Terrorism and U.S. Counter-Terrorism Programs in Africa: An Overview   [open pdf - 137KB]

"A casual reading of major newspapers would leave one with the impression that terrorists are running rampant across Africa. Terrorists are said to hide out in the multiple lawless and stateless areas that litter the continent; they supposedly gain recruits from among the starving and displaced masses who have been victimized by powerful warlords and governments that are fighting over the continent's spoils. Militant Islamic recruiters are thought to prey on vulnerable communities, building militant organizations and recruiting the next generation of suicide bombers from the ranks of the poor Africans. This is, to state it mildly, a vast oversimplification of both the nature of terrorist recruitment and the terrorist threat in Africa. First of all, organized terrorist groups no not rampantly proliferate across the continent. Second, these sentiments are an overstatement of the influence of militant Islam across the continent, and a misunderstanding of the nature of 'terrorism.' Terrorism in Africa is not confined to the realm of the radical Islamists, though those are the groups that receive the most attention. Third, the common mantra that 'failed states lead to terrorism' is, in fact, belied by geography: the designated terrorist organization that do exist and which have attacked Western targets tend to organize and operate in the countries with a modicum of law and order, such as South Africa and Kenya. Finally, when understanding the nature of the terrorist threat in Africa, it is important to note that there are distinct regional variations to the presence and extent of Islamist terrorist networks across Africa."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Media Type:
Strategic Insights (January 2007), v.6 no.1
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