Week 6

Kenya, the United States, and Counterterrorism

This article by Jeremy Prestholdt examines the relationship between the U.S. and Kenya. It goes into depth about security aid Kenya receives from the U.S. for which they are asked to enforce strict initiatives against terrorism in the country. This has caused inequalities among Kenyans as the minority Muslim community is one of the main targets, also causing them to experience alienation.

The Kenyan government is highly dependent on U.S. aid to provide for its security and military forces, as well as, for economic purposes. The U.S. uses this to their advantage to enforce counterterrorism strategies. Prestholdt, therefore, argues that, pressures and promises of aid made by the U.S. encourages Kenyan authorities to fight an unfair war against a community that does not always pose real threats. This paints a false picture of the efforts made by Kenyan authorities to protect the state from security related issues because they are ultimately just working on behalf of the U.S. to monitor activities of its citizens. This, in fact, affects Kenya’s focus on actual tangible security threats that can be easily resolved by police forces.

Trojan Horses? USAID, counterterrorism and Africa’s police

Alice Hills forms an argument that is very similar to Prestholdt’s, in that, the U.S. has a hidden agenda as to the real purpose of providing aid to Kenya. While they promise to stimulate the economy and assist with developmental purposes, they are truly self-interested because providing aid is a means of gaining control over Kenyan security forces and protect their own national security. She also argues that the aid U.S. provides creates opportunities for organized crime and other corrupt activities.

The Banana Theory of Terrorism: Alternative Truths and the Collapse of the ‘Second’ (Saharan) Front in the War on Terror

Jeremy Keenan ties it altogether in his article about increased counterterrorism efforts made by the U.S. every since the attacks of 2002. He unravels the truth behind the Saharan war on terror that the U.S. and Algerian intelligence services fabricated to feed their motives. After 9-11, large amounts of money that Kenya received were used to take counterterrorism initiatives by arresting terrorist groups and again, alienating the Muslim community.

Keenan also brings into attention the misleading truth about coastal Muslim communities as they were suspected to have been involved in the bombing of the U.S. embassy in 1998. The U.S. also claimed that Afghani troops were entering Africa which enabled them to establish institutions that operated under them. Again, these are all excuses to inherit power and control, and ultimately, protect their own national safety.

I believe that the topic of aid to Africa is very controversial because it provides very few real benefits. Firstly, it discourages governments to put in effort to improve their economies because they are highly dependent on the large amounts of money they receive on an ongoing basis. Secondly, most of the money they receive support illegal activities and corrupt government practices. Thirdly, because the U.S. provides aid, they control the distribution of money in African countries, which usually works in favour of the U.S. to perhaps support institutions that report back to them and ensures their safety. Of course, this then plays a very small role in actually improving economies. Health care and education systems remain underdeveloped and no real jobs get created.


1. I believe that aid is unnecessary as it does not benefit the economies of Africa, rather, provides opportunities for illegal and corrupt activities and also puts the U.S. in more debt. So do you think there are other alternatives to provide financial assistance? If so, how can they be carried out without repeating the same mistakes?

2. Is there any way to seize control from the U.S. government without completely deteriorating their own economy?


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