By Scott A Morgan
In Mid-December the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced a broad coalition of Islamic Nations to combat terrorism. It has been announced that there will be a Joint Operations Center in Riyadh as well. There are several glaring holes such as the omission of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. There were some surprises as well such as the reaction of Pakistan after the notice that it was included.
There are several African Nations which are key allies of the United States in this current struggle that have reportedly signed on to the Alliance. There are several surprises here as well. One example is Somalia. The Government in Mogadishu is a party to this effort but the region known as Somaliland which has its own autonomy is not a party to this.
Image courtesy Al-Jazeera
There are several nations that have recently launched an effort to deal with a terrorist threat as well. Niger, Nigeria, Benin and Chad have along with Cameroon set up a regional force to deal with the Boko Haram Insurgency. In recent weeks, Sudan - another member of the coalition but holding a dubious background - has signed its own pact with Niger to coordinate strategy against the Nigerian Islamists.
This raises our first concern. It has been documented that, in a National Security Council Meeting in Khartoum, in an effort to assist the US in its struggle against Islamists, the Sudanese Government would manipulate information that is being provided to the United States. In return, Sudan expects the US to provide assistance against its own Armed Opposition in an effort to retain power. Since taking over, in 2009, the Obama Administration has been gradually reducing sanctions against Sudan. This country has also been providing Ground Troops to support the Saudi Mission in Yemen, in recent months.
The fact that Sudanese Government, which has been accused in the past of funnelling Arms to Boko Haram, is now seeking to join the effort to defeat them will be met with skepticism at the very least. The group has launched attacks not only in Nigeria but also in the neighboring nations. Benin also sent troops to Nigeria, in late 2015. Sudan has been accused of funnelling Arms through the restless Eastern Part of Libya as well.
|Image courtesy from US Department of Defense|
Another concern is Djibouti. This is where the CJTF-HOA (Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa) is located. Djibouti is also a member of the Saudi Grand Coalition. So what will the Future of US Operations in Uganda and Kenya look like? Kenya is facing a blowback from its decision to deploy forces to Somalia. A recent item indicates that a schism has occurred within Al-Shabaab. Some of the fighters have switched loyalty to ISIL from Al-Qaeda and have launched attacks in both Somalia and Kenya. Furthermore, Uganda with an entrenched President is the target of a small Muslim Insurgency that has occasionally launched attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Finally, there is the Countries that participate in the TSCTI (Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative) This was set up by the US in the dark days after 9/11. These states which include Niger, Chad and Mauritania have had issues with Governments targeted by Military Coup Plotters. There is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda in the region too. But this also points out one glaring weakness in the Saudi Effort. Algeria is omitted from this effort, but neighbors are included - Morocco and Tunisia including.
Except for the Horn of Africa and West Africa, very few analysts monitor the situation in Africa. The Great Lakes Region could become the next version of the Borno State, in Nigeria. Al-Shabaab has sought to punish those states participating in the AU Mission currently ongoing in Somalia. The ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) is a Ugandan Islamist Militia that has launched several operations in the eastern DRC but does not generate the publicity as other actors in the region like the FDLR or the former M23.
To conclude it’s clear that Sudan is trying to influence US CT Efforts in Africa and its now cozying up to Saudi Arabia instead of supporting Iran. This is believed to be in support of Operations inside Yemen in return for Cash from the Gulf States. It has influence in several Countries and is attempting to influence how other nations will seek assistance from the US or provide information regarding emerging threats. This is a dangerous ploy for the US as it will be presented information to act upon that most likely be to the detriment of both the Foreign Policy and the National Security of the United States.
 Some of the Key African Partners in this Alliance include Nigeria,Egypt,Morocco and Senegal. Other states included are Ivory Coast,Chad,Benin,Gabon,Somalia,Togo,Benin and Mauritania
 This link has a list of Countries in West Africa receiving Assistance from the United States
[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]