tv Hearing on U.S. Policy in Africa - Part 1 CSPAN January 28, 2022 2:00pm-2:18pm EST
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to submit statements, extraneous materials, and questions for the record subject to the length, limitation, to the rules. to insert something into the record, please have your staff email the previously mentioned address or contact full commit y staff. as a reminder tomembers, please keep camera function on at all times even when not recognized for the chair, members are responsible for muting and unmuting themselves and please remember to mute yourself after you finish speaking, consistent with h-res 965, staff will only mute members and witnesses as appropriate when not under recognition to eliminate background noise. i see we have a quorum and now recognize myself for opening remarks. we are holding a hearing on understanding conflict in africa. today's joint hearing, entitled
"understanding conflict in africa" is held by the subcommittee on african global health and human rights along with the subcommittee on middle east, north africa, and global counter terrorism, joined by my friend ted deutch, who will be on the floor later. gonzalez from the state department, and assistant to the administrator, robert jenkins from usaid. effectiveness from the u.s. government's response to the conflicts and what we are doing to help prevent future ones, ranging from violent extremism, armed conflict and traditional warfare, these conflicts consistently require lawmakers to understand the drivers, whether ideological, socioeconomic or others, devise
policy, and a frame work to strengthen african governments bilateral responses. as solutions to conflicts in africa, i hope they will also list measures congress can take to strengthen current and future responses. my colleagues, i would like to know what more the u.s. can do to assist conflict that is are happening. for example, the conflict in ethiopia. your answers will help inform legislation in the future. again, violent extremism spurred on by local and transnational actors for a variety of reasons, including weak governance and perceived governance in society. places like north africa nigeria, mozambique, continue to make headlines and we'd like to hear your thoughts as to why, although the types of conflicts
across africa vary, unfortunately, they have similar results -- civilian deaths, long-standing humanitarian crisises, population displacement, instability, these problems are often made more complex but other factors such as severe weather conditions and waning international support over time. i'm aware that the state department usaid, and dod have long-standing programming in conflict response and stabilization and mitigation and prevention and would like the panel to describe the programs to address the drivers of extremism in africa and also to hear how the u.s. government can better cooperate with the african union and other multilateral organizations to assist with peace efforts on the continent. as the biden administration positions itself to engage differently with africa, i'd like our witnesses to address how the u.s. government can do
differently in their approach on the continent, particularly in light of the global major challenges caused by covid-19 and now the situation in afghanistan. how will the u.s. change the narrative of its engagement with africa to one of mutual prosperity given the complex security challenges? >> my colleague, mr. deutch will go into more detail on this but the situation in afghanistan does have an effect on the continent of africa, particularly regarding conflict and stabilization. the current take-over by the taliban has lessons for the continent and i hope we can learn from these developments and are able to apply them to the hot spots where insecurity undermines longstanding partnership and investment. i now recognize the chair of the subcommittee on middle east -- on north africa, although i don't believe he is still here, i think he's on the floor, so let me recognize chris smith, ranking member of the subcommittee on africa. >> thank you very much, chair woman bass, thank you for your
leadership on this. assistant secretary gonzalez notes almost half of the world's armed conflicts in 2020 were in africa, 15 at current count he will testify so i want to thank you chair woman bass for convening this timely hearing on an important topic, understanding the on going conflicts that continue to plague africa. among the conflicts i think the two most pressing at present are in nigeria and ethiopia, in part because of the size and importance these countries play in the continent. this is not to minimize other areas of conflict such as the insurgency in cabo region of mozambique or the on going conflict in central african republic, on going potential for civil war in the democratic of congo. moreover while focusing nigeria and ethiopia, we need to be
aware how cross border many of these are. it may make more sense to speak of regions such as the sahel or the horn, rather than confining ourselves to colonial lines on the map. in so far as political leadership operates within dotted line jurisdictions, these two countries nonetheless stand out and their potential disintegration could have an outsized impact on the intire region. nigeria i'm concerned, the state department may not understand the reasons why at risk and is unfolding. media describes the conflict by referencing a narrative of farmer-herder clashes exacerbated by climate change. that narrative, while containing some elements of truth is nonetheless incomplete. primary responsibility for for pushing nigeria to the brink of disintegration lies in my
opinion with president buhari, he fails to see himself as having a responsibility to protect all nigeria nigeriaens regardless of ethnic group or background. attributable to the armed groups, the main driver of conflict today comes from felani, ethnoreligious extremist, these can be predominantly christian farmers in the belt, in the south west, christians in the southeast, and shia muslims in caduna state, it is the failure of president buhari to curb problems from the felani religious group, to the association pushing nigeria to the brink. he has also failed to stop the inkurgzs of well armed felani,
and seems to encourage it. he has failed to stop the flow of weapons from extremists coming not only from the gulf states but also turkey, inserted felani into all key positions in nigerian institutions, such as the national security adviser, inspector general of police, head of drug enforcement agency, head of affairs and chief of army staff. this extends to other institutions as well such as bahari sachi chief justice of supreme court, and his replacement by urahim tonko mohammed so in doing, buhari marginalized other ethnic groups and frayed the fabric of the ethnic society is pushing the country toward civil war. as nigeria goes, so goes west
africa. yet our state department seemed wedded to incomplete narratives, i understand in the department of human right and see labor, said to do an in-depth dive study of who is committing the killings in the middle belt in nigeria yet this project was scuttled this past january. why was that, i hope they'll take that up and begin that throw. regarding ethiopia, i think there has been a failure by the state department to call out the atrocities regardless of who commits them. like nigeria, ethiopia is multiethnic and religiously diverse nation, each major group, sadly, victims and victimizers, state department has for the most part called out the atrocities by the ethiopian government and ahara regional forces while rerehenceble tragedies committed by the peoples liberation front last
november, by doing so, by pinging them solely as victimizers, neglecting to mention atrocities committed such as happened into the maya cadra last november, rises from the state department, abedded a scapegoating narratives, accusing one group of the commiters of violence and ignoring other groups of the same atrocities. what they should do is recognize who is committing the atrocities, who is the victim, regardless of who that implicates. in contrast, administrator samantha power in usaid has been far more even-handed in her approach in my opinion, calling for accountability for all who committed atrocity and see recognizing victims regardless of their ethnic affiliation. in this, i think is the correct way to address the conflict. finally, i want to recognize that amid the forces creating division and discord in the horn
in ethiopia, somali and eritrea, such as the regime responsible for so much suffering in both eritrea and there is one oasis of stability and that is somali land which is a de facto independent area from somali, i would like to hear comments from usaid how to better recognize somali land in a better community with an eye toward building sustainable peace. i yield the rest of my time. >> thank you so much, mr. smith, i now see the chair on the subcommittee in middle east, north africa and global counter terrorism representative deutch is with us. i know they have called votes but i think we have a few minutes, maybe we can get the chair and ranking member. >> thank you very much chair bass, thank you for holding today's joint hearing and thank
you for your on going commitment to highlighting these issues. and all the issues facing africa, to our witnesses, thanks for being here. we'll examine today the conflict across the african continent where terrorist and see nonstate actors have wreaked havoc, violent extremist groups like boku hiram and others have been inspired and in many cases aflly recruited and funded by al qaeda and isis, since 2011, terror threats morphed and africa became fertile ground for training, horrific human rights abuses taken hand from these groups and crises rose from their terror. as u.s. funds programs across africa, our military foot print there has been rooted into counter terrorism operations, comparetively, describing this footprint as light but in the years since 2011, u.s.
significantly increased counter terrorism operations with african forces, recall the brutal 2017 attack in the state of sahara that killed u.s. troops in niger. as we devastated in afghanistan, what has the impact been in terrorist groups in africa? we've not had the same level of success assisting african partners in reclaiming territory and pushing back against these violent actors in attempting to cut off support for these groups through sanctions, the many humanitarian crises across the continent also impacted. chair bass, i know this is an area you focused, i suspect we'll spend more on that in this hearing today, and while i do not subscribe to the u.s. as the world's policeman, i do believe our counter terrorism partnerships are vital to protecting not just our homeland but interests and partners
abroad. must ensure these missions meet evolving threats, and when we see the increasing militarization of china across africa, must meet china's efforts, may come with more strings attached but the values we place on democracy and human rights are a moral commitment that we stand firmly and proudly behind. chair bass, again, i thank you for your leadership and thank our witnesses and look forward to today's discussion. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. we're going to go to the ranking member now and then we will recess until after votes. mr. wilson. >> thank you chair woman, chairman bass, and deutch, thank you for this hearing on trends in africa. with the young population and some of the best growing economies in the world there's no doubt of the strategic importance of the continent.
unfortunately, progress towards stability in some parts of the continent is undermined by week governance, corruption and lack of economic opportunity. increasing external maligned influence, particularly from china and russia is undermining u.s. security objectives. africa center for strategic studies reports a doubling of islamic extremist groups in the year 2019, a concerning and sad trend. as efforts to counter isis and al qaeda efforts have made some progress in the middle east, new isis and al qaeda affiliates have gained strength and legitimacy across the continent. u.s. must work with african partners, effectively address these terrorist threats and targets the drivers of extremism and radicalization. i appreciated the opportunity to highlight in a hearing last week, the importance of continued engagement with our european partners and partners on the ground to combat extremism and maintain networks
to advance counter tear roughlyism objectives. by extension, we must also have those efforts to curtail the efforts of maligned actors in the region and seek to keep civilian safe. i was grateful to join ted deutch in the liberalization act to come out of suspension today to curb the maligned influence by actors such as russia. there is certainly more work to be done in the regard, especially given china's dubious investments. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses on any recommendations they may have. we appreciate the witnesses for their expertise and we appreciate chair karen bass and i yield back. >> thank you very much. if the -- my partner, who is the chair, agrees, i think we should reset until after votes. >> agreed. >> okay. committee is in recess. we'll be back.