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.@USAfricaCommand Gen Thomas Waldhauser & @Southcom Adm Craig Faller about to testify before the #SASC

Lawmakers already asking about growing influence of #Russia #China in their regions, as well as need to keep the pressure up on terrorism
"Overall US strategic interests in #Africa are very clear" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser "Prevent the undermining of our alliances or destabilization of African nations,counter violent extremist organizations,decrease the potential for Africa to become a failed continent"
"Persistent pressure on #alShabaab #ISIS & #alQaida associated groups remains necessary to prevent this destabilization" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser
"Our security and prosperity are inextricably linked" @Southcom's Adm Faller tells #SASC of US relationship w/Central&South America "Our partnerships in this region are critical to the layered defense of our homeland"
"The most disturbing insight has been the degree to which external state actors -especially #Russia #China & #Iran - are expanding their influence in the Western Hemisphere" per Adm Faller
"The situation in #Venezuela is dire" per @Southcom's Faller "Maduro's illegitimate starves it ppl...corrupt generals are rewarded w/money from illegal drug trafficking, oil profits & businesses"
"Migration out of #Venezuela is now over 300 million, creating a crisis for our friends in #Colombia, #Brazil..." per Adm Faller, who accuses #Russia #Cuba #China of propping up the Maduro government
"Building strong partnerships is the best way to counter threats and turn challenges in our hemisphere into opportunities" per @southcom's Adm Faller "A little goes a long way"
#SASC Chair @JimInhofe apologizes for being late due to National Prayer Breakfast - "i had to choose Jesus over you guys. But that's behind us now..."
.@JimInhofe raises concerns about #China in #Africa
"We have some interesting engagements with safety flight, weapons training on the ranges & so forth" @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser says of #China's base in #Djibouti "We have a requirement to work with them, to work through some of those issues"
"Overall on the continent, #China has been there for quite some time" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser "They have worked at this relationship"

@DeptofDefense "try to show that we are the best partner...and try to make sure that our influence remains. It's a difficult task"
"I believe #China read our playbook" says Gen Waldhasuer of #China's efforts to extend influence in #Africa, noting China appears to be copying some of @USAfricaCommand's outreach strategies
#China "They're there and they're there in force," per @Southcom's Adm Faller "They have a long term vision economically and militarily"

"Our best counter is education and being there"
"AFRICOM & SOUTHCOM are the two that are most under-resourced" says @JimInhofe

Gen Waldhauser: "I do agree...however we make the best & most out of what we have"
#Veezuela has about 2,000 generals, @Southcom's Adm Faller tells #SASC "More than all of @NATO combined"

"A majority of them are on the payroll of Maduro" thru drug trafficking, illicit businesses
#Cuba also controls much of Maduro's security and intelligence apparatus, per Adm Faller

"That remains the center of gravity for Maduro"
Concerns about US access to port in #Djibouti...

"We need unimpeded access" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen. Waldhauser "98% of the logistics support for Djibouti as well as #Somalia & #EastAfrica come through that port"
"We have the word of [#Djibuoti's] President Guelleh that we will always have access there & they have no intention of selling out to #China" per Gen Waldhauser "Those are his words and their actions so far have backed that up"
#Russia sells the majority of equipment on #Africa|n continent, @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser tells #SASC
#Africa has 12.3 million displaced people, "all over the continent" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser "This has a lot to do with conflict. It has a lot to do w/famine drought & the like"
NGOs not always getting access to the IDP camps in #Africa - "Terrorist groups really don't adhere to the rules of war or the laws of war" per Gen Waldhauser

"These camps, they perpetuate all over the continent"
"It's a national security crisis" says @Southcom's Adm Faller od #opiods "While I'd say we've made progress, 2017, 2018 were record interdiction years, we've got a lot of work to do. We're not there"
"We're focused on our partners. #ElSalvador stepped up. #Guatemala. But there are other partners that need to do more" per @Southcom's Faller "And we need some additional assets, some ships..."
NO update, almost no progress on girls kidnapped by #BokoHaram, @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser says "Of the 276 girls who were kidnapped in April of 2014, I think the number of 163 have been recovered. There are 113 or thereabouts who are still unaccounted for"
US airstrikes in #Somalia, per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser:

2017 - 35 strikes
2018 - 47 strikes
2019 - 12, so far

"We're trying to support their plan" vs #alShabaab, Waldhauser says, referring to Somali gvt
"At the end of the day, these strikes are ot gong to defeat #alShabaab" per Gen Waldhauser "But theyre going to provide the opportunity for the federal gvt & the #Somali nat' army to grow & assume the security of that country"
"The strikes won't defeat [#alShabaab]" per @USAfricaCommand's Waldhauser "We know they deterring. It's an open question as to how much but we know it's causing #alShabaab problems"
Drug traffickers "are very nimble, very agile" per @Southcom's Adm Faller "& in many cases better than the security forces that they face"

"We're seeing them go further out to sea, as far out in the #Pacific as the #Galapagos & up. We're seeing them integrate w/fishing vessels"
"in the air, we're seeing them use #Venezuela as a launch point" @Southcom 's Adm Faller says of drug traffickers, noting they may also be using submarines, too

"As they adapt, we adapt. But they adapt faster"
#Cuba|n guards "completely surround the illegitimate gvt of Maduro" and "seem to have a grip on the top level" per @Southcom's Faller of #Venezuela|n military

"The rank&file are starving just like the population"
"We think that population is ready for a new leader" @Southcom's Adm Faller says of #Venezuela
#Russia in #Africa

"To a large degree it's still a matter of influence, especially in areas we're not or espcially in areas where they could say the #UnitedStates or the #UK or Western partners are perhaps backing away" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser
"It's I think clear that's their strategy along the northern part of Africa, southern part of @NATO, the Mediterranean, to have influence inside of #Libya for example" per Waldhauser
"I would just point to the #CentralAfricanRepublic right now where the #Wagner group has about 175 trainers" per @USAfricaCommand's Waldhauser "The individuals are actually in the president's cabinet & they're influence the training"
Also in #CAR #Russia "having access to minerals" per @USAfricaCommand's Waldhauser "So we're concerned that that model might be looked at or viewed positively by other countries"
"You cant talk about #Cuba without taking abt #Russia" per @Southcom's Adm Faller "Russia's entrenched in Cuba's systems"

"We see Cuba just inextricably intertwined in #Venezuela...We see that in #Nicaragua as well. And it's not helpful to democracy"
"It's a degraded force but it's still a force that remains loyal to Maduro" @Southcom's Adm Faller says of #Venezuela military "That makes it dangerous"

"We're looking for signs of cracking"
"#BokoHaram is the issue" in #Cameroon, per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser "Depending on what you read they've killed over 20,000 ppl. Some estimates quite higher than that"

"Our mission there is to train the counterterrorism forces in Cameroon that deal with BokoHaram"
US-trained CT forces in #Cameroon "the top shelf unit... they have performed well" per Waldhauser
"They have been a good partner w/us counterterror-wise but you can't ignore the fact there have been allegations of atrocities" per Waldhauser

#Cameroon told those allegations could impact US ability to help, he adds
"I worry...we're not going to be present on the field in enough numbers to play the game" @Southcom's Adm Faller says of countering #China influence
"#China's in there" in #Venezuela, per @Southcom's Adm Faller "They're involved in #cyber in ways that are absolutely not helpful to a democratic outcome"
"#Hezbollah is present. We watch them closely" per @Southcom's Adm Faller of the #Iran-backed terror group in Central&South America

US looking to improve relationships w/countries in the region to better monitor, he says
"We never have enough" Adm Faller says of info sharing on #Iran #Hezbollah, but notes there are worries about infosec "It goes back to my concern about who owns the IT infrastructure in a given city or fusion center"
#GuantanamoBay - "Our responsibility is the safe, humane treatment of the detainees" & troops, per @Southcom's Adm Faller "When the president's budget is released I expect it to include money that would be put for some long-term facility upgrades & development"
Some buildings at #GuantanamoBay beyond repair

"The facilities were built w/about a 5-year lifespan. That's been 15-20 years ago" per @Southcom's Adm Faller
US needs to maintain special forces in #Africa, per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser

"But I would say what we really need in AFRICOM are some predictable, general purpose forces that can do things w/regular armies on a somewhat episodic but predictable basis"
"We can strike in #Somalia. We can strike in #Libya" against terror groups, per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser "But not in #Nigeria, #Cameroon, #Chad & the like"
#ISIS-WestAfrica, "They have grown in numbers, " per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser, estimating ISIS affiliate now has abt 3,000-4,000 fighters

"They have been very aggressive...They now have taken large pieces of real estate in northern #Nigeria"
#ISIS-WestAfrica, "They're the one that we have the most concern about bcs we're not sure what their intentions would be with regards to outside the region" per Waldhauser

Says #BokoHaram has only abt 1,000 fighters
#China in #Africa, "They participate in @UN peacekeeping operations, places like #Mail, places like #Sudan" in addition to lone military base, for now, in #Djibouti per Waldhauser, but much more than miitary
"They're in the process of building over 3,800 miles worth of railroads. Railroads tie primarily to areas of mineral extraction, which they can then take these goods to a port somewhere" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser "They're heavily invested. Heavily involved"
From the African perspective, they don't want to be in the middle of this" per Gen Waldhauser "They don't view it as we either choose the US or we choose #China"

"We try to show, just be good partners"
"The Chinese work hard at developing & maintaining relationships w/the senior officials of the gvts inside the African continent" per @USAfricaCommand's Waldhauser "If we want to maintain influence, we kind of need to up our engagement"
#China, "They certainly have their eyes on other facilities. Ports,for example,are a key to what facilitates not only their mineral extraction but their markets for their goods to come into the continent as well" per Waldhauser

W/demographics, "They view a large consumer class"
.@USAfricaCommand's gen Waldhauser complimentary of EU for training on the continent - #Mali #Somalia

"The European Union is a big player..." noting they pay stipends for #Somalia military
"Our relationship w/the French to include intelligence sharing has really gone to as good as I've seen it" per Gen Waldhauser, noting #France lead in #Sahel

"It's something that's really added to our ability to understand the situation there"
#Russia and #China in #Africa... "The Chinese...they come w/a full plan" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser, then refers to quote from #DRC where opponent to fmr President Joseph Kabila - "The Chinese bring the money and the Russians bring the muscle"
"It's concerning, the extent to which #China would own the IT infrastructure of a country" per @Southcom's Adm Faller "It would affect our relationship"

"We've has frank discussions..." in the region
#China influence & leverage in #Africa

"#Djibouti is a classic example where the Chinese own over 80& of their overseas debt" per @USAfricaCommand's Gen Waldhauser "This is certainly a concern"
#China "They've made a conscious decision to their military on the world stage in an area where the #UnitedStates is not necessarily engaged to a large degree" per @USAfricaCommand's Waldhauser "So they work in the areas where they don't really have any competition from us"
"#Djibouti's not the first but it won't be the last the port" Gen Waldhauser says of China in #Africa "They're not going to get smaller"

Notes concern about western side of Africa, where US has little presence
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