Counterterrorism in African Failed States: Challenges and Potential Solutions

  • April 01, 2006
  • COL Thomas A Dempsey

Terrorist groups operating in Sub-Saharan Africa failed states have demonstrated the ability to avoid the scrutiny of Western counterterrorism officials, while supporting and facilitating terrorist attacks on the United States and its partners. The potential acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists makes terrorist groups operating from failed states especially dangerous. U.S. counterterrorism strategies largely have been unsuccessful in addressing this threat. A new strategy is called for, one that combines both military and law enforcement efforts in a fully integrated counterterrorism effort, supported by a synthesis of foreign intelligence capabilities with intelligence-led policing to identify, locate, and take into custody terrorists operating from failed states before they are able to launch potentially catastrophic attacks.