PUBLIC POLICY UPDATE February 22, 2013 WASHINGTON UPDATE This week, Congress was not in session, but that

has not stopped the concerns over sequestration. Last week, Secretary Kerry sent a letter to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) explaining how sequestration would impact millions of people through reductions in humanitarian assistance and international development efforts. On Wednesday, InterAction and 39 other NGOs sent an open letter to Congress expressing concern over the current funding levels for humanitarian assistance – which are insufficient to meet the needs of current crises – and anticipated spending cuts as a result of sequestration. The letter asked Congress to consider the changing needs for humanitarian assistance when they draft the next continuing resolution: “Without these alterations we fear that the U.S. agencies that oversee humanitarian response will be put in an impossible position, choosing between saving lives in one country over another.” It also asks that this additional funding not be offset by cuts to poverty-focused development accounts in the International Affairs Budget. Josh Rogin highlighted the letter in a piece he wrote about the human cost of sequestration in Foreign Policy’s The Cable. Others, including Ambassador Tony Hall and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), have also sounded the alarm about the human costs of sequestration in op-eds this week. When Congress reconvenes next week, they will have only a few days before sequestration begins on Friday, March 1. We will have full coverage of these happenings in the next update. UPCOMING HEARINGS There are no upcoming hearings next week.

HEARING SUMMARIES The Crisis in Mali: U.S. Interests and the International Response House Committee on Foreign Affairs Feb. 14 2013 Witnesses:   Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of state for Africa, Department of State Amanda Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, Department of Defense

Opening Statements: Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)  Over the past year and a half al-Qaeda’s regional partners have taken over. o Al-Qaeda capitalized on Mali’s weak government. 1

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Obtained weapons from Gaddafi’s stockpile. Last month civilians were held hostage, including American citizens. Malian militants are thought to be connected to those involved in the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi on September 11, 2011. Militants wanted to impose radical Islamic rule over all citizens. Those who did not obey suffered grave consequences. French forces intervened and sought U.S. assistance, but the administration was slow to respond: o The administration has been divided on U.S. policy in Mali. o Department of Defense (DoD) wanted to confront the threat. o State Department wanted to contain the threat. o o o

Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY)  A regional affiliate of al-Qaeda took control of northern Mali last year. o There were concerns about Mali becoming a source of instability and a safe place for terrorists for the region. o France took the lead in Mali by launching airstrikes and putting boots on the ground. o Disturbed by reports that the U.S. may expect payment from France for our airlift support. o Malian elections have been pushed back, but it is important that they be held. o The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has risen by hundreds of thousands due to current conflict and drought. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)  An al-Qaeda group blew up the gas plant in Algeria, which killed American citizens. The leader of this al-Qaeda group is still on the loose. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)  The fight against al-Qaeda is a world-wide struggle. o Cannot limit our scope to one theater.  We need allies, and we cannot always be in the lead; in this case we are behind. o We should support France. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)  Progress has been made in many countries; Mali can be one of them.  Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) poses internal and external threats. o Reports of child solders, flogging, executions, destroyed religious shrines. Johnnie Carson  The problem in Mali is the most complex conflict West Africa has faced in over two decades.  Four underlying challenges Mali continues to face: o Presence of AQIM in northern Mali; o Restoration of democracy; o Negotiation with groups – such as the Tuareg – that renounce terrorism and recognize the united Malian government; and o Development and humanitarian crises.  Strongly support French efforts; the U.S. will assist in Mali. o U.S has supported with aircraft carrier supplies. 2

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o U.S has supported various African forces. Progress in Mali cannot be made solely through military forces: o We must encourage democracy and national reconciliation. o Elections must be held without fear. o Coup leaders must remove themselves completely from Malian politics. U.S. has provided more than $120 million to address Mali in 2012. Any military success will be fleeting if Mali does not establish a democratic, stable government.

Amanda Dory  The DoD is working with international and interagency partners to counter extremists and support Mali’s sovereignty  The French have been working with U.S. support since January 11. o The goals are to shrink al-Qaeda safe havens and restore democracy.  DoD engagement with the armed forces is restricted by law and policy because of the coup last March. o We can, however, support Mali’s neighbors.  Thirteen different African nations have been sent to Mali. They have the support of 22 countries, including the U.S.  AQIM is a part of a network of extremists that stretches from Egypt to Liberia, Somalia, Nigeria and Mali.  DoD strongly believes in addressing the security and humanitarian support in Mali and will continue its efforts in gaining more supporters. Questioning: Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) 1. Why push for the UN peacekeeping mission at this time?  Carson: o The African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) could lead to UN peacekeeping force. o Planning is important to get a sense of what may be required in the future. o There will be an ongoing need for a counterterrorism operation in northern Mali, and that will likely always reside in the hands of the French not UN. 2. We were slow in response to our French ally. When NATO allies asked for our help in Libya, assistance only took days, what is the hold up here? Could Congress help in speeding it up?  Dory: o The first French report was for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage to airlift and refueling; each was met as quickly as feasible. o All of the intelligence channels were fully open as soon as the French made that request. o The French have expressed their gratitude to DoD officials. o We believe we are in good shape in support of the French. Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) 1. What steps are your two departments taking in support of your security assistance programs in light of some of the failures we have seen in Mali?  Carson: o Constantly reviewing security programs. o Money put in the Sahel region has been used correctly. 3

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Mali is a political and military disappointment, despite U.S. training, but looking at the other 12 countries who responded to Mali crisis, all have received aid and military assistance from U.S. and have been positive.

Dory: o When working with partners, we focus on the capacity and will. o In Mali there was a divergence, the partners must have the shared sense of will. o It is critically important to be involved at an institutional level. 2. What threats do AQIM pose to U.S. homeland and interests abroad?  Dory: o They do not at this point pose a direct threat to U.S. homeland or territory. They certainly pose a threat to Americans overseas, Western interests and African interests in the region. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 1. How would you assess the efficacy of the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) today? Why were partnerships like this program reduced on an annual basis under the administration when the threats were so apparent?  Carson: o Endorses the existence of the TSCTI as important. o The money goes to 10 different African countries. o It enhances and boosts their militaries, border security and counterterrorism security. Rep. Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) 1. Could you make a distinction between the two al-Qaeda groups in Mali?  Carson: o Mali’s population is 98 percent moderate Muslim.  AQIM is an extension of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) from Algeria.  Algerians have been successful in eliminating the jihadist threats in the rural and city areas.  Algerians pushed jihadists down to northern Mali.  AQIM is not Malian but Algerian, and much of the leadership of AQIM is Algerian and Mauritanian. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) 1. What is the U.S. government doing to ensure that forces in Mali are trained in humanitarian aid, specifically preventing and fighting sex trafficking?  Dory: o At this point the DoD has not engaged with Malian forces since the coup took place last year. That does not apply to AFISMA. o DoD and State Department are evaluating trainee needs and equipment needs. 2. There won’t be an effort made specifically against sex trafficking?  Dory: o One of the benefits to potential UN operation would be having human rights observers. 3. What will be the mission of an AFISMA operation force?  Carson: o Leahy Amendment requires U.S. to approve any units that we supply, train and support to make sure they have clean human rights records. 4

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We are attentive to charges and allegations against these units. Will not endorse anyone who has been accused or convicted of any human rights violations. If there are any allegations of any violations of human rights, we will expose the accused and bring it up to their governments. We want to have a transition plan in place before the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) moves in.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) 1. What other countries in the Sahel and West Africa are security concern to the U.S. in regards to terrorism?  Carson: o There are criteria that make states susceptible to terrorism in the region – weak governance, poor security, underdevelopment, unclear borders, communities that feel they have grievances that central authorities will ignore, etc. o Growing awareness across governments in Sahel region that AQIM poses a threat. 2. It is been widely reported that the U.S. is eager to build a drone base in Niger.  Dory: o We do not have a drone base in Niger. o Africa command is interested in increasing resources in the region of all kinds. 3. What is your assessment of the roadmap for transition for Mali? Does it provide a path towards reconciliation and unity?  Carson: o The roadmap is significant and important document. o Underscores Malian political class to stand behind a rapid transition to a new democratic dispensation. o It’s essential for the international community to encourage the Malian government to live up to the timetable of the roadmap. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) 1. Is this an ethnic or tribal conflict?  Carson: o There are historical disagreements that divide the Tuareg and northern Bubal and Arabic people. o The Tuareg were a political and security problem for the French for a long time. 2. Are you confident that the West can come into a conflict that has historical and ethnic roots and make a difference?  Carson: o We should all be concerned about this region and AQIM. o The concerns of the Tuareg are decades old, older than the existence of AQIM.  It is important that we don’t conflate the historical communities and conflicts of the north with the jihadists who are a part of the AQIM.  We may not have an immediate threat to the homeland, but the French do. (Note: Later in the hearing, it is mentioned that France has the largest Malian diaspora population in the world.)  We are assisting French and African forces but we have no intention of putting boots on the ground.


Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) 1. Who might be the candidates for the next Malian president? Are we providing any resources for the elections?  Carson: o We will provide technical and financial support. o It is possible for the Malians to hold credible free elections by July 31, which is outlined in the roadmap document. 2. Are there any other candidates beside the current president?  Carson: o Neither the current president nor the prime minister will be candidates. o Mali was scheduled to have elections before the coup. o There are formed political parties. o 90 percent of Malians live in the southern part of Mali and have not been affected by the conflict. o Major cities have been recaptured and will be able to hold elections, which will include IDPs and people living in refugee camps. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) 1. Why isn’t China offering more money – they only gave $1 million in comparison to the $96 million the U.S. gave to Mali?  Carson: o Other countries are helping. o The EU pledged 50 million Euro. o Many countries across the EU have offered assistance to the French; we are not out there alone with the French. 2. How do we make sure we are pushing back against violent ideology?  Carson: o There are programs that are jointly run by USAID and the DoD to counter Islamic extremism; they reach out to those who are susceptible to a radical agenda. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) 1. Will the terrorist organization be reflected in the elections in any way? What is the path for some reconciliation with the separatist Tuareg? Do we have a sense of who will prevail in those elections?  Carson: o AQIM does not have popular support across northern Mali. o Most leaders of AQIM are Algerian or Mauritanian and do not have many followers. o The overwhelming welcome received by French troops across northern Mali shows that Malians felt oppressed by the AQIM. o Prior to March of last year Mali had 20 years of democracy and had several elections that went well. Reconciliation can take place. o In Bamako, many people had a different perception of what the real threat in the north was.  We have been concerned with AQIM.  People in Mali perceived the threat as an age old traditional enemy – the Tuareg. They have had legitimate grievances about political representation. 2. What is your assessment of these terrorist groups in wake of the French military action?  Carson: o AQIM has been weakened, but not defeated.


Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) 1. What does the future hold for AQIM?  Dory: o It depends on how dedicated the international forces are to stopping them. The French set them back tremendously. 2. Do we know France’s policy?  Dory: o Their approach is to take immediate action. They are looking to have African forces stabilize key populations centers. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) 1. The civil war in Mali started as a Tuareg tribal revolt – an independence movement.  Carson: o Partially correct. 2. Does the Tuareg tribal independence movement really date back decades?  Carson: o Elements of the Tuareg community have wanted greater autonomy for many years. 3. Do the Tuareg represent a majority in some parts of northern Mali?  Carson: o The Tuareg are a minority within a minority. They are the most publicized group and most willing to fight. 4. The Tuareg have never before associated themselves with al-Qaeda or any other terrorist groups?  Carson: o The Tuareg grievances and their political and economic aspirations go back to the 1870s, when the French came in direct contact. 5. Have the Tuareg have been discriminated against by other Malian groups? Did that discrimination involve mass killings of the Tuareg?  Carson: o I think there is a lot of truth to that. 6. Would you call the Tuareg and AQIM mortal enemies?  Carson: o They have different historical and political views. o The Tuareg are not traditionally jihadist Islamist extremists, but moderate. 7. In the past 12 months have we seen conflicts between the Tuareg and AQIM?  Carson: o Both groups found it was opportunistic to work together. o Many Tuareg did not find the treatment of AQIM acceptable. 8. You mean the torture?  Carson: o The Tuareg did not practice Shariah law. They have been both the victims and inflictors of political violence. 9. Would it pose a threat to the U.S. if the Tuareg were independent?  Carson: o We do not support the Balkanization of that country. o We do not support the aspirations of some Tuareg to have an independent state. 10. If there was a separate state it would not be a threat, correct?  Carson: o Cannot answer that hypothetical question. 7

Rep. Thomas Marino (R-PA) 1. We have no intentions of boots on the ground in Mali; how confident are you about the degree of support we will get from the Malian people?  Carson: o The French are welcomed by the Malian people, and they support their help. 2. What is the probability that the U.S. will become more deeply involved? Where would we be then when the French bail out?  Carson: o The U.S. strongly supports French and African partners in terms of deploying forces in Mali. Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA) 1. Have the French asked for anything we have not assisted them in?  Dory: o No. 2. Is there something to the notion that we were delayed anyway because of a lack of communication?  Dory: o State and Defense have been continuously uniform. We have worked together collaboratively and aggressively. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) 1. How do we make sure that we address all the important issues and that we are not throwing money aimlessly at the problem?  Carson: o U.S. must be diplomatically engaged with the UN and the EU as well as the French. o We have to work toward a shared set of outcomes and be consistent in pushing those forward. 2. Elaborate on the State Department taking the lead more than DoD and looking at a diplomatic solution?  Carson: o Yes. The problems in Mali cannot be exclusively defined as security problems and terrorism. There must be solutions in order to make Mali a strong and stable country. o The French have advanced the agenda. o The State Department is working on the foreign affairs. It is happening at all levels very robustly. 3. How does Mali differ in regards to democratic elections?  Carson: o Elections are only one step in the democratic process. We create political space, engage as diplomats and encourage other democratic parties to actively do so. 4. Are there any success stories?  Carson: o Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Sierra Leone. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) 1. How do we distinguish within AQIM between those who are affiliated with the core of al-Qaeda and those who just identify with the name? 8

Carson: o There is a link between AQIM and core al-Qaeda. 2. You have spoken about conditions that make Mali more susceptible to terrorist activity; can you give a description about the poverty and desperation there?  Carson: o Mali ranks in the bottom 10-15 percent of the poorest countries in the world. o Per capita income is $2,300/year. o The Tuareg feel they have the short end of the development stick. 3. Do you have any insights into the goals of French forces?  Carson: o The eventual possibility of a peacekeeping program. o The French are not willing to backslide on their accomplishments through hasty transitions to stabilization. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) 1. Are you aware of that article published in the Post about Mali by a general?  Carson: o I think it is dated and historical. Gen. Wall was probably there 15 years ago – much has changed. 2. You would disagree with how his characterization would apply to today’s context?  Carson: o Carson communicates frequently with Gen. Ham from the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). 3. Could you tell us about your sense of French military there? What is the French capability, do we think AQIM will return after the French leave? Do you know the French government’s intention for the short and long terms?  Carson: o Many countries can enforce power like the French. o U.S. supported them with airlifts. o The initial intervention can sometimes be the easiest part. o U.S. will continue to assist the French. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) 1. How can we assess our intelligence and ensure that U.S. foreign aid is administered effectively? How do we better support strong democracy?  Carson: o Reevaluate what went wrong as well. o The Tuareg in Mali’s north were not getting services they thought they should be; this problem has not been sufficiently addressed. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) 1. What are the immediate and long-term consequences for the U.S. and our allies if we ignore the situation in Mali?  Carson: o Nothing can be ignored or dismissed, but that does not mean we have to lead. o We have had enormous success in the world, but as soon as we stop paying attention, failure returns; example of Somalia’s fragmentation in 1993 and how it impacted the global community. o The French acted because they have the largest Malian diaspora community.


ARTICLES AND REPORTS IRIN Feb. 21 Diseases spreading in Syria as WASH systems collapse A surge in water-borne infections in Syria is crippling an already dire humanitarian situation in the country. Broken systems of water, electricity and waste are fueling the crisis, adding further pressure to a health system badly damaged by the ongoing conflict, according to the WHO. Feb. 22 Looming food crisis in the Central African Republic A food crisis is brewing in areas of the Central African Republic (CAR), aid groups have warned. Up to 800,000 people have been left displaced by violence, and the WFP is now warning of severe food shortages in the most affected areas. New York Times Feb. 19 Denied new government, Tunisian premier resigns Tunisia’s prime minister resigned, following through on a promise to resign if his initiative to create a more effective government failed. Hamadi Jebali, the prime minister, promised to solve the political violence and bickering in the government in the wake of an opposition leader’s assassination. Reuters Feb. 19 Insight: Triangle of death looms over Congo's mining heartlands While international attention on the Democratic Republic of the Congo is focused on East Congo, the Mai Mai rebels threaten southern Katanga, which is important for its economic potential. Katanga is the Congo’s mining “economic engine” but investors shy away from conflict. Washington Post Feb. 17 Congressional staffers often travel on tabs of foreign governments An increasing number of foreign governments are funding overseas cultural exchange trips for lawmakers and congressional staff. The trips tend to be arranged by lobbyists from foreign countries, who utilize the trip to make connections with congressional staffers in hopes of discussing legislation after the trip. China is the largest supporter of these cultural exchanges.
Disclaimer: Articles linked in the Update are intended to provide a dashboard view of newsworthy and topical issues from popular news outlets that will be of interest to readers of the Update. The articles are an information sharing vehicle rather than an advocacy tool. They are in no way representative of the views of InterAction or the U.S. NGO community as a whole.


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