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USA/Africa: Rising Pressures for Militarization

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Jun 1, 2012 (120601)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

"The committee believes that activities that utilize U.S. Special Operations Forces and an 'indirect approach' that leverages local and indigenous forces should be used more aggressively and surgically in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in close coordination with and in support of geographic combatant commander and U.S. embassy country team requirements. The committee believes that current indirect activities are not fully resourced and underutilized to counter gains and preclude the expansion of Al Qaeda affiliates in these regions." - Report of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

As noted in the report from the Republican-majority House of Representatives cited above, there are increasing political pressures for the United States to double down on its military involvement in Africa, particularly in terms of counter-terrosism action against affiliates of al-Qaida. The committee report also includes some moderating nuances, counseling against an over-emphasis on "kinetic" (combat) action and on cooperation with African governments. But it also represents pressure both from Congress and within the administration for a more militarized approach.

This is reinforced on the parallel front of "humanitarian intervention" by public opinion fueled by Invisible Children's "Kony2012" campaign, with pressure for providing more resources to the U.S. military support for the antiKony campaign.

Probably the most dangerous policy proposal now being urged on the administration is formal designation of Boko Haram in Nigeria as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization." As explained below, such a designation would impede more comprehensive and nuanced efforts to combat the organization and severely restrict public and private U.S. engagement in humanitarian and peace building activities in Nigeria, as has been the case with al Shabaab in Somalia. In addition, as also in Somalia, it poses a threat to the transmission of remittances from the United States, funds which are critical both for the welfare of families and for development.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains a letter from U.S. scholars to Secretary of State Clinton calling for the United States government NOT to declare Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization, as well as additional commentary on the issue by Carl LeVan, one of the initiators of the letter. The Bulletin also includes excerpts from the Report of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, as well as brief notes on other recent congressional actions.

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on peace and security issues, visit http://www.africafocus.org/peaceexp.php For AfricaFocus Bulletins on the United States and Africa, visit http://www.africafocus.org/country/usa-africa.php

Update

The article "Do No Harm: assessing a military approach to the Lord's Resistance Army," by Ronald R. Atkinson, Phil Lancaster, Ledio Cakaj, & Guilaume Lacaille, is now available for free download at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17531055.2012.669591

Update June 15, 2012

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is calling for organizational endorsement, from U.S. or African groups, of a letter to the U.S. Senate calling for greater oversight and restraint in U.S. military operations in Africa, in contrast to the legislation currently before Congress which calls for intensified military involvement.

To add your organizational endorsement, send a message to Cassidy Regan at cassidy@fcnl.org

The text of the letter is below.

June 20, 2012

Dear Senator X,

We write to urge you to resist the growing militarization of U.S. aid and policy toward Africa. Recent appropriations and policies reflect an increasing focus on both regional and bilateral military operations and assistance. In anticipation of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) reaching the Senate floor, we ask that you oppose this detrimental approach that threatens to undermine African efforts toward stability and long-term peace.

In the House Armed Services Committee’s recent report on the NDAA, the following language called directly for more “aggressive” and “surgical” operations on the African continent:

“Specifically, the committee believes that activities that utilize U.S. Special Operations Forces and an ‘indirect approach’ that leverages local and indigenous forces should be used more aggressively and surgically in Africa...”

Section 1203 of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s NDAA echoes this approach, appropriating funding to train and equip security forces for counterterrorism purposes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and countries participating in the African Union Mission in Somalia. While a recent article in the New York Times cited a failed attempt by the military’s Special Operations Command to gain additional authority, it also noted that funding streams – such as the Global Security Contingency Fund – already exist to support these operations. Most disturbingly, last week’s Washington Post article on the subject revealed widening covert intelligence and targeted assassination operations in Africa, as well as deeply concerning reports of airstrikes, raids and drone use in Somalia specifically.

Though such initiatives are presented as being in the interest of U.S. national security, “aggressive” operations in Africa and elsewhere instead have a history of resulting in exacerbated instability, increased threat to civilian safety and further radicalization. Training and equipment programs have also been criticized in the past for lack of clear accountability and minimal evaluation of impact on related conflicts and communities. In light of these and other concerns, we urge you to:

  • At the minimum, press for greater evaluation and oversight of current military and counterterrorism assistance to African countries, ensuring that U.S. aid does not serve to worsen security conditions and enable human rights violations. A comprehensive accounting of current U.S. military and counterterrorism assistance to African countries is impossible to find, while language encouraging additional funding for special operations only increases. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, members of Congress have noted that, “the U.S. government may not be adequately assessing long-term risks associated with providing training and military equipment for counterterrorism purposes to countries with poor records of human rights, rule of law, and accountability.” Further negative consequences include the potential diversion of equipment into illicit markets – a major concern given that arms trafficking is already a significant threat to many African countries. As the NDAA and appropriations processes move forward, we urge you to ensure vigilant oversight of any U.S. military and counterterrorism assistance, as well as to halt this aid in the event of human rights abuses, exacerbated humanitarian security or destabilization of the region in question.
  • Reverse the trend of increasing focus on U.S. counterterrorism and military operations and assistance that threaten civilian safety and undermine long-term peace. Foreign policy experts worldwide have raised concerns around the destabilizing impact of U.S. special military and counterterrorism operations and targeted assassinations in places including Pakistan, Yemen and East Africa, citing consequences including significant civilian casualties and an increase in retaliatory attacks. This growing emphasis not only poses immediate danger, but also serves to overshadow and undermine support for the peacebuilding and other civilian-led programs that promote stability in the long-term.

    One example of this disturbing dynamic arises with regard to U.S. policy toward Kenya, where there is dire need for locally-led violence prevention and peacebuilding in anticipation of the next national elections in March of 2013. While this year’s State and Foreign Operations budget request includes only a few references to support for Kenya’s work toward peace and reconciliation, it frequently mentions Kenya with regard to various counterterrorism and military accounts. Meanwhile, capacities including the Complex Crises Fund and the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, whose initiatives aim to help prevent a return to the electoral crisis of 2007-8, have faced significant cuts in the House. In Kenya and elsewhere, U.S. military operations and assistance have begun to overshadow and undermine the important efforts undertaken by civilian agencies and African groups toward economic empowerment, justice and violence prevention. We urge you to reject language in support of and funding requests intended for military operations in Africa – including section 1203 – and instead place emphasis on supporting Africans’ work to address root causes of violence and promote peaceful, just solutions.

While we ultimately advocate for an end to all military operations and related assistance, we urge you to take the steps above to immediately confront this worrying trend. Rather than serving to undermine African efforts, we hope that U.S. policy will demonstrate commitment to the long- term peace that is in line with U.S. strategic concerns.

Sincerely,

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++

Letter to Secretary Clinton from Nigeria Scholars US Profs to Clinton: Respond to Boko Haram with Diplomacy, Development, and Demilitarization

May 21, 2012

http://carllevan.com/2012/05/ / direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/bme578j

Twenty-one scholars with expertise on Nigeria sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today on Boko Haram. The letter begins by noting the "horrific violence" perpetrated against civilians and government officials, but argues that responding to Boko Haram ultimately requires a "diplomatic, developmental, and demilitarized framework." (see full text of letter below).

Nigeria's National Security Advisor is visiting Washington, D.C. this week, and Secretary Clinton has been under pressure from Republicans in the House of Representatives to formally designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The Department of Justice's National Security Division wrote a letter to Clinton in January, also urging her to make the designation.

The US-based academics, however, argue that formally labeling Boko Haram an FTO would "limit American policy options to those least likely to work." In particular, it would:

(1) Internationalize Boko Haram's standing and enhance its status among radical organizations elsewhere. A report by Homeland Security Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives in November was entitled, "Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the US Homeland," and John Brennan, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center on April 30 that Boko Haram "appears to be aligning itself with al-Qaida's violent agenda and is increasingly looking to attack Western interests in Nigeria, in addition to Nigerian government targets." Many scholars however suggest that despite claims by members of the group, and some alleged contact with terrorist organizations outside Nigeria, Boko Haram overwhelmingly remains a domestic problem.

(2) Give disproportionate attention to counter-terrorism in bilateral relations at a time when economic ties are expanding and a robust multi-faceted relationship has emerged. Last month the U.S. Special Operations Command organized a three day conference on Boko Haram, which entailed a detailed discussion about possible next steps. Some government civilians saw this as an effort to make policy - rather than simply implement it. This was a marked contrast with comments by AFRICOM four years ago, when it repeatedly reassured its critics that it would "stay in its lane." The signers of the letter argue, "The State Department and its civilian developmental partners must be in the lead" on Nigeria policy.

(3) Undermine Nigeria's progress on the rule of law in two ways: First, by effectively legitimizing abuses by security services that Human Rights Watch and other organizations have drawn attention to as urgent, ongoing problems. This issue is especially important because the extrajudicial killing of Boko Haram's captured leader by the police in 2009 was immediately followed by an expansion of violence, radicalization, and fragmentation of Boko Haram. Second, President Goodluck Jonathan is pushing the National Assembly for Martial Law. Historically, such measures have been followed by broader political instability. It would give the military an expanded role in law enforcement in a country with a deep history of authoritarianism. Moreover, given the contentious nature of Jonathan's ascent to power in 2010, and his election in 2011 despite the informal PDP understanding that it was the North's "turn" to rule, additional executive latitude would likely be interpreted as a desperate attempt by a southerner to hold on to power.

(4) Impede humanitarian assistance and possibly independent academic research. The scholars note that the national security list system has created a "cumbersome and arbitrary process" that has interfered with humanitarian work in Africa. The Charity and Security Network has documented how provisions of the Patriot Act prevented humanitarian assistance from reaching hungry people during last summer's famine in east Africa, for example. In a new report entitled "Deadly Combination: Disaster Conflict and the U.S. Material Support Law," (http://charityandsecurity.org/deadlycombination) CSN notes that once an organization is listed as an FTO, the US Treasury Department explicitly prohibits "any transactions" with listed groups or other entities described as their supporters.

For this reason, the academics in the letter raise the concern that the FTO's broad legal regime could also impact their ability to conduct independent scholarly inquiry.

An excellent report from the Center for American Progress summarizes the legal consequences of an FTO designation, and points out how numerous terrorist organizations are not designated as such because of the cumbersome problems that it generates for humanitarianism and balanced inter-agency policy making. http://www.americanprogress.org (direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/c8cpjrf).

The FTO designation would likely have devastating effects on remittances from Nigerian-Americans. According to the World Bank, Nigeria was the highest recipient of remittance flows to Africa in 2011. It received an estimated $10.6 billion, amounting to 4.5% of Nigeria's GDP. Thousands of NigerianAmericans would therefore fear prosecution for sending money home. And at a time when the US is trying to demonstrate its goodwill in the north, families there in particular would face additional burdens and hardships. To see a chart prepared by the Migration Policy Institute tracking Nigeria's remittances over time, go to http://migrationinformation.org/datahub/remittances/Nigeria.pdf

I was one of the letter's initiators, along with Peter Lewis from SAIS and Jean Herskovits from SUNY - Purchase. I will be giving a brief talk on Boko Haram at a conference sponsored by the Jamestown Foundation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Tuesday, June 19, in Washington, DC. I hope to see some of you there.


May 21, 2012

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

As scholars with a special interest in Nigeria and broad expertise on African politics, we are writing to urge that you not designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). We are acutely aware of the horrific violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, including attacks on both Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, whether government officials or civilian targets. We share your concerns about the impact of extremist violence on Nigeria's democratic progress and security in general. However an FTO designation would internationalize Boko Haram, legitimize abuses by Nigeria's security services, limit the State Department's latitude in shaping a long term strategy, and undermine the U.S. Government's ability to receive effective independent analysis from the region.

An FTO designation would internationalize Boko Haram's standing and enhance its status among radical organizations elsewhere. Boko Haram's recent tactics, including the use of suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices, raise questions about their foreign links. The network's focus has been overwhelmingly domestic, despite an August 2011 attack on the United Nations office in Abuja. Rhetorically, some of Boko Haram's critique of northern underdevelopment and elite corruption is within the realm of mainstream political discourse. But there are clear indications that their tactics and targets have turned most Nigerians against them, including local populations in the north. An FTO designation would potentially shift the organization's posture towards the US and validate the more radical factions' analysis of outsider influence in Nigeria. It would also undermine the Nigerian government's ability to address the
problem through law enforcement and thereby improve rule of law.

An FTO designation would give disproportionate attention to counter-terrorism in our bilateral relations, and increase the risk that the US becomes linked - whether in reality or perception - to abuses by the security services. An FTO designation would effectively endorse excessive use of force at a time when the rule of law in Nigeria hangs in the balance. There is already evidence that abuses by Nigeria's security services have facilitated radical recruitment. This was made unequivocally clear in 2009 following the extrajudicial murder of Mohammed Yusuf, which was broadcast across the internet. That incident was immediately followed by Boko Haram's radicalization, splintering, and increased propensity for large scale violence. Moreover, the routine use of the military for domestic law enforcement is a cause for alarm in a country with a deep history of military rule, and where formal declarations of states of emergency have historically led to broader political instability.

In publicizing this letter, it is also our hope that the Department of Defense and other concerned agencies will reaffirm the limitations of their roles: informing or implementing policy rather than making it. Accurately understanding and properly addressing the issue of Boko Haram will require a diplomatic, developmental, and demilitarized framework. The State Department and its civilian developmental partners must be in the lead.

The FTO list system has its origins in Executive Order 12947 in 1995, which was designed to prohibit transactions with organizations that interfere in the Middle East peace process. Congressional legislation the following year codified a process for making such decisions under the Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act. Once the State Department makes an FTO designation and that entity is added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list managed by the Treasury Department, it is illegal for U.S. citizens to have any interactions with that entity unless they apply for a license. At least 1.1 million individuals and entities are also on secret lists, according to an audit by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Inspector General. Lack of information about the criteria for being listed makes it impossible to be removed and encourages selective enforcement.

This cumbersome and arbitrary process has made it impossible for some humanitarian organizations to operate in the neediest areas of Africa. If economic development is to play a role in alleviating tensions in northern Nigeria, we should not hamper access by USAID or private NGOs in providing aid and assistance in the region.

Should Boko Haram be designated an FTO through this regime, it would be illegal for nongovernmental organizations to interact with members of Boko Haram - even if the purpose of such contact was to persuade them to renounce violence. The US Supreme Court upheld these restrictions in 2010, declaring that such contact would constitute providing "material support" to terrorist groups. Commenting on the threat this poses to the Carter Center, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said this legal restriction "threatens our work and the work of many other peacemaking organizations that must interact directly with groups that have engaged in violence." It would therefore be illegal for third party intermediaries to play a role in some future peace process or in the confidence building measures required to get there.

Less attention has been brought to the damage that this system does to academic inquiry more generally. An FTO designation would prevent independent scholarly inquiry about Boko Haram, and increase suspicion in the future about researchers with no governmental ties. Public policy benefits from dialogue with public scholars, and an FTO designation would effectively criminalize broad categories of research.

During a visit to Nigeria in February, former president Bill Clinton commented on the security crisis there by concluding that "it is almost impossible to cure a problem based on violence with violence." A lasting solution to Boko Haram will require robust political and developmental components initiated by the Nigerian government and broadly endorsed by the Nigerian people through democratic processes that enhance the rule of law. We believe that an FTO designation for Boko Haram would limit American policy options to those least likely to work, and would undermine the domestic political conditions necessary in Nigeria for an enduring solution.

We thank you for taking our views into consideration. Our affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and do not constitute an institutional endorsement.

Sincerely,

Carl LeVan, American University; Peter M. Lewis, Johns Hopkins University; Jean Herskovits, SUNY - Purchase; Daniel J. Smith, Brown University; Adrienne LeBas, American University; R. Kiki Edozie, Michigan State University; Brandon Kendhammer, Ohio University; Susan Shepler, American University; John Campbell, Council on Foreign Relations; David Dwyer, Michigan State University; Paul Lubeck, University of California - Santa Cruz; Pearl Robinson, Tufts University; Darren Kew, University of Massachusetts - Boston; Clarence Lusane, American University; Laura Thaut, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis; Nicolas van de Walle, Cornell University; Judith Byfield, Cornell University; Susan M. O'Brien, University of Florida; John Paden, George Mason University; Deborah Brautigam, Johns Hopkins University; Michael Watts, University of California - Berkeley

Additional names added since May 21: David Laitin, Stanford University; David Wiley, Michigan State University; Shobana Shankar, Georgetown University

cc: Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs


Report of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

For commentary see
http://fcnl.org/blog/2c/NDAA2013_Africa_Language/

For full text see
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/T?&report=hr479&dbname=112&

{Excerpts related to Africa below]

Counter Lord's Resistance Army and Related Operations

The committee notes the efforts of the Department of Defense and U.S. Africa Command, consistent with the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-172), to assist the Ugandan People's Defense Force as they combat the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and attempt to bring Joseph Kony to justice. The deployment of approximately 100 United States special operations forces in support of this mission is a step in addressing a two decade reign of terror that has killed and brutalized thousands while destabilizing the region. The committee notes that Congress has provided the authority in section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81) to support this effort and commends it to the attention of the Secretary of Defense. However, the committee also cautions that special operations forces should be employed judiciously and within circumstances that fully leverage the unique skill sets that these highly trained units possess, in keeping with important U.S. national security interests.

The committee believes that stability in Africa is in the United States' national interest. Supporting justice, human rights, and poverty reduction, as well as facilitating access of African goods and services to world markets, brings a stability that stretches beyond just the local region and has a positive impact upon the United States and our global partners. Therefore, the committee encourages the Administration to continue its interagency approach to stabilization efforts and security sector reform programs across the region, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan, among others. In so doing, the Administration should consider using the authorities granted by the Global Security Contingency Fund, which was crafted for this sort of multifaceted security challenge. The committee notes that the Administration has used the Global Train and Equip authority (i.e. '1206') for this purpose but cautions that this was a special case use of that authority. Generally, the intent of '1206' in the counter-terrorism role is to combat terrorist organizations with a global reach and an agenda that is directly hostile to the United States and our partners. The LRA, while a heinous entity, does not necessarily rise to that standard on its own.

Counterterrorism Policy and the Growing Threat of al Qaeda Regional Affiliates

The committee is concerned about the spread of Al Qaeda regional affiliates and the lack of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy to mitigate these threats. The committee has previously expressed concern in this area, most recently in section 1032 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81).

The committee notes that the February 2012 U.S. Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment depicted a core Al Qaeda (AQ) with diminished operational importance and a more decentralized leadership movement. The assessment further noted that continued robust U.S. and partnered counterterrorism (CT) efforts and pressure would likely lead to fragmentation of the movement within a few years.

While core AQ is diminishing in operational importance, the committee is concerned that regional Al Qaeda affiliates, particularly in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, continue to increase attacks both locally and globally, expand ideological influence, and gain territorial control in strategic areas of concern. Additionally, several senior national security officials have identified Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the Republic of Yemen as the most serious terrorist threat to the United States. The committee notes that AQAP continues to exploit local political instability and expand local influence, particularly in the southern provinces. While remaining an international threat, AQAP has expanded domestic operations within Yemen to launch a wide-scale domestic insurgency, thereby transforming the organization from an Al Qaeda affiliate to a Taliban-like movement further threatening the region. The committee notes that such gains provide AQAP with greater freedom to move, plan, and project threats regionally and internationally.

Similarly, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) continues operations in northern Africa and the U.S. intelligence community has noted that AQIM is seeking opportunities to strike Western targets. The committee is concerned that post-coup political instability in the Republic of Mali presents another regional point of vulnerability given the concentration of AQIM members in Mali's northern desert. There are also fears that the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in the Federal Republic of Nigeria has engaged with elements of AQIM, suggesting a wider regional trend of shared tactics and resources threatening security and stability throughout the region.

Additionally, Al Shabaab in Somalia recently announced a public merger with core AQ. Al Shabaab grew out of a nationalist movement within Somalia to repel what was viewed by Al Shabaab as Ethiopian troops occupying Somali lands. However, with the help of AQ leaders such as the recently deceased AQ operative, Huran Fazul, Al Shabaab has demonstrated the capacity to strike outside of the Somali borders, as evidence by the terrorist attacks in the Republic of Uganda during the World Cup in July 2010. Additionally, Al Shabaab has been responsible for recruiting would-be militant from the Somali diaspora in the West.

The committee is concerned that the present strategy to mitigate these threats lacks a holistic approach. While the committee believes that kinetic options are an important component to the overall strategy, the committee is concerned that over-reliance on such options distracts from the need for a comprehensive approach to reverse the gains made by these regional affiliates and to protect the homeland. In particular, a comprehensive strategy should place greater emphasis on capacity building, particularly in fragile states or areas that too easily become terrorist sanctuaries. For this reason, the committee included section 1032 in Public Law 112-81, which requires National Security Planning Guidance that would serve as an interagency strategy to enhance the capacity of partner governments to assist in eliminating the ability of Al Qaeda and its affiliates to establish or maintain safe havens.

The June 2011 National Strategy for Counterterrorism highlights the need for building security partnerships as part of comprehensive strategy. However, the committee believes that U.S. and partnered counterterrorism (CT) efforts require additional emphasis. Specifically, the committee believes that activities that utilize U.S. Special Operations Forces and an 'indirect approach' that leverages local and indigenous forces should be used more aggressively and surgically in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in close coordination with and in support of geographic combatant commander and U.S. embassy country team requirements. The committee believes that current indirect activities are not fully resourced and underutilized to counter gains and preclude the expansion of Al Qaeda affiliates in these regions.

The committee believes a comprehensive strategy should also include greater prioritization of capture operations of high value terrorists. In 2009, former CIA Director, General Michael Hayden, noted that information obtained during interrogations of senior AQ members provided the majority of U.S. intelligence regarding the terrorist organization and had led to successful follow-on operations throughout the world. The committee is concerned that the lack of a comprehensive detention regime for high-value terrorists has diminished U.S. intelligence on AQ and its affiliates.

The committee believes that an aggressive strategy that builds security partnerships, develops host nation capabilities, leverages such an indirect approach, and prioritizes capture operations would effectively supplement the need for kinetic options and presents a more balanced approach. Therefore, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to brief the congressional defense committees within 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and provide an update on efforts to counter the spread of Al Qaeda regional affiliates and other efforts to improve national security planning guidance pursuant to section 1032 of Public Law 112-81.


Senate authorizes $50 million for anti-Kony operations

May 25, 2012

The Senate Armed Services Committee has just voted to authorize $50 million more "to fund the military's efforts to support Central African troops who are trying to put an end to Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. The Pentagon's name for this mission? Operation Observant Compass."

"… the bill still has to go Senate floor, where it's expected to be considered in June or July, but influencing the Armed Services Committee is a major first step, that already makes Invisible Children the envy of a wide swath of advocacy groups."

Sources: http://www.politico.com/morningdefense/ (direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/d6572ba) and
http://www.theatlanticwire.com direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/cgcysa7)

[Note: In the foreign aid bill, however, both House and Senate also stress "language that would guarantee that the U.S. continues to make it a priority to fund programs that help protect civilians and rescue and rehabilitate LRA abductees."


AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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