Too often, the United States and its partners have failed to prioritize Africa in global counterterrorism efforts — leaving the door open for violent extremist movements to further destabilize the continent. The U.S. Institute of Peace’s Andrew Cheatham spoke with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata, former director of strategy for the National Counterterrorism Center and a current member of USIP's Senior Military Advisory Group, about the evolution of violent extremism in Africa. Their conversation looks at how an overreliance on the use of force to combat terrorism neglects the societal, economic and political issues that breed violent extremist movements to begin with, as well as ways to bridge the mismatch between what Africans care about in terms of counterterrorism and what other nations tend to prioritize.
Ask the Experts: How Can Renewed U.S.-African Partnerships Counter Terrorist Threats?
The Latest @ USIP: Côte d'Ivoire’s Struggle Against Cross-Border Violent Extremism
While Côte d'Ivoire has managed to professionalize its security forces and maintain relative calm in the country’s interior regions, concerns over violent extremism continue to plague its northern borders with countries like Mali and Burkina Faso. Vagondo Diomandé, Côte d'Ivoire’s minister of interior and security, discusses the country’s security landscape, his first impressions of the U.S. Strategy for Conflict Prevention and Stability Promotion in Coastal West Africa, and why a regional security approach is the only way to fully address the cross-border threat of terrorism.
USIP’s Work on Violent Extremism
In over 20 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the threat from extremist violence and terrorism has evolved considerably. Terrorist attacks worldwide have increased in number, diffused geographically and diversified ideologically. These developments in the terrorist landscape have been fueled by violent conflict and state fragility, and they present opportunities for strategic rivals to challenge the value of democratic governance and the rules-based international system.
Disengaging and Reintegrating Violent Extremists in Conflict Zones
Dealing with people who leave violent extremist groups has become one of the most pressing security issues of our time. Drawing on new primary research conducted by the author in Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria, and existing research on disengagement and reintegration, this report underscores the challenges of administering rehabilitation programs in conditions of chronic insecurity—and of doing so at a scale sufficient to make a difference to hundreds or even thousands of people in short order.
Ask the Experts: The Fight Against Violent Extremism in Coastal West Africa
An explosion of violent extremism in the Sahel has begun spilling over into Coastal West African states. International efforts to stave off the spread have fallen short, which recently prompted the United States to include five countries in the region — Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Togo — in the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability. USIP’s Andrew Cheatham spoke with Ambassador Terence McCulley about the strategy’s focus on good governance as a means to counter violent extremism, the need for sustained coordination in the strategy’s implementation and the hope that this might spark further international support for peace and stability in Coastal West Africa.