US generals head to Tunisia forward of main army train

Feb 23, 2021

Two senior United States Military commanders will arrive in Tunisia on Wednesday to fulfill with native officers forward of a deliberate multinational army train in North Africa.

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of all US Military forces in Europe and Africa, and Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, head of the Southern Europe Process Power, will meet with senior officers in Tunis.

Their go to would be the first official US delegation to North Africa since President Joe Biden took workplace final month. The journey comes a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has lowered official journey to overseas coverage priorities. Whereas there, the commanders will meet with the top of the Tunisian military’s land forces, Gen. Mohamed El Ghoul.

“We’re very excited. Tunisia is a particularly necessary accomplice of the US,” Cavoli advised reporters by cellphone Tuesday, including, “We’re going to turn into acquainted together with his operations [and] his modernization funding packages.”

The Tunisia go to might be a primary for Cavoli, who late final 12 months was named head of the US Military’s forces in each Europe and Africa because the Pentagon moved to merge management over its troops on the 2 continents amid a shift towards strategic competitors with Russia and China.

Relations with Tunisia and its neighbors seem to have taken on renewed significance for Washington officers for the reason that Kremlin launched refined army {hardware} into Libya’s civil struggle final 12 months, together with fighter jets, cellular air defenses and radar methods.

That transfer spurred public concern from US Africa Command that the Kremlin may probably set up everlasting basing in Libya, probably limiting NATO’s quick access to its southern flank.

Russia’s regular assist for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his nation’s brutal civil struggle has already ensured Moscow one everlasting foothold on the Mediterranean, US officers have mentioned.

Tunisia’s democratic revolution in 2011 and subsequent Islamist insurgency supplied Washington with a chance to reinvigorate army cooperation in western North Africa.

The Pentagon despatched a specialised army coaching unit to North Africa final 12 months. Parts of that unit, often known as a safety pressure help brigade,  will for the primary time be coordinating this 12 months’s multinational African Lion train.

The train presently goals to deliver collectively roughly 10,000 troops from some 20 international locations for joint workout routines in Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia this summer season, however could also be scaled again because of the coronavirus pandemic, Rohling famous. Final 12 months’s train was canceled because of the pandemic.

The 2 generals can even go to Tunisia’s particular operations command and army establishments, which Washington has supported for the reason that 2011 revolution.

The US has supplied a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} of army coaching and {hardware} gross sales to Tunisia’s armed forces in recent times. The 2 international locations have additionally shared intelligence on Tunisian jihadi fighters touring overseas to hitch the Islamic State.

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