New U.S. plans for training security forces in four African countries recall similar programs around the world, which often ended in the hand-picked trainees slaughtering civilians or staging military coups, as ex-State Department official William R. Polk recalls.
The Obama administration is pushing back against pressure to jump into a new “counterterrorism” conflict in northern Africa, with some officials saying an overreaction to unrest in Mali and Algeria could make matters worse. There’s also the danger of over-interpreting isolated events, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Partly as a spillover from the U.S.-backed ouster of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, armed Islamists have asserted control of sparsely populated northern Mali, causing France to dispatch soldiers to the region. But does this new conflict affect U.S. interests, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Mali, where Islamists have claimed control of the remote north, is the latest front in the so-called “global war on terrorism,” partly a spillover of conflicts in northern Africa. But should the U.S. get involved, asks the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.