01 August 2013

Conveniently-Scheduled Joint US-SA Exercises?

Do you think the joint exercises in South Africa right now were timed at all to coincide with Zimbabwe's elections? Maybe having a broad spectrum of US capabilities a 2-hour flight away has helped keep possible violence in check in Mugabeland?
Approximately 700 U.S. and 3,000 South African Defense Force service members gathered [in Port Elizabeth, Republic of South Africa] for the opening ceremony of Exercise Shared Accord 13, July 24. This is the second exercise of its type between these two countries and is the result of bilateral discussions that originated in 2009, and were approved in 2010. "This particular exercise is aimed at specifically providing collective training for the United States and the South African National Defense Force while building interoperability and mutual understanding between the two armed forces," said South African Maj. Gen. Ephraim Phako, deputy chief of Joint Operations.
So what exactly did we deploy out there?
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, will be making-up the bulk of U.S. forces involved in the exercise. They will be joined by service members with 82nd Airborne Division, 10th Special Forces Group, 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, District of Columbia Army National Guard, Rhode Island Air National Guard, New York Army National Guard, 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Medical Command and 1172nd Movement Control Team.
Let's face it, the outcome of the 'election' was never in doubt, but the potential violence surrounding it always could've been worse. After all, last time there was an "election" the Mugabians weren't so thrilled about it.
Mr Mugabe was quoted by the Herald newspaper as saying the veterans had asked approval to take up arms but he had dissuaded them. They said Zimbabwe was won 'by the barrel of the gun' and should not be surrendered by a vote, he said.

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