Author: Tim Sample

The Risk of History Repeating Itself: Are We Underestimating Today’s Terrorists?

By the close of President Obama’s State of the Union address, I was drawn to aspects concerning terrorists and extremist organizations worldwide. As I listened, I realized that I was experiencing deja vu (more on that in a moment).  Two specific lines from his speech caused this feeling: “Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” “America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.” This feeling was solidified by a couple observations.  First, was the near absence of the foreign policy/national security narrative.  Yes, there were some points made and passing references to these issues, but in the context of the overall tenor of the speech, it was almost an afterthought, with emphasis on claiming political wins over letting the American people know what we are really up against in the rest of the decade.  There was talk of smart leadership, but again, that seemed more concept or belief than strategy or doctrine.  My second observation was in how certain issues were addressed, one example of which was ISIS.  The President stated: “In Iraq and Syria, American leadership — including our military power — is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting...

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Battling Boko Haram – The Global Reality

This recent article in The Guardian via Mark Tran offers a concise summary of the situation with Boko Haram. It’s worth the read, and there are a couple of areas worth amplifying: Organizations like Boko Haram feed off of poverty and unstable or failing states.   They do this because it allows for easier freedom of operations, as they create strains and stresses on the state’s security and stability, then capitalize on that instability for freedom of movement.  They also rely on the poverty of an area in order to recruit new members, principally youth who are disenfranchised and easily radicalized. Clearly, the upcoming elections in Nigeria will create a catalyst for further instability and violence.  And although this article explains the background and sets the stage, a key point is that the dis-functional and immature political process (including the polemics of the various parties), plays into the hands of Boko Haram. This dis-function and the fractious nature of the parties is, in part, a legacy of colonialism whereby the functional relationship of “modern” authority — the governments left in place by the Imperial powers — with traditional authority — chiefs of tribes — have never been fully address or resolved, especially at the grass roots level.  This is something that 72 Africa’s President, Fr. Clement, has studied and worked with, and is a focus of attention in our research and efforts. Military...

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72 Africa: Ending Unrest in Africa by Paying Living Wages

72 Africa is committed to reducing conflict and unrest in Africa by one of the most peaceful means possible: gainful employment. We’re convinced that living wages are a powerful weapon against war, and the destructive allure of organizations like Boko Haram, ISIS, a Al Qaeda in Yemen and others. As we explain in our latest press announcement: One of the greatest causes for unrest in Africa is that unemployed or underemployed youth are hired by armies to become part of ongoing conflicts. Many of these youngsters either have no job, or they have jobs that are going nowhere, and that do not pay a living wage. Consequently, the money paid to them to take up arms is very attractive. Through providing training for useful job skills, through micro-financing and other community support programs, 72 Africa hopes to break the cycle of poverty and violence which has troubled many African nations in recent years. Click here to make a donation to 72...

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Why Charlie Hebdo and Africa are Linked, Why We Should Care, and Why 72 Africa is a Must

The world is mourning for the lives lost this past week in Paris. The attacks at Charlie Hebdo and a local Kosher grocery store have transfixed our attention yet again on terrorism…at least for the moment. World media would have you believe that this was a surprise and is focusing on the cold-blooded barbarity of those following al Qaeda in Yemen or ISIS in Syria/Iraq, while questioning whether the attacks highlight some deficiency in preparedness on behalf of Western governments. The media fixates on what this all means. Does this indicate the activation of other terrorist cells? What countries...

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