Monday, February 4, 2013

A billion dollars spread over 10 countries doesn't go that far

So there was an attack not too long ago on a natural gas facility in Algeria. The attackers took hostages. The Algerian military staged an op to free them. People died (militants, hostages, Algerian soldiers), though the majority (if I recall aright) of hostages were freed alive. The mastermind behind the attacks was a jihadist named Mokhtar Belmokhtar. 

And now the handwringing and the fault-finding have begun. A WaPo piece notes that
In 2005, the U.S. government started the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership — the innovative, $1 billion collection of programs designed to prevent the spread of radicalism. It delivered humanitarian aid and security assistance to 10 countries in North and West Africa, drawing on the combined resources of the military, the State Department and the Agency for International Development.
The partnership was dogged by problems from the outset, however, as U.S. agencies squabbled internally and struggled to understand an unfamiliar cultural and political terrain.
You know what might have been another problem? A billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, but spread it over 8 years and 10 countries and it might not go that far.

(In the extremely unlikely event that this post is read by someone who  knows something about this program -- which I, of course, do not -- please feel free to leave a comment. Of course, other comments are, as per usual, also welcome.)

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