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12:02AM

Time's Battleland: Africom to work Lord's Resistance Army problem with Uganda

Ugandan forces (Reuters)

WAPO and NYT reporting over the weekend that the US will send around 100 armed advisers to help the Ugandan military work the stubborn problem of the Lord's Resistance Army, a beyond-its-expiration-date insurgency that's terrorized rural populations across four states for a couple of decades now. These guys really are the worst of the worst, engaging in atrocities galore, mass rape as a tool of terror, and the forced recruitment of child soldiers. They check every box on war crimes.

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland.


Reader Comments (4)

Tom, loving the fact that I can get a Barnett fix at Battle land, life got so hectic that my daily round of the blog-sphere is severely curtailed.

On the topic, for me this is a no brainer, perfect operation for the US to manage, mentoring, training building good will and if we're honest probably a little trigger pulling on the QT. But what else is JSOC for if not removing those bad actors that non one around a dinner table would defend.

Honestly sometimes I wish the world dealt up such bad actors more often, it neatly removes most of the (often valid) arguments about big footprint, mission creep, extra judicial removal of HVT's.

If Kony got two in the chest and one in the head I doubt anyone, including most of his legion of child soldiers would weep.

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Cockeyed Optimist

I don't think your analysis presents the entire picture and thus the true motivation for this decision. There is no mention of Ugandan involvement in Somalia or even US cooperation with the Ugandans in the fight against Al Shabab.

No mention of the 10,000 or so Ugandan ex-soldiers guarding American installations in Iraq.

You make it appear as if this is a purely altruistic move. It is not.

You are helping to solve the most serious national security challenge of one of your most important strategic partners in Africa. I even suspect that Museveni demanded this as a condition for continued support in the fight against Al Shabab.

(The war against Al Shabab in Somalia is not very popular with Ugandans - after all, they were bombed last year, and they can't understand why they, not the Kenyans are engaged with Somalia).

So far so good, this is the first concrete benefit of the Ugandan - American military relationship.

However, we are worried because we've watched this movie before. Have you heard about "Francafrique" and "the Jaguar Wars"? Please read up on them if you haven't. This sort of thing never ends well, it didn't end well for the French - and the French had at least a hundred years experience dealing with Africa. You guys have close to zero and you don't know jack about Africa.

The French are leaving Francophone Africa because whatever the strategic benefits, its not worth it to have half of Francophone Africa hating them desperately and the other half merely tolerating them.

Dealing with Islamic fundamentalists and the LRA seems to be an open and shut case, but you've got to deal with the local strong man and his military to meet your strategic objectives (note: the more robust the democracy, the less willing to commit militarily to the US). That's why you prefer to deal with Meles Zenawi , Museveni and the Algerian Generals than the Kenyans, Tanzanians or Botswanans.

But dealing with strong men comes with great risks (once again ask the French about that). You guys believe that you can "use" the local dictator's military resources without him "using" yours. These guys are a lot smarter than you think and by the time you're finished with them (in the near future, because Americans lack patience) you would have been entangled in a spaghetti-like maze of inter-ethnic conflicts.

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaduka

Just "Go shoot em'" has never worked and will never work.

The "Lets save the world" crowd is staring to scare me.

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPenGun

Hopefully we can stick to the mentoring, consult from the background and avoid any mission creep. Until we allow other nations to take the lead and develop the experience needed, then we will continue the whack a mole strategy you have spoken of many times.

October 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Jennings

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