The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that U.S. military forces are counting on small bases scattered across Africa to manage anti-terror intelligence operations.
U.S. Special Operations forces are using surveillance technology in a way that expands military reach into the bailiwick once held largely by the CIA.
Here's a look at the report from the Washington Post and further information on how U.S. intelligence is being used to combat terrorism and insurgencies.
Base of operations in Burkina Faso: The small west African and Sahelian nation of Burkina Faso plays host to the "key hub of the U.S. spying network" at its capital of Ouagadougou, according to the Washington Post. U.S. personnel and contractors work under a program code-named Creek Sand to track down active cells of al-Qaida in Mali, Mauritania, and other Saharan nations.
Those regions have been hotbeds for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb activity, usually involving the kidnapping and killing of Westerners. In March, an Islamist group known as Ansar Dine joined forces with Tuareg separatists to seize control of northern Mali.
The African network: The Washington Post provided a graphic showing where some of the biggest insurgencies and terror operations are active across Africa and in neighboring Yemen, along with the bases of operation for U.S. military forces. The major conflict zones include al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) forces in Mali and Niger, the radical sect known as Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, the al-Qaida affiliated group al-Shabab being fought by Kenyan, Ethiopian, African Union, and American forces in Somalia, and the nominally Christian Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
Obama administration taking out LRA: The LRA, now better known for its attacks on and forced recruitment of child soldiers than for a Biblical-affiliation, began as a rebel group in Uganda but now operates in South Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In an April press release, the White House provided a strategy and fact sheet for America's October 2011 deployment of a "small number of U.S. military advisors to enhance the collaboration and capacity of the regional forces pursuing the LRA and seeking to protect local populations."
Camp Lemonnier doing double-duty: A former French military camp in the desert nation of Djibouti is an important base of operation for U.S. forces. Along with Reaper drones deployed from Seychelles and Arba Minch, Ethiopia and commandos working out of Manda Bay, Kenya, the U.S. is working to eliminate al-Shabab as a fighting force in Somalia by coordinating attacks from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The location also serves to target al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula forces operating in Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden.