United States special operations forces are training counterterrorism units in Libya, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, the New York Times reported this morning.
The secretive program, financed in part with millions of dollars in classified Pentagon spending and carried out by trainers, including members of the Army’s Green Berets and Delta Force, was begun last year to instruct and equip hundreds of handpicked commandos in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali.
The goal over the next few years is to build homegrown African counterterrorism teams capable of combating fighters like those in Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group that abducted nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls last month.
I highlight the latter three nations in this post's headline not because Libya is insignificant, but because it's already well-known as a site of violence. Whereas casual followers of "places where events leading to the apocalypse could begin" news might not have previously had Mali, Mauritania, and Niger on their radar.
(For what it's worth, the sums involved are fairly small—in the tens of millions—relative to other military operations.)