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Thread: Niger: a Sahel country bumping along (catch all)

  1. #41
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG View Post
    By 'curious', you mean more and more it's sounding like a complete Charlie Foxtrot?
    From my "armchair" I would not reach such a conclusion.

    Sadly the deaths have aroused far greater political and media attention to Niger and AFRICOM's activity.

    The Soufan Report's latest comment ends with:
    The pace of joint operations in Africa involving U.S. personnel will likely increase in the foreseeable future, as the conditions that help fuel terrorist and insurgent groups continue to worsen.
    Link:http://www.soufangroup.com/tsc-intel...bush-in-niger/

    There is an older thread on Niger, with mainly historical posts:Niger: a Sahel country bumping along (catch all)
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-25-2017 at 02:23 PM.
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  2. #42
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    Additional details for those with WaPo access.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...ffb_story.html


    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    From my "armchair" I would not reach such a conclusion.
    Seriously? From what we can both read, it sounds far from a sunny day in paradise.

    As previously reported, Coalition forces have been in western Niger for awhile and suffered no causalities while engaging ISIS&friends.

    This is the sequence of high points;

    1) Simple in-and-out mission gets an additional tasker, which means loitering in a bad neighborhood. The "three hour tour" song from Gilligan's Island should have started playing about then.

    2) Reinforcing element doesn't show up for the extended mission, Lord knows why.

    3) Local headman obviously stalling the group.

    4) Complex double-tap ambush, implication is that they were up against competent opponents. See Threat Assessment, above - contradiction there.

    5) Contact report sounds like it took an hour??to get out after first shot. Perhaps the primary comms were eliminated in the first RPG volley, but that's bad. Very bad.

    6) French air assets hauled ass to provide cover, but targets not clearly marked. There's SOPs for signaling that a danger close strike would be appreciated.

    Not pointing fingers but the overall situation sounds exactly like a Charlie Foxtrot*, with four US and five Nigerian KIA.

    * Previous example of a Charlie Foxtrot
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kamdesh
    Last edited by AdamG; 10-26-2017 at 10:19 AM.
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  3. #43
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    Default It's the locals who will defeat the Niger (insert)

    Andrew Lebovich, a regional SME who has actually been there, has a column in FP. It ends with:
    And while the threat to international interests in the region is real, it is these local communities whose lives are affected the most by these groups and by government responses — and also the local communities that will be most able to constrain them.
    There is much we still do not know about what happened near Tongo Tongo on Oct. 4. But instead of looking at Niger as just another outpost of the global war on terror, our attention should be on the local and regional environments where these groups operate — and where the brunt of any increased military action will be felt the most.
    Link:http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/27/...-are-in-niger/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-28-2017 at 09:09 PM. Reason: 3,564v
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The US special forces detachment ambushed in the Niger last month fought alone for hours after the local Nigerien forces they were accompanying fled in the first minutes of the engagement, retired and serving special forces officers with knowledge of events have said.
    The trapped soldiers also made repeated efforts to convince French warplanes sent from neighbouring Mali to engage the enemy, attempting to “talk in” the pilots who refused to attack due to poor weather, rough terrain and an inability to differentiate friend from foe, the officers said.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...lp-sources-say
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-06-2017 at 07:53 AM. Reason: 4,811v
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  5. #45
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    Default Risk -v- Reward with remote operations

    Hat tip to WoTR for their article, authored by a recent US SOF commander for the region and his key question:
    Where exactly does the United States need to project power abroad to prevent strategic surprise?
    Later he provides a partial answer:
    America does not need special operators lurking in every shadowy corner of the globe but good strategy relies on contextual and geographic awareness.
    Link:https://warontherocks.com/2017/12/pl...te-operations/

    On my second reading this sounds similar to the Imperial era debate over how to safeguard India's northwest frontier, notably how 'forward' that defence should be.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-08-2017 at 09:19 PM. Reason: 6,435v
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  6. #46
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Caveat: source is Buzzfeed


    Sources told BuzzFeed News that the deaths at the village of Tongo Tongo could have been avoided if the mission was better planned and that it is not known whether the calls were made by the soldiers or their commanders back at the base.
    BuzzFeed said that it talked to a Nigerian general, a pair of senior military officials and an official from Nigeria's anti-terror unit for its report.
    The soldiers had entered a hotbed of militants, which was considered to be "red zone" that had been labeled out of bounds by the U.S., BuzzFeed noted, saying the soldiers lacked sufficient evidence at the time of the operation in which a series of "negligent" errors were made.
    There had been 46 militant attacks in the area over the past year, however, the U.S. soldiers traveled in unarmored pickup trucks and were not heavily armed when they were ambushed by the militants outside of Tongo Tongo.
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...cid=spartandhp

    Full article here
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/monicamark/...Zy#.dgmA0ZrwAD

    “Socafrica has, in recent years, become increasingly secretive, unaccountable, clientelistic, and — as recent episodes suggest — reckless. Odds are they didn't have the granularity of intel to offset the risk of such a mission,” said Matthew Page, a former Africa specialist with the State Department’s intelligence arm. “I think the bigger issue at stake here is the degree to which Special Forces Africa is increasingly seen by US diplomats and defense officials as a ‘rogue element’ that is pushing the envelope on its missions and activities in the Sahel, and elsewhere in Africa, without explicit buy-in from US policymakers, diplomats, or even senior military commanders.”
    The manner in which the US soldiers’ corpses were found pointed to a plan to capture at least some of them alive. “The soldiers were found naked because the militants took everything they could — military uniforms, weapons, comms equipment,” the Nigerien general told BuzzFeed News, contradicting US officials who have publicly said there were no indications troops fell into enemy hands. “They wanted to cart them away [alive] so that people wouldn’t know if they were dead or alive as hostages. It would have been a negotiating tactic.” That plan was likely scuppered when the arrival of French jets forced the militants to flee.
    Last edited by AdamG; 12-10-2017 at 05:39 AM.
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  7. #47
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    NIAMEY, Niger – The body of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four U.S. soldiers killed in an ambush by Islamist militants in Niger last month, was found with his arms tied and a gaping wound at the back of his head, according to two villagers, suggesting that he may have been captured and then executed.
    Adamou Boubacar, a 23-year-old farmer and trader, said some children tending cattle found the remains of the soldier Oct. 6, two days after the attack outside the remote Niger village of Tongo Tongo, which also left five Nigerien soldiers dead. The kids notified him.
    When Boubacar went to the location, a bushy area roughly a mile from the ambush site, he saw Johnson’s body lying face down, he said. The back of his head had been smashed by something, possibly a bullet, said Boubacar. The soldier’s wrists were bound with rope, he said, raising the possibility that the militants – whom the Pentagon suspects were affiliated with the Islamic State – seized Johnson during the firefight and held him captive.
    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/201...and-apparentl/
    Last edited by AdamG; 12-10-2017 at 05:48 AM.
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  8. #48
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    More 'anonymous sources'.

    A military probe concluded that Johnson wasn't captured alive or killed at close range, dispelling a swirl of rumors about how he died, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin says.
    The report has determined that Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, was hit as many as 18 times and killed by enemy rifle and machine gun fire from members of an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) offshoot, according to U.S. officials familiar with the findings. The Oct. 4 ambush took place about 120 miles north of Niamey, the African nation's capital. Johnson's body was recovered two days later.
    U.S. officials familiar with the findings spoke on condition of anonymity to describe details of an investigation that has not been finalized or publicly released.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/army-sg...ilitary-report
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  9. #49
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    Default Moderator at work

    Posts 18 onwards were in a separate thread on the deaths of four US SOF, which had 7k views and has now been merged to here.
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  10. #50
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    Default Niger's Gold Rush

    Previously unheard of development in northern Niger and very relevant as the last paragraph citing a local leader who says:
    "I hope this continues forever, because it brings peace...All of these people do not have work.They can't make money any other way.
    Link:https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/9...ts-into-barons

    Note the reporter accompanied a Nigerien National Guard patrol, not the army or police, to the region.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-12-2018 at 03:03 PM. Reason: 26,323v
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  11. #51
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Unconfirmed Screenshots Emerge Of Deadly Niger Ambush Video

    Separate posting for maximum exposure.

    These photos need to be seen, absorbed and not flushed down the Memory Hole.

    EDIT: This is the reality of what happens when we send our troops into harm’s way. People need to see this. Too many of you are content with sweeping our fallen heroes under the rug and then being satisfied with Hollywood’s glamorous depiction of the skewed facts when they release a cheesey movie in the future. This is what American’s need to see, so they know what’s at stake. This is the reality of combat and the reason this site exists. If I had been killed in combat, I would want my last minutes shared with the world… not a series of Pentagon-released talking points on a public relations cue card. There is a very real possibility that these men were abandoned on the battlefield. “Never leave a fallen comrade….” Does that ring any bells? We may actually find out what happened to our brothers over there, so we can hold those accountable, but there are many of you that would rather be fed bull*^&% so you don’t have to acknowledge the grim reality.
    https://www.funker530.com/screenshots-niger-ambush/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-14-2018 at 11:07 AM. Reason: 937v when stand alone thread
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  12. #52
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    Default US CT efforts in the Sahel destablize?

    Try this WoTR article which is a gem on the often confusing and deteriorating situation. Here is a taster:
    Though some armed groups have adopted jihadist ideologies, the proliferation of these groups remains an intensely local phenomenon. The central cause of conflict in most cases is the behavior of state actors, not the spontaneous appearance of foreign jihadists.
    Link:https://warontherocks.com/2018/02/th...-in-the-sahel/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-10-2018 at 01:07 PM. Reason: 27,280v
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  13. #53
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    Inquiry of Soldiers’ Deaths Urges Curtailing West Africa Missions


    WASHINGTON — A draft military investigation into the deadly ambush of American soldiers in Niger in October calls for the Pentagon to scale back the number of ground missions in West Africa, and to strip commanders in the field of some authority to send troops on potentially high-risk patrols.
    While United States troops will continue accompanying local forces on military patrols across West Africa and the continent’s Sahel region, the missions will be vetted more rigorously than they have been over the past year, according to two military officials with knowledge of the findings who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation has not been released.
    .....
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/09/u...s&nlid=4952992
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  14. #54
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG View Post
    By 'curious', you mean more and more it's sounding like a complete Charlie Foxtrot?
    Complete
    Charlie
    Foxtrot.

    ...soldiers who survived the ambush and villagers who witnessed it point to a series of intelligence failures and strategic miscalculations that left the American soldiers far from base, in hostile territory longer than planned, with no backup or air support, on a mission they had not expected to perform.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...-soldiers.html
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    Some here I expect will dismiss this NYT report, so here are two comments via Twitter that might persuade you. Professor Bruce Hoffman:
    Superb account of the micro (tragically personal) and macro (open ended strategic) contours of our ongoing war on terrorism...
    Professor Daniel Byman:
    I can’t recommend enough
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  16. #56
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    WASHINGTON — The leader of an ill-fated team of American soldiers in Niger last fall warned before the mission that his troops did not have the equipment or intelligence necessary to carry out a kill-or-capture raid against a local militant, according to preliminary findings of a continuing Defense Department investigation.

    The preliminary findings, according to the first two Defense Department officials, imply that senior officers up the chain of command believed Team 3212 was embarking only on the daylong reconnaissance mission, as Captain Perozeni outlined in his Conop document. That trip, of 11 Americans and some 30 Nigerien soldiers, described a “civil reconnaissance” mission meant for “key-leader engagement meetings.”

    Before he left Ouallam, those officials said, Captain Perozeni received the order to join the kill-or-capture mission against Mr. Cheffou, to be led by a separate assault force flying out of the town of Arlit. The order came from another junior officer, who was filling in for a regional commander on paternity leave.

    Captain Perozeni pushed back against the change of mission, citing concerns over insufficient intelligence and equipment available to his team on the high-risk raid. But he did not resist orders to back up the separate assault force, the officials said.

    As it turned out, that mission was later scrapped because of bad weather. Team 3212 was still on its reconnaissance mission, near the town of Tiloa, when American intelligence officials concluded that Mr. Cheffou and a handful of fighters had left their desert encampment near the border with Mali. The team was ordered to press on to that location, hoping to collect any information left behind that might offer clues about Mr. Cheffou’s hide-outs and network.

    But the preliminary investigation indicates that senior officers at the Africa Command headquarters and its Special Operations component in Stuttgart were not informed of the change of plans. Nor were senior leaders at a Special Operations regional command in Chad, according to the findings.

    However, according to the third Defense Department official, a lieutenant colonel in Chad had already approved both the helicopter raid based from Arlit, which was scrapped, and Team 3212’s original reconnaissance mission, which had taken it just 15 miles from the ambush site outside the village of Tongo Tongo.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/w...nt-report.html

    Note: there is an ISIS propaganda video making the rounds of the interwebz that incorporates go-pro video from the SF troops killed in this action. Said video shows Americans being shot and dying. See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-4-troops.html
    Last edited by AdamG; 03-20-2018 at 05:36 AM.
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    AGADEZ, Niger (AP) — On the scorching edge of the Sahara Desert, the U.S. Air Force is building a base for armed drones, the newest front in America's battle against the growing extremist threat in Africa's vast Sahel region.

    Three hangars and the first layers of a runway command a sandy, barren field. Niger Air Base 201 is expected to be functional early next year. The base, a few miles outside Agadez and built at the request of Niger's government, will eventually house fighter jets and MQ-9 drones transferred from the capital Niamey. The drones, with surveillance and added striking capabilities, will have a range enabling them to reach a number of West and North African countries.
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-builds...090624861.html
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  18. #58
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    Poor training, complacency and a culture of excessive risk contributed to the deaths of four U.S. soldiers during an operation in Niger in October, according to a classified Pentagon report.
    The report, described by officials familiar with its contents, details a series of missteps and describes a disregard for military procedures and for the chain of command.
    Among other things, the report discloses that low-level commanders, determined to make a mark against local jihadis in the West African nation, took liberties to get operations approved through the chain of command.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/classif...=djemalertNEWS

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  19. #59
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Caveat: WaPo. If you can't access via the URL, google-search the headline and acquire full access that way.

    A months-long investigation of a disastrous U.S. Special Operations mission that killed four Americans in Niger found that “individual, organizational and institutional failures and deficiencies” contributed to an operation that spiraled out of control, singling out two junior officers for improper planning but not placing blame on any single factor.

    The Pentagon released an eight-page summary report Thursday, withholding thousands of pages of witness statements, maps and other documents and a longer report of about 180 pages. The U.S. military often releases those materials at the conclusion of an investigation, but said it is still working to declassify additional information.

    The Pentagon also released a 10-minute video re-creation of the battle*, but withheld a longer unclassified re-creation shown to family members and members of Congress this month.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...=.f5b4ea11737e

    * Which is here. https://www.militarytimes.com/video/...-niger-ambush/

    Rhetorical: 0.36 mark, "the convoy halted". What ever happened to 'get off the X'?
    Last edited by AdamG; 1 Week Ago at 05:25 PM.
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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 4 Days Ago at 08:06 AM. Reason: Changed from Mali to Niger. 36,258v
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