World reacts to Obama's new military focus on Asia
Chinese newspapers call on China to assert itself, while India and African nations ponder the implications of becoming 'strategic partners' with the US.
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What this means for Africa
In Africa, the new strategy drives home the point that the US will remain engaged with its bilateral partners on common issues of concern, including how to counter the growth of militant groups using terrorist tactics, from Al Shabab in Somalia to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Mali, Niger, and Mauritania, and Boko Haram in Nigeria.Skip to next paragraph
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Under the Africa Command, based in Frankfurt, Germany, US military trainers are deployed on a rotating basis, in small numbers, training soldiers across the semi-arid African Sahel region to conduct counterterrorism operations. A small number of US special forces have also been deployed in Uganda and the Central African Republic to locate and neutralize the Lord’s Resistance Army – a deployment, again, that is officially a training and advisory mission. And an estimated 3,000 US troops are based at the French military base of Camp Lemonier in Djibouti – a tiny country located next to Somalia in the Horn of Africa – primarily a logistics and training base for operations in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
As Mike Pflanz reported in the Telegraph, Panetta told US soldiers on a recent trip to Djibouti that their efforts were crucial in confronting regional terror threats.
"Djibouti is a central location for continuing the efforts against terrorism," he said in a speech to around 500 US soldiers at the Camp Lemonier military base.
"Al-Qaeda started this war. We have made the commitment that we are going to track these guys wherever they go and make sure that they have no place to hide ... whether it is in Yemen, whether it is in Somalia, or anyplace else."