The Costs of United States’ Post-9/11 “Security Assistance”: How Counterterrorism Intensified Conflict in Burkina Faso and Around the World

Arming the World’s Conflicts, DoD Policy Chief Nominee Links Arms Sales to Values, Elite Afghan Troops Struggle Without US Help & more

*|MC:SUBJECT|*

WEEKLY MONITOR


March 8, 2021

The Costs of United States’ Post-9/11 “Security Assistance”:
How Counterterrorism Intensified Conflict 
in Burkina Faso and Around the World

Cost of War, March 2021


A new report from Brown University’s Cost of War project takes an in-depth look at the effects of U.S. security assistance and the risks of “helping” other nations wage their own “wars on terror.”

The report argues that by exporting a narrative of militarized counterterrorism, along with the financial and institutional support to back it up, U.S. security assistance has empowered governments to justify authoritarianism, target and repress minority groups and political opponents, and facilitate illicit profiteering. The report also argues that the current security assistance strategy has not only failed to curb violence but also strengthened militant groups and exacerbated local conflicts.

This paper draws on the case of Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in the West African Sahel that has received U.S. counterterrorism funding and training since 2009. The paper examines how the larger U.S. understanding of — and dollars spent on — counterterrorism have intensified the conflict in Burkina Faso and the broader region.

Click here to read the full report.

Security Assistance News & Research Roundup


News & Blog Posts


With less U.S. tactical support, Afghanistan’s elite forces are struggling to roll back Taliban advances

Washington Post, March 3

Reduced U.S. military support in battles against the Taliban is frustrating efforts by Afghanistan’s elite forces to roll back the militants’ advances here, with decreased airstrikes and a shortage of advanced technology slowing their ground operations.
 

Tie US Arms Exports to Values, Pentagon Policy Chief Nominee Says

Defense One, March 4

Pentagon policy chief nominee, Colin Kahl, said US “arms sales need to be aligned not just with our national interests, but with our values.” He pledged to “treat the [arms sales to Saudi Arabia] issue urgently,” if confirmed by the Senate.
 

Egypt moves ahead with purchase of Russian arms despite US warnings

Al-Monitor, March 3

Despite the risk of sanctions from the US, Egypt has officially received five Sukhoi Su-35 advanced combat aircraft from Russia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about the deal to his Egyptian counterpart last month.

 

US announces $125 million in military aid for Ukraine

Defense News, March 2

In Biden administration’s first military aid to Ukraine, the Pentagon announced a $125 million Foreign Military Financing package that includes two Mark VI patrol boats. The Defense Department said it encourages Ukraine to “modernize its defense sector in other key areas in line with NATO principles.”
 

‘Disastrous decision’: UK slashes aid to Yemen while approving arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Middle East Eye, March 1

The United Kingdom will halve its aid to Yemen from $223 million in 2020 to $121 million in 2021 amid a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the country. Human rights organizations and politicians have criticized the UK government for cutting aid while continuing to arm the Saudi-led coalition.
 

Middle East Eye, March 4

In a letter directed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, fifteen organizations urge the United States to “reinstate restrictions on arms sales to Bahrain pending an improvement in the country’s rights record.”


Tie US Arms Exports to Values, Pentagon Policy Chief Nominee Says

Defense One, March 4

Pentagon policy chief nominee, Colin Kahl, said US “arms sales need to be aligned not just with our national interests, but with our values.” He pledged to “treat the [arms sales to Saudi Arabia] issue urgently,” if confirmed by the Senate.

 

Research, Analysis, and Opinion  

 

Business as Usual: How major weapons exporters arm the world’s conflicts

World Peace Foundation, March 3

This research provides the first global analysis of how conflict in, or involving, a recipient state, impacts exporters’ willingness to supply arms. It analyses the top eleven global arms suppliers over the ten-year period 2009-18. The report asks why, despite robust regulation mechanisms in key exporting countries and international monitoring efforts, has the global arms trade proven remarkably resistant to effective controls – with direct enabling consequences on conflict situations?
 

Profiting from misery: South Africa’s complicity in war crimes in Yemen 

Open Secrets, March 3

This Open Secrets investigation finds that “Saudi Arabia and the UAE have become the most important clients of South Africa’s arms companies since 2014, the year the civil war broke out in Yemen.” The South African government has bowed to the interests of the arms industry, as “South African arms companies like Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) have cashed in on the sale of weapons to some of the central parties to this conflict who may be guilty of gross human rights violations in Yemen.”  

 

Just Security Obtains Overseas Troop Counts That the Pentagon Concealed from the Public

Defense News, March 4

After a year of efforts, Just Security has finally obtained previously undisclosed government data on U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria over the last 3 years. In this post, they describe the process of obtaining the records, detail the new information, and recommend policy changes to ensure the public’s future access to precise, consistent troop level data. 
 

It’s time to rethink foreign military sales

Defense News, March 5

Luke Nicastro, a defense analyst and fellow with Defense Priorities, argues the review of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE presents the Biden administration a critical opportunity to reassess America’s approach to the arms trade. The current approach is creating both humanitarian costs and strategic problems. “Managed appropriately, defense exports can be a powerful tool of statecraft, strengthening allies and improving America’s international position. But as the last few decades have shown, this is unlikely to happen without vigilant, external oversight.”
 

Biden Has a Plan to Not Break Afghanistan

Foreign Policy, March 5

James Traub, an author and analyst on international cooperation, responds to the Biden Administration’s approach to troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. He comments on the administration’s proposal for a “transitional peace government” between the Taliban and the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, noting that this decision amongst others is “evidence of lessons learned”.

 

Data Fact of the Week:

U.S. Security Assistance to the G5 Sahel Countries FY2009-2019

The graphic above illustrates the country breakdown of U.S. security assistance to the Sahel between FY2009 and FY2019. 

A new report from Brown University’s Cost of War project takes an in-depth look at the effects of U.S. security assistance and the risks of “helping” other nations wage their own “wars on terror” using the Sahel and Burkina Faso as a case study.  

The full report can be found here.  
 

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

 

Senate Armed Services Committee

3/9: Hearings to examine United States Indo-Pacific Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program.
 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee

3/10: Hearings to examine the state of democracy around the world.
 

Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee

3/10: Hearings to examine military toxic exposures, focusing on the human consequences of war.
 

House Foreign Affairs Committee

3/10: Secretary Blinken: The Biden Administration’s Priorities for U.S. Foreign Policy
 

House Armed Services Committee

3/12: Final Recommendations of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence
 

Upcoming Events (All Online)



3/8: International Women’s Day 2021: The future of defense and security, hosted by Atlantic Council
3/8: Quetta and Wellington: Attitudes and Threat Perceptions of the Indian and Pakistani Armies, hosted by Stimson Center
3/8: The Women Who Took on ISIS: A Conversation with Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Author, The Daughters of Kobani, hosted by CSIS
3/8: Gun Violence in Mexico and Central America: Challenges and Paths to Solutions, hosted by Forum on the Arms Trade
3/9: Security Around the World | U.S.-China Competition and the Korean Peninsula, hosted by Georgetown University
3/10: Lessons from the West Capella Incident: Successful Naval Presence in the South China Sea, hosted by The Heritage Foundation
3/11: Virtual Book Discussion: The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley, hosted by Center for a New American Security
3/12: MEI Defense Leadership Series: Episode 11 with Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Simone Ledeen, hosted by MEI
 
Connect With Us on Social Media! 
Twitter
Facebook
Website
Read Past Newsletters 
Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.
*|IFNOT:ARCHIVE_PAGE|* *|LIST:DESCRIPTION|*

Our mailing address is:
*|HTML:LIST_ADDRESS_HTML|* *|END:IF|*

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

*|IF:REWARDS|* *|HTML:REWARDS|* *|END:IF|*