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Old 05-16-2003, 09:04 PM   #1
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Is Africa Collateral Damage?

Iraq's Collateral Damage Hits Africa

By Princeton N. Lyman, John Prendergast

International Herald Tribune, May 14, 2003


Already beset by poverty, AIDS and conflict, Africa is receiving further blows as the global repercussions of the Iraq war take their toll on security, politics, economies and the humanitarian sphere. Not a corner of the continent will be left untouched.

The security implications could be far-reaching. The Iraq war has stirred up a great deal of resentment. Combined with a dearth of economic opportunities, this could create a growing recruitment base for extremist and terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, whose appeal in Africa has so far been limited.

The other side of the security equation is that key Western powers will inevitably give less attention to efforts to end Africa's conflicts as the Iraq war and postwar reconstruction absorb the bulk of high-level diplomatic, media and legislative attention.

This is a critical time for peace processes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Sudan and Somalia, and for the prevention of renewed war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Without significant international efforts, these countries risk reverting to full-scale war, with humanitarian implications no less profound than those in the Iraq war.

The political fallout of the Iraq war is also disturbing. A few African governments joined the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and many have cooperated closely with the United States on anti-terrorism measures. But suspicion of U.S. intentions in Iraq is widespread throughout Africa, particularly in countries with sizable Muslim populations-nearly half of the continent's people are Muslims-and this will strain relations between the United States and some African countries.

The most damaging repercussions of the Iraq war, however, may be economic and humanitarian. President George W. Bush has proposed major increases in foreign assistance and funds for countering AIDS, but it is hard to imagine those requests being fully funded as Congress faces costs of postwar reconstruction and growing deficits.

The giant sucking sound heard across the developing world as aid assets are diverted to Iraq and Afghanistan will be most pronounced in Africa, where millions of dollars will be lost in aid for development, humanitarian, refugee and public health needs, and private investment will be reduced. As jobs disappear, HIV infection rates soar and food becomes more difficult to obtain, any reduction of external assistance will mean thousands of Africans will die.

The most important way Africa can be protected from the fallout of the Iraq war is for the Bush administration to advance the Middle East peace process and the endgame in Iraq. But the administration and Congress can do much within Africa itself to contain the negative implications of the Iraq war.

First, the United States must recognize that American security interests extend significantly into Africa. The administration should redouble its support for existing peace processes and agreements, ensuring that diplomatic and financial resources are available for making and keeping the peace.

Second, the United States should fulfill its aid commitments, including the Millennium Challenge Account development assistance increases, the massive promise of AIDS help, the usual robust support for relief operations and refugee programs, or the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

Third, America could increase its support for good governance and human rights, working with African regional institutions, governments and civil society to ensure real progress, even while the world's attention is focused elsewhere.

The Iraq war and the larger war on terrorism are dealing heavy blows to Africa. But they do not have to be fatal ones, if the right steps are taken now.

Princeton Lyman, former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria, is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. John Prendergast, who previously served at the National Security Council and the State Department, is the Co-Director of the Africa Program of the International Crisis Group.
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Old 05-16-2003, 11:01 PM   #2
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.

That poor, poor continent.

Everyone in the Bush administration should read this. This is very important.

Hopefully, someone will be smart enough to take action and help the people there, and prevent unimaginable chaos from happening.

It's a shame we were too focused on war...this is proof of the negative effects of all the crap with Iraq.

Angela
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Old 05-17-2003, 03:38 PM   #3
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Africa is indeed underfunded relative to the problems it has, but that has always been the case. It is not colateral damage with respect to the Iraq war. The only real case of colateral damage for Africa I've seen is when the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain came down in 1989/1990. Then you had 400 million people in 30 different countries getting out from the Iron Grip of Moscow. Lots of foreign aid was put in and some of it origionally intended for Africa may have gone to Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union because of the large scale of the operation. With Iraq, were talking about a country of only 24 million with the worlds second largest oil reserves. In time it will be able to fund its own recovery.

In either case, there is or was little effect on Africa because very little is being given to Africa to start with. The only thing the writers of the article might be correct about is the desire to help Al Qauda because of their impoverished condition. But this condition existed well before anything happened in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is no evidence that this condition has suddenly gotten worse because of the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Old 05-17-2003, 06:59 PM   #4
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Yeah, but Sting, I'm worried about Al Qaeda and other terrorist outfits going into Africa and being able to wave paychecks in the faces of poor Africans, many of whom are Moslem.
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Old 05-18-2003, 03:51 AM   #5
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verte76,

Al Quada has already been in Africa for over a decade now. I'm sure you'll recall that Bin Ladin used to be based in Sudan for a brief time in the 1990s and of course the bombing of the US embassy's in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
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Old 05-18-2003, 09:32 AM   #6
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Sting, I think that's exactly Vertre's point, if I can speak for her. (Hi Verte !) The Iraq war of course stirred up incredible resentment/provided UBL and his killers a perfect reason to go on the rampage, as we've seen in Casablanca, Saudi Arabia and Israel the past week. And civil unrest and poverty there are going make it an "ideal" recruiting ground if we don't act fast.


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Old 05-18-2003, 05:20 PM   #7
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You're right, Sherry. I'm nervous about not acting on poverty in Africa. Al Qaeda is in there because they can wave paychecks in the faces of people who otherwise can't pay for food, health care and schooling for their children because of the debt burden and poverty in general. If we want to stop horror like we've seen in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Israel just in the last week, we need to act in Africa to cancel their debts. As horrific and truly ugly as the Casablanca bombing was maybe it taught some people a lesson. Ugh, I hate these terrorists.
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Old 05-18-2003, 07:03 PM   #8
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Ditto what verte and Sherry said.

The reason terrorist groups like these get their support is because they sit there and point to America and talk about how awful we are for not acting to help them out of poverty and other various crisis...and when we actually aren't doing anything big to help them, that just proves their point, and anti-American sentiments continue to fester...and then awful things start to happen. Again.

If we act on this problem, and really push to help those people there, though, then these terrorist groups will lose any support they have. People will laugh them right out of their countries.

Angela
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Old 05-18-2003, 09:32 PM   #9
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Al Quada has been recruiting and striking targets in Africa for over a decade. W and his policies in Iraq have nothing to do with the latest bombing in Morocco. Al Quada has been recruiting and plotting attacks in Africa for years, long before the current administration came to power.

To be honest, I'm rather surprised by how little we have heard from Al Quada. In effective Terror organization would be able to strike multiple times a month, every month anywhere in the world. With Al Quada, at mosts since 9/11, were looking at a few attacks per year, most of them small ones, in remote area's.
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Old 05-18-2003, 10:00 PM   #10
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Sting, Casablanca isn't a remote place. Nor is it just a Humphrey Bogart movie. It's the biggest city in Morocco, although it isn't the capital. I have a friend from Santiago, Chile, who is married to a Moroccan. This bombing hit a Spanish place, a Jewish place and God knows what else. The bombing in Saudi Arabia wasn't in a remote place, either; neither was the attack in Israel. It's been a hell of a week for U.S. allies. I just hate it that the U.S. is running risks, as I see it, that we really can't afford to run. It's this sort of thing that makes terrorism nerve-wracking to me personally.
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Old 05-19-2003, 03:07 AM   #11
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Compared to New York City, London or Paris, I consider most places in Africa and Southwest Asia to be remote. Its the developing world. Its easier for Al Quada to pull off terrorist attacks in smaller less developed countries than it is in Europe and North America. Israel has terror attacks every month, but their by terror organizations that are far more active and effective than Al Qauda.
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Old 05-19-2003, 11:52 AM   #12
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OK, but I think we should do our best to stop terrorism all over the globe. After all the terrorists have shown that they are willing to attack the U.S. itself as well as citizens of allied countries, such as Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. If it's in our power to help stop global terrorism than let's do it.
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Old 05-19-2003, 05:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
OK, but I think we should do our best to stop terrorism all over the globe. After all the terrorists have shown that they are willing to attack the U.S. itself as well as citizens of allied countries, such as Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. If it's in our power to help stop global terrorism than let's do it.
Agree wholeheartedly.

Angela
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Old 05-19-2003, 06:02 PM   #14
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I think the article brings up some interesting points, but it's not very fact based. And calling Africa collateral damage is damn presumptuous of the writer.

*skeptic
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Old 05-20-2003, 05:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by oktobergirl
I think the article brings up some interesting points, but it's not very fact based. And calling Africa collateral damage is damn presumptuous of the writer.

*skeptic

Maybe he's just posing the question to provoke thought?
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