Trust is one big problem. The Iranian regime was established by a revolution more than four decades ago that replaced the American-backed Shah of Iran with a complicated government overseen by clerics and the strong hand of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The ayatollah only reluctantly agreed to the 2015 deal with the “Great Satan” of America. After Mr. Trump pulled out, Mr. Khamenei’s mistrust only deepened.

Mr. Trump also imposed many economic sanctions on Iran beyond those originally lifted by the deal, trying “maximum pressure” to force Iran to negotiate much more stringent terms. Iranian officials now say as many as 1,600 American sanctions must be lifted, about half of them imposed by Mr. Trump. Some are aimed at terrorism and human rights violations, not nuclear issues. Lifting some of them would create opposition in Congress.

Many in Washington, let alone in Israel and Europe, also disbelieve Iran’s assertions that it has never pursued a nuclear weapon and would never do so.

Further complicating restoration of the accord are its “sunset” clauses, or time limits, that would allow Iran to resume certain nuclear enrichment activities. The Biden administration wants further negotiations with Iran to extend those time limits as well as put limits on Iran’s missile program and other activities.

Iran says it simply wants the United States to return to the deal it left, including the lifting of sanctions, before it will return, too. It has so far rejected any further talks.

Even under the Islamic regime, Iran has politics, too. There are presidential elections in June, with candidates approved by the clerics. The current president, Hassan Rouhani, who cannot run for another term, and the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, are considered relatively moderate and negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal. But powerful forces in Iran opposed the deal, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The moderates hope that quick progress on lifting economic sanctions will help them in the presidential elections; the hard-liners are expected to oppose any quick deal in Vienna that might benefit the moderates.

Iran has lived with tough Trump sanctions for three years now and survived popular discontent and even protests, and hard-liners will argue that another six months are not likely to matter.

The meeting of senior diplomats is formally a session of the Joint Commission of the deal, called by the European Union as chairman. Since the United States left the accord, its representatives will not be in the room, but somewhere nearby. Diplomats from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran will meet, with a European Union chair, and start to discuss how to revitalize the accord.

Iran refuses to meet face-to-face with American diplomats. So the Europeans suggest that they will either meet the Americans with proposals, or that the Iranians will leave the room before the Americans enter. This process of indirect talks could take time.

But European diplomats say that after a few days, the job will be left in Vienna to working groups on the complicated political and technical issues. If a rough agreement can be reached on a synchronized return to compliance, the expectation is that officials of Iran and the United States will meet to finalize the details.

The talks may take a long time, and some in Washington hope at least for an agreement in principle in the next few months that would bind any new Iranian government after the June elections.

But some European diplomats fear that too much time has already elapsed, and that the deal is effectively dead, and will essentially serve as a reference point for what may be a fundamentally new negotiation.

So the timeline is unclear, as is the prospect for success.

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Sarah Onyango Obama, Ex-President’s Stepgrandmother, Dies at 99

Indeed, a year after the president’s inauguration she created her own foundation — the Mama Sarah Obama Foundation — to raise funds for an ambitious project to build an educational campus in her home village and to sponsor bursaries for young Kenyans, particularly girls, who would otherwise be denied schooling.

“I help the orphans and widows, especially the young girls who have been orphaned by their parents dying of H.I.V.,” she told NPR through a translator in 2014, when she won an Education Pioneer award at the United Nations. “I am their sole parent right now, so I help pay school fees and also get them the things they need, like sanitary towels, books, necessities like a pencil, school uniforms. That’s what I do.”

But there were risks in her ties to the American former president. After the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs in 2011, the Kenyan police ordered increased security in her village for fear of reprisals from a local affiliate of Al Qaeda. Even after Mr. Obama left office in 2017, the heightened precautions were maintained.

Mr. Obama’s own security arrangements also prevented him from visiting the ancestral village.

When Mr. Obama paid an official visit to Kenya in 2015, the first sitting American president to do so, his African relatives had to meet him in the capital, Nairobi. About three dozen members of his extended family, including his stepgrandmother, joined him at his hotel for dinner around long banquet tables.

During that trip, he also spoke at an indoor arena, where he was introduced by his half sister Auma Obama, who had also met him during his first visit to Kenya three decades earlier. She told the audience that a Kenyan had said to Mr. Obama, “don’t get lost,” but that there was no way he would.

“I’ll tell you that because he was with me. He fit right in,” she said.

“He’s not just our familia,” she added. “He gets us. He gets us.”

Abdi Latif Dahir contributed reporting.

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Biden, Pitching Stimulus, Promises Milestones for Covid-19 Vaccines and Checks

WASHINGTON — President Biden said on Monday that his administration was on pace to achieve two key goals by March 25: 100 million shots of Covid-19 vaccines since his inauguration and 100 million direct payments under his economic relief bill.

The announcement was the first in what promises to be a series of end-zone dances that Mr. Biden and administration officials are set to stage this week as they promote the $1.9 trillion package that the president signed into law last week.

“Shots in arms and money in pockets. That’s important,” Mr. Biden said in a brief address from the White House. “The American Rescue Plan is already doing what it was designed to do: make a difference in people’s everyday lives.”

Over the weekend, the Treasury Department began issuing direct electronic payments of $1,400 per person, as authorized by the law, to low- and middle-income Americans. The United States has administered 92.6 million vaccine doses since Jan. 20, when Mr. Biden took office, according to data released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the current pace of vaccinations, the country will pass 100 million doses before the end of the week, well ahead of the president’s promise of March 25.

relief plan also includes dozens of other provisions that have yet to be carried out, such as new monthly checks for parents, $350 billion for state and local governments and additional relief for the unemployed.

With so much money at stake and Republicans criticizing the package as wasteful, Mr. Biden vowed to bring “fastidious oversight” to the relief bill in order to ensure that it is distributed quickly and equitably.

He introduced Gene Sperling, a longtime Democratic policy aide who advised Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign last year, as his pick to oversee spending from the relief package. Mr. Sperling will be a senior adviser to the president and a White House employee, operating independently from an oversight commission established by Congress during the pandemic that consists of inspectors general from various agencies.

“We have to prove to the American people that their government can deliver for them, and do it without waste or fraud,” Mr. Biden said.

fan out across the country for a week of sales pitches for a bill that has proved very popular with voters but garnered zero Republican votes.

Mr. Biden will visit Delaware County, Pa., on Tuesday and appear with Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday in Atlanta, which helped deliver Democrats the Senate majority that made the relief plan possible.

A group of administration officials, including the first lady, Jill Biden, and Ms. Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, will make their own trips. Ms. Harris and her husband landed in Las Vegas for an event on Monday afternoon, while Dr. Biden finished an event in New Jersey.

The road show is an effort to avoid the messaging mistakes of President Barack Obama’s administration, which Democrats believe failed to continue vocally building support for his $780 billion stimulus act after it passed in 2009. The challenge for the Biden administration will be to highlight less obvious provisions, including the largest federal infusion in generations of aid to the poor, a substantial expansion of the child tax credit and increased subsidies for health insurance.

Mr. Sperling’s challenge will be to meet Mr. Biden’s promises of transparency and accountability for those programs.

The president and White House officials called Mr. Sperling well qualified for the task. He was the director of the National Economic Council under Mr. Obama and President Bill Clinton. In the Obama administration, where he first served as a counselor in the Treasury Department, Mr. Sperling helped to coordinate a bailout of Detroit automakers and other parts of the administration’s response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Stimulus Package

The stimulus payments would be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children. To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income would need to be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number would need to be $150,000 or below. To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number. Read more.

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become a lot cheaper. COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, generally lets someone who loses a job buy coverage via the former employer. But it’s expensive: Under normal circumstances, a person may have to pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium. Under the relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA premium from April 1 through Sept. 30. A person who qualified for new, employer-based health insurance someplace else before Sept. 30 would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would not be eligible, either. Read more

This credit, which helps working families offset the cost of care for children under 13 and other dependents, would be significantly expanded for a single year. More people would be eligible, and many recipients would get a bigger break. The bill would also make the credit fully refundable, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill was zero. “That will be helpful to people at the lower end” of the income scale, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Read more.

There would be a big one for people who already have debt. You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on forgiven debt if you qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation — for example, if you’ve been in an income-driven repayment plan for the requisite number of years, if your school defrauded you or if Congress or the president wipes away $10,000 of debt for large numbers of people. This would be the case for debt forgiven between Jan. 1, 2021, and the end of 2025. Read more.

The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility assistance to people who are struggling and in danger of being evicted from their homes. About $27 billion would go toward emergency rental assistance. The vast majority of it would replenish the so-called Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That’s on top of the $25 billion in assistance provided by the relief package passed in December. To receive financial assistance — which could be used for rent, utilities and other housing expenses — households would have to meet several conditions. Household income could not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and individuals would have to qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship (directly or indirectly) because of the pandemic. Assistance could be provided for up to 18 months, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Lower-income families that have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for assistance. Read more.

He advised Mr. Biden’s campaign informally in 2020, helping to hone the campaign’s “Build Back Better” policy agenda. Friends have described Mr. Sperling in recent months as eager to join the administration; he had been mentioned as a possible appointee to lead the Office of Management and Budget after Mr. Biden’s first nominee for that position, Neera Tanden, withdrew amid Senate opposition.

Mr. Sperling’s challenge with the rescue plan will be different than the one Mr. Biden faced in 2009, because the relief bill differs starkly from Mr. Obama’s signature stimulus plan. The Biden plan is more than twice as large as Mr. Obama’s. It includes money meant to hasten the end of the pandemic, including billions for vaccine deployment and coronavirus testing. The plans also have similarities, including more than $400 billion each in total spending for school districts and state and local governments.

Oversight of the $1.9 trillion relief legislation is currently expected to rely on the byzantine oversight architecture that was established in the stimulus packages Congress passed last year.

The new effort will continue to rely on the Government Accountability Office and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a panel of inspectors general from across the federal government.

Less clear is the fate of the Congressional Oversight Commission, the five-person bipartisan panel that was created to oversee the $500 billion Treasury Department fund that supported the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs and loans to airlines and companies that are critical to national security. The commission currently has only three members, and the Fed programs concluded at the end of last year.

The commission’s report in January said that it planned to continue “analyzing loans, loan guarantees and investments that were made prior to program termination” and producing reports.

It is not clear if the existing mechanisms will be sufficient for overseeing the money in the new relief package, which will pump billions of dollars into states and cities. Additional oversight measures are likely to be needed.

A Treasury official said that the department would set up a process to monitor the use of funds that are being sent to states to ensure that they are used according to the eligibility requirements in the law.

Like many Americans in the pandemic, Mr. Sperling will have to coordinate and navigate those efforts virtually, at least at first. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Monday that Mr. Sperling would work remotely from his home in California until he is vaccinated.

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Biden, Pitching Stimulus, Promises Milestones for Vaccines and Checks

WASHINGTON — President Biden said on Monday that his administration was on pace to achieve two key goals by March 25: 100 million shots of Covid-19 vaccines since his inauguration and 100 million direct payments under his economic relief bill.

The announcement was the first in what promises to be a series of end-zone dances that Mr. Biden and administration officials are set to stage this week as they promote the $1.9 trillion package that the president signed into law last week.

“Shots in arms and money in pockets. That’s important,” Mr. Biden said in a brief address from the White House. “The American Rescue Plan is already doing what it was designed to do: make a difference in people’s everyday lives.”

Over the weekend, the Treasury Department began issuing direct electronic payments of $1,400 per person, as authorized by the law, to low- and middle-income Americans. The United States has administered 92.6 million vaccine doses since Jan. 20, when Mr. Biden took office, according to data released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the current pace of vaccinations, the country will pass 100 million doses before the end of the week, well ahead of the president’s promise of March 25.

relief plan includes dozens of other provisions that have yet to be carried out, such as new monthly checks for parents, $350 billion for state and local governments and additional relief for the unemployed.

With so much money at stake and Republicans criticizing the package as wasteful, Mr. Biden vowed to bring “fastidious oversight” to the relief bill in order to ensure that it is distributed quickly and equitably.

He introduced Gene Sperling, a longtime Democratic policy aide who advised Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign last year, as his pick to oversee spending from the relief package. Mr. Sperling will be a senior adviser to the president and a White House employee, operating independently from an oversight commission established by Congress during the pandemic that consists of inspectors general from various agencies.

“We have to prove to the American people that their government can deliver for them, and do it without waste or fraud,” Mr. Biden said.

His remarks came as his team prepared to fan out across the country for a week of sales pitches for a bill that has proved very popular with voters but garnered zero Republican votes.

helped deliver Democrats the Senate majority that made the relief plan possible.

A group of administration officials, including the first lady, Jill Biden, and Ms. Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, will make their own trips. Ms. Harris and her husband landed in Las Vegas for an event on Monday afternoon, while Dr. Biden finished an event in New Jersey.

The road show is an effort to avoid the messaging mistakes of President Barack Obama’s administration, which Democrats believe failed to continue vocally building support for his $780 billion stimulus act after it passed in 2009. The challenge for the Biden administration will be to highlight less obvious provisions, including the largest federal infusion in generations of aid to the poor, a substantial expansion of the child tax credit and increased subsidies for health insurance.

Mr. Sperling’s challenge will be to meet Mr. Biden’s promises of transparency and accountability for those programs.

The president and White House officials called Mr. Sperling well qualified for the task. He was the director of the National Economic Council under Mr. Obama and President Bill Clinton. In the Obama administration, where he first served as a counselor in the Treasury Department, Mr. Sperling helped to coordinate a bailout of Detroit automakers and other parts of the administration’s response to the 2008 financial crisis.

He advised Mr. Biden’s campaign informally in 2020, helping to hone the campaign’s “Build Back Better” policy agenda. Friends have described Mr. Sperling in recent months as eager to join the administration; he had been mentioned as a possible appointee to lead the Office of Management and Budget after Mr. Biden’s first nominee for that position, Neera Tanden, withdrew amid Senate opposition.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Stimulus Package

The stimulus payments would be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children. To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income would need to be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number would need to be $150,000 or below. To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number. Read more.

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become a lot cheaper. COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, generally lets someone who loses a job buy coverage via the former employer. But it’s expensive: Under normal circumstances, a person may have to pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium. Under the relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA premium from April 1 through Sept. 30. A person who qualified for new, employer-based health insurance someplace else before Sept. 30 would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would not be eligible, either. Read more

This credit, which helps working families offset the cost of care for children under 13 and other dependents, would be significantly expanded for a single year. More people would be eligible, and many recipients would get a bigger break. The bill would also make the credit fully refundable, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill was zero. “That will be helpful to people at the lower end” of the income scale, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Read more.

There would be a big one for people who already have debt. You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on forgiven debt if you qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation — for example, if you’ve been in an income-driven repayment plan for the requisite number of years, if your school defrauded you or if Congress or the president wipes away $10,000 of debt for large numbers of people. This would be the case for debt forgiven between Jan. 1, 2021, and the end of 2025. Read more.

The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility assistance to people who are struggling and in danger of being evicted from their homes. About $27 billion would go toward emergency rental assistance. The vast majority of it would replenish the so-called Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That’s on top of the $25 billion in assistance provided by the relief package passed in December. To receive financial assistance — which could be used for rent, utilities and other housing expenses — households would have to meet several conditions. Household income could not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and individuals would have to qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship (directly or indirectly) because of the pandemic. Assistance could be provided for up to 18 months, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Lower-income families that have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for assistance. Read more.

Mr. Sperling’s challenge with the rescue plan will be different than the one Mr. Biden faced in 2009, because the relief bill differs starkly from Mr. Obama’s signature stimulus plan. The Biden plan is more than twice as large as Mr. Obama’s. It includes money meant to hasten the end of the pandemic, including billions for vaccine deployment and coronavirus testing. The plans also have similarities, including more than $400 billion each in total spending for school districts and state and local governments.

Oversight of the $1.9 trillion relief legislation is currently expected to rely on the byzantine oversight architecture that was established in the stimulus packages Congress passed last year.

The new effort will continue to rely on the Government Accountability Office and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a panel of inspectors general from across the federal government.

Less clear is the fate of the Congressional Oversight Commission, the five-person bipartisan panel that was created to oversee the $500 billion Treasury Department fund that supported the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs and loans to airlines and companies that are critical to national security. The commission currently has only three members, and the Fed programs concluded at the end of last year.

The commission’s report in January said that it planned to continue “analyzing loans, loan guarantees and investments that were made prior to program termination” and producing reports.

It is not clear if the existing mechanisms will be sufficient for overseeing the money in the new relief package, which will pump billions of dollars into states and cities. Additional oversight measures are likely to be needed.

A Treasury official said that the department would set up a process to monitor the use of funds that are being sent to states to ensure that they are used according to the eligibility requirements in the law.

Like many Americans in the pandemic, Mr. Sperling will have to coordinate and navigate those efforts virtually, at least at first. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Monday that Mr. Sperling would work remotely from his home in California until he is vaccinated.

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Biden Plans Messaging Blitz to Sell Economic Aid Plan

Still, Biden administration officials are mindful that political opposition could easily fester and grow if they do not clearly explain the contents — and direct benefits — of a bill that will be the second-largest economic aid package in American history, trailing only the initial bill that lawmakers approved under Mr. Trump last year as the worsening pandemic pushed the nation into recession.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Stimulus Package

The stimulus payments would be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children. To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income would need to be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number would need to be $150,000 or below. To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number. Read more.

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become a lot cheaper. COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, generally lets someone who loses a job buy coverage via the former employer. But it’s expensive: Under normal circumstances, a person may have to pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium. Under the relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA premium from April 1 through Sept. 30. A person who qualified for new, employer-based health insurance someplace else before Sept. 30 would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would not be eligible, either. Read more

This credit, which helps working families offset the cost of care for children under 13 and other dependents, would be significantly expanded for a single year. More people would be eligible, and many recipients would get a bigger break. The bill would also make the credit fully refundable, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill was zero. “That will be helpful to people at the lower end” of the income scale, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Read more.

There would be a big one for people who already have debt. You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on forgiven debt if you qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation — for example, if you’ve been in an income-driven repayment plan for the requisite number of years, if your school defrauded you or if Congress or the president wipes away $10,000 of debt for large numbers of people. This would be the case for debt forgiven between Jan. 1, 2021, and the end of 2025. Read more.

The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility assistance to people who are struggling and in danger of being evicted from their homes. About $27 billion would go toward emergency rental assistance. The vast majority of it would replenish the so-called Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That’s on top of the $25 billion in assistance provided by the relief package passed in December. To receive financial assistance — which could be used for rent, utilities and other housing expenses — households would have to meet several conditions. Household income could not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and individuals would have to qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship (directly or indirectly) because of the pandemic. Assistance could be provided for up to 18 months, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Lower-income families that have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for assistance. Read more.

Republicans continued to attack the bill on the House floor on Wednesday, casting it as overly expensive, ineffectively targeted and bloated with longstanding liberal priorities unrelated to the pandemic.

“Because Democrats chose to prioritize their political ambitions instead of the working class,” Representative Jason Smith of Missouri, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, said in a news release, “they just passed the wrong plan, at the wrong time, for all the wrong reasons.”

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, one of the few Democrats in the chamber to represent a state Mr. Biden lost to Mr. Trump in 2020, called the Republican attacks “lies” and said they showed why Democrats needed to remind voters of the benefits to people and businesses included in the bill.

“You’ve got to sell it, because they’re going to lie about everything,” Mr. Brown said. “The sale is an easy sell, but you need to continue to remind” voters about the contents of the package, he said.

With that in mind, Mr. Biden is scheduled to follow his speech on Thursday with travel to states led by both Democratic and Republican governors in the coming weeks to begin the sales pitch. Among the options being considered, if they can be done safely during the pandemic, are town-hall-style events that allow the president to directly take questions from people.

The main message, according to Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, will be an echo of one of Mr. Biden’s chief campaign promises: “Help is on the way.”

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Remote C.I.A. Base in the Sahara Steadily Grows

The Biden administration’s review comes at a time when skyrocketing waves of terrorism and violence have seized Africa’s Sahel region, a vast sub-Saharan scrubland that stretches from Senegal to Sudan, and is threatening to spread. The Islamic State in Libya has actively sought fresh recruits traveling north from West African nations, including Senegal and Chad.

Armed groups have attacked bridges, military convoys and government buildings. The threat is pushing south from the Sahel into areas previously untouched by extremist violence, including the Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo and Ghana, where the Pentagon has a logistics hub.

Security has worsened to the point where the Pentagon’s Africa Command told the Defense Department’s inspector general last year that it had abandoned for the moment a strategy of weakening the Islamist militants, and instead was mainly trying to contain the threat.

“Security continues to deteriorate in the Sahel as instability spreads and threatens coastal West Africa,” Colin Kahl, Mr. Biden’s nominee to be the Pentagon’s top policy official, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in written responses to questions in advance of a hearing last week. “We cannot ignore that persistent conflict in Africa will continue to generate threats to U.S. personnel, partners and interests from violent extremist organizations.”

The Pentagon’s Africa Command operates MQ-9 Reaper drones from Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou; and from a $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou. The military has carried out drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya, but none since September 2019.

Some security analysts question why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya and the Sahel. In addition, France, which has about 5,100 troops in the Sahel region, began conducting its own Reaper drone strikes from Niamey against insurgents in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.

A recent report by the International Crisis Group concluded that the military-first strategy of France and its allies, including the United States, has failed. The research and advocacy organization, which focuses on conflict zones, noted in its report that focusing on local peacemaking efforts could achieve more.

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