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Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI)

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative
The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) is a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy aimed at defeating terrorist organizations by strengthening regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among the region’s security forces, promoting democratic governance, discrediting terrorist ideology, and reinforcing bilateral military ties with the United States. The overall goals are to enhance the indigenous capacities of governments in the pan-Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, as well as Nigeria and Senegal) to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the region, and to facilitate cooperation between those countries and our Maghreb partners (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) in the global war on terror.
The need for TSCTI stemmed from concern over the potential for expansion of operations by Islamic terrorist organizations in the Sahel. TSCTI was developed as a follow-on to the very successful Pan-Sahel Initiative, which focused solely on the states of the Sahel. Ongoing concern that Islamist terrorists continue to seek to create safe havens and support networks in the remote expanses of the Sahel, as well as the public affiliation of some terrorist groups with al-Qaida, led to its formal approval by the U.S. Government in early 2005.
TSCTI was originally envisioned as a five-year program based on counterterrorism, democratic governance assistance, a public diplomacy component, and military assistance.
TSCTI’s main elements include:
Counterterrorism (CT) programs to create a new regional focus for trans-Saharan cooperation, including use of established regional organizations like the African Union and its new Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism in Algiers. These programs include training to improve border and aviation security and overall CT readiness;
Continued specialized Counterterrorism Assistance Training and Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) activities in the trans-Sahara region and possible regional expansion of those programs;
Public diplomacy programs that expand outreach efforts in the Sahel and Maghreb regions, Nigeria, and Senegal and seek to develop regional programming embracing this vast and diverse region. Emphasis is on preserving the traditional tolerance and moderation displayed in most African Muslim communities and countering the development of extremism, particularly in youth and rural populations;
Democratic governance programs that strive, in particular, to provide adequate levels of USG support for democratic and economic development in the Sahel, strengthening those states to withstand internal threats; and
Military programs intended to expand military-to-military cooperation, to ensure adequate resources are available to train, advise, and assist regional forces, and to establish institutions promoting better regional cooperation, communication, and intelligence sharing.Click here for more

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