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Chasing Terrorists in Africa
Almost every day, and sometimes twice a day, an unarmed American drone soars towards the sky from an isolated military airfield here, the start of a mission of monitoring 10 hours typical for affiliated with Al-Qaeda fighters and other militants in Mali nearby.

The two MQ-9 Reapers, which are based here live video stream American analysts work with French commanders, who say air intelligence has been essential to their success in the past four months in the conduct of jihadists from a large sanctuary of the desert in northern Mali.

Drones, created in February and managed by approximately 120 base members of the air staff, is the last indication of priority Africa become for the United States at a time when it comes to an end its presence in Afghanistan, and president Obama has set a goal to move from a world war against terrorism to a more targeted effort. It is part of a new model of fight against terrorism, a strategy aimed at helping local forces - and in this case a European ally - fighting against the activists for the American troops have not.

But the approach has its limits in a continent as vast as Africa, where the lack of resources is chronic and regional partners are weak. And the introduction of UAVs, even disarmed those, runs the risk of creating the kind of game that has undermined U.S. efforts in Pakistan and has provoked anger in many parts of the world.

The increase in the number of potential threats in the region was informed Mr. Obama during his visit to Africa last week.

"We need in Africa, and not only in Senegal but the whole of Africa, to have the military capability to resolve this issue, but we need training, we need materials, we need the intelligence the president Macky Sall of Senegal told Reuters after a meeting with Mr. Obama in Dakar to discuss fears of a growing violent Islamist threat in the Sahara."

The army American, however, is that a single base permanent Africa, Djibouti, Mali, as well as more than 3,000 miles of a constellation of small airstrips, including Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, for surveillance drones-driven missions or aircraft turboprop designed to look like civilian aircraft. The challenge for the United States, with little experience in Africa, is a difficult question.

"The United States is facing an environment of security in Africa which is increasingly complex and therefore more dangerous", said Michael R. Shurkin, a former analyst for the CIA, the Agency who is now at the RAND Corporation. "Effective responses, in addition, possess an excellent knowledge of local populations and their policy, the kind of understanding that too often escapes the military and U.S. Government."

And the threats facing Niger are typical of those which concerned Mr. Sall. The Government of president Mahamadou Issoufou is struggling to stem a flow of insurgents across the border lightly guarded with Mali, Nigeria and the Libya. On 23 May, the terrorists using bombs to car bomb attacked a military camp Niger to Agadez and uranium Corporation French operating in Arlit, both in the North of the country.

Two groups claimed responsibility for the attacks, that the Niger authorities say killed at least 24 soldiers and a civilian, as well as 11 activists: that led by the Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who led an attack on a major gas field in Algeria in January, as well as a regional offshoot of Al-Qaida, the movement for unity and Jihad in West Africa, or Mujao.

The terrorist attacks of may, combined with an escape from the biggest prison of Niamey the month last by 32 prisoners, including many activists alleged, have left the Government of Mr Issoufou vulnerable to criticism that it cannot ensure security, despite allowing U.S. drones on Nigerian soil.

The Government of the Niger has defended this decision, and he is quite concerned about the threat it perceives extremist fighters pushed out of Mali he wanted originally drones are armed, a former senior American official said. But Obama administration officials thought that it was unnecessary and politically unwise.

For experts on Africa, the possibility that the drones will still cause a reaction remains real, especially if radical Islamists make a problem.
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