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US sends its special forces as Africa’s jihadist threat grows

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
22nd October 2017 - Quoted by Ed Blanche - The Arab Weekly

The October 12 bombing of central Mogadishu in So­malia, which killed more than 270 people, along with the death of four US special forces troops in a jihad­ist ambush on the other side of the vast continent in south-western Niger, marked a sharp escalation in Africa’s war on terror.

That is likely to trigger a signifi­cant increase in US military coun­terterrorism operations on the vast continent. This would be in line with US President Donald Trump’s emerging strategy, a carry-over from a campaign of “forward en­gagement” devised by his prede­cessor, Barack Obama, unleashing the US military’s greatly expanded special forces command to hunt down and eliminate the terror cells.

Until recently, the focal point of African terrorism by groups largely affiliated with al-Qaeda and the breakaway Islamic State (ISIS) was North Africa along the Mediterra­nean littoral, the springboard for attacks on Europe.

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Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of Washington’s Foundation for De­fense of Democracies observed: “State actors will have to improve governance, rule of law and eco­nomic opportunities, especially in the economic and geographic pe­riphery of the region, in order to deny (Islamic State) the ability to recruit and establish safe havens.”

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Tags

africa, sunni-jihadism