From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United States Government, has said no other country in the world can match the capabilities it brings to the African continent as far as counterterrorism is concerned.
United States Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador-at-Large, Nathan Sales, stated this during a special briefing via telephone yesterday.
Sales’ statement followed recent remarks by the United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, that no other country ever had or ever would do more for Africa than the United States.
Sales, while speaking during the briefing, said: “I want to be precise and specific on this. The United States brings capabilities that nobody else can bring. We are able to equip our partners with the capabilities and the tools they need to get terrorists under control to degrade and defeat their networks.”
The United States envoy further said there was no other country around the world that has the proven track record that the United States possessed.
“And that’s why I think there is so much interest in Africa, as in other parts of the world, in partnering with us rather than with others who might be offering seeming quick fixes.
“The way to fight terrorists is not to send in a bunch of mercenaries to loot natural resources and then abscond. That’s not an effective counterterrorism strategy.
“What is an effective counterterrorism strategy is building rule-of-law-compliant institutions within governments – in the law enforcement sector, in the justice sector – that allow authorities to use those tools to protect their populations and remove threats from the battlefield. We’ve been doing it for 20 years, and I think there’s a recognition on the continent that if you want to do it right, you’ve got to work with the Americans,” Sales added.
Sales also said transnational and regional solutions were really essential to getting terrorist threats under control and to degrading and defeating terrorist networks.
The envoy added that as much as the United States wanted to work on a bilateral basis with countries that are affected, it was also important to have multi-stakeholder conversations so that countries that are affected by the violence can coordinate their efforts and make sure that they were bringing to bear, the full suite of their respective capabilities and resources to address the problem set.
Speaking further, Sales stated that the United States does not see the link between lack of economic opportunity and jihadist terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida being particularly pronounced around the world.
Sales added that Osama bin Ladin was not a pauper, while also saying that the 19 hijackers who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks were, in many cases, highly educated and had plenty of economic opportunities awaiting them.
“They instead chose the path of violence, the path of bloodshed and destruction,” Sales stated.
Sales also said the United States emphasis in boosting counterterrorism capabilities, not only in Africa but around the world, was to bolster law enforcement and border security and countering the financing of terrorism capabilities, as well as engaging in sophisticated counter-messaging campaigns to really defeat the ideology that inspires people, that inspires some people to embrace radicalism and violence.