Europe during the years when American intelligence focused on the communist threat. A diplomat sitting in the capital simply cannot assess the strength of a terrorist group operating in a distant province, or the influence of Russian or Chinese mercenary companies.

The C.I.A. does not take policy positions in interagency discussions, and only points out the implications of different approaches. Nevertheless, inside the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies, many experts on Africa and counter-terrorism are worried that the troop pullback will have a deep impact on collection efforts, according to intelligence officials.

Even so, some officials have played down the planned pullback of troops and intelligence personnel. Without the troop presence, American officials said, they would need to switch how they collect information — relying less on officers in the field and more on intercepted communications, satellite imagery and other technical means.

But outside experts have questioned how much technical collection can compensate for a reduction in intelligence officers working in trouble spots in Africa, learning who is responsible for regional instability and what the aims of various groups are.

Mr. McFate said that as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down, there is a weariness with counter-insurgency operations, akin to the end of the Vietnam War. But pulling troops and intelligence officers out of Africa as a reaction to the exhaustion with “forever wars” is a strategic error, he said.

“America has lost an appetite for counter-insurgency; they just think of this as a never-ending war,” he said. “It is a reaction to that, but it is a strategic mis-step.”


Julian E. Barnes (https://www.nytimes.com/by/julian-e-barnes) is a national security reporter for The New York Times covering the intelligence agencies. Before joining The N.Y. Times' Washington bureau in 2018, he wrote about security matters for The Wall Street Journal, based in Brussels and Washington. He has more than 17 years experience covering U.S. national security, the military and related matters for The Journal, the Los Angles Times and U.S. News & World Report.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Tuesday December 31, 2019, on page A8 of the New York print edition with the headline: “U.S. Pullback in Africa Raises Fears of Hampered Intelligence Efforts”.


Related to this topic:

 • Pentagon Eyes Africa Drawdown as First Step in Global Troop Shift (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/24/world/africa/esper-troops-africa-china.html) (December 24, 2019).

 • Despite Vow to End ‘Endless Wars’, Here's Where About 200,000 Troops Remain (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/21/world/middleeast/us-troops-deployments.html) (October 21, 2019).

 • A Shadowy War's Newest Front: A Drone Base Rising From Saharan Dust (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/22/us/politics/drone-base-niger.html) (April 22, 2019).

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/us/politics/intelligence-cia-africa-terror.html (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/us/politics/intelligence-cia-africa-terror.html)

Title: Re: Americans in Africa are like rats deserting a sinking ship…
Post by: Im2Sexy4MyPants on January 02, 2020, 01:53:51 am
the people in other countries should do their own thing if they are on a sinking ship that's their problem
why do Americans need to be there?

Title: Re: Americans in Africa are like rats deserting a sinking ship…
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on January 02, 2020, 10:47:15 am

Russia and China are going to grab all the resources in Africa.

And anti-American terrorist groups are going to find a home to plan, train, then launch attacks against American interests around the world from.

The days of America being the world's top-dog superpower are rapidly coming to an end.

The stupid Jesuslanders have done it to themselves and their idiot “fake president” Donald J. Trump has sped it up.