February 5, 2013

A Decade of American Missteps in Africa

Craig Whitlock, Washington Post

AP Photo

The U.S. government has invested heavily in counterterrorism programs in the region, spending more than $1 billion since 2005 to train security forces, secure borders, promote democracy, reduce poverty and spread propaganda. The strategy was portrayed as a sobering lesson from the costly invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The goal of stabilizing weak African countries was to keep al-Qaeda out and obviate the need to send U.S. combat forces into the Sahara. Despite those efforts, Belmokhtar’s group and a hazy array of other jihadist factions and rebellious tribesmen seized control of northern Mali last year. In March, a U.S.-trained Malian officer carried out a coup, further plunging the country into chaos.

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TAGGED: West Africa, North Africa, Mali, Algeria, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Counterterrorism, Africa, United States

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