Taking Stock: U.S. Counterterrorism Interventions in Africa Today

While Washington is winding down counterterror operations in Afghanistan and possibly Iraq, there is growing pressure from some quarters for an increase in U.S. military engagement in Africa. In mid-June, France announced an end to its counterterrorism operation in the Sahel, now in its seventh year. France is hoping the U.S. and countries contributing to a 15,000 strong peacekeeping force will step up to fill the void, but the ambush of four U.S. soldiers in neighboring Niger in 2017 raised serious questions about mission creep and oversight of U.S. troops on the continent. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is reportedly considering returning troops recently pulled by the Trump administration back to Somalia. Why are the French leaving Mali? What impact did Western-backed security assistance missions have in diminishing terrorism threats and supporting democracy in the region? Why is the U.S. military looking to wind down operations in West Africa but at the same time considering returning troops to Somalia, despite significant democratic backsliding by the U.S.-backed government there?  The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs will host a panel discussion to shine a light on this undercovered region and provide recommendations for better oversight and accountability mechanisms to avert counterproductive mission creep and endless U.S. war in Africa.


Alden Young

Alden Young is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at UCLA and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Stephanie Savell

Stephanie Savell is Senior Researcher at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University and co-director of the Costs of War Project.

Amanda Sperber

Amanda Sperber is an independent journalist, focusing on politics, youth, and armed conflict in Kenya, Somalia and Sudan.

Lizzy Shackelford (Moderator)

Lizzy Shackelford is Senior Fellow on U.S. Foreign Policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, former QI Non-Resident Fellow, and author of "The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age."