As the Middle East continues to be the primary spotlight of international attention in the American-led War on Terror, it is easy to overlook the fact that the most extreme terrorist attacks adjacent to 9/11 all took place in Africa. (BRON) Since the atrocities of 9/11, there has been a significant change in the United States’ (US) foreign policy towards the African continent, a progression that has been hastened by the demands of the War on Terror. The development away from the American “hands off” attitude to Africa has had a striking impact on human security on the continent. Yet, the imperative effects of the shift in the American foreign policy towards Africa to prevent and suppress the threat of terrorism and improve human security levels on the continent are an unexplored area of research. To create a base of knowledge on this topic, this paper examines the impact of the War on Terror on human security in Africa. The focus of research is put on the two major American military operations in Africa since 2002: the Horn of Africa Combined Joint Task Force (HOACJTF) and the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI). The successfulness of the War on Terror in Africa is indicated in the evaluation of the decrease in the number of terrorist incidents on the African continent and the improvement of the Human Development Index (HDI) of the Africans nations during these operations. The War on Terror has succeeded to improve national security on the African continent by the active promotion of democracy, peace and stability through the Horn of Africa Combined Joint Task Force and the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative.
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If the September 11 attacks would not have taken place, then-President George W. Bush would arguably never have made an official visit to the African countries of Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, and Senegal in July 2003 – the first visit by a sitting Republican president to the African continent. At the very least, the attacks of 9/11 added necessity to his visit. Moments before his departure, Bush acknowledged that “many African governments have the will to fight the war on terror … we will give them the tools and the resources to win [this] war.”(Quote Bush) According to United States National Security Strategy of September 2002, 9/11 taught the United States “that weak states … can pose as great a danger to our national interests as strong states. Poverty does not make poor people into terrorists and murderers. Yet poverty, weak institutions, and corruption can make weak states vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels within their borders.”
After 9/11, U.S. focus on terrorism in Africa became much more pronounced.
For the first time since 1993, the United States deployed a sizeable contingent of American troops on the continent with the establishment of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is Africa’s bridge to the Middle East. Quietly the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa has emerged as America’s most productive post-9/11 alliance. Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa focuses its efforts on conducting unified action in the combined joint operations area of the Horn of Africa to prevent conflict, promote tourism as well as regional stability, and protect Coalition interests in order to prevail against extremism. At the time, the Operation also have several peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Somalia. Since the start of the operation in 2002, the Task Force has succeeded to promote good governance throughout the region by strengthening diplomatic understanding of the area of and increasing support to those countries that already play a key role in counterterrorism operations, but that suffer from poor employment, education, and social services.
At the same time, Though the US presence is essential for the stability of the Horn, the Horn states themselves prove to be successful in resolving the regional threats- particularly the al Qaeda terrorist threat- that are essential to providing confidence among Horn states.
Another operation that has played a pivotal role promoting human security is the
Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI). Much like the Horn of Africa Operation the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative, or “TSCTI,” has exceeded the expectations of the participant countries and those of American military planners.
The Initiative is an interagency plan by the United States government, combining efforts by both civil and military agencies, “to combat terrorism in Trans-Saharan Africa. The goal of Initiative is to counter terrorist influences in the region and assist governments to better control their territory and to prevent huge tracts of largely deserted African territory from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups.” The Operation officially started in, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, but Current membership includes eleven African countries: The goal of the alliance is not to fight in hot spots, but to provide preventative training and engagement with governments to help prevent the growth of terrorist organizations in the partner countries.
Member states noted the improvement in communications between the numerous conferences between senior military officers of participant states. Such gatherings have increased confidence among states, improved the training practices, improved “joint tactics” to confront indigenous terror groups or those outside the region, and assisted in the synchronization of communication. Another important result is that border security has increased throughout the regions. The Sahel countries (Chad, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania) in particular have dramatically increased the presence of troops along their borders, helping to prevent the emergence of safe havens in the expansive desert areas within the region. These elements and the administration’s consistent statements regarding the importance of democratic governance represent another aspect of the legacy of the TSCTI. This point is fundamental because it is clear that the success of the TSCTI in the short term and long term will depend on the ability of member states to adopt and to implement democratic principles.
After having analyzed the two most successful US operations in Africa to counter terrorism, the question of how these results reflect improvement in human security still remains. It is clear that the Operations have succeeded to play an active role in the promotion of democracy, peace and stability, but have they really improved human security in Africa.
In order to show you so, I have linked to successfulness of the operations to two important statistic trends.
First of all, I did research on the change of the number of terrorist attacks in Africa.
Next, I focused on
the Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of “human development”
The statistic is composed from data on life expectancy, education and per-capita GDP (as an indicator of standard of living) The HDI has been used since 1990 by the United Nations Development Programme for its annual Human Development Reports.
although I hope to have convinced you that human security in Africa has improved indeed since the start of the War on Terror, I have to say there is still much room for further improvement of human security in Africa. The War on Terror in Africa is still facing some major humanitarian challenges, including the crisis in Darfur and the Civil War in Somalia. On October 1, 2008, responsibility for the Trans-Sahara Counter Initiative together with the command of the Horn of Africa Operation was transferred to The United States Africa Command or AFRICOM. It is now up to AFRICOM to prove it is capable of bringing and maintaining peace and stability on the African continent.
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