U.S. drone base in Ethi­o­pia is operational

I ask on this site periodically, how many countries does it take before you call it a world war?

From the WAPO:

By , Published: October 27

The Air Force has been secretly flying Reaper drones on counterterrorism missions from a remote civilian airport in southern Ethi­o­pia as part of a rapidly expanding U.S.-led proxy war against an al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, U.S. military officials said.

The Air Force has invested millions of dollars to upgrade an airfield in Arba Minch, Ethi­o­pia, where it has built a small annex to house a fleet of drones that can be equipped with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs. The Reapers began flying missions earlier this year over neighboring Somalia, where the United States and its allies in the region have beentargeting al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group connected to al-Qaeda.

On Friday, the Pentagon said the drones are unarmed and have been used only for surveillance and collecting intelligence, though it would not rule out the possibility that they would be used to launch lethal strikes in the future.

Mindful of the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” debacle in which two U.S. military helicopters were shot down in the Somali capital of Mogadishu and 18 Americans killed, the Obama administration has sought to avoid deploying troops to the country.

As a result, the United States has relied on lethal drone attacks, a burgeoning CIA presence in Mogadishu and small-scale missions carried out by U.S. Special Forces. In addition, the United States has increased its funding for and training of African peacekeeping forces in Somalia that fight al-Shabab.

The Washington Post reported last month that the Obama administration is building a constellation of secret drone bases in the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, including one site in Ethi­o­pia. The location of the Ethio­pian base and the fact that it became operational this year, however, have not been previously disclosed. Some bases in the region also have been used to carry out operations against the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.

The Air Force confirmed Thursday that drone operations are underway at the Arba Minch airport. Master Sgt. James Fisher, a spokesman for the 17th Air Force, which oversees operations in Africa, said that an unspecified number of Air Force personnel ­are working at the Ethio­pian airfield “to provide operation and technical support for our security assistance programs.”

The Arba Minch airport expansion is still in progress but the Air Force deployed the Reapers there earlier this year, Fisher said. He said the drone flights “will continue as long as the government of Ethi­o­pia welcomes our cooperation on these varied security programs.”

Last month, the Ethio­pian Foreign Ministry denied the presence of U.S. drones in the country. On Thursday, a spokesman for the Ethio­pian embassy in Washington repeated that assertion.

“That’s the government’s position,” said Tesfaye Yilma, the head of public diplomacy for the embassy. “We don’t entertain foreign military bases in Ethi­o­pia.”

But U.S. military personnel and contractors have become increasingly visible in recent months in Arba Minch, a city of about 70,000 people in southern Ethi­o­pia. Arba Minch means “40 springs” in Amharic, the national language.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic
This entry was posted in Al Shabab, Islam in Africa, Somalia, U.S.A., West fights back. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to U.S. drone base in Ethi­o­pia is operational

  1. Richard says:

    This is good news, at least we are fighting the Islamists in that region.

  2. Truthiocity says:

    How many countries before we can call it a world war?

    I looked at Thereligionofpeace list of islamically motivated attacks in 2010 and made a list of all countries in which there were violent incidents (from someone being stabbed to massacres of hundreds of people) with Islam as the motivation during 2010.

    There were 40 countries where religiously motivated attacks occured.

    In many of those attacks the perpetrators are materially supported by Islamic governments or by extensive networks of muslim civilians.

    The state department reported that there were 14,000 casualties from all these attacks in 2010 (dunno if they included or excluded military casualties)

    The enemy is definatly fighting a world war.

  3. Richard says:

    The enemy is, we aren’t. In fact we are too busy trying to find a substitute for victory to fight a war, and the left will refuse to accept that we are in a world war until Russia under Putin calls it a world war. Then the left will start screaming for everyone to take the gloves off.

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