WASHINGTON – The Muslim terror army ISIS is looking to expand from its self-declared caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq to Libya to have a base to spread across Africa, and now reports reveal the U.S. military is setting up a multitude of sites on that continent to derail those plans, according to a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
It all suggests a long fight, perhaps for years to come, against the influence of radical Islam.
The Defense Department officially cites one base, Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti, but the chief of the U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM, Gen. David Rodriguez, says there already are 11 so-called cooperative security locations, or CSLs, across Africa.
And other sources say these secret Special Operations Forces bases could number as many as 60 bunkers forming a network of outposts of varying sizes and missions.
These facilities are located in some 34 of some 57 African countries spanning from West to East Africa, according to multiple sources. That means there is a U.S. presence in some 60 percent of the African countries.
Rodriguez said a CSL “is just a small location where we can come in. It would be what you would call a very austere location with a couple of warehouses that has things like tents, water, and things like that.”
Other sources say, however, that the U.S. is using these CSLs to undertake overt and covert missions, as well as training and launching drones against ISIS and al-Qaida suspects.
Revelation of the existing vast network of SOF bases on the African continent comes as the Defense Department publicly has announced that it is “proposing” a plan to the White House to build a string of military bases not only in Africa but also Southwest Asia and the Middle East, as just reported in The New York Times.
The existence of the myriad of SOF bases in Africa suggest, however, that the expansion is well beyond the proposal stage.
Neither the Defense Department nor AFRICOM responded to requests for comment.
The spread of these bases may reflect the expectation of a protracted fight against the spread of radical jihad and particular groups including ISIS, al-Qaida and Boko Haram, among others, on the African continent.
But there also are concerns that it reflects the Obama administration’s embrace of a “light footprint brand of warfare.”
It could reflect plans for a greater reliance in the future on Special Operations Forces and drones, which could be put in place out of sight of public awareness.
“AFRICOM, as a new command, is basically a laboratory for a different kind of warfare and a different way of posturing forces,” according to Richard Reeve, director of the London think-tank Sustainable Security Program at the Oxford Research Group.
“Apart from Djibouti, there’s no significant stockpiling of troops, equipment or even aircraft,” Reeve told Nick Turse of the TomDispatch.com. “There are a myriad of ‘lily pads’ or small forward operating bases, so you can spread out even a small number of forces over a very large area and concentrate those forces quite quickly when necessary.”
Former intelligence officer Clare Lopez, however, believes the existence of the bases, even their expansion, will be necessary to confront the growing threat of ISIS and other radical jihadist groups on the continent.
“Given the explosive resurgence of the global jihad movement in recent years, with so much of the violence taking place in Africa, from Boko Haram in Nigeria to the establishment of an Islamic State base of operations in what used to be called Libya to Al-Shabaab in the Horn of Africa and more ISIS jihadist activity in the Sinai, it only makes sense that the U.S. military should be expanding its regional capabilities to meet these challenges,” Lopez told G2 Bulletin.
Lopez, who today is vice president of research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, said jihad has been occurring “for nearly 1,400 years, and will be for the foreseeable future, [is] a worldwide threat and that left unchecked in any foothold, Islamic terrorists will attempt to launch attacks outward from there.”