American troops -- 100 of them -- have been sent to Niger to aid French and other forces squaring off in Mali against rebels or insurgents or terrorists or militants or whatever the word-du-jour is.
President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress Friday announcing the deployment. The U.S. and Niger signed a status of forces agreement last month. Niger has agreed to the deployment.
The troops will act as intelligence support, Obama said in his letter.
Oh yes, and by the way ... the U.S. has apparently been given permission to establish a drone base in Niger....
Just for surveillance purposes, of course.