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U.S. General Warns of Africa Terror Threat
The Las Vegas Sun ^ | February 16, 2004 at 8:55:08 PST | ANTHONY MITCHELL

Posted on 02/16/2004 7:04:04 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Today: February 16, 2004 at 8:55:08 PST

U.S. General Warns of Africa Terror Threat

By ANTHONY MITCHELL
ASSOCIATED PRESS

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -

A clear terrorist threat still exists in East Africa, and greater military cooperation is needed to defeat it, a top U.S. general warned on Monday during a visit to Ethiopia.

Gen. John Abizaid, whose Central Command is responsible for Afghanistan, Iraq and East Africa, said closer "military and intelligence cooperation" was needed between East African governments to prevent extremist groups like al-Qaida from gaining an "ideological foothold" in the region.

"The threat is clear, but the threat can be deterred and can be defeated," he told journalists in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

"This terrorist threat knows no boundary, and when we operate only on a nation-state basis we will be unable to really get at the heart of the terrorist problem which is transnational."

Abizaid pointed out Somalia - which has had no central government since 1990 - as a potential trouble spot in the region.

"We know the terrorists gravitate toward ungoverned spaces, and these are areas where they look for the opportunities to gain recruits, establish safe-havens and move money," he said. "We certainly have indications to believe that people associated with these groups operate in and around areas such as Somalia."

Abizaid, who met with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, said his visit aimed to assess the capabilities of the region's forces for combating terrorism.

East Africa has already suffered four terrorist attacks, all either claimed by or blamed on Osama bin Laden's terror network. In August 1998, car bombs destroyed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; in October 2000, suicide bombers attacked the USS Cole while it was refueling in Yemen; and in November 2002, attackers tried to shoot down an Israeli airliner minutes before a car bomb destroyed a hotel on Kenya's coast.

Abizaid said the military situation in Iraq was "still difficult," especially in the Iraqi town of Fallujah. But he added that most of the country was stable enough for political activity to take place.

He said more time was needed to find weapons of mass destruction.

"It is clear that the hunt must continue," Abizaid said. "We all know this is a tough and a long fight in Iraq, it won't be over tomorrow and we intend to cooperate fully with Iraqi security institutions and help them help themselves."

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TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: africa; eastafrica; ethiopia; marines; somalia; waronterror

1 posted on 02/16/2004 7:04:06 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I highly question the motives of a general making public statements outside his command.

He hasn't the authority speak publically without authorization, and if he did this on his own volition he needs to be removed immediately.

2 posted on 02/16/2004 7:14:18 PM PST by steplock
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To: steplock
General Abizaid is the commander of United States Central Command. Besides the Arabian penninsula & Persian Gulf area, his area of responsibility includes East Africa; i.e. Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, etc. As the regional Combatant Commander, he has the authority and is expected to be making public comments on security issues within his area.
3 posted on 02/16/2004 7:28:53 PM PST by mark502inf
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To: steplock
Abazaid is area combatant commander for CENTCOM. CENTCOM covers much of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia and Somalia (EURCOM gets the rest of Africa, I believe). Thus, Abazaid is just doing his job liaising with militaries in these countries. Zinni did an awful lot of relationship building with these guys when he was at CENTCOM. Check out www.centcom.mil for a map of the countries that fall under CENTCOM's umbrella.
4 posted on 02/16/2004 7:30:12 PM PST by BroncosFan ("Is it chicken or tuna?")
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