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Secret White House Meetings to Prepare Unilateral Strikes in North Africa

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Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock
Washington Post
Oct 2, 2012

The White House has held a series of secret meetings in recent months to examine the threat posed by al-Qaeda’s franchise in North Africa and consider for the first time whether to prepare for unilateral strikes, U.S. officials said.

The deliberations reflect concern that al-Qaeda’s African affiliate has become more dangerous since gaining control of large pockets of territory in Mali and acquiring weapons from post-revolution Libya. The discussions predate the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. compounds in Libya but gained urgency after the assaults there were linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.

U.S. officials said the discussions have focused on ways to help regional militaries confront al-Qaeda but have also explored the possibility of direct U.S. intervention if the terrorist group continues unchecked.

“Right now, we’re not in position to do much about it,” said a senior U.S. counterterrorism official involved in the talks. As a result, he said, officials have begun to consider contingencies, including the question of “do we or don’t we” deploy drones.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 2:57 am





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