When it comes to prosecuting the global war on terror in general and assuring the critical infrastructure of the United States in particular, most analysts have written off Africa as little more than a source of trouble, albeit one that could be safely ignored since it has rarely, if ever, impinged on America’s strategic national interests. This view, however, is extremely shortsighted.

According to the September 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States of America, the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington has taught the world’s sole remaining superpower that “weak states…can pose a great danger to our national interests as strong states. Poverty does not make poor people into terrorists and murderers. More...