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A new battleground in the war on terror the US reportedly ready to sign a deal with Niger to open a new drone base in West Africa.
It brings US forces to the border with Mali where French troops have been helping battle Islamist militants.
Al-Qaeda linked groups are making northern Mali a base for terror operations so what's up look at what the -- might mean -- we're bringing in general Jack -- retired four star general.
Former vice chief of staff of the army and a Fox News military analyst thanks for joining us.
Glad to be -- to -- this week for the first time ever the US and Niger signed a status of forces agreement and that sold is considered the first step in establishing a drone base that we should emphasize that.
It is so far not approved by the Pentagon or by the White House or Niger but defense officials are saying.
This deal is expect did this mean.
-- this is pretty significant I've actually been working on this for some time almost a year.
But I think it's it's put on fast forward as a result of the valley operation -- the the French have been involved and right right now the French have no.
Reconnaissance and surveillance capability -- -- was they have helicopters and they have some fighters.
But they -- have no way to be able to see what the enemy still -- -- be able to see it over a period of time.
This will give them that capability -- where this space will be located in Niger.
-- it's very close to the operations area in northern Mali it's actually closer to the operations area.
In northern mounted in the capital Molly is to it -- -- -- very significant militarily.
And I know the French who appreciated as well.
-- so for now we're talking about unarmed drones four I SR only that's intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance but is a possibility.
That down the road this base could eventually use armed drones.
-- -- absolutely I clearly believe we're heading in that direction and and unstated here and edit it is -- probably -- I know it's classified in and it should stay that way.
But we we know that the Central Intelligence Agency.
Will be conducting operations.
In certain parts in North Africa and when they're doing that they're using armed drones as well.
But this is a step in the right direction here -- and -- mean the al-Qaeda had delivered a blow to lawsuit in Ben Ghazi.
And we have never really responded to it except put an FBI investigation.
And this is the four step.
There was starting to move in that direction at the United States is going to be involved.
We did have some success in Somalia in the east against the I'll -- Bob terrorists and so -- Qaeda affiliated organization.
But since the rise of al-Qaeda in North Africa.
This is Rory off first step of pushing back on -- You know in general African countries aren't comfortable about housing US -- because they are terror targets is so what is Niger.
Expressing so much interest in cooperating with the US.
They know what's going on here -- and that the terrorists -- a Q I am.
In northern Mali 10 establish a sanctuary they so emboldened.
By what took place have been -- of -- success achieved there that they decided to move out of that sanctuary.
And to drive toward the capital city.
That is what brought the French in on an emergency basis to intervene and they have stopped them from doing that so Niger and knows how aggressive.
The AQ I -- is and that they intend to conduct operations.
In the neighboring countries.
Of northern Mali and Niger sits right there on the border and they know they're being threatened by -- they're willing to accept.
Of the magnet that a US bases.
As opposed to the risk of what those terrorists would do overall to their country.
But you say the State Department is overall reluctance to militarized Africa why.
Well when you talk to.
The people in Africa that is the combatant command.
That looks at Africa our military command regional command as we referred to it.
They have had difficulty making military moves in northern Africa and not.
Mostly for presents not to be involved in any fighting.
Because of the state department's unwillingness to militarized that that's their word not mine.
And the fact of the matter is where we have militarized places to provide presence.
That has led to growth development.
And in some cases absolute prosperity true in Europe and certainly true in the Pacific.
And so I believe we're going to have to have a greater presence.
In northern Africa from Africa come and I think this is a step in the right direction to command needs more resources in an absolutely needs more presence.
In that not to be involved.
In conflict but -- to prevent conflict from taken place because -- -- presence.
Any assistance that they can provide to the Africans.
-- -- the countries that are being threatened.
General Jack -- thank you so much.
Take care patio.
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