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The Horn of Africa: Why It's Important In The US War On Terrorism - 2002-12-11


A British defense analyst says the current global interest in the Horn of Africa is dictated by the presence of pockets of Islamic fundamentalism and what he calls “failed states” in the region.

William Hopkinson of the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs says countries in the region can assist the US led war on terrorism by sharing intelligence, offering bases of operation, and working toward better governance. He says improving governance helps prevent potential terrorists from gaining influence there.

Mr. Hopkinson describes Islamic fundamentalism as a multi-dimensional phenomenon. He says some fundamentalists reject Western values and dominance, and seek a clash of civilization. He says in countries with a high index of economic and social misery, fundamental Islam sometimes seems to offer a remedy.

The British analyst sees some correlation between the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and Western foreign policies. But he adds some fundamentalists, even if the West didn’t exist, would still seek a return to an earlier, simpler, purer, more effective form of Islam.

Mr. Hopkinson spoke with English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje.

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