Battling Terrorism in the horn of Africa
By Robert Rotberg.
Reviewed by Thomas Sanders.
Although Afghanistan and Iraq are at the epicenter of America’s war on terror, terrorist groups threaten other parts of the world as well. One of the most dangerous is the greater Horn of Africa region—Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the Sudan, along with Yemen, their volatile neighbor. Al Qaeda has already struck in the region, and the area’s complex history, shared poverty, poor governance, underdevelopment, and renowned resistance against Western colonizers have created an intricate web of opportunity for potential terrorists.
In this timely book, Robert Rotberg and his coauthors provide authoritative insight into the struggle against terrorism in the Horn, analyzing what has been done and what work remains. The contributors—prominent scholars and practitioners, including several current and former U.S. ambassadors—argue that Washington needs to craft a nuanced new policy appropriate to the region and its individual countries. They stress that there is no substitute for greater U.S. involvement in any and all forums.
But U.S. efforts alone are insufficient to deal with the ongoing threats of al Qaeda and homegrown terrorism. Seamless regional and international responses are also necessary. The United States must promote good governance throughout the region by strengthening diplomatic understanding of the area 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, the United States can proactively support internal democracy in areas where the suppression of liberties is common.
Battling Terrorism in the Horn of Africa provides valuable lessons on what needs to be done at the tension-filled crossroads of Africa and the Arab world. It is important reading for all those concerned with understanding and combating international terrorism, as well as those with an interest in African or Middle Eastern affairs.
Contributors: Robert D. Burrowes (University of Washington), Timothy Carney (former U.S. ambassador to Sudan), Johnnie Carson (former U.S. ambassador to Kenya), Dan Connell (Simmons College), Kenneth J. Menkhaus (Davidson College), Lange Schermerhorn (former U.S. ambassador to Djibouti), and David Shinn (former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia).