Confused Eagle

Report: AFRICOM helped plan Operation Lightning Thunder
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Feburary 7,2009
Since the End of November the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Neighboring Part of Sudan have been the scene of a Military Campaign.
This Campaign was launched after Joseph Kony once again failed to sign a Peace Accord that took two years to negotiate.
Two weeks later the Armed Forces of Uganda, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Government of Southern Sudan launched an offensive to drive Kony back to the Negotiating Table.
What was reported by the Old Gray Lady (New York Times) about a US role should not suprise many people.

The United States has both considerable clout and a major presence in Central Africa. Two of the Nation's main African Allies are in the region (Uganda and Rwanda). It sits on a Regional Intelligence Gathering Body as well. Those who sit on the Body include the DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
The US does have access to Entebbe for Military Operations and Ugandans have served as Independent Contracters for the various Security Firms that are Operating in Iraq.
The New Military Command AFRICOM has conducted several Training Seminars for Ugandan Forces in Uganda and for those serving in Somalia as Peacekeepers.
But the News that the US played a role in planning this Operation which to this date has had margainal results will create a sense of "I told you so" to those who feel that the US Policy towards Africa is being Militarized.


AFRICOM Provided Planning and Money for Operation Lightning Thunder

According to the NYT the US provided the following assistance to the planning of this Military Offensive"
1.) Provided 17 Advisors and Analysts from AFRICOM
2.)Providing Satellite Phones and Intelligence for the Mission itself. (When the Ugandan Air Force struck the Main LRA Camp and Several Others Locations the places were deserted. Some Analysts feel that either the Intelligence was flawed or that the Mission was Comprimised.)
3.) It also provided the UPDF (Ugandan People's Defense Forces) with $ 1 Million in Fuel to conduct this operation.
It should be noted that around Christmas Time the LRA launched a series of reprisal attacks that have left roughly 900 people dead and Tens of Thousands Homeless.
It will be easy for critical voices to attack AFRICOM and the Pentagon. They feel that Diplomacy should be the focal point of US Policy towards Africa. There is a Legitimate Claim to this Argument. There have been calls by other voices that wanted the US the EU and MONUC (UN Mission in the Congo) to Provide Logistical Support for this mission.
It appears that the US has already done so. And let the Blowback Begin.

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