tstorms
Friday July 3rd, 2015 6:59AM

US military planners focused on Mali intervention

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. military planners are working closely with African nations in advance of an offensive to wrest control of northern Mali from al-Qaida linked extremists, Obama administration officials said Wednesday.

The cooperation reflects the increasing U.S. and international concern about the political, security and humanitarian challenges in Mali after a military coup ousted the democratically elected government this year. Capitalizing on the upheaval, al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb, the best financed al-Qaida affiliate, now controls northern Mali - an area the size of Texas.

That makes it "the largest territory controlled by Islamic extremists in the world," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on African Affairs.

Officials from the State and Defense departments told senators that the United States was working with the African Union and ECOWAS, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, on a planned military action in northern Mali. But there are limits to U.S. involvement.

"We have sent military planners to ECOWAS to assist with the continued development and refinement of the plans for international intervention," said Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary for African Affairs. "Any attempt to militarily oust a AQIM from northern Mali must be African-led. It must be Malian-led," he insisted.

Earlier this week, Army Gen. Carter Ham, the top U.S. commander in Africa, warned against any premature military action in Mali, saying negotiation is the best approach, If there is an offensive, he said, it must be successful and at the appropriate time.

Amanda Dory, the deputy assistant secretary for Africa at the Pentagon, told the subcommittee that the United States is considering support for countries that contribute troops to the mission. That possible assistance includes training and equipment, as well as additional planning and advisers.

"Northern Mali has become a safe haven for extremist and terrorist groups, including AQIM and affiliates," Dory said. "As the government of Mali lost control of its northern territory, these groups took over administration of northern cities and began imposing a harsh version of Sharia law. This expanded safe haven and control of territory allows al-Qaida and affiliates to recruit supporters more easily and to export extremism."

Dory echoed recent comments by military leaders, saying AQIM played a role in the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. She declined to provide any specifics or additional information at the open hearing.

In a technological first, Mohamed Ould Mahmoud, vice president for the Lobbying Network for Peace, Security and Development for Northern Mali, testified before the committee from Bamako, Mali.

Connected via Google Hangout, he told U.S. lawmakers that organized elections in the spring are critical to the future of Mali.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Budget battle sends mixed signals on health care
Confused about the federal budget struggle? So are doctors, hospital administrators and other medical professionals who serve the 100 million Americans covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
6:20PM ( 2 years ago )
Politics
Federal report: Polar bears in peril due to global warming
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Polar bears are at risk of dying off if humans don't reverse the trend of global warming, a blunt U.S. government report filed Thursday said."The single most important step fo...
8:25PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest on train derailment: 5,000 evacuated in Tennessee
MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — 6 p.m.An official in eastern Tennessee says smoke has stopped rising from the site where a CSX train car derailed and caught fire, forcing the evacuation of thousands of reside...
6:05PM ( 12 hours ago )
Obama draws sharp contrasts with 'mean' Republicans
LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — Wading into presidential politics, President Barack Obama on Thursday promoted his brand of middle-class economics by drawing sharp contrasts with "mean" Republicans in a state...
5:36PM ( 13 hours ago )
Jim Webb, Iraq war critic in Senate, running for president
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jim Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran and accomplished novelist who became a fierce critic of the Iraq war in the Senate, announced Thursday that he's challenging Hillary Rodham Clin...
5:08PM ( 13 hours ago )
Top Republican doubts Senate will confirm ambassador to Cuba
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that his chamber is unlikely to approve an American ambassador to Cuba, dishing out a quick rebuff to President Barack Obama and...
4:28PM ( 14 hours ago )