Why West Africa?
Spirit of America has been working with the U.S. Army for the last fifteen months to counter extremism in West Africa, focusing on stabilizing isolated communities along the Mauritanian-Malian border. As you may know, violence has erupted across the region as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its affiliates seek to expand their power and influence. Within the last month, France deployed forces to help re-secure northern Mali, the largest al Qaeda-controlled territory in the world, and a gas field in remote Algeria was taken over by an AQIM-related group, with many hostages killed in the subsequent rescue.
We are supporting our troops in their efforts to prevent this violence from spreading. For those of you who want to know more about what's happening, the following links provide background on the situation in West Africa. Stay tuned for more about our work there.
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138767/susanna-wing/making-sense-of-mali (requires login for complete article)