Ghana is expanding its proactive stance on terrorism by turning to Iran for expert advice on counter-terrorism measures that would protect its economy from deadly attacks similar to those recently experienced by neighbouring country, Burkina Faso, as well as other countries on the African continent. The country is seeking to do this while also seeking to generally improve the country’s level of security.
The tragic events in Ouagadougou began on Thursday, January 14 and continued until the next day, leaving Burkina Faso and several other countries around the world, in shock and distress. The Ghanaian government vocally condemned the attacks and emphasized its commitment to ensuring that citizens in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries live in peace and security.
Ali Shamkani, Iran’s Secretary of Supreme Security Council, shared Iran’s years of knowledge and experience on security issues with Ghana’s Yaw Donkor, National Security Coordinator, at the bilateral talks held between both countries on February 14 in Tehran. Ghana and Iran are members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and currently enjoy economic, trade and political relations which witnessed a re-invigoration in 2009.
According to Shamkani, for terrorism to be eradicated from the roots, the international community needs to address the core issues that lead to the formation of terrorist groups in the first place, such as discrimination, economic and cultural impoverishment. Furthermore, he blamed the “double standards” and persistence of “failed experiences” practiced by countries, including Saudi Arabia, for escalating and complicating the present situation of terrorism around the world.
Iran has been embroiled in a bitter battle with terrorism since 1979 with the conclusion of the Iran Revolution of that year which put the Middle Eastern country both against itself and the international community at different times, due to its alleged contribution in supporting terrorism and terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. However, in contemporary times, Iran is more determined to atone for its previous sins by dedicating the time and resources of its intelligence unit to eliminating the threat of terrorism, starting with the affected regions. Therefore, although Iran might be largely responsible for the evolution of terrorism, its past and present activities makes it an indisputable authority on the subject. This explains why Ghana, in the spirit of promoting the aims of NAM, protecting the interests of ECOWAS member states and based on its various crucial relations with Iran, would trust its insight.
Additionally, Ghana’s policies on security and counter-terrorism have been criticised by concerned citizens such as Dr. Kwesi Aning who observes that the Ghanaian government is failing to live up to its claims of implementing security measures to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, particularly following the attacks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in January. Currently, the Ghana Immigration Service is tightening security at its borders and asking residents in those areas to cooperate with security officials.
Meanwhile, hotels and other such accommodations in the country are now legally required to provide immigration service authorities with complete information on foreigners using their facilities.