by Jacob Derr (Ohio, U.S.A.)
Edited by Director Matthew Bishop
This paper analyzes the type of actions, both diplomatic and military, that the United States can take in dealing with the African groups Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Specifically, it analyzes the type of conflict the U.S. may become involved in, the tactical organization of the three groups, and whether democracy should be extended to the insurgent elements. It does so with an eye to earlier developments in the Bush Administration’s War on Terror as compared with recent NATO actions supporting aspirants in the Arab Spring. The United States must make three major decisions among many in formulating policy towards this new and developing conflict: 1) will it fight a ground war or act in a multilateral or support capacity with local governments or international organizations 2) will it treat the three groups as one contiguous threat, or work to disaggregate them and solve conflicts individually, and 3) will it support current regimes, or work for the legitimate democratic aspirations of the insurgents in each country? The paper will examine multiple sides of each issue.
Jacob Derr is a senior studying Political Science Pre-Law and Broadcast Journalism at Ohio University. He studies conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa with a focus in counterinsurgency tactics.