In This Review

Africa and the War on Terrorism
Africa and the War on Terrorism
Edited by John Davis
Ashgate, 2007, 200 pp

Al Qaeda networks have long been present in one form or another in northern and northeastern Africa. From Osama bin Laden's association with the current government in Sudan and the U.S. embassy bombings in 1998 in Kenya and Tanzania to the Islamist fundamentalist factions in the current Somalian civil war with direct links to al Qaeda, it is clear that, after the Middle East, Africa has been the privileged site for radical Islamist fundamentalist activities. This collection of essays, edited by Davis, is patchy, but at its best it provides answers to two essential questions: What exactly is the nature of the threat posed by Islamic terrorism in the region? And what should the United States do about it? The essays make it clear that the threat is not uniform across the countries of the region but is notably more substantial in the northern half of the continent, where Islam is more present and state formation more problematic. They also suggest that U.S. actions have not focused enough on the region's own unique problems and need to emphasize state building and poverty reduction rather than military matters.