| DAR ES SALAAM, July 2
DAR ES SALAAM, July 2 U.S. President Barack
Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush stood side-by-side in
Tanzania on Tuesday to commemorate the victims of the al Qaeda
bombing of the U.S. Embassy 15 years ago - an attack that
foreshadowed the United States' present military build-up in
The two men bowed their heads in silence at a memorial stone
in the new embassy compound in Dar es Salaam to the 10
Tanzanians killed and 85 Americans and Tanzanians wounded in the
bombing on Aug. 7, 1998.
They then briefly spoke to survivors. But there was little
personal interaction between the two men.
The ceremony took place at a time when the United States is
stepping up its role in the fight against Islamist militants in
Washington supports African forces in stabilizing Somalia
and Mali, deploys dozens of training teams to African nations,
provides intellignce and has struck at militants with drones.
With up to 5,000 personnel on the ground, the United States
now has more troops in Africa now than at any point since its
Somalia intervention two decades ago.
On the same day as the Tanzanian attack, al Qaeda also
bombed the U.S. Embassy in Kenya. Those assaults proved a
precursor to the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on U.S. cities
and the subsequent U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq
ordered by Bush.
Obama has spent his tenure winding down the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan and reacting to an economic downturn that Democrats
blame on Bush's policies. Republicans in turn say Obama's
actions have been bad for growth.
But on his three-nation African tour, Obama offered praise
for the former president and described Bush's programme to
battle HIV/AIDS there as a "crowning achievement."
Bush is highly regarded in much of Africa for his legacy of
support, while Obama has disappointed many by paying it little
attention, security concerns aside, despite his African
(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Angus MacSwan)