Even though US officials broadly agree that the various militant factions across northwestern Africa have no real interest in attacking the United States, they still see a vital interest in dramatically increasing their footprint in the region.
That’s because as wars move into the region, like the French invasion of Mali, the US is finding itself lacking the enormous infrastructure of spies and killer drones that officials have come to rely on in Pakistan and Yemen.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor says that the administration sees no “quick fix” to its lack of footprint, and is instead looking at a long-term escalation in the region.
Congressmen are pushing the escalation, citing the three Americans killed in the attack on the BP gas plant in Algeria in January as proof that even if the militants have no interest in attacking the US itself, they might still attack Americans in northern Africa.
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