U.S. troops were quietly deployed to northern Uganda last Wednesday to help fight the Lord's Resistance Army, a Christian militia responsible for more than 30,000 deaths and countless rapes and kidnappings in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and southern Sudan over the past ten years. While the troops are combat ready, their official purpose it to advise the Ugandan military. The real U.S. interests in the region are more complex, however. Once the U.S. has established a military presence in the region, it will be well-positioned to take on a enemy that poses more of a direct potential threat to Americans – al-Qaida in Africa. Simon Alison, the Africa correspondent for The Daily Maverick, an online newspaper in South Africa, gives the history of the conflict, and speculates on the U.S.'s true interests.
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