US Steps Up Africa Campaign

The Middle East, August-September 2005 | Go to article overview

US Steps Up Africa Campaign


The London bombings in July brought home, yet again, to countries in Europe how terrorist techniques transplanted from training camps in the Middle East can flourish successfully elsewhere. The additional threat of a jihadist spillover from the war in Iraq--and emerging oil riches--have spurred US counter-terrorism campaigns in North and West Africa.

THE UNITED STATES MILITARY REcently wrapped up a three-week antiterrorist exercise with 2,100 troops from nine states in North and West Africa.

Operation Flintlock, which ended on 30 June, was part of a widening US-led effort to block moves by Islamic groups linked to Al Qaeda from establishing operational havens in a region that is becoming strategically important to Washington.

US concerns have intensified in recent months as growing numbers of North Africans, mainly from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, have been identified fighting with the jihadist groups engaged in the insurgency in Iraq. US security chiefs fear they will eventually return to their homelands and use their combat skills to organise terrorist cells there, just as an earlier generation of North African jihadists returned from Afghanistan's 1979-89 war against the Soviet Army.

But the new generation will have skills that were not taught in the Afghan war--how to carry out suicide bombings to cause mass casualties, assassinations and kidnappings that often end in beheadings, as well as how to use the internet and other means of communication to propagate their ideas.

Even before the presence of North African fighters in Iraq was noted, the US was stepping up its efforts to build a significant military presence in West Africa, a region that within a few years is expected to provide around one-quarter of American oil imports. Intelligence assessments have concluded that the region, largely ignored by the US for decades, is becoming increasingly unstable because of religious and ethnic divisions, rampant state corruption and severe poverty, friction that will almost certainly be heightened by the region's new-found energy wealth.

This, the Americans fear, will provide fertile ground for Al Qaeda and its associated groups that threaten western interests, primarily jihadists moving south from North Africa.

According to the US military's European Command, which oversees military operations in all of Africa (except the Horn, which falls under the US Central Command which covers the Middle East and Southwest Asia), 25% of some 400 foreign fighters captured in Iraq were from North Africa.

The growing presence of these jihadists in Iraq, including some from Muslim communities in western Europe, has raised fears that they will eventually attempt to radicalise the large Muslim communities in West Africa.

That includes Nigeria, the continent's largest oil producer which provides one-fifth of US imports, making West Africa a tempting target for Al Qaeda and its global network.

Africa's Muslims--some 250m people, roughly 40% of the continent's population--are in the main politically moderate, but Nigeria, with the largest Muslim population in Africa after Egypt, is plagued by ethnic and religious tensions and is already grappling with Christian and Muslim extremists.

In May 2005, a declassified Canadian Security Intelligence Service report cautioned that parts of Africa were considered breeding grounds for militant Islam.

"The meshing of religious sectarianism with regional politics, combined with regional and ethnic rivalries, provides radical Islam with a significant potential to serve as a rallying point for social malcontents," it warned.

Mauritania, one of Africa's poorest countries, is a case in point.

Two potentially large oil and gas fields have been discovered offshore in the Atlantic, which the Americans fear will make it a target for Al Qaeda. President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmad Taya claimed to have crushed three military coup attempts inspired by Islamic fundamentalists linked to Algerian jihadists in 2003-04.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

US Steps Up Africa Campaign
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.