tv Hearing on U.S. Policy in Africa - Part 1 CSPAN January 3, 2022 3:18pm-4:52pm EST
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c-span now's mobile that you app. head over to c-span.org for scheduling information or to stream video live or on-demand any time. c-span -- your unfiltered view of government. >> next, look at conflicts in africa with representatives of the state department and agency for -- and the need to work with partner nations.
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. >> 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 member chris smith should be with us shortly.
i wanted to go ahead and introduce our witnesses. we appreciate all of you being here. let me remind the witnesses that your witness statements will appear in the hearing record, and under committee rule six commit each witness should limit their presentation to a brief summary of the written statements. our first witness is deputy assistant secretary mike gonzales. he joined the bureau of african affairs in october 2020. his portfolio includes west africa and regional peace and security. he previously served as the director of foreign analysis in the state department. as a career member of the senior foreign service, he has served at the u.s. embassies in nepal and malawi. he was an economic analyst in the antitrust division of the
u.s. department of justice. in 2009, he received the wr ripken award for constructive dissent from the american foreign service association. interesting name for an award. our second witness is the assistant to the administrator robert jenkins. robert hankins serves as the assistant to the administrator for the bureau of conflict prevention and stabilization. a career member of the senior executive service, he was previously a deputy administrator for the bureau for democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance and director of usaid's office of transition initiatives. prior to joining usaid, he designed and him lamented the emergency relief and recovery programs with world vision in southern sudan and sierra leone. he worked under archbishop desmond tutu. as a liaison between the
church's peace and justice office and communities. i would like to welcome our witnesses. you may begin. mike gonzales. >> think you so much. ted deutch, ranking the birth smith, ranking member wilson and members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to testify on conflict in africa. nissan prosperity in africa benefits the united states. unfortunately, almost half of the world's 34 armed conflicts in 2020 were on the african continent. the loss of life takes resources away from critical services and develop and efforts. while each conflict is different, there is a clear trend of conflict being fueled by inefficient governments. in some cases, weak capacity prevents the state for delivering conditions for opportunities people expect. high rates of unemployment, these lapses exacerbate
instability and increase young people's vulnerability to extremist recruitment under the promise of a better life. in less than nine cases, less predatory -- human rights abuses and political oppression inflame grievances and spur conflict both among groups and against the state. by exploiting, rather than serving the people, governments push communities towards conflict. terrorist and extremist organizations such as al qaeda exploit these weaknesses, igniting grievances in the balance. other external actors exacerbate conflict. russian mercenaries have fueled violence, resource exportation and human rights abuses in syria, libya and central africa. and are now poised to expand into mali. leaving vulnerable countries weaker and less secure while being paid handsomely in cash
and mineral concessions no longer available to the public. addressing conflict requires copperheads of approach. we cannot focus solely on security because too often those are merely the symptoms of the dynamics. instead, the u.s. leverages diplomatic and defense partnerships to bolster the capabilities, responsiveness and credibility of african institutions at national and local levels to enhance public confidence in the state, improve service delivery and foster economic opportunity. if a medic efforts are vital to prevent the spread of violence and help de-escalate conflict. our professional diplomats engage leaders to mitigate conflict. they provide early warning, support prevention, conflict resolution and humanitarian assistance efforts. how are we to come -- to enable our african partners to develop their own security capabilities. by building capacity, we promote
sustainable impacts through comparatively limited investments. whether through diplomatic engagement, or programs such as the -- state prep initiatives support local level conflict prehension -- conflict prevention. we engage women and used to build communities resilient to extremism. we embed visors with and host nation military elements and support community networks to foster trust between civilians and authorities. moreover, we leverage america's flagship initiatives to help african partners achieve full potential. we invest in the next generation of african leaders who will deliver brighter futures for their own countries. jan saving millions of lives, the malaria initiative support health systems that enable governments to deliver services to the people. prosper africa, each offer catalytic investments to fuel
economic growth and opportunity. i commend this committee for your instrumental role in creating and assuring the success of these initiatives. particularly you chair bass and other members for travel to -- traveling to the continent. your contact amplifies our 3d approach by adding a legislative element to our partnerships. let me emphasize that the united states is a committed partner with african peoples, governments and institutions. we work intently across agencies to support and enable them to stem violence, secure their citizens, and ours, and realize their full potential in an interconnected nation. we are under no illusions about the challenges associated with addressing conflict or the spread of violent extremism. there are no quick fixes or magic solutions.
ultimately, it is the responsibility of africa's leaders to meet the needs and aspirations of their populations and to address the conditions that fuel conflict. united states is, and remains committed to support our african partners in these efforts. >> thank you very much. mr. jenkins? >> thank you. members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. no matter how you look at the problem of violent extremists in africa, the trends are going the wrong direction. the international committee of the red cross recently tallied two hundred 96 nonstate armed groups in sub-saharan africa. there are more armed attacks between april and june of this year than in any other three-month period. violence has displaced over 2 million people in the design --
across need share, burkina faso, mali and chad, extremists challenge state authority, recruit disaffected youth and ally themselves with al qaeda. they prey upon communities that use long periods of simmering war and violence to expand influence. the problem is much broader. looking across africa, extremist violence is spreading. places like cote d'ivoire are dealing with attacks from violent groups. northern mozambique grabbed headlines when insurgents claiming links with the islamic state organized attacks in the capital. mozambique illustrates important considerations. by attaching the islamic state, the insurgency guarantees international headlines. but the label obscures more than it reveals. rather than a group of committed fighters adhering to the islamic state's goals, this insurgency
thrives on local conditions. take away the islamic state label and you still have those grievances based on exclusion and violence. meanwhile in ethiopia, we are witnessing just how quickly contentious politics can escalate and boil over into war. we are also concerned about the prospect of extremist violence in somalia. al-shabaab is one of al qaeda's most well-financed branches. the current political -- only benefits al-shabaab. it prove it -- it presents the most direct threat to americans. these conflicts take a terrible human toll. that alone is enough to give us pause. but the pork -- the proliferation of violent activity in africa has implications for americans security. ungoverned spaces offer extremist groups time to grow and bide time to plot against western targets.
success requires the right balance of defense, development and diplomacy, the three d's. this means looking at how all of our foreign assistance interacts and affects how armed extremists work. we need the department of defense because we cannot ignore the security aspect. i discuss this frequently with our leaders at the u.s. africa command as part of our collaborative military dialogue. militaries and security services alone cannot succeed. in a seminal 2017 report on extremism in sub-saharan africa, the u.n. found the majority of subjects who join violent extremists groups cited negative interactions with authorities, particularly with military and security forces. this fact warns us of the dangers of seeing security actions alone as an answer. i believe u.s. development assistance has a role to play in preventing the further expansion of violent extremism in africa.
usaid programs and expertise challenge the -- we know our programs build trust between marginalized communities and security forces. our programs can improve governments where it is fragile, create economic opportunity and allow the freedom of religious expression. the success of these programs will require the right funds with the right flexibility. it requires -- with whom we can work. develop into assistance alone will come up short. even the best designed and implemented develop and programs cannot stop dozens of young men on motorcycles with ak-47s. i am happy to be here today with my colleagues from the department of state. success will require diplomatic support to work with allies and build meaningful partnerships with governments in the region. chair bass, chair deutsche, i will conclude today by thanking you for calling this hearing. it is not always easy to get attention on these issues amid so many fires in the world.
i am optimistic about our chances to make progress in part because of the fact of the support we have from congress. notably, the global fridge -- global fragility act, charges the department of defense and others to take an integrated approach to these problems. to succeed, usaid and other parts of our government must use -- as a tool to prompt an unprecedented of the of collaboration across u.s. government to address this growing threat. >> thank you. chairman deutsch, would you like to ask questions first? >> sure. thank you. i appreciate that. i thank the witnesses. i also sit on the -- i also sit
on the europe subcommittee. last week we had a joint hearing with my subcommittee about transatlantic cooperation on counterterrorism. and countering violent extremism. the fact that half of our sub committed these have addressed some facet of this issue in recent days is clear that ct and -- is a global issue. it is critical to engage with our allies and partners to apply best practices across all of our efforts were wide -- worldwide. the by demonstration has expressed clear support for french counterterrorism efforts and to reengage with direct diplomacy with both our european allies and west african nations. with all of that as the background -- [indiscernible]
you made reference to the -- group weakening -- you talked in particular about mineral concessions, can you put the -- group in the context of this broader effort in our engagement with european allies? >> thank you for that question. certainly the -- group has our attention. for all the wrong reasons. we see that they go in and exploit environments that are vulnerable. where there is a security need, they make broad promises of what they can provide and they under deliver. countries believe that they are going to maintain authority and control over the security, and in reality we have seen time and again that they have absolutely -- that authority.
the group we see in the central african republic and other places, the gross and rampant human rights violations they are involved with and how they complicate matters. we certainly are engaging on a very active basis. this morning, conversations between myself and a colleague, another envoy were discussing just this issue. we engaged with african partners directly to make sure their eyes are open. we engage also with european and like-minded colleagues around the world to understand the challenges and implications to see how we can better collectively partner with african partners to address the real security challenges they face, but also put pressure to ensure that unintended consequences, funds and resources that are desperately needed by local populations, do not get distracted and go to supporting security and not undermining it.
>> i want to follow up -- you referenced 296 nonstate armed groups. following up on mr. gonzales comments, to what extent should our strategy plug into multilateral mechanisms versus our own direct diplomacy in the region? what is the right approach here? >> thank you chair deutsche. this is a problem from -- for the entire world. a problem that takes partnership in all aspects. last week, i met virtually with my british counterpart and my german counterpart. we have plans for getting together with the french as a group as we are looking particularly at the sahel.
this problem goes across the entire continent. whether it is g5 countries, european allies, burden sharing we are currently doing with the french doing much more on the military side, in some they are looking to us and hoping we can find solutions. all of us have to look together on that. we have not found the solution. we think we know what works. we have to ramp things up but we have a lot to teach each other. i am hoping that post afghanistan conversations i am having with officials from other governments, people are in a positive mood to assess what we know works, what has not worked, and moving forward together in a way that is mutually supportive and not at odds with each other. >> thank you. i hope as we go forward we will have an opportunity to further
our efforts post afghanistan, whether our allies view us differently as we approach all of these issues and i want to thank you for conducting -- holding this hearing and giving us the opportunity to participate. it is important. i so admire your work in this area and i am honored to work on this with you. thanks very much. >> absolutely. we should do this more often. we have lots in common. i wanted to follow your questions to mr. jenkins. as you mentioned, the help that is being given in the sahel, you mentioned the french and the g5, i wonder if we ever come
together with european partners and talk about how to bolster the african union? at some point in the future, it would be nice to inc. of, when there are conflicts, that they are managed by other african countries. there was a great example where the countries of -- intervened when a president refused to leave power. i want to know if that is every discussion you are aware of with european partners. >> i will be quick because i believe gonzales will have more on this. we currently have the partnerships for peace program which works with the executive secretary of the g5 to help. we have also done a lot of work directly with the african union, helping them get a continental women peace and security strategy but also working on
individual nationstates with their own strategy. you mentioned -- we look to regional partners who are going to have better ideas than we do. we are here to help and support where we can, but they often are the ones that should be in the lead because they know these issues more than we do. >> mr. gonzales? >> i would say that we absolutely coordinate with international partners, european and beyond. in terms of identifying ways of how we can bolster african institutions and support the efforts that african institutions take the lead on. most recently in terms of their dynamic role in supporting post-coup dynamics in getting and molly -- guinea and molly --
very much focused on how we cannot timidly support them. we ask that question directly, we do not bind the answers, we go directly to the president of the commission, or representatives of the united nations and african union. how can we best support you? the collaboration and dialogue has been robust. fundamentally, this is at the core of the biden administration's partnership with africa. working very closely and didn't close coordination with african institutions. >> i hope for the day when these conflicts happen that they are dealt with and resolved on the continent. i wanted to ask you about a couple of them. one, a big concern about the role of russia and the mercenaries who say they are
independent, not affiliated with the russian government. if you have a comment about that. also in terms of some of the violence we have seen, how much of it is ideological? take mozambique, that does not have a history of this, how much of it is ideological and how much of it is opportunist? would you like to respond, mr. jenkins? whichever one. >> i will take that. in terms of the central african republic, we are concerned about human rights abuses at the hands of the -- mercenaries. as well as the armed forces of the central african republic. both in terms of their -- but frankly the lack of coordination of various actors. we have a large, robust and critically important international peacekeeping
operation on the ground there. the lack of coordination of what is going on by other actors really puts the international efforts under stress. particularly as humanitarian -- peacekeeping operations try to access where they are operating. frankly, i think often what we see is these are long-standing historical, core periphery issues. people fill the state hasn't delivered for them, and extremists offer something brighter, shinier, that they can aspire to, and it is appealing. frequently it is that kind of dynamic as well as opportunists and criminal groups that take advantage rather than ideology. >> thank you. i think it is important we stay
centered on that, because really the goal should be to address the root causes versus adjusted view it as a problem of violence or ideology. with that, i would like to go to ranking member mr. smith. >> thank you very much. thank you for the hearing and our witnesses for their insights and testimony. i wanted to ask, i don't know if you heard my opening comments, but the concerns i and many others have. really an international misperception, it would appear, including what they are about. it's not about herdsmen versus farmers. there might be historical reasons for that but today it would appear this is an all out attempt to eradicate, to kill.
i've met with many leaders in nigeria, including a little while ago today. when a phone call or message goes out to send the police to intervene, the police or military are a no-show. i was told just two kilometers away from an attack, the nigerian army refused to come. women were slaughtered, raped, and people came in on motorbikes for a fast, blitzkrieg type of attack throughout the town. the church of the brethren have seen something on the order of 48,000 dead people the last 10 years. when you start adding it all up, i see no difference between the for lonnie and boko haram. maybe you can both speak to that.
even when aircraft were used, there were three instances were civilians were killed. are we sure this was a mistake or were they targeted? they also go after shia muslims good there is animosity toward people from islam of a different perspective, and they get hurt as well or killed. the predominance of it is against the christians. i met with the bishop who testified in a hearing last year, and he was roundly criticized by bahari for what he said. when he talks, this ship is about reconciliation, manifesting the love of christ,
but also telling the truth, and he spoke boldly but compassionately and said -- this is me talking -- what is the difference between the terrorist groups? i said in my opening comments, virtually everyone around him, the military and police, all of it is packed with falani. they look the other way when the killings take place. all of us have flaws, but there was at least a captain that was multiethnic and people from all persuasions. i remember, they came from all different perspectives, and that
became a very positive strength. so if you could, mr. gonzalez, speak to some of those issues. are we investigating the kind of fighter jets, aircraft, is there any thought of borrowing spare parts if they don't come clean? >> and is your gonzalez, if you could answer briefly, and then mr. smith, we will do another round after other members. if you could answer briefly so i can go to mr. phillips. >> thank you. there is a lot to unpack there. nigeria has many challenges over many years with many causes. deep rooted corruption, patronage-based politics. the list can go on and on.
i would argue those go well beyond any one leader. nigeria fundamentally is core to our economic interests, our regional and global interests, so we must engage with a strong and prosperous and stable nigeria. at the local level, i take your point. i would argue that climate change is reducing resources and population growth is increasing demand and the availability of resources is a dynamic driving some degree of conflict. conflict in nigeria is multidimensional. so are the falani community. while president bahari is -- and there are herders and farmers, a
group -- any approach that identifies a group as a major driver is not identifying the nuance and we need to respond to the nuance. also precipitating retaliation and violence. at the local level, engagement with communities on conflict resolution is key. we are engaging on that. i am sure administrator jenkins can discuss some of that. on the national level, i think the approach required is to help shape political discourse, to drive public demand for issue-based citizen responsive, nationally supportive policies. not only going into the election in 2023, but holding those who come out victorious for delivering for the country. you mentioned -- they have not been in use.
>> you know what was? >> i will get back with you on that. we saw the strikes that hit civilians in the last week. the change in doctrine because of engagement with the nigerian air force has been instrumental in getting them to acknowledge, put out a statement within 24 hours. there is a doctrinal shift. but the threat to the security of the nigerian people israel and that's why the state department, and other bureaus are unanimous in our support for providing helicopter support that nigerians have asked for so we can help the air force protect civilians and give humanitarian assistance. >> thank you.
>> mr. phillips? >> thank you. greetings, colleagues. i want to salute our very interesting timer we are using. i have 3% left on my ipad, if i happen to drop, please move to the next calling. i want to focus my questions on ethiopia. we all know what is going on and how horrific, the u.n. estimates that 5.2 million people in tigre need food assistance, there has been violence. hundreds of thousands of people are being displaced and food insecurity worsening. the worst is humanitarian aid is being blocked by military. my question first is to you mr. gonzalez. the administration announced a new sanctions regime allowing us
to post financial sanctions on individual entities paid have you seen any -- individual entities. have you seen any change in behavior since this announcement was made? >> thank you. at this point, we have not seen the tangible action we were looking to see. but that is the point of the executive order. it has gone too long with too little action and this is an effort to step up pressure on those responsible for prolonging the conflict, obstructing progress, and hindering humanitarian access, and those who commit human rights abuses. it is not limited to one group or another, there is plenty of blame to go around and leaders on all sides have been vocal in using rhetoric for inflaming situations and dehumanizing other communities good the purpose of the order is to exert
that pressure so we can try to break this logjam. >> we talk about pressure, we have hearings, we tweet, we issue press releases, we have press conferences, we condemn it. what tools do we have available that we might not be employing to push for humanitarian access, let alone a cease-fire? what tools are we not employing, if any? >> i think it is a phased approach. the restrictions on security assistance, public statements. we have a new african union lead negotiator for the horn of africa. going back to the point of backing african institutions and putting our support behind the president. i think the executive order is the next step. naming and shaming and squeezing people responsible under that executive order will be, but i
know that many people are seized with this issue in ethiopia. >> perhaps you could speak to some of the activities undertaken since he was named to that role and the roadblock he is facing and how he is adapting to these challenges. >> he shares the suite with me, two doors down, and he is more absent than present because he's always on the road, leaving u.s. engagements. whether it is in ethiopia or the region, the african union and other institutions. where frankly, the international community of like-minded and other partners are also seized with this. he was in new york engaging with the deputy prime minister last week, and the week before, and currently.
he is very much engaged in trying to explore every opening we might have, and helping the administration identify what might be additional pressure points we can lean on. >> the clock seems to have stalled, i have a few seconds left. if you can speak to labrador pressure points the u.s. has with the ethiopian government to push for increased humanitarian access in tigre. >> thank you. our administration is laser focused. seeking accounted -- accountability for the atrocities that happened. there is enough blame to go around on all sides in that terrible situation. what we are also worried about is we did an atrocity prevention analysis internally that showed there were about 13 possible
other fault lines in ethiopia, any one of which could ignite. many are already simmering. we are focused on tigray right now, but hopefully the lid will not blow off of a more dire situation. that's why we are supportive of the special envoy's efforts. hopefully the bad situation that is going on now, we will be able to exert the leverage that exists to open humanitarian access and quell the current violence and hopefully prevent that situation from spiraling into a worse situation. >> thank you both for being with us today. i yield back. >> representative mercer? >> i am sorry.
thank you, i appreciate it. mr. gonzalez, violence against christians in nigeria is going very violence on a daily basis. it is apparent that the president has exasperated -- exacerbated this. he has installed many fulani in high levels of governments. nigeria is a rapidly growing country, on track to be the third largest country by 2050, but is now on the verge of serious violence. does the state department agree that nigeria is on the brink of disintegration and that the president has failed to uphold his responsibilities to protect the rights of all nigerians? >> we are incredibly concerned
about the security instability in nigeria. again, i mentioned to representative smith that it is multifaceted, whether it is pirates or bandits or fulani or isis west africa. the threats against the people in the state are many. frankly, the numbers. we have 208 million people who are protected by 375,000 police and about 100,000 troops who are making basically a ratio of the security center to civilians about 1/9 the global standard that is optimal. there is fundamentally inadequate resources that have gone to security and in adequate attention going toward a security strategy that can stem the tide. we are encouraged by the president's replacement of the
entire slate of senior brass and security officials in nigeria. we are encouraged that the new chief realizes security requires a whole of government approach, not just the armed forces, but the whole government. we are encouraged that the chief of the air force's commissioning a nine-month doctrine review to ensure that what the government does to respond to security does not further inflame or fuel. the challenges are many on the security side as well as the civilian side and that's why our close relationship with actors across nigeria is vital to shape and shift what is really a keystone country in the regent did -- in the region. >> it sounds like you know a lot about it. by chance, have there been
meetings with parliament members to discuss this? >> the most recent would be about a week ago, where i and our acting assistant secretary met with four representatives of the nigerian governors association in town. we have three intended visits that for one reason or another has fallen through. >> i doubt they told you that climate change was their biggest concern. i am not saying it is not a concern, but targeted murders and assassinations of large numbers of civilians within communities, and primarily christians, also shia and others. the idea of the president, you are not really answering my question as far as failing to protect the rights of all nigerians. i'm not sure we are not making
the problem larger rather than understanding he has some responsibility, and as do we if we care about humanitarian efforts in nigeria. i have another question. the policing of weapons trafficking into west africa, that is obvious that contribute into the heightened violence. is that something the u.s. government is policing? >> i would not say the u.s. government is policing it, certainly there are elements of the state department, particularly the international narcotics bureau are supporting through funds appropriated by congress. to build african government elements for improving border security awareness of who and what are crossing through borders. those borders are incredibly porous and it is a big challenge but it is something we are seized with. >> that is great.
was there a fuller scale deep dive study done into nigeria by the previous administration that was terminated by the biden administration in january or deviated? i did not have a timer -- i yield back. >> thank you. representative manning. representative manning? >> thank you very much. sorry about that. thank you for having this hearing. this is a critically important and difficult issue. let me start with mr. jenkins feared terrorist organizations
continue to exploit inadequate security and governance in many countries in africa, recruiting some of the most vulnerable people in these societies, as you have talked about, and producing violence that furthers instability and poverty. several countries have also suffered droughts, feuding security -- food insecurity, and this creates environments for terrorists to thrive. can you talk about how the u.s. seeks to break this cycle and can you point to success stories? >> thank you. i could try to go through what we are doing in mali, i could give you a description of what we are doing in cameroon or somalia. a lot of those, when you talk about the objectives at the high level sound very similar.
while all of these crises are different and context is important, the underlying causes are similar. it is a governance crisis and every of these is a governance crisis. the violence we see, the exploitation, the recruitment is a symptom of underlying, morse -- more serious causes. they are almost all trying to have agency in their life and have meaning. bringing societies together, opening dialogue. trying to get communities at the local level but also the national level to understand what is really happening in their country, in their village. many of these problems are misdiagnosed. we say this is ideological, religious, transnational crime.
it can be all of those things at the same time. let's go to north africa real quick. people forget that in libya, it was the largest place outside of iraq and syria were isis was in control. when the city was liberated in 2016, we went to work with the local government, $16 million over a year. 30,000 kids went back to school, 40,000 people got health care. in one year, 90% of the population that was displaced moved back, and year-over-year, people are more optimistic about governance and their life. we forget about liberia. liberia in the 1990's was synonymous with a fragile state, a failed state. 2006, we have a new president, we get to work for the u.s. in a big way. other partners too. liberia is a success story today.
in kenya, they are coming up to elections again and we always cross our figures -- our fingers and hope they don't get bad again. working with the kenyan government, we help them create an antiterrorism center, and we are working with them to great solutions, and going to the county level, working on plans that are indigenous to those localities so people are aware of their own solutions. >> thank you. that is very helpful. mr. gonzalez, i am concerned that women and girls are often victimized throughout africa. can you tell us how state is working to address gender violence in africa and working with our partners -- and how working with our partners in the region has improved those at risk?
>> i share your concern and i think it starts with the engagements we have when we sent our ambassadors and. we talk to heads of state and we flag those concerns. we recognize that gender-based violence is one of the top flags for potentials for atrocity in the future. but also gender equality yields societies less likely to go to war. that's why women's peace and security is a critical element of our security systems package. i look at niger, each year the military were taken just 10 women and now it is 300 and still a long ways to go, but having the women as providers of security along with men, they engaged with society and the vulnerable in a different way and helped provide that
security. finally because i see time is up, a month and a half ago when the undersecretary and i met with the president in niger, we were thrilled that his number one priority is educating girls because ultimately that will be what delivers a brighter future for the society. >> thank you. i yield back. >> representative omar. >> thank you. mr. gonzalez, i wanted to see if you can tell us, has the administration finalized a strategic plan for our policies toward somalia and the drc? >> sorry, took a moment to find the mute button. i am not directly engaged with the somalia policy but i
understand it is moving forward through the inter-agency. i am engaged day in and day out, and i am pleased to say it is quite far along. there is consensus across interagency in terms of the theory of change. it is a big territory with disparate environments. the key will be how we implement to respond to the nuances in each location, recognizing resources are limited and we can't do everything, and we can't do select things everywhere. we must prioritize. but we are not going to succeed if we don't have a strategy, so this administration is definitely focused on developing strategies that are not only pursuing that post but endorsed in washington so the totality of government is pursuing that. >> i ask because every time i have traveled to africa, i've been briefed on the need to balance the three d's, but we've
not seen evidence of that balance. i've seen the pentagon has been calling the shots, especially in somalia, so it is really important we get a comprehensive strategy on all of these countries. public reporting has indicated the drone strikes we have conducted this year in somalia were approved by africom rather than the white house, is that your understanding? >> that would be a question for the department of defense. i'm not sure about the protocols and how they exercise those authorities. >> ok. do you know what the legal basis for these strikes were? >> my understanding is they were based in collective self-defense, but in terms of the specific legalities, i'm afraid i don't have that information. >> i have a letter out to you also i hope you will expedite some answers in that regard. do you know how many designated
foreign terrorist organizations that mainly operated in sub-saharan africa prior to 2001, before our war on terror began? >> no, i don't. i can certainly get that for you. >> it was zero. do you know how many there are now? >> i just cleared off on the list a couple of days ago, so i have seen it, but the number i don't have off the top of my head. >> 10 at the moment we went from zero to 10 since 2001. i think it is hard to say we approached counterterrorism including drone strikes and security forces that violate human rights is working. are you familiar with the 2017 reports from the u.n. development program entitled
journey to extremism and africa? >> i am and i believe that is the report administrator jenkins cited in terms of why people go 71 percent of them a recently experienced a case of abuse at the hands of state authorities. >> it is really important that we understand that very context. it might be different depending on where you are, but the flashpoint for most people joining these organizations is human rights violations. how is it that we are effectively combating terrorism by supporting security forces that enacted these human rights violations, which is something mr. jenkins didn't answer, and
how can we say it is good for stability when there have been coups all over africa within a year? >> the strategy captures this quite nicely. at the core of our strategy is we recognize the cause is a governance deficiency. the remedy must be a government response. the u.s. government is supporting governance at the national level in terms of the capabilities, fighting corruption, transparency. >> it seems like our strategy is to support the same governing bodies that continued to cause instability and continue to cause human rights violations, which has increased the number of people joining terrorism and has increased the level of terrorism that exists in the continent.
we are currently involved heavily in all of these countries, yet they continue to get destabilized every year. what are we doing that is different, and what have we learned from our involvement? >> i would argue that we cannot counter the security threat or governance threat if we are not engaging with the government involved with both sides. all stirring governance at the national level level and local level and engaging with security and enabling the security institutions to become more capable, more responsible, and responsive to the needs of the citizens and more accountable. i am incredibly blunt with my african counterparts in terms of the role that their forces' activities in abusing citizens plays into the hands of extremists, and not only do we need to support and protect and
hold accountable an abuse of human rights, but it is critical to providing security and stability back in the state. >> thank you, chairwoman, for your generosity. i think it is important we take responsibility for the policies we are engaging in and how it is fueling some of the things happening in the continent. >> representative sherman? >> thank you. i want to thank the chairs for convening this hearing. the first question revolves around ethiopia's new dam. i wonder if mr. gonzales can tell us, what are the legal constraints on ethiopia in
filling this dam, both under the traditional international law of repairing states, and according to any treaty obligations that ethiopia has assumed. >> great. thank you, congressman. i have not read -- reviewed the particulars of the treaty obligations. >> does the u.s. have a position ? this is one of the biggest international disputes. the water goes through our country, we get to dam it up, or is that a legal position legally? >> we know ethiopia says that, and we know the downstream effects are there. it needs to be viable according
to the needs of the member states, and that is why we have tried to lend our good offices. >> i will have to go to other legal experts, but you would think that in addition to believing that it would be great if everybody works things out, we would know what the legal rights of the parties are. we would be standing up not only for everyone getting along, but also for international law. turning to ethiopia, i'd like to put into the record the september 2021 situation report published on tigray.'s >> without objection. >> when you look at the casualties and conflicts, the
enormous casualties come from deprivation of food and disease hitting civilian populations. that is the case with disputed tigray. we had 2.2 million people who have been internally displaced. 70,000 have fled to sudan. the ethiopian government continues to block humanitarian aid, including food aid, from entering the region. is it our position that it is a gross deprivation of human rights or a war crime? >> we certainly view it as a deprivation of human rights. in terms of particular war crime determinations, we are looking at the totality of the information of the situation on the ground in terms of any type
of designation. >> what are we doing to get food to the people who need it? >> we are engaging across-the-board the board with all entities -- >> we are talking to all the entities, but have we gotten any food into the country in the last week? are planes landing? >> not to my knowledge. >> i know mr. jenkins is right beside you visually, and i assume he confirms that, unless he wants to speak up. >> i can confirm what has happened in the last week. yes, we think it is a deprivation of fundamental human rights. >> as far as you know, we have not been able to get any significant amount of food in in the last week. >> not to my knowledge. >> finally, we lost a war in
afghanistan. to what extent will this inspire extreme islamic nationalist forces from engaging in terrorism both against the united states but also among the african states that we respect and work with? >> i would expect that it would certainly inspire them, and all the more reason for us to continue to double down on our engagement with our african partners. >> have we seen any particular increase in recruitment in the last few weeks, or do we have to be aware of a longer-term response? >> i would expect a longer-term response, but we have not observed that on the ground. >> my time has expired. >> i'm sorry, members. i'm using my phone to keep the
time, but let me go to representative jacobs. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, mr. jenkins and mr. gonzales. as we talked about, we need to look at conflict and a comprehensive way. the technical counterterrorism tools just don't cut it. we know that abuses by state security forces fuel local recruitment. we need to make sure counterterrorism operations are not enabling these abuses, and thinking about these challenges through the lens of counterterrorism is at best, insufficient, and at best, counterproductive.
our presence in africa did not have an effect on violence. i am glad to hear you all talk about governance during this hearing. when i worked at the state department. it was not always the case that our regional bureaus understood the focus on governance, so i am glad to see that, and thank you for carrying that water. it is why i am so excited about the implementation of the global fragility act. i know we've talked about hte sa -- the sahel. i was wondering if the administration plans to appoint a special envoy to the said hell. -- the sahel. once the strategy is finalized and we are looking at specific tactics, it would be most appropriate to pursue it.
that may be on the table. since january 20, i as a deputy assistant secretary for west africa and regional peace and security have effectively been surveying the function. i engage with the other international envoys as their peer and counterpart and engage with them. >> great, thank you. i want to move onto to the situation in mozambique. folks have brought up the situation in c wea know it isbo delgado. -- ideology, but also corruption and abuses by state security forces. our response has been counterterrorism. what is the state department's plan to devise a comprehensive strategy to address these
challenges that actually addresses the grievances of this conflict, not just more security assistance that i think will fuel more conflict? >> thank you for that question. i would just counter that in fact our approach on mozambique is not all about security. the first one is security assistance. the second is related to strategic medication and engaging the public so the public is aware of threats that are coming, would also counterterrorism messaging. in fact, in terms of our outreach to the government, it does yield the appointment of a
coordinator for the assistance part of responding to northern mozambique. fundamentally, the core of our strategy does look at this holistic approach. >> i'm glad to hear that. it is hard to message until you have counter extremism messaging that goes with the government. i hope it is more inclusive of the people of the region. in my last few seconds, mr. jenkins -- i'm sorry. >> you have about 15 seconds. >> what else can congress do to help usaid respond to peace building and conflict prevention in the continent? >> you took a great step with
the global fragility act. make sure we implement that. we need to have a conversation about more prevention, not less, and my conversation about less directives and less earmarks, giving us flexible funding that allows us to not have to plan three or four years out, but be able to react to something like cabo delgado. we need more flexibility and we need to work with you to get a trust variant so we can work together. it cannot just be acts strategy. -- be a ct strategy. >> thank. representative vargas? >> thank you very much, madam chair. i want to think the chair and our participants today, particularly our witnesses.
i want to start where we left off, more prevention, more flexibility, trust with the youth. you think some of the things we are doing now, we are getting better at it. what more should we be doing in this aspect? what do you need? >> we have learned a lot in the last 20 years. i would direct people to the civilization assistance review, agreed to by state department and defense department personnel. we defined what we mean by stabilization. it is about 15 pages of concise lessons learned not just from iraq and afghanistan, but also, if you have the time, please read the special investigator general report on afghanistan a.
it is ok to be slow. it is ok to start small. shut up and listen. don't go in with the answers. just because we are the united states does not mean we are going to solve a problem with more money. we need to engage locals. we need to listen to them. we need to stop doing things that are not working. we need to ramp up things that are working. it needs to be within a strategy where we define what success needs to be. we need to do resources -- have resources. we know these things. we've known them for a long time, but we often do not execute them. we are learning lessons way too
slow. >> one of the things it sounded like you -- i don't know if you said it, but mr. gonzales said -- the issue of governance, it's tough working with governments when you know there is corruption. how do you do that successfully and at the same time make sure that u.s. money is going to the right place? we just saw what happened in afghanistan, and i think the american people are not happy about that. it was a disaster at the end of the day. >> we cannot let the objective blind us to the reality on the ground. we can't want to help them more than they want our help.
we can spend money. i can spend stupid money any day of the week. the objective is, how do we work with these people, find them where they are -- we cannot tolerate any waste, fraud, or abuse. slow down and realize, this is not a short-term endeavor. if it was easy and short term, we wouldn't have these problems. we need strategic patience, but we need to be realistic and not sell ourselves on six-month or 12-month solutions. not the shiny object we think we can achieve. if that was the way to fix these
things, they would all be fixed. >> lastly, i want to say this -- we have to be concerned about security and terrorism, and that is a great concern to us. if we don't look at this holistically, that is what we are going to get. my niece was in the peace corps, and she was there for two years. she came back and applied to stay there longer. a wonderful young lady. she said, i just love being there. people love americans. the help they were able to receive, the development help, the chairwoman said this, and it struck me the other day.
it is not really until development comes in a meaningful way and we intertwine our economies that this will go away. people need the ability to take care of themselves and their family. when that happens, people feel, there is part of the world they feel ownership of. they have ownership over where they are going. we've got to figure that out, and i don't think we've done a great job. i don't understand why we are not figuring out how to work in a deep economic way with africa. my time is probably up. i don't know how the clock works. >> you are almost at 6:00. >> i think the chair, and i think everyone.
-- thank the chair and thank everyone. >> members and our witnesses, i want to thank you for your time. this is an issue that is ongoing, and how to focus and target our authorizing legislation will be very important. i want to thank you very much. the hearing is adjourned. >> tonight, a look at climate change and the ability to predict national disasters. a subcommittee heard from the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. that is at 9:30 p.m. on c-span. you can also watch on c-span now, our free video app. >> washington unfiltered, c-span in your pocket, download c-span now today.
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