Terror threat raises US interest in Africa
As he’s swept across the continent, visiting a slave house in Senegal, a factory in South Africa, and a safari lodge in Botswana, President Bush has emphasized what America can do for Africa. He’s hyped his $15 billion pledge for AIDS and promised to open American markets to African products.
But the president’s five-day, five-nation tour is also about what Africa can do for America, particularly regarding terrorism. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have increased the global significance of Africa, with its poverty, failed states, mineral wealth, and 250 million Muslims, making the continent a potential haven and source of funding for groups like Al Qaeda. Since 1998, there have been four attacks in Africa, including one late last year in Kenya, believed to have been organized by Al Qaeda or associated groups, costing almost 300 lives. Countries like Sudan and Somalia are reported to have sheltered the terror organization’s members, while diamonds from places like Liberia and Sierra Leone may have been used to fund its operations. And just last month, five men with alleged ties to Al Qaeda were arrested in Malawi. Full Story