The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, that cost the life of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens on Sept. 11, could be retaliated in the following days.
This is what seems to appear by judging what is happening in Europe and, more specifically, in the Mediterranean Sea, where, quite silently, the U.S. is amassing Special Operations planes and helicopters.
While a “simple” Non-Combatant Evacuation of local diplomatic missions seems to be a less likely option now, the presence of several U.S. planes in some strategic bases in southern Europe and the constant activity seems to suggest that something of a larger extent could be carried out: a strike on selected targets in Libya and, possibly, in Northern Mali, controlled by three Islamist armed groups, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The fact that Washington has intensified its military presence in Southern Europe is not only backed by the observation of unusual military activity in the region (such as the AC-130U gunships and KC-135 tankers whose deployment to Souda Bay, Crete, has not been advertised).
In one of his latest articles on this subject, Guido Olimpio, Corriere della Sera correspondent from Washington, has reported that U.S. drone flights in the region have followed insurgents in Cyrenaica, eastern Libya, while, speaking to the Adnkronos International (AKI) news agency, “trustable sources” have confirmed that the U.S. Special Forces are currently planning intelligence activities that could be just the anticipation of a surgical anti-terror strike in North Africa, including Libya and Mali.
However, not only the U.S. have been targeting Islamist groups in Northern Mali. Le Figaro unveiled that 100 members of French Special Forces have been already deployed in the region, and they should soon be strengthened, in particular by the commandos of the French Navy, while intelligence gathering and surveillance aircraft are already based in Niger.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force