Monday, July 9, 2012
U.S. Special Forces in Mali
An article in the Washington Post by Craig Whitlock reveals some details about U.S. Special Forces operations in Mali. He has a fascinating story about the crash of a jeep back on April 20 in the capital Bamako. The jeep went through a guard rail on a bridge and crashed into a river killing three U.S. Army commandos and three women. The women were apparently known as prostitutes. The crash took place early in the morning just before dawn.
This crash happened a month after the U.S. had supposedly suspended military operations in Mali after a coup by Captain Sanogo. The coup leader was himself U.S. trained. Military officials have yet to fully explain what the commandos were doing.
What is clear is that Special Forces are engaged in counter terrorism operations. Obama has spoken of his desire to rely on Special Operations forces rather than regular troops. Their ranks have been increasing. The group still remaining in Mali were said to be there to provide assistance to the U.S. embassy in Mali and were winding down civil affairs but hoped to resume activity soon. Two of those killed were communications specialists.
For about six years the U.S. has been increasing military and training programs in Mali. Rather than crushing Islamic radicalism the result has been increased activity and now the Islamists (Ansar Dine) have wrested control of the whole of northern Mali from control of the Tuareg and the central government.
Earlier the U.S. had carried out an extensive classified program called Creek Sand. There was even a plan to embed U.S. special forces commandos with Malian troops but this was rejected by the U.S. ambassador. No doubt the U.S. will again become involved once the post coup government is more stable. Of course the U.S. trained coup leader was never punished for overthrowing a democratically elected president. Instead Captain Sanogo was able to gain influence in the new government. For more see this article.