The deployment of 100 US special forces troops into northern Uganda over the weekend took many by surprise, but the Obama Administration’s move was actually part of a long-standing policy of escalation in central Africa.
Though the Christian militant faction the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) hasn’t exactly been a headline-getting in the US, the American government has been pouring millions of dollars into funding the fight against them dating back to 2008, and President Obama signed a Congressional bill against the LRA in May of 2010.
And while President Museveni is treating the move as a one-off, limited effort, the NGOs that have been pressing for a US military involvement in central Africa are treating it as a first step, saying it is important to “keep their feet on the gas pedal” in the push for further escalations.
Though the US forces aren’t supposed to be engaging in combat, they will be combat-equipped, and those weapons aren’t just for show. The 100 troops may not be a huge invasion force, but if the policy continues they will be an advance deployment for bigger things yet to come.