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Terrorist Threats in the Horn of Africa By: Christopher Griffin
AEI.org | Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This article was co-authored by Oriana Scherr.

The struggle against Islamist extremism has been dubbed the "Long War" by America's military leadership, but there is no agreed-upon model to forecast the development of this conflict.[1] The challenge of assessing the Long War is exacerbated by the differences between the adversaries: the United States and its allies form the core of the international system, while the Salafist jihadists at the extreme of radical Islam comprise an irregular transnational movement that has adaptively spread throughout the world from its Middle East base. Comparing the structure, goals, strategy, and tactics of these fundamentally asymmetric forces is a chore to which our analytic tools developed during the Cold War do not lend themselves. This National Security Outlook examines whether the "net assessment" concept might serve as an appropriate framework for understanding the Long War and predicting its likely development.

As the Long War against the global jihad movement continues, there is a debate over the nature of the conflict: is it principally an ideological struggle, pitting jihadist dogma against Western liberalism; an organizational fight against the al Qaeda terrorism network; a regional struggle centered on the Middle East (or the Islamic world broadly); or a war with a limited number of charismatic personalities like Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and Fazul Abdullah Mohammed?[2] It is all four, to some extent, but it is difficult to evaluate their comparative strengths and weaknesses against the capabilities of the United States and its security partners. This analytic muddle, which conflates counterinsurgency, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, and the risk of failing states, stands to benefit from an important tool known as net assessment.

The Net Assessment Concept

Net assessment has been defined as the "craft and discipline of analyzing military balances," but it goes beyond a conventional order of battle-style comparison.[3] Developed during the Cold War as a means of calculating the effects of the political, economic, and other intangible qualities of extended competitions, a net assessment lays out the terms of a prolonged conflict for additional levels of analysis, such as intelligence assessments for particular campaigns or policy planning for military structure. A net assessment does not provide clear-cut solutions; rather, it is a process through which important questions are raised, if not necessarily answered. For the Long War, a net assessment will be of particular value in addressing extended, multiple-theater unconventional warfare.

First, net assessments take a long-term view, looking at the evolution of a protracted competition. The capabilities required to fight an adversary today will not necessarily be relevant tomorrow, and may indeed eventually prove counterproductive. Moreover, future requirements for the competition may not be obvious and are often obscured by immediate priorities. The multidisciplinary, long-term nature of net assessment responds to this dilemma by differentiating important areas of competition from urgent ones and highlighting the issues most likely to be overlooked in the whirlwind of day-to-day policymaking.[4] In this way, net assessment allows national security planners to anticipate and prepare for the challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead. This long-term outlook is particularly valuable in the context of the Long War, given the jihadist movement's ability to adjust its strategies, operations, and tactics in response to U.S. and allied efforts.

A net assessment does not just attempt to calculate each side's strengths and weaknesses against its adversary, but rather elaborates on each side's perceived capabilities relative to the other.

Geography is the second vital parameter in projecting the likely development of a protracted competition.[5] Although the Middle East is the decisive front today, the contours of the battlefield extend throughout Europe and into Asia, Africa, and the continental United States. While the global scope of the Long War has contributed to the analytic confusion regarding its nature, net assessment provides a model for thinking about specific thea-ters and how each side of the conflict may tailor its efforts in them.[6] This is a fundamental question, as the United States and its allies must remain flexible to fight terrorist networks wherever they emerge, without engendering local resentment against American policy. Geography may not be destiny, but it dictates how forces should be designed to fight and what instruments of national power will be most effective.

The final key parameter in framing a net assessment lies in delineating the adversaries, generally designated as "Blue" and "Red" for purposes of consistency and simplicity. A net assessment does not just attempt to calculate each side's strengths and weaknesses against its adversary, but rather--and more importantly--elaborates on each side's perceived capabilities relative to the other. Not only does a net assessment explore Blue's perception of itself and its enemy, it also includes Red's perspective on its own and Blue's capabilities. By exploring these four viewpoints--Blue on Blue, Blue on Red, Red on Red, and Red on Blue[7]--a net assessment provides a uniquely robust picture of the unfolding conflict. In an asymmetrical, transnational conflict such as the Long War, it is vital that the vast conventional power of the United States not mask perceptions by our enemies about their own strengths and strategies.

Net Assessment in Context: The Long War in the Horn of Africa

The global jihad movement is largely decentralized yet unified by common capabilities: infiltrating existing insurgencies throughout the Islamic world, hijacking parochial goals, and radicalizing local populations. For example, the Chechen insurgency that began in the mid-1990s against Russian forces did not assume a transnational jihadist character until 1999, when Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar invited Chechen fighters to train in Afghanistan as part of a broader jihad against their Rus-sian enemy. Upon engaging the Chechens, the jihadists provided critical ideological and material support to what was then a struggling local movement.[8] The Chechen case demonstrates the threat of globalizing jihadists seeking opportunities to infiltrate and shape existing conflicts.

The pressure exerted by U.S.-led campaigns in the Middle East and central Asia has pushed jihadist fighters to seek alternative safe havens in territories with weak governments and significant Sunni populations.9 The Horn of Africa meets these criteria, and the potential for the further development of ties between international jihadists and local actors has recently been indicated by Ayman al Zawahiri's appeal to Muslims across the globe to defend their Somali brethren from the Ethiopian "crusaders" that attacked the Salafist Islamic Courts Union in Somalia in December 2006.[10] Any collaboration between terrorist organizations in the Horn of Africa and inter-national jihadist organizations, particularly al Qaeda, would have a dangerous "force multiplier" effect, enhancing the lethality of dissident groups seeking greater influence and power.[11]

Statistical analysis of terrorist groups reveals that most movements last for thirteen to fourteen years, indicating that al Qaeda should have faded into history or dramatically changed its objectives around 2003.[12] Perhaps the current Salafist insurgency in Iraq marks a new phase: al Qaeda is now franchising its ideology and materiel to local terrorist organizations in order to secure territory for its own operations and ultimately set up a modern day caliphate. Increasingly focused on "enabling" other jihadists, al Qaeda will further inflame local conflicts and draw the allegiance of local populations away from their respective governments. This new model will allow al Qaeda to tap into a broad range of potential allies.[13]

As al Qaeda is shifting its efforts toward the Horn of Africa, so, too, is the United States. Washington has recently enhanced its efforts in the region with the creation of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), and it is now looking to establish a combatant command for the region. An enhanced U.S. presence in the region creates opportunities to build partner-country capacity and combat jihadist penetration, but it also raises the profile of potential targets for terrorist attacks in the Horn, such as foreign military bases, nongovernmental organizations, and tourism centers. The rapid evolution of both al Qaeda and U.S. efforts in the region will require both sides to determine which governments and local insurgent movements will prove to be allies and enemies in the long run. For this reason, a net assessment of the jihad movement in the Horn would be timely and predictive.[14]

Ordering the Assessment

AFRICOM planners have emphasized a command focus on "soft power" efforts to bolster stability and capacity among African security partners, with a particular emphasis on training, material support, and civil/humanitarian activities to promote U.S. goals on the continent.

In this exercise, we will let "Blue" represent the United States and its security partners in the Horn of Africa, an arrangement that will naturally draw out the many conflicting objectives between Washington and its nominal allies. The "Red" team combines the global jihad movement and violent regional Islamist groups.[15] These competing teams will be defined as much by their internal rifts as by their capabilities.

Using the matrix of contrasting Blue's and Red's relative assessments of one another's capabilities described above, the unconventional nature of the jihadist threat in the Horn of Africa becomes ever clearer. Against a backdrop of state governments that, for the most part, cooperate with U.S. initiatives to combat the threat of jihadist terrorism, Red's growing involvement in the region highlights the failure of America's current capacity-building strategy to deter terrorist activities in the region.

Blue on Blue. The bureaucratic, hierarchical structure of the U.S. government and military present both opportunities for and restrictions on U.S. capabilities in the Horn of Africa. Understanding these elements will be critical for a net assessment of the region.

American efforts in the Horn of Africa during the Long War will likely be divided among three entities. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the nascent combatant command that will oversee all military activities on the continent starting in October 2008. AFRICOM planners have emphasized a command focus on "soft power" efforts to bolster stability and capacity among African security partners, with a particular emphasis on training, material support, and civil/humanitarian activities to promote U.S. goals on the continent.[16] One example of the form these soft-power efforts will take, and how they will be combined with direct action against jihadist operators, is CJTF-HOA. Established in 2002 with the mission of "detecting, disrupting, and ultimately defeating transnational terrorist groups operating in the region," CJTF-HOA divides its energies between building partnership capacity and conducting counterterrorism operations.[17] The country teams in the region provide a third institutional model for organizing American efforts to defeat Salafist expansionism in the Horn of Africa. With their long-standing presence throughout the region, country teams provide a civilian-led model for organizing a government response to security challenges in Africa.

Identifying these organizations' varying strengths will be an undertaking in a Blue-on-Blue assessment. One growing concern, for example, is that the "bleeding" of traditional civilian roles such as development toward the military is undermining the leadership of country teams and creating the impression that all U.S. engagement is overshadowed by counterterrorism goals.[18]

A second major Blue organizational question is the role of regional security partners. American support of Ethiopia's campaign against the Somali Islamic Courts Union raises questions about the consequences of allying with a regime characterized by a brutal human rights record.[19] Local populations may conclude that the United States is siding with authoritarian regimes and become more vulnerable to jihadist penetration as a result.[20] At least as problematic is accounting for the role of countries like Eritrea and Sudan, which barely qualify as Blue given their history of support for radical terrorist movements. Making sense of these divergent relationships will be a crucial part of Blue's self-assessment, indicating that Washington's view of Blue actors may need to extend beyond traditional state partners to nonstate, civil society actors.

Blue on Red. The United States has two broad sets of tools with which to target the jihadist threat in the Horn of Africa. Since September 11, 2001, the military has conducted direct action against al Qaeda and its allies. At the same time, the Department of Defense states that the Long War will be "characterized by irregular warfare" and will require vigilance to prevent security vacuums and tribal, ethnic, and religious conflicts from emerging in weak states.[21] Although these two missions have a common goal of defeating radical terrorism, they require distinct operations in response to Red's capabilities: the former targeting the terrorists who threaten U.S. interests, the latter designed to influence populations vulnerable to terrorist penetration.

Al Qaeda's principal lesson from this experience was the vital role of local support, which protects foreign jihadists from capture or ransom and also improves prospects for recruitment, training, and future campaigns.

Facing open insurgent efforts (as is the case of the al Qaeda operatives who fought with the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia) and more discreet terror cells (such as those that have penetrated Kenya and Yemen), the United States must identify the jihadist actors who maneuver within existing conflicts and ungoverned spaces and either engage them directly or support co-operative governments that engage them. The use of AC-130H Spectre gunships to attack jihadists pinned down by Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia in January 2007 was a notable success in this mission, as is the ongoing manhunt for the embassy bombing mastermind Fazul Abdullah Mohammed.[22]

The United States also seeks to deny jihadists an environment in which to operate, largely through capacity building among security partners. These efforts can eliminate Red's access to mobilization and staging grounds by strengthening local security and civil society institutions. Identifying the degree of Red penetration of local populations is crucial in this effort: the Horn is rife with local insurgencies, many of which involve Sunni actors, but not all of which have ties to al Qaeda. Washington must be careful not to be drawn into or accidentally exacerbate regional conflicts. A clear distinction among Red, Red-leaning, and Red-penetrated actors in the region is a crucial goal of a net assessment.

The Blue response to the emergence of the Long War in the Horn of Africa will require a clear appreciation of violent Islamist movements, the capabilities that known enemies such as al Qaeda can deliver, and the role of local actors.

Red on Red. Al Qaeda is the unifying force of the jihad movement in the Horn and thus the central Red actor for net assessment purposes. The jihadist organization views Blue challenges as exploitable opportunities. It also appears that al Qaeda believes its first priority is developing relationships and bases with local dissident groups in the region rather than organizing the discrete terror attacks.

Al Qaeda's first experiences in Africa were frustrating, as captured surveillance reports from the early 1990s indicate that the group was able to develop neither sufficient materiel nor popular support on the continent.[23] Its Arab operatives were largely spurned as interlopers in longstanding tribal and regional conflicts, and they met only modest success in setting up terror cells. After a decade of frustrated efforts, al Qaeda learned that soft-selling its resources--rather than imposing overt foreign authority in local conflicts--was a successful model for organizational expansion, allowing the movement to expand beyond its original foothold in Somalia.[24] The principal lesson of this experience was the vital role of local support, which protects foreign jihadists from capture or ransom and also improves prospects for recruitment, training, and future campaigns.

As part of its effort to foster local support, al Qaeda has invested heavily in what it views as the crucial battleground of information warfare. The organization has an administrative branch dedicated to information campaigns, allowing it to wage a battle of ideas in the countries where it seeks to expand. Al Qaeda's use of photography, translation, phonetics, and even microfiche influences the "hearts and minds" of target audiences, appealing to Islamic affiliations and tribal traditions when necessary.[25] Jihadists have other resources for gaining support from and control over local populations. Radical madrassas, mosques, and social service outlets disseminating propaganda allow jihadists to increase their hold on local populations, incubating new generations of radical fighters. Public relations efforts such as food distribution centers and schools cost as little as $5-20 per head each month, providing al Qaeda a relatively inexpensive means to secure local support.[26]

When al Qaeda chooses to engage in direct action, the relatively low cost of doing so allows the organization significant flexibility. The average estimated cost of a terrorist training camp in the Horn of Africa is $200,000,[27] while such attacks as those on the USS Cole (2000) and Madrid trains (2004) cost as little as $10,000. Free-riding within the existing commercial and financial networks between East African and Middle Eastern open economies, jihadists are able to maintain funding channels to support a variety of operations that foster long-term radicalization and terrorist entrenchment within local populations.

But while al Qaeda may be able to secure footholds in the Horn of Africa, the construction of a Red-on-Red assessment requires consideration of the long-term prospects for relationships between international Salafist activists and local groups. To what degree can transnational jihadists use their ties with organizations like the Islamic Courts Union or the Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement to support their larger global agenda? Answering these questions will be crucial to understanding Red's self-assessment.

Red on Blue. Although they aspire to establish a caliphate, jihadists are fundamentally nonstate actors. Understanding that their enemies are restricted to state-led action, the jihadists' appeal to local popula-tions can undermine the capabilities of the United States and its allies. Particularly in light of the Horn of Africa's history of official corruption and misrule, the localized jihadist message of self-empowerment against oppression and exploitation is highly appealing, especially to marginalized Sunni populations. In this region, Red benefits from failed Blue aid efforts, as U.S. resources regularly fail to reach Muslim communities living at the social margins of countries like Kenya and Ethiopia. Additionally, attacking African states' tourism industries has proven to be effective in further weakening governmental engagement of marginalized communities. Red's ability to manipulate these alien-ated communities grows stronger in the face of Blue's restrictive reliance on weak and ineffective government-centric responses.

Jihadist activity in Europe, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia belies the myth that terrorism thrives in failed states. Operations in failed states are often complicated by inadequate transportation and communications networks, social chaos that makes foreign fighters susceptible to identification and capture, and scarcity of high-value targets whose destruction can provoke the "far enemy." Terrorists are free riders, benefiting from the opportunities for movement, expression, and organization that a functioning society allows. The most promising audiences for Islamist terrorism are in weak states, where they can enjoy the technological benefits of the developed world without its capable police presence.

Given the asymmetry of Blue and Red's actual and perceived competitions, net assessment is a particularly useful tool for understanding the development of these competitions.

The weak Horn states are particularly attractive to jihadists: their open economies provide cover for foreign personnel and movement of assets, state resources are not evenly distributed across communities, and nonstate organizations commonly target specific populations to distribute services and education. Current U.S. efforts to build partnership capacity in the Horn, beset by policy and budgetary constraints, are often enough to wean tribal networks away from exploitation by jihadists but insufficient to buy their permanent loyalty. In addition to the jihadists' ability to exploit Blue's challenges for their own gain, U.S. security partners are often reluctant to admit how vulnerable their own Muslim populations are to jihadist infiltration. Even after the 1998 and 2002 bombings, Kenya has hesitated to confront the extent to which local jihadists are active there.[28] Similarly, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Eritrea avoid transparent assessments of internal jihadist activity.

What is particularly remarkable, though, for the purpose of this net assessment, is not how the jihadist groups persist, but how local governments fail to combat them. Whether from reluctance to stoke sectarian flames, fear of acknowledging the threat from these militant organizations, or political malaise that allows opposition movements to evolve into armed insurgencies, these governments have given the jihadists a readily exploitable opportunity. Until Blue can credibly control what counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen calls the "conflict ecosystem," Red will continue to exploit its own variety of networks and inconsistent practices that amplify its appeal among local populations.[29]

Contrasting the Balance

In his January 2007 message calling for jihad in Somalia, al Zawahiri predicted that the infidel invaders--comprising not only Ethiopia, but also the United States and United Nations--would suffer the same frustrations as in Afghanistan and Iraq.[30] What is clear from this message is that both Blue and Red understand their successes in very different terms. This is not a zero-sum conflict in which one participant's gains or losses are exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the opponent. Each side relies on a complex network of political, economic, industrial, and human resources to support its campaign. Given the asymmetry of Blue's and Red's actual and perceived competitions, net assessment is a particularly useful tool for understanding the development of these competitions, allowing policymakers to diagnose the conflict before prescribing strategies.

A cursory review of a regional jihadist net assessment reveals an irregular conflict rooted in unstable civilian populations. The United States, however, continues to struggle in reaching these communities when partner governments have different local priorities and practices: Kenya remains subject to Islamist pressures, Ethiopia's activities in Somalia increasingly attract protest from regional Muslim communities, Eritrea may be content with supporting a proxy war in Somalia against Ethiopian forces, Somalia remains a collapsed state under competing warlords, and Sudan continues to export radical Islamist messages throughout the region. For more than five years, the United States has declared a commitment to building weak African states' capacity to confront Islamist extremism, but its current record inspires little faith in the region's ability to withstand expanding jihadist activities as fighters relocate from the Iraqi and Afghan battlefields.

No country should cool its heels with respect to the jihadist threat. As the United States wages a campaign against extremist ideology, its enemies continue to shift the center of gravity in their favor by attracting supporters to their cause. But what may appear to be a new war of ideas is merely a reiteration of classical counterinsurgency doctrine. The conflict is focused on a competition to gain the support of local populations--an asymmetrical struggle by those without means against those with seemingly absolute advantages. Only by deconstructing the fundamental support structures and strategies of the jihadist campaign can the United States build on its strengths. By comprehensively assessing the jihadists' resources and strategies, the United States will be better positioned to confront the elements that fuel militancy in Muslim communities, anticipate the potential outcomes of U.S. organizational efforts in the region, and prevent unwelcome consequences from misguided policies.

Oriana Scherr (scherr@jhu.edu) is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Christopher Griffin (cgriffin@aei.org) is a research fellow at AEI. Editorial assistant Evan Sparks worked with Ms. Scherr and Mr. Griffin to edit and produce this National Security Outlook.


1. The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review describes the Long War as a fight against "global terrorist networks that exploit Islam to advance radical political aims" and use "terror, propaganda and indiscriminate violence in an attempt to subjugate the Muslim world under a radical theocratic tyranny while seeking to perpetuate conflict with the United States and its allies and partners." U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report, February 6, 2006, available at http://www.defenselink.mil/qdr/report/Report20060203.pdf (accessed July 26, 2007). See also Thomas Donnelly and Colin Monaghan, "Legacy Agenda, Part II: The Bush Doctrine and the Long War," National Security Outlook (March 2007), available at www.aei.org/publication25720/.
2.# Examples of these contending points of view are available in Bruce Hoffman, "Al Qaeda, Trends in Terrorism, and Future Potentialities: An Assessment," Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 26, no. 6 (November-December 2003): 549-60; David Kilcullen, "Counterinsurgency Redux," Survival 48, no. 4 (December 2006): 111-30; Barry Posen, "The Struggle Against Terrorism: Grand Strategy, Strategy, and Tactics," International Security 26, no. 3 (Winter 2001-02): 39-55; and Harmony Project, Al-Qaida's (Mis)adventures in the Horn of Africa (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2006), available at www.ctc.usma.edu/aqII.asp (accessed July 26, 2007).
3. Eliot A. Cohen, Net Assessment: An American Approach (Tel Aviv: Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, April 1990), 1-3.
4. Ibid., 2.
5. The early Cold War experience provides a painful lesson in the danger of falling prey to a "canonical scenario" of conflict in which potential arenas are discounted as unlikely venues for competition. While the United States focused its energies on preparing to fight the Soviet Union on the plains of Europe during 1948-50, an unanticipated hot war erupted on the Korean Peninsula. In the following decades of direct American participation in Asian conflicts, the United States never effectively came to terms with either the evolving roles of key players like China and Russia or the impact of revolutionary nationalism and guerilla warfare in the region. America's inability to anticipate or effectively respond to Cold War-era developments in Asia was central to the eventual stalemate and defeat in Korea and Vietnam, respectively.
6. Aaron L. Friedberg, "The Assessment of Military Power," International Security 12, no. 3 (Winter 1987-88).
7. The Blue/Red formulation of net assessment is derived from Robert Killebrew, "Missile Defense Net Assessment: Total Defender Approach," slide presentation to U.S. Strategic Command.
8. See Matthew Levitt, "Untangling the Terror Web: Identifying and Counteracting the Phenomenon of Crossover between Terrorist Groups," SAIS Review 24, no. 1 (Winter-
Spring 2004): 33-48; and Angel Rabasa et al., Beyond al-Qaeda, Part 1: The Global Jihadist Movement (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2006), available at www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG430/ (accessed July 26, 2007).
9. Al Qaeda strategist Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir Sitmaryam Nasar recommends that jihadists exploit "chaotic regions" and establish camps to launch a new "open front" in the Horn of Africa. See Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir Sitmaryam Nasar, The Call for Global Islamic Resistance (2004), 1361.
10. Ayman al Zawahiri, Rise Up and Support Your Brothers in Somalia, audio message, January 2007 (al Sahab Media Productions).
11. This effect has already been demonstrated by the Sunni insurgents in Iraq, Pashtun Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and Chechens fighting against Russia.
12. Rohan Gunaratna, Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 17. Following Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam's death in 1989, Osama bin Laden assumed control of Azzam's militant group. At this time, bin Laden changed his "far enemy" target from the Soviet Union to the United States. Retaining organizations established in Pakistan and Afghanistan, his al Qaeda continues to adapt to recast its campaigns against "near" and "far" apostate enemies.
13. Reuven Paz, "Arab Volunteers Killed in Iraq: An Analysis," PRISM Occasional Papers 3, no. 1 (March 2005), available at www.e-prism.org/images/PRISM_no_1_vol_3_-_Arabs_
killed_in_Iraq.pdf (accessed July 26, 2007).
14. The Ogaden File: Operation Holding (al-Msk), AFGP-2002-600104 (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2006), 1, available at www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/AFGP-2002-600104-Trans-Meta.pdf (accessed July 26, 2007).
15. Although jihadist operatives do not represent a united force, their common objective of establishing a unitary caliph who will rule over Salafist-controlled lands serves as a foundation for transnational cooperation.
16. Lauren Ploch, Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, May 16, 2007), 5-6.
17. Ibid., 16.
18. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Embassies as Command Posts in the Anti-Terror Campaign, 109th Cong., 2d sess., 2006, Committee Print 52, 2. One example of the difference that bureaucratic organizations can make in the Long War is demonstrated in the response of various country teams to CJTF-HOA civil-military efforts in the Horn of Africa. In those instances in which U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) officials provided oversight and coordination, resources were distributed more effectively than those without USAID officials present. See ibid., 9.
19. Jeffrey Gettleman and Will Connors, "In Ethiopian Desert, Fear and Cries of Army Brutality," New York Times, June 18, 2007; Michael Gordon, Mark Mazzetti, and Jeffrey Gettleman, "U.S. Used Base in Ethiopia to Hunt Al Qaeda in Africa," New York Times, February 23, 2007; and Mark Mazzetti, "Pentagon Sees Covert Move in Somalia as Blueprint," New York Times, January 13, 2007.
20. Craig Whitlock, "North Africa Reluctant to Host U.S. Command: Algeria and Libya Reject Pentagon's AFRICOM Proposal; Morocco Signals Its Lack of Enthusiasm," Washington Post, June 24, 2007.
21. U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report, 11-12.
22. Thomas P. M. Barnett, "The Americans Have Landed," Esquire, June 27, 2007.
23. For a series of captured documents by al Qaeda repre-sentatives assessing the Horn of Africa for future operations, see The Five Letters to the African Corps, AFGP-2002-600053 (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2006), available at www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/AFGP-2002-600053-Trans-Meta.pdf (accessed July 26, 2007); Letters on al-Qa'ida's Operations in Africa, AFGP-2002-800621 (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2007), available at www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/AFGP-2002-800621-Trans-Meta.pdf (accessed July 26, 2007); and various letters from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti in the Combating Terrorism Center's Harmony Database, available at www.ctc.usma.edu/harmony_docs.asp.
24. In his "Requirements of the Management of Savagery in its Ideal Form," Abu Bakr Naji recommends that security, food, and medical guarantees are equally valuable in the "vexation and exhaustion" campaign against local enemy regimes. Abu Bakr Naji, The Management of Savagery, trans. William McCants (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2006), 41-43.
25. Al-Qa'ida Goals and Structure, AFGP-2002-00078 (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2006), available at www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/AFGP-2002-000078-Trans.pdf (accessed July 26, 2007).
26. This shift toward resource distribution reflects lessons learned from watching the relative success of Hezbollah and Hamas, which have used social activities to foster popular support. See Harmony Project, Al-Qaida's (Mis)adventures in the Horn of Africa, 63. See also Abu Bakr Naji, The Management of Savagery, on the importance of cultivating organizational legitimacy through soft-power measures such as social service support and propaganda campaigns.
27. Report on the Needs of the Mujahidin in Somalia, AFGP-2002-800600 (West Point, NY: Combating Terrorism Center, 2007), www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/AFGP-2002-800600-Trans-Meta.pdf (accessed July 26, 2007).
28. Malkhadir M. Muhammad, “Kenya Warns of Terror Threat,” Associated Press, March 6, 2007.
29. David Kilcullen, “Counterinsurgency Redux.”
30. Ayman al Zawahiri, Rise Up and Support Your Brothers in Somalia.

Christopher Griffin is a research associate in Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

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