Week 6: U.S. and Africa

In the article Trojan Horses? USAID, Counter-Terrorism and Africa’s Police, a section is devoted to the U.S. in Kenya, particularly USAID, addressing both international and national crime concerns. Kenya is of special focus for the U.S. due to the number of al-Qaeda supporters and participants within the nation and the several terrorist-related incidents that have occurred throughout the years. It is intriguing that although there is extra attention on Kenya from the U.S., there appears to be a lack of agreement between the two countries on which crime-related issues are the most important to tackle. Counter-terrorism is prioritized for USAID, whereas Kenya is focused on daily crime and personal insecurity matters such as the high occurrence of murder, rape, robbery and carjacking. The idea of establishing a more active police unit from support by the U.S. government and USAID programs, one that fights local and extreme crime, seems like a smart idea but rarely works in practice due to the complex societal functions that are never fully considered. These can include corruption, racial matters and gender relations, all issues that alter how police may act in the face of crime. How can international and local parties agree on what is the top security problem for Kenya to tackle, with respect to what each desires and to overall benefit the country? Is it possible to create a police unit that works to fight both types of crime and fully considers the integral social functions that exist daily in Kenya? If so, how? Does part of the disparity between the U.S. and Kenya have to do with different definitions and associations with the word “terrorist”? If so, how come each country understands this term differently and how does it relate to significant “terrorism” acts throughout history, such as the Rwanda genocide and 9/11?

In addition, in the article Kenya, the United States, and Counterterrorism, the benefits and disadvantages of the aid given by U.S. to Kenya do not equal each other, as the security has expanded considerably but has not yet impacted authorities ability to capture terrorists or stop their plans. Moreover, counterterrorism operations have frequently defied domestic law, such as detention without charge and bribery (pg. 11). This shows that implementing counterterrorism is far more difficult and complex once put into practice and therefore, better methods for this union of priorities must be considered in order to generate more effective, positive results.

The last article The Banana Theory of Terrorism: Alternative Truths and the Collapse of the ‘Second’ (Saharan) Front in the War on Terror, focuses on the implications of the U.S. war on terror across the Sahara-Sahel region of Africa. Currently Sahel is in a stage of transformation, one of extreme political instability and insecurity, and is suffering from thousands of livelihoods destroyed by the war on terror (pg. 47). The article goes on to discuss these disadvantages, how they impact the region and what the future of the war on terror might look like.

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