RealNews

US goes deeper into Colombia conflict

This month’s arrival in Colombia of US special forces on a training mission has taken Washington’s involvement in Latin America’s most enduring guerrilla conflict to a new level. Around 70 of the elite troops are cloistered in military bases in Arauca, one of Colombia’s most violent areas, to train the soldiers of a local army brigade. The aim is to create a rapid reaction force that can prevent rebel attacks on a pipeline for crude oil. The trainers’ arrival is also part of a raising of the stakes by all sides in Colombia’s long conflict. Arauca is at the centre of a struggle to test whether gains can be made through stepped-up military action. Two rebel groups, the US and President Alvaro Uribe’s government are all playing a role. Significantly, for the first time the US is preparing Colombian troops to fight rebels it classes as terrorists, rather than for missions in support of drug eradication, which for many years was the declared aim of US financial support to Colombia. Full Story

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