Welcome to Agadez, America’s Latest Front in the War on Terror

Say hello to Agadez:

Agadez is 4,000 miles from Aghanistan, where the Global War on Terrorism began. It’s 2,500 miles from Iraq, our next destination in the war. It’s 2,000 miles from Syria and 1,500 miles from Benghazi. This is where we’re building a $110 million drone base that will host nearly a thousand American troops, double the number of a few years ago. Here is Eric Schmitt:

Taken together, these parallel missions reflect a largely undeclared American military buildup outside the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, often with murky authorities and little public attention, unfolding in remote places like Yemen, Somalia and, increasingly, West Africa.

In Niger alone, the Pentagon in the past few years has doubled the number of United States troops, to about 800 — not to conduct unilateral combat missions, but to battle an increasingly dangerous Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and even loosely associated extremist groups with proxy forces and drone strikes….Maj. Gen. J. Marcus Hicks, the head of American Special Operations forces in Africa, put it this way: “This is an insurance policy that’s very inexpensive, and I think we need to keep paying into it.”

….“Eliminating jihadi military leaders through drone operations could temporarily disorganize insurgent groups,” said Jean-Hervé Jezequel, deputy director of the International Crisis Group’s West Africa project in Dakar, Senegal. “But eventually the void could also lead to the rise of new and younger leaders who are likely to engage into more violent and spectacular operations to assert their leadership.”

The defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan catalyzed the creation of al-Qaeda. The defeat of al-Qaeda catalyzed the growth of ISIS. The imminent defeat of ISIS appears to have already catalyzed the emergence of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Each group is smaller than its predecessor, but also more radical and more violent. It’s not clear if this represents progress or not.