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by
Bridget Johnson

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May 21, 2014 - 12:32 pm

Per the War Powers Resolution, President Obama just notified congressional leaders that U.S. forces have been sent to Chad.

Reports from border villagers soon after more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped from their secondary school in Chibok by Boko Haram indicated that some may have been ferried across Lake Chad or taken to Chad or Cameroon via land routes.

The administration recently received permission from Nigeria to conduct flyover operations in an effort to find the girls, but only said it was in communication with Cameroon and Chad.

“Approximately 80 U.S. Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Chad as part of the U.S. efforts to locate and support the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls who are reported to have been kidnapped in Nigeria,” said the letter from Obama submitted to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate President Pro Tempore Pat Leahy (D-Vt.).

“These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area,” Obama continued. “The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.”

“This action has been directed in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.”

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Boko Haram this morning, Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewell made a brief reference to working with Nigeria’s neighbors.

“For our part, DOD and the Department of State are working closely together on a proposal to enhance border security along Nigeria’s common borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon, in support of a regional response to counter the threat posed by Boko Haram,” Sewell said. “The concept is to build border security capacity and promote better cooperation and communication among the security forces of each country, with the aim of reducing Boko Haram’s operational space and safe havens.”

UPDATE: Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said he “welcomes” this deployment. “These troops will be vital in generating actionable intelligence for the search. This announcement on increased surveillance assets is a step in the right direction,” Royce said in a statement. “But we can do more. U.S. security personnel should be in Nigeria advising and assisting those engaged in the rescue efforts; anything less would be insufficient in responding to the pressing threat that Boko Haram poses to the region and U.S. interests.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
The girls have been sold, dispersed, and raped by the religion of peace.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sewell said. “The concept is to build border security capacity ..." Funny we can't do that at home.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Iraq? The Big 0 left it to pull defeat out of the jaws of victory.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (30)
All Comments   (30)
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If these troops are technicians to support the drones, who will protect the technicians.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is not the first time Obama has been in Chad.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

I watch a bit of the news on France24 largely because of its coverage of "La Belle France's" former colonial masterpieces in that area. Interesting place that Chad. Largely Muslim to my knowledge. And a short while ago, it removed its troops from the Central African Republic because the Christians there have finally become tired enough of "turning the other cheek" to start "turning the others' Muslim cheeks."

I guess Ukraine has become too boring for President Obama's brill-yentos.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's obama going to do when these troops are attacked by boko haram?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
When is someone going to notice that the Islamists have almost made a clear trail from Western Africa to Pakistan?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Our hearts are involved but I doubt our national interests are."

Yet this area is precisely the sort that Al Quaida has described as its favored base position, ...."the places in between". Like the more formally associated Al Quaida of the Mahgreb, who are making a base in the Ahaggar Range where Algeria, Mali, and Niger meet, BH has found a place so far from the center of government of Nigeria, and Cameroon that no one has good control of the area. Chad is too weak, and may be a target itself. Chad is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world; most inhabitants live in poverty as subsistence herders and farmers. They are now pumping just enough oil to make them a extortable neighbor, if BH can grow fast enough.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy TomB
A real campaign against Al Quaida might well be in our national interest. I don't see this operation as that campaign. If that's what happens, it could be incompetence or the fruition of a plan Obama dare not speak -- or it could just be how it happens, like Gettysburg was.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I guess in a week and a half, Michelle Obama's hashtag campaign has finnally travelled the distance of an average pillow to pressure the powers that be to "do something, do anything" to end the world's suffering.

I'll be happy if these 187 mistreated girls are returned to their mud huts. I only wish Obama cared as much about 4 dead Americans in Benghazi or 2,000 dead Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan who have died under his bumbling watch. Apparently Michelle is not aware those Americans died trying to stop the people who kidnapped and enslaved "her girls". Ummm, disconnect!
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Terrorists don't have the power for a kill-shot only some level of violence. As such it's a form of theatrics for attention, embarrassing the government. The more horrific the act, the more attention, the more attention, the more the funding. It's like a talent show for monsters.

BH have received world wide attention, topped, incredibly, with the participation of the wife of the president of the US. You might remember that the US doesn't pay ransom for the greater safety of everyone but we sure did this time. They've already won 95% of the game and have set a high standard for the other hyenas in the world who you can be sure are licking their chops and planning their plans.

Wonder why we deployed to Chad and not the scene of the crime? It took world wide pressure for Goodnight to even allow drones; to allow troops would mean that the terrs had shown how ineffective his government is; how embarrassing. In any case the trail is pretty cold now.

How many of the girls will have to be found before we bring our troops home? Remembering that as the hunters get closer the girls now become liabilities easily disposed of. But how many? All of them... two hundred... one hundred... one? When are we going to be able to say well we're going to stop now, we don't care about the rest of your daughters? How do we win that game?

And what about the next kidnapping and the next? Where will hash mark foreign policy take us next? And if you were someone with even nominal control over a broad spectrum terrs what would you be telling them to do now?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Wonder why we deployed to Chad and not the scene of the crime?"

Chad is right across the porous border. The deployed units can run more and shorter range drones over Chad's area of the forest the girls are being hidden in when they are as close to Chad's portion of it as possible. Pictures from BH, and from Google Earth overhead pics, show that this "forest" is scrub trees, with space between. Drones that are small and numerous enough to cover lots of it all the time are the best bet to pick up intel that will be usefull.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
These African areas were formerly French and British colonial fiefdoms. I believe Chad, formerly spelled Tchad, was a German colony. They should be sending their troops.

It's long past time that we Ameddicans [sic] cease to be expected to be the World's Expeditionary Force. Then it's all "America's fault" when things inevitably go wrong.

Where's the august United Nations? Where's the Africa bloc demanding action from the United Nations? Where're the Armed Forces of these African Nations? Too much Muslim infiltration?

Too many Muslim committees at the United Nations? ...conflicts of interest?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
the UN has been actively involved in the region since about 2002. There are French troops on the ground, as well as Germans. The US provides the supply/troop air transports for the operations.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I asked the question because whatever "involvement" the UN has organized in that hellish region since 2002 seems so empty. That's over a decade ago. We never read about any accomplishments of any U.N. personnel there. [but...what does jump up immediately is Kofi Annan....anybody remember his "deals" out there in Africa?...or his son as proxy?]

Your mention of the Germans being there is the first I recall reading anywhere.

All of that seems like tokenism.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a former French colony, but the French are busy kicking jihadi butt in Mali.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
When Joe Biden heard we were sending special forces into Chad, he asked them to find those votes that cost Gore the election.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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