Combating Terrorism in the Horn of Africa and Yemen
Report, Program on Intrastate Conflict
Author: Debbie West, Former Program Coordinator, Intrastate Conflict Program
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Intrastate Conflict Program
Scouring the deserts and highlands of present and future terrorists in the troubled, war-torn region that comprises Yemen, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia demands urgent, skillful, measures that are as much social, economic, and political as they must be military.
Al Qaeda operatives and sleepers in this region are few, but dangerous. Additionally, there are cells linked both loosely and more tightly to Al Qaeda throughout the region, and beyond into Kenya, Tanzania, and the Comoros. Those cells need to be found and eradicated through concerted diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, and military means.
Since internal conflict is a constant in this region, Al Qaeda may also embrace or be embraced by the many current insurgent operations or warlords within the individual countries. The threat to U.S. national security and counterterrorism interests, to U.S. and coalition embassies and interests, and to the established governments of the region, is thus as much medium and long term as it is immediate.
U.S. efforts to eliminate sources of terror in this region should focus on strengthening national governance and governmental capabilities, strengthening security and counterterrorism capacities, building and maintaining infrastructure, creating jobs, improving education, and attempting to support local efforts to embed the rule of law.
Washington should work with its allies to craft a unified and multilateral approach to the underlying as well as the immediate problems of the region. This new approach should be driven as much by the knowledge and wisdom in the Department of State as well as by the necessary imperatives of the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Those are among the strong conclusions of Deborah L. West’s Combating Terrorism in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, the latest trenchant Report by the Program on Intrastate Conflict, Belfer Centerfor International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government. The issues discussed in the report are central to the battle against terrorism.
- yemen report bcsia.pdf (503K PDF)
For more information about this publication please contact the ICP Program Coordinator at 617-496-9812.
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