September 8, 2004

OUR FIRST AFRICAN PRESIDENT:

US Military Receives Education on Horn of Africa Terrorism (Jim Fisher-Thompson, September 7, 2004, AllAfrica.com)

The threat of terrorism in the Horn of Africa is real, longstanding and growing, former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn told military officers learning more about political conditions in Africa, but he added that U.S. programs are in place to counter the immediate threat to the region.

"The Horn of Africa has been especially susceptible to conflict in the past half century and much of the region is awash in small arms," Shinn explained September 2 to those attending the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command School at Hurlburt Field in Florida, and the result is "instability that hinders governments from exercising full control over their territory and provides terrorists with easy access to weapons."

Shinn's lecture highlighted the Bush administration's new emphasis on working with African governments to stop terrorism on the continent before it can be exported to other regions of the world. The Defense Department has made a special effort to educate its officers on political and social conditions in Africa, a region that for too long was neglected by defense intellectuals.

"Heightened concern about terrorism in the Horn of Africa," said Shinn, "led to the creation in October 2002 of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) outside the capital of Djibouti. It has responsibility for fighting terrorism in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen and in the coastal waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Its stated mission is to detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorism and to enhance long-term stability in the region." At any given time, he said, there are between 1,400 and 1,600 American military and civilian personnel at CJTF-HOA.

On the diplomatic side, the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism began an additional program in 2003 known as the East Africa Counter-terrorism Initiative, Shinn told his audience. The $100 million program includes military training for border and coastal security, programs to strengthen control of the movement of people and goods across borders, aviation security, assistance for regional programs to curb terrorist financing, police training and an education program to counter extremist influence. There are separate programs to combat money laundering.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 8, 2004 11:48 AM
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