Wednesday, February 4, 2015

In Praise of African Allies in the War on Terrorism

           Several individual African states, as well as the African Union (AU), have engaged in combat on their continent over the last several years to fight Islamist terrorists, most of who are affiliated with al-Qaeda. 

            Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, along with AU troops, have all fought al-Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, with much success in liberating territory from Islamist control.  Niger and Chad supported Mali’s government under AU encouragement against al-Qaeda and their allied Tuareg Islamist rebels and Burkina Faso is sending troops to Mali.  The French-led intervention last year freed northern Mali from the Islamists in the former French colony, but insurgents have been launching more attacks there from the desert over the last several months.  Both Niger and Chad also have been supporting Nigeria’s fight against its al-Qaeda branch, as has Cameroon.  These states are operating under an AU mandate.  Their efforts, especially those of Chad, which had also provided the largest African contingent of troops in Mali, have provided a much-needed boost to the Nigerian government, which has proven ineffective in its battle against its Islamist rebels. 

            Egypt has battled Islamists in Libya and along their border while engaging in its own struggle against Islamist terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula that are affiliated with the “Islamic State.”  In addition, Egypt has choked off supplies to the Iranian-backed terrorist Palestinian Hamas organization.  The most populous Arab state has become a bulwark in the War on Terrorism since its overthrow of its own Islamist government last year. 

            Several other African states have been sharing intelligence or even arresting Islamists.  Morocco has been especially helpful in this regard.  Other states have provided logistical support.  Meanwhile, Algeria continues to fight Islamist rebels, while Tunisia has cracked down on Islamists there, as well.

            The United States occasionally strikes by drone or launches a commando raid in Somalia, while France still helps Mali.  In contrast, after a European-led international coalition intervened in the Libyan civil war to help overthrow longtime dictator Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, there has been no intervention, other than by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, on behalf of the internationally-recognized government in its fight against various Islamists.        

           These African states deserve praise for all their efforts against terrorism and Islamism.  The international community outside of Africa must do more to support its African allies in the War on Terrorism, especially Libya and Nigeria.

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