Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Is America Engaged In A Huge Piece Of Grand Strategy Across the MENA In Support Of The War On Terror?

     What links Yemen, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Seychelles, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? The US military and/or the CIA is active in every one of them.

     It has now become apparent that the US is far more involved in Yemen then they care to openly advertise. Firstly, the have deployed both Predator and Reaper UAVs to support the Yemeni military in their fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP). It is also widely believed that F-15Es of the 338th Expeditionary Squadron have been conducting air raids in Yemen from the huge base at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

     Not only does the US allegedly have both manned and unmanned missions taking place in Yemen but it has now been announced that 'dozens' of US troops are operating from al-Annad air force base inside Yemen, about 45 miles behind the lines of the latest big push against AQAP. There purpose is to co-ordinate air strikes in support of the Yemeni push centred around the city of Zinjibar. In addition, Washington announced in was sending training troops back into Yemen to help bolster the under-equipped national armed forces.
     I would argue that it is not going to far to state that the US is involved in a full-scale proxy war in Yemen. Using the national army as ground forces to control captured territory and to contain the AQAP, Washington has created an efficient and cheap method of furthering the Global War On Terror (GWOT). However, with unmanned and manned aircraft, training and logistics units in-country and naval forces off the coast this is not a small skirmish into enemy territory, this is war.

     It would appear that the US is systematically dominating the entire Arabian and North/East African arena to target the threats of Al Qaeda affiliates. The tiny state of Djibouti forms a major part of that network. It is the centre for most of the UAV, air strike and special forces capabilities across the whole region. It has also been widely reported that another UAV base is being built on the island nation of the Seychelles to target pirates and the terrorist group al Shabab in Somalia.
     Somalia is a major target for the war on terror. Al Shabab have been implicated in various international terrorist attacks, especially in the surrounding countries of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. The US has repeatedly used drones to strike at this al Qaeda affiliate as well as deployed strike aircraft into the country. Special Forces have also been sent into the region. SEAL Team 6 were used to recently rescue two western aid workers captured by al Shabab in a raid similar to that against Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. In February, a U-28 spy plane crashed in East Africa on its return to Lemonnier though its crew were listed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

     Heading north, the US military is also involved in a long-running but little known war in the border regions of Turkey and Iraq. US Predators are being used to support the battle between Turkey and Iraq on one side and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) a nationalist, secular group attempting to create a break away Kurdish state. Designated as terrorist by Turkey, the EU and the US they only vaguely fall into the limits if the GWOT. This military alliance seems to be in motion to shore up relations between the three countries. The US is trying to gain allies and more importantly staging grounds across the Middle East. Djibouti, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Turkey and the Seychelles; a system of bases and allies designed to dominate any area where al Qaeda or its affiliates may attempt to set up. This is not just a shadow war, if the US continues with this power building this could turn into a shadow occupation.

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