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US and African allies begin military drills in Ivory Coast


US and African allies begin military drills in Ivory Coast

US African military drills
US and African partners begin military drills in the Ivory Coast. Photo: Staff Sgt. Terrance Payton

The United States Africa Command and nine African allies will conduct military drills in the Flintlock 2022 exercises.

Over 400 service members will take part in the annual 2 week drills, representing Cameroon, Ghana, Niger and host country Cote d’Ivoire. These West African nations will also be joined by Western partners such as Canada, the UK, France, Norway, and the Netherlands. The region’s largest annual military drill is meant to boost communications between countries to improve security operations against extremism.

West Africa has experienced five coups in just over a year. Burkina Faso is the latest country, falling under military control a few weeks ago. The increasing instability will likely lead to a decreased rule of law and leave the area ripe for extremist growth. As the threat of Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliates grow in the Sahel, expect bolstering relations between the US and regional allies. Additionally, look for international partners to have an increased role in the region. Canada has recently taken on previously US-held leadership roles within Flintlock operations. An emphasis on securing outpost operations could signal a forward-deployed strategy in the medium-term which will increase the chances of clashes with armed militant groups.

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