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article imageOp-Ed: U.S. Drones and agents never left Libya but more being added

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By Ken Hanly     Sep 14, 2012 in Politics
Tripoli - The Obama administration is sending more military reinforcements to Libya along with warships. However, drones have been operating in Libya and also U.S.agents have been carrying out missions ever since the NATO mission ended last year.
Army Lt. Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Wired's Danger Room:Yes, we have been flying CAPs [combat air patrols] since the war ended,” No doubt with the agreement of the Libyan government the U.S. has been engaged in surveillance with drones monitoring militant activity in Libya. Drones were used extensively during the NATO mission: Predators launched 145 strikes on ex-regime targets. That was twice the barrage drones unleashed in all of 2011 on tribal Pakistan, the place commonly thought of as the epicenter of U.S. drone strikes.
Since the Benghazi incident more drones will be surveying Libya and an additional 50 marines are being sent although apparently most of these will be used to increase security at the U.S. embassy and consular offices.
There are no doubt already U.S. agents working in Libya on special missions. Indeed, one of the Americans killed in the Benghazi attack told ABC news a month ago that he was working on an intelligence mission to find some of the hidden caches of weapons that are stashed throughout Libya. No doubt there are a number of Americans helping out and no doubt trying to ferret out information about what is happening among militant groups.
More drones are now being sent to fly over Benghazi and eastern Libya. No doubt the drones will be watching for militant activities. Given there are also warships being sent equipped with Tomahawk missiles events could very well escalate. If there is an attack on a suspected jihadist compound or camp this could cause even more conflict with the central government which lacks its own forces to battle powerful militias.
We seem to be witnessing the beginning of a terrorist hunt in Libya no doubt provoked in part by the fact that the Benghazi attack seems to have been planned and executed by a militant group. The U.S. is experiencing a type of blowback as militant Islamic militants who actively fought again Gadaffi are now turning their sights on the U.S. exactly as happened in Afghanistan. The U.S. response may start a new front in the war against terrorism and create new arguments for not cutting the U.S. defense budget.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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