tv Hearing on U.S. Policy in Africa - Part 1 CSPAN January 29, 2022 2:01am-2:19am EST
as a reminder to members, please keep your video function on at all times, even when you are recognized by the chair. members are responsible for muting and an muting themselves and are member to mute yourself after you finish speaking. staff will only mute members and witnesses as appropriate to eliminate background noise. i see we have a quorum and i now recognize myself for opening remarks will stop pursuant to notice, we are holding a hearing on understanding conflict in africa. today's joint hearing entitled understanding concepts in africa is held by the subcommittee on african health and global human rights along with the subcommittee on north africa and global counter terrorism,
chaired by my colleague and friend, representative ted deutch. representative deutch will be on the floor joining us later. i think our -- thank hour represents for being here -- robert jenkins of usaid. i look forward to hearing our experts describe the various types of conflict in africa, the effective of the u.s. governments mitigated responses and what we are doing to prevent future ones ranging from violent extremism, armed conflict and more traditional warfare, these conflicts consistently require lawmakers to understand the drivers, whether ideological, social economic, or others. vice policy to address underlying cause and develop a framework to strengthen african governments and bilateral and multilateral responses. as our witnesses highlight solutions, i hope there will be
measures congress can take to strengthen current and future responses. i would like to know what more the u.s. can do to assist and resolve conflicts that are happening. for example, the conflict in ethiopia. your answers will help inform legislation in the future. violent extremism spurred on by local and transactional entities -- extremist activities in places such as north africa, mozambique and somalia continue to make headlines and my colleagues and i would like to hear your thoughts as to why. although the origins and types of conflicts across africa very, they have similar results -- civilian deaths, long-standing he meant tarrying crisis, population displacement and
these outcomes are made more complex by other factors such as severe weather conditions and waning international support over time. i'm aware the state department, usaid and dod have long-standing program in conflict response and mitigation and prevention and would like to describe existing programs to address the drivers of violent extremism in africa. i would also like to hear how the u.s. government can better cooperate with the african union and other multilateral organizations to assist in peace and security efforts on the content. as the biden administration positions itself to engage differently with africa, i would like our witnesses to address with the u.s. government can do differently, particularly in light of the major global challenges caused by covid-19 and now the situation in afghanistan. how will the u.s. change the
narrative of this engagement with africa to one of mutual prosperity given these complex security challenges? my colleague will go into more detail on this but the situation is afghanistan does have an effect on the continent of africa. the current takeover by the taliban has lessons for the continent and i hope we can learn from these developments under able to apply them to the hotspots where insecurity underlines long-standing partnership and investment. i now recognize the chair of the subcommittee on north africa -- i don't believe he is still here -- i think he is on the floor. let me recognize chris smith, the ranking member of the subcommittee. rep. smith: thank you very much chairwoman. thank you for your leadership. deputy, assistant secretary notes almost half the world conflicts in 2020 were in africa.
15 at current count. thank you, chairwoman bass for holding this hearing to understand the ongoing conflicts that continue to plague africa. among the conflicts, i think the two most pressing in sub-saharan africa are in nigeria and ethiopia, in part because of the outsized importance these two countries play in the continent. this is not to minimize other areas of conflict like the insurgency in mozambique or the ongoing conflict in the central african republic and the ever lurking potential for civil war in the democratic republic of congo. while we are focusing on nigeria and ethiopia, we need to, nonetheless, be aware of how cross-border and interrelated many of these conflicts are. they speak of regions rather than confining ourselves to
colonial lines on the map. these two countries stand out and their potential disintegration could have an outsized impact on the entire region. nigeria is on the verge of disintegration and i'm deeply concerned we may not fully understand the reasons why. it is unprepared for what is unfolding. the state department repeatedly explains the conflict in nigeria by referencing the narrator -- the narrative of farmer-herder classes exacerbated by climate change. that is incomplete. the prime responsibility for pushing nigeria to the brink is -- lies with the president. he has failed to see himself as having the responsibility to protect all nigerians regardless of ethnic group or religious background. parts of the conflict are
attributable to boko haram, islamic state with africa, the main driver of conflict comes from snow religious extremists. these could be predominantly christian farmers in the belt, muslim christians in the southwest and she of muslims in kudua state. in organizations -- which is pushing nigeria to the brink. indeed he had seen to encourage it. he has failed to stop the flow of weapons to extremists which comes not only from the gulf states but from turkey.
he has inserted cap into key positions and institutions such as the national security advisor, inspector general of police, head of the drug enforcement agency and minister of police affairs and chief of army staff. this extends to other institutions such as the sacking of the chief justice of nigeria's supreme court and his replacement. he has marginalized other ethnic groups and it is pushing the country toward civil war. as nigeria goes, so goes west africa. yet our state department, i understand that department of labor was set to do an in-depth
study into who was committing the killings in the middle belt in nigeria, yet this project was scuttled this past anyway. why was that? i hope they will take that up. regarding ethiopia, there has been a failure by the state farm in two call out the atrocity -- atrocities. ethiopia is a multiethnic and diverse nation. both victims and victimizers. the state department has called out the atrocities by the ethiopian government and regional forces and reprehensible atrocities committed by the people's liberation front which precipitated the immediate conflict last november. by painting them solely as victimizers, i'm failing to mention atrocities that just
happened last november. the question arises as the state department, perhaps unwittingly abetted a scapegoating narrative that single out one group as perpetrators of violence and absolved groups of the same atrocities. thereby dealing additional tension to the conflict. recognize who is committing the atrocity, who is the victim, regardless of who that implicates. in contrast, administrator samantha power at usaid has been more evenhanded in her approach, calling for accountability for all those who commit atrocities and recognizing victims regardless of their ethnic affiliation. this is the correct way to address this. i went to recognize the horn in ethiopia, somalia and eritrea such as other regimes is responsible for so much suffering in both eritrea as well as in tigray.
there is one oasis of sustainability, somaliland. i would like to hear comments as to how to better recognize somaliland in the global community with an eye towards building sustainable peace. i think you and neil back to my good friend. >> thank you very much. i now see that the chair of the subcommittee on middle east west africa and global terrorism representative deutch is with us. i know that they have called votes, but i think we have a few minutes and maybe we can get the right chair and drinking member. >> thanks for holding today's joint hearing. thanks to your ongoing commitment to highlighting these issues and all of the issues facing africa. to our witnesses, thank you. we will examine the can't -- the
conflict where terrorists and nonstate actors have wreaked havoc. violent groups like boko haram and al qaeda and others have been inspired, and in many cases active their group -- actively recruited and funded by isis. terror threats have morphed and metastasized, africa became fertile ground for training and recruiting. horrific human rights abuses have taken place at the hands of these groups, and dire humanitarian crises have arisen. as the u.s. has funded humanitarian efforts, the majority of our military there has been rooted in counterterrorism. compatibly, military leaders described this program as light. in the years after 9/11, the u.s. has increased its joint terrorism operations with african forces. we recall the brutal 2017 attacked by the islamic state in the greater sarah that killed four troops in niger.
as we have decimated al qaeda in afghanistan, and destroyed isis, what is the impact on terror groups in africa? they have not had the same level success assisting african partners in reclaiming territory or pushing back against violent actors, attempting to cut off support for these groups. this is an issue where you have focused. i expect we will spend more on that in this hearing today. while cannot -- i cannot subscribe to the u.s. as the worlds police man, i believe counterterrorism partnerships are vital to protecting not just our homeland, but our partners abroad. we must assure these missions are able to adjust to the evolving threats and place the same level of importance on diplomatic and humanitarian missions. as we continue's to see the great power competition with
china across africa, we must ensure we are dedicating necessary resources countering china's efforts. the u.s. commitment may come with more strings attached, but the values we place on democracy and human rights are a moral commitment that we stand firmly behind. i thank you for your leadership. i think our witnesses and i look forward to today's discussion. >> thank you mr. chairman. we are going to go to the ranking member and then recess until after votes. mr. wilson. >> thank you. thank you for calling this timely hearing to discuss conflicts and terrorism trends in africa. with a young population and some of the fastest-growing economies, there is no doubt of the strategic importance of the continent. unfortunately, progress towards stability in some parts of the continent is undermined by weak governance, corruption and lack of economic opportunity.
increasing external maligned influence from china and russia is undermining u.s. national security and economic objectives. the africa center for strategic study reports a doubling of militant islamic extremist groups in the year 2019. a very concerning and sad trend. as efforts to counter isis and al qaeda networks has made some progress in the middle east, new isis and al qaeda affiliates have gained strength and legitimacy across the continent. the u.s. must work with african partners effectively to adjust to these terror threats. i appreciate the opportunity to highlight the importance of continued engagement with european partners and partners on the ground to combat extremism and maintain networks to advance cantor terrorism objectives and by extension, we must also have those efforts to curtail the efforts of malign
actors in the region and seek to keep civilian safe. i was grateful to join deutsche in the -- act which is to come out of suspension today to curb further malign influence by actors such as russia. there is more work to be done in this regard especially given investments and i look forward to hearing from witnesses on any recommendations they may have. we appreciate the witnesses for their expertise and we appreciate the chair. >> thank you very much. my partner, who is the chair agrees, i think we should recess until after votes. >> agreed. t thank you. the committee is in recess. we will be back. >> the hearing is back. i see the chair of the subcommittee is here and i believe the ranking
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