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United States Military Conducting Airborne Surveillance In Lake Chad, Sahel

U.S. President's letter to Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate regarding the War Powers Report spotlights American military engagement in the region battling diverse terror groups.

The United States (U.S.) President, Joe Biden, in a letter to the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate, disclosed that the U.S. continues to conduct airborne surveillance and has over 800 personnel in Niger Republic.

Joe Biden’s letter was related to the War Powers Resolution Report on the administration’s deployment of U.S. Armed Forces.

In Feb., the U.S. president’s first report to the Congress submitted under the War Powers Resolution was on the US military targeted strike against infrastructure in eastern Syria used by Iran-supported non-state militia groups.

President Biden stated in the letter dated June 8, that “I am providing this supplemental consolidated report, prepared by my Administration and consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), as part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed about deployments of United States Armed Forces equipped for combat.”

The War Powers Resolution or the War Powers Act aims to check the U.S. president’s power to commit the United States to an armed conflict and provides a set of procedures for both the President and Congress to follow in situations where the introduction of U.S. forces abroad could lead to their involvement in armed conflict.

The letter stated that “In furtherance of counterterrorism efforts, the United States continues to work with partners around the globe, with a particular focus on the United States Central and Africa Commands’ areas of responsibility.”

It added that the U.S. has deployed forces to conduct counterterrorism operations and to advise, assist, and accompany security forces of select foreign partners on counterterrorism operations.

The letter highlighted U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the Arabian Peninsula Region alongside Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and East Africa Region.

Others were the Philippines, Egypt, Kosovo, Cuba as well as the Lake Chad Basin and Sahel Region.

“In many of these locations, the security environment is such that United States military personnel may be required to defend themselves against threats or attacks, and, to that end, the United States may deploy United States military personnel with weapons and other appropriate equipment for force protection,” the letter said.

The President also explained that specific information about counterterrorism deployments to select countries is provided below, and a classified annex to this report provides further information.

According to the U.S. President, the United States military personnel in the Lake Chad Basin and Sahel Region continue to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations and to provide support to African and European partners conducting counterterrorism operations in the region.

The personnel other activities included advising, assisting, and accompanying these partner forces, it also stated that approximately 808  U.S military personnel remain deployed to Niger.

Niger is strategically located in the Sahel and Lake Chad has become an important counter-terrorism partner for the US and other western forces conducting and supporting operations to improve security and degrade threat from Islamic State and Al Qaeda affiliated terror groups.

Since 2012, the United States Department of Defense and the Department of State have provided Niger more than $350 million in military assistance equipment and training programs – one of the largest security assistance and training programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

The U.S. is also conducting military activities in super of partner forces from the Nigerien town of Agadez at Air Base 201 (AB 201) and in Air Base 101 (AB 101) in the country’s capital Niamey.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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