Small Wars Journal

Congress Seeks More Control Over North Africa Counterterror Program

Congress Seeks More Control Over North Africa Counterterror Program by Bryant Harris - Al-Monitor

The House is set to vote on a bill this week that would formally institutionalize a North African counterterrorism program — and give lawmakers more control over the initiative.

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Act, sponsored by House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, directs the Donald Trump administration to coordinate on counterterror programs with several North African and Sahel governments.

The George W. Bush administration formally started the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) in 2005, but McCaul’s bill makes it permanent. It also exerts greater congressional oversight over the program and pushes the Trump administration to clarify its strategy in the region…

Read on.


Continuing from my comment below:


a.  In N. Africa, and indeed elsewhere, we use our instruments of power (1) in an attempt to support the advance of "modernization"/"globalization"/"globalism"/"the global economy," etc. and to (2) deal with those anti-modernization forces (who frequently resort to terrorism?) who stand in our (and thus modernization's) way.  (In this exact light, to understand such things as Congress' current attempt to formally institutionalize a North African counterterrorism program?)

This while: 

b.  Here at home in the U.S./the West, the "anti-modernization" populations -- of, in this case, our very own countries -- these, it would appear, have already won the day. (As reflected, for example, in the Brexit, and the election of President Trump?)

Thus, U.S./Western "pro-modernization of others" foreign policy -- and "anti-modernization of ourselves" domestic policy -- these seeming to be on rather (unintelligible?) divergent paths/seeming to be rather crazy/disconnected.  Yes?

Terrorism and counter-terrorism, I would suggest, can often best be understood in terms of (a) "modernists' " efforts to transform other states and societies more along modern western political, economic, social and value lines and (b) "traditionalists" determination to prevent this from happening.


Nothing is more telling about the recent terrorist attacks in the United States than the nature of their targets. The Twin Towers in New York City represented the future, modernity, America's optimistic outlook of the world and, more recently, of globalization. ...


Given the rise of "populism," the Brexit and the election of President Trump in the West of late,

Should we not see this such "rejection of modernity" as, now, clearly being a "global" phenomenon/clearly entering a "global phase?"


The problems of open and democratic societies are not new. Decades ago, an eminent philosopher, Karl Popper, wrote an exceptional essay about the unique difficulties that liberal societies confront. In The Open Society and its Enemies, Popper argued that in liberal societies there are always remnants of the tribalism from which they come and that the shock of transition to modern society frequently creates reactionary movements that attempt to return to their origins. Modernity and tribalism thus enter into conflict, each trying to have its way. The fanaticism that motivates the terrorist may be explained by these tensions. But what September eleven proves is that these fights can be extremely bloody and violent.


(This making our determination as to how to deal with rebellious "traditionalists" -- both abroad and, now also, here at home -- much more difficult?  In this regard, we do not wish to be accused of double standards, hypocrisy, etc.?)