"Examining the Bastions of Terror"
Author: Debbie West, Former Program Coordinator, Intrastate Conflict Program
Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan-the countries constituting the "Horn of Africa"-together with Yemen, are potential hostages to terrorism. Their largely unsecured territories provide a platform for terrorists, and their internal conflicts and weaknesses create potential breeding grounds for current and future anti-American terrorism.
At the Belfer Center's Program on Intrastate Conflict conference entitled, "Examining the ‘Bastions' of Terror: Governance and Policy in Yemen and the Horn of Africa" held at the Kennedy School of Government in November 2004, a group of three dozen experts from the diplomatic, NGO, policy, security, and scholarly communities discussed the urgent need to combat terrorism in the region.
The group's recommendations were clear and remarkably unified about the major strategies for countering terrorism in Yemen and the Horn of Africa. The United States must work with its allies to craft a unified and multilateral approach to the underlying as well as the immediate problems of the region. American efforts must be concerted with local authorities and multinational efforts (including NGOs) and development and humanitarian efforts of the international donor community must be coordinated and complementary. Program on Intrastate Conflict Director Robert I. Rotberg recommended: "Washington requires more area specialists, more persons with appropriate language fluencies, and much more specific local acquaintance and knowledge . . . Amassing such a cadre of ability and acquaintance will facilitate the development of sensible policies capable of assisting the countries in the region. Time is running out."
Debbie West is Program Coordinator of the Program on Intrastate Conflict.
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