4 Dead Americans in Niger?

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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby grzegorz on Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:21 pm

Trump is saying he did not authorize Niger, his generals did.

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/35713 ... er-mission


The military is not happy about it.

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/1 ... e_facebook
Last edited by grzegorz on Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby Steve James on Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:18 pm

Trump always said that he "knew more" than the generals during his campaign. Now he authorizes them as his way of showing leadership. Aw, everybody knows that he was probably tweeting during this operation. Nobody has heard him accept the blame or responsibility for anything; but he will accept the credit for everything.

This entire discussion began because Trump was asked why he hadn't mentioned the deaths of these men two weeks after the event. Then, after saying how much better he was at making condolence calls to families than Obama or Bush, he hurriedly called their families. He handled the calls as well as he could, but one widow complained that he "didn't even know" or say her husband's name. Of course, he corrected her saying he "has some of the best memories." She will therefore be criticized as being disrespectful or ungrateful. It's a shame. But, she's got a bunch of people on her side.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby grzegorz on Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:27 pm

The widow also stated that he didn't even know her husband's name to which Trump said he did know the name because the report was in front of him. What a tool!
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby Michael on Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:05 pm

The best part is when he says, pointing to his head, "One of the great memories of all time."

OF ALL TIME!
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby Peacedog on Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:24 pm

I've waited to comment on this one until some clarity has arisen, but here goes. I've cut, pasted and edited liberally from SOFREP, which is a news website staffed by former SOF operators. What follows is essentially the SOF communities' view of what happened. All of this is behind a pay wall.

My view of happened follows the quoted section.

"The mission in question was a Foreign Internal Defense mission training and advising a 30 man force from the Niger Forces Armées Nigeriennes (FAN) paramilitary unit. They found themselves returning from a patrol searching for terrorist activity Wednesday when they were hit by an ambush. SOFREP through its sources has learned that the size of the enemy was a large force of insurgents from the terror group AQIM.

The size of the joint U.S. Green Beret and Nigerien force was 42 men, so initially the ambush was, in essence what was known as a “force-on-force” battle. Short of the surprise of being ambushed, the joint unit had a chance. However, SOFREP discovered through its sources that the Nigerien unit with the Green Berets may have run away in the panic of the ambush leaving the 12 man ODA to slug it out on their own.

This type of mission is a highly strategic one, mainly due to the country’s borders with Algeria, Mali, and Libya, all of which have large terror groups such as the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and al-Qaeda in the Magreb (AQIM) within them. Many of said prisoners are young girls and children, who are sent to black market slave traders in Gao, Mali and Libya to finance their terror operations.

The SOF mission was to disrupt and destroy those operations, through training of and accompanying their Nigerien military counterparts on raids as direct combat advisors.

French SOF responded to the US forces call for help and helicoptered in two teams to the ambush in Tongo Tongo. Where the French SOF were reported to have gotten into a firefight with elements of the terror group, al-Qaeda in the Magreb (AQIM) which may well have turned the tide for the Americans.

Also reported were two French Mirage 2000 warplanes dispatched to the area of where SOF were under siege to provide close air support, only to be unable to provide air cover due to “terrain concerns and constraints.” This generally intimates that either there were issues visualizing the site due to dense foliage or that the Green Berets and the AQIM insurgents were locked in hand-to-hand distance levels of fighting."

So here goes.

The mission in question was pretty routine. Big militaries spend most of their time outside of major combat operations training. Frequently this training involves advising the forces of smaller countries. Keep in mind advising can involve small unit combat as occurred here. US Army Special Forces are all designated trainers and advisors. It is one of the things that differentiates them from SEALS, MARSOC, etc. Those other forces do train and assist foreign forces as well, but for Special Forces it is a dedicated part of their mission set.

So, War on Terror, or not, the training and advising that took place Niger was fairly common. For an historical perspective on this take a look at The Savage Wars of Peace by Max Boot. It details all of the small conflicts that the US has participated in.

The US ambassador's reported reluctance to approve more air assets, or surveillance, is pretty normal for what is considered a low risk environment. Leaving out the fact that virtually none of the State department's employees would have supported this on principal as most of DoS is anti-military in the first place.

The reality is the government in Niger probably wouldn't have approved of it either. African countries, for a whole bunch of reasons, tend to have issues with foreign forces basing armed flight assets in their country. Arranging a working Status of Forces agreement to support that can take years and is generally fairly limited in scope.

Also, the US ambassador could have very well declined the request based off of host nation input.

The reality is that without being on embassy staff no is likely to know who made the official call on that one. It really doesn't have anything to do with who is in the White House.

Also keep in mind, as this was considered a low risk mission, a very good chance exits that even if SOF had been successful in getting the assets approved by both DoS and Niger that they would not have received them anyway.

These assets are far more expensive and functionally over stressed than most people outside of DoD realize. Any mission labeled "low risk" is not likely to receive robust armed ISR.

The bottom line is that a mission of this sort is unlikely to receive dedicated armed ISR without an extenuating reason.

That covers the organizational issues.

On a practical basis, if the French Mirage crews were unable to engage due to either topography or the close quarters nature of the fight, it is unlikely a Predator or Reaper would have been able to either.

Given the relatively small size of US forces in the area, along with the low threat level, some kind of agreement may have been in place with the French to provide air assets when requested as they are the predominant force in the area. I'm not saying that was the case, but it would make sense.

So, the bottom line is that the FID mission in question would have been common regardless of the War on Terror and more than likely wouldn't have had much in the way of dedicated air support.

Don't get me started on the value of real time intel support. That crap is virtually worthless.

It also highlights the vulnerability of SOF. While they will fight like tigers, the reality is that they are light infantry. Without backing forces it is easy for them to become over-extended.

While this particular episode made the press, these kinds of incidents are far more common than most realize. Highly trained specialized forces fight at a level that far exceeds their actual numbers. However, the bad guys sometime have a good day. This was one of those times.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby grzegorz on Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:52 pm

Michael wrote:The best part is when he says, pointing to his head, "One of the great memories of all time."

OF ALL TIME!


I saw him say that today. I am used to him selling himself that I filtered it out the first time around.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby grzegorz on Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:57 pm

Seems like I am not alone in connecting Chad ditching the US after Trump banned them from entry into the US.

Trump bans Chad, Chad stops supporting US troops in Africa and 4 Americans are dead. See how that works?

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/21/opinions/ ... index.html

Soldiers' deaths in Niger trail a frightful back-story

By David A. Andelman 

Updated 11:04 AM EDT, Tue October 24, 2017

Story highlights

David Andelman: It's vital that the Pentagon investigation uncover why American soldiers were vulnerable to an ambush in western NigerHe says the Trump administration travel ban needlessly alienated Chad, which has been a partner in fighting militants in Niger's eastern region

Editor's Note: (David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN and columnist for USA Today, is the author of "A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today." He formerly was a foreign correspondent for The New York Times in Asia and Europe, and Paris correspondent for CBS News. Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his.)

(CNN)Just how was it left to Nigerien troops and French helicopters to find and fetch the bodies of our heroic service members killed in Niger?

Why did they apparently have so little air or intelligence muscle to protect them in the first place? We could get a final answer after the completion of a Benghazi-style after-action probe by the United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM.

At a Pentagon briefing Monday afternoon, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff suggested some of the answers, if only the most basic timeline and structure of the operation. It is still, General Joseph Dunford suggested, too early to assess the full context or broader timeline. What already seems likely is that at least some blame could lie with those who set in motion a bewildering series of actions.

The broader timeline begins in the region on September 24, when the Trump administration suddenly and inexplicably added Chad to the list of countries whose citizens would be included in the latest iteration of the president's travel ban. Chad and its leaders were utterly blindsided as there was no sense whatsoever that this nation has harbored or even encouraged terrorists -- certainly no more culpable than such nations as Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, or for that matter Chad's neighbors Mali, Niger and Nigeria, none of which were included on this list.

Au contraire, Chad's troops have for some time served as an effective ally in the region -- the best fighting force deployed in nearby Niger and Mali, with the best intel and best-trained warriors. They were the best because they were trained by the French and its redoubtable Foreign Legion. I know, because I was there in Chad in 1983 when the French had to send in their forces to backstop them when they thought Libya's Moammar Gadhafi might invade from the north.

Over the next 30 years, the French turned them into a first-rate fighting force, utterly allied to the Western anti-terrorist effort in the Sahel -- itself a desperately critical part of the success of our war against ISIS and against the spread of Islamic terrorism that is threatening to overrun Africa.

It's true that this attack that left the Americans dead occurred in a far distant part of the country from where Chadian troops typically focused their efforts. Chadian troops in Niger have been deployed in the eastern regions of the country near Diffa, which is about 750 miles from where the ambush took place in western Niger. But terror operations and intelligence cooperation are complex, and dramatic shifts with vital allies can have unforeseen consequences.

Moreover, the Pentagon and National Security Council have been searching for the next place where, hydra-like, a post-Raqqa ISIS might rise, they need look no further than here in these three West African nations.

Chad, Mali and Niger offer a central conduit from north African nations like Libya -- quite rightly a fellow member of the Trump travel ban, and potentially the richest recruiting lode for Islamic jihad -- to the vastly populous regions of Nigeria and its neighbors. Already, Nigerian-based Boko Haram, a proto-Islamic group comprised more of heavily-armed thugs than confirmed jihadis, has made enormous inroads in this region. Now, ISIS is knocking on the door. Some determinedly anti-jihadist nations like Chad, have stepped up to block these efforts.

And then Trump went and insulted them. In fact, the September 24 action was only the latest backhanded and ill-informed insult. It seems that US Homeland Security gave all countries 50 days to meet a "baseline" of security conditions, including producing a counterfeit-proof version of their passport to prove that they were reliable enough to allow their citizens into America. But Chad, desperately poor, had quite simply run out of passport paper.

They reportedly offered to provide a pre-existing sample of this type of passport. No dice. The next thing they knew they were on the banned list, alongside their arch enemy Libya and other clearly terrorist-driven nations.

Barely a week after the announcement of the new travel ban, the Chadian government suddenly began pulling hundreds of their fighters from Niger. There was no immediate explanation, though the nation's communications minister Madeleine Alingué condemned the Trump administration's unheralded move, observing that it "seriously undermines" the "good relations between the two countries, notably in the fight against terrorism." Hard to be more direct than that.

Troops from Niger and Mali are now all that stand between the forces of ISIS and, further afield, Boko Haram and our own military.

"We have about 1,000 [American] forces distributed over the Chad Basin, most of them in Niger, but not all of them," Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, a senior official of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at a news conference held after the soldiers were ambushed. Indeed, the United States not only has hundreds of troops but also amajor drone operation in Niger. And General Dunford pointed out, another 4,000 French and 35,000 African troops are operating there.

But now, Chad's troops, one of the major components of the multinational force operating in some regions of Niger, are largely gone. They had been assembled as part of a multi-national African force that has been charged to patrol, defend and especially understand a vast stretch of largely barren desert that includes Mali and Niger -- a combined territory nearly four times the size of Texas. Few could understand it better or be better equipped to fight in many of these regions than the army of Chad.

Inexplicably, though, we still sent our small, likely under-armed band of troops into harm's way. Fifty jihadis, heavily armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, utterly outgunned and outmanned the slim American force they ambushed.

And then our boys died there. The backstory is frightful -- filled with mindless decisions executed with minimal knowledge and potentially catastrophic results. It's urgent that we uncover quickly just what led to this terrible disaster, the role played by any misjudgments on or off the battlefield. Mr. President, you must see it as your highest priority to find out what or who is really behind the deaths of these four heroic young men.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to provide context on where the Chad troop withdrawals occurred and with news of Gen. Joseph Dunford's press briefing Monday on the American troops killed in Niger.

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Last edited by grzegorz on Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:41 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby Steve James on Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:33 pm

I don't think anyone can blame Trump for the snafu. The criticism was that he did not comment or acknowledge the loss of life for two weeks. During that time he made numerous tweets and comments about the NFL. When asked, his replies were self-serving and irrelevant. Then he called.

Afa the operation, it was an ambush. Either it was planned by the opposition based on intelligence or it was just lucky circumstances. Either way, the fact is that the troops were unprepared. It may have been deemed a low risk area, but that determination was wrong. No one needs to be blamed for the faulty Intel, and it doesn't do much good. Finding ways to get better information is at the top and the last to do list. Then comes payback.

Afa the war on terror, I think it has to be fought where it is. How it's fought is another question.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby grzegorz on Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:58 pm

Steve James wrote:I don't think anyone can blame Trump for the snafu. The criticism was that he did not comment or acknowledge the loss of life for two weeks. During that time he made numerous tweets and comments about the NFL. When asked, his replies were self-serving and irrelevant. Then he called.

Afa the operation, it was an ambush. Either it was planned by the opposition based on intelligence or it was just lucky circumstances. Either way, the fact is that the troops were unprepared. It may have been deemed a low risk area, but that determination was wrong. No one needs to be blamed for the faulty Intel, and it doesn't do much good. Finding ways to get better information is at the top and the last to do list. Then comes payback.

Afa the war on terror, I think it has to be fought where it is. How it's fought is another question.


This is what happens when you put random countries on a travel ban that should have never been on a travel ban. I have heard that once Chad pulled their troops out that the special forces had a bad feeling that they were being set up. This whole thing is much deeper than the phone call as bad as that was their is good reason Trump wanted to bury the story and the facts will come out just as they are with the Russian connection, give it time.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby grzegorz on Sat May 12, 2018 9:19 pm

Pentagon investigation into lethal Niger ambush finds multiple failures

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pe ... ar-AAx57d0
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby Peacedog on Sun May 13, 2018 7:04 am

They had some strat ISR. Good for them.

It still illustrates my main point though. SOCOM forces will fight like tigers but, without backing mainforce infantry and combined arms elements, they are light infantry.

And sometimes the bad guys have a good day.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby grzegorz on Thu May 17, 2018 11:24 am

Peacedog wrote:They had some strat ISR. Good for them.

It still illustrates my main point though. SOCOM forces will fight like tigers but, without backing mainforce infantry and combined arms elements, they are light infantry.

And sometimes the bad guys have a good day.


To me the failure came from the top.

I used to serve alongside of the Seals, they don't make mistakes and they don't leave people behind. I don't blame the man on the ground. I blame the people who ordered this operation.
Last edited by grzegorz on Thu May 17, 2018 11:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby Peacedog on Sat May 19, 2018 7:17 am

Frankly this seemed pretty routine for the environment involved.

Turns out they had ISR, even if it wasn't armed or available full time.

Team lead botched some paper work, which honestly isn't that big a deal not that it didn't end his career more than likely.

Seems pretty illustrative of the fact that the bad guys can plan ahead even if they are poorly equipped and trained for the most part.
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Re: 4 Dead Americans in Niger?

Postby Steve James on Sat May 19, 2018 9:29 am

I think what happened in Niger is a typical snafu. Just as in Somalia, the mistake was underestimating the enemy, who thinks that they are right and right at home. We can call them evil and stupid, but it'll cost us.

Anyway, imo, it's startling more kids have been killed in classrooms than casualties have been recorded in military conflicts this year. Okay, at least this week and probably last. But, I wouldn't blame anyone specifically for that, either.
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