Posts Tagged africa

Two Foreign Techers Found Dead In Libya

From Al Jazeera:

“The bodies of a British man and a New Zealand woman who had been killed by bullets were found on the beach in Mellitah on Thursday afternoon,” said another source. They were found next to their luggage, but their belongings were not stolen and the motive for their killing was unclear.

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Gauging the Jihadist Movement, Part 1: The Goals of the Jihadists

Gauging the Jihadist Movement, Part 1: The Goals of the Jihadists is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart

Editor’s NoteThe following is the first installment of a five-part series examining the global jihadist movement. Part 2 analyzes insurgent and terrorist theory. Part 3 defines the jihadist movement and evaluates its various elements. Part 4 looks at franchises and grassroots jihadists and Part 5 scrutinizes the al Qaeda core as well as gauging the overall implications for security. 

Quite often when I am doing speaking engagements, client briefings or press interviews, I am asked questions like: “Given the events in Syria and Libya, is the jihadist movement stronger than ever?” It is a good question, but it is also one that is not easily answered in a five-second sound bite or a succinct quote for print media — it really requires some detailed explanation. Because of this, I’ve decided to take some time to provide a more thorough treatment of the subject in written form for Stratfor readers. As I thought through the various aspects of the topic, I came to believe that adequately covering it requires more than one Security Weekly, so I will dedicate a series of articles to it.

When gauging the current state of the jihadist movement, I believe it is useful to use two different standards. The first is to take jihadists’ goals and objectives and measure their progress toward achieving them. The second is to take a look at insurgent theory and terrorism models to see what they can tell us about the state of jihadist militant networks and their efforts. This week we will discuss the first standard: the jihadists’ goals and objectives. Next week we will discuss insurgency and terrorism theories, and then once we have established these two benchmarks we can use them to see how the various elements of the jihadist movement measure up. Read the rest of this entry »

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Platoon of Marines moved to Uganda

From: Stars and Stripes

Platoon of Marines moved to Uganda“This forward posturing provides the Combatant Commander additional options and the ability to more quickly respond, if required, to help protect U.S. personnel and facilities,” U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.

AFRICOM said this contingent of some 40 Marines and a KC-130J aircraft are now in Entebbe, the capital of Uganda.

The KC-130J transport plane has airborne assault capabilities, and is also used for medevac, search and rescue, and aerial refueling.

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Arming Mechant Ships Results in Reduced Piracy

From Instapundit:

Successful hijackings off Somalia fell by half to 14 in 2012 from 28 in 2011, and overall attacks dropped to 75 from 237. Through the third quarter of 2013, there have been just 10 incidents, with two hijackings.

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Tunisian Suicide Bomber

From The Washington Times:

In what may have been the first suicide attack in Tunisia, hotel security guards stopped the bomber from entering the Riadh Palm hotel in Sousse, a city 90 miles (150 kilometers) south of the capital, Tunis, then chased him to a beach where he blew himself up, the Interior Ministry said.

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BBC Reporters Told Not To Use The Word “Terrorist”

From The Daily Mail:

The BBC was criticised yesterday for not describing the armed jihadists behind the Kenya shopping centre siege as terrorists.

The corporation’s journalists have avoided using the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ in reports.

Instead, they described the terrorists as ‘Islamist militants’ or ‘suspected Al Shabaab militants’ – and only used the word terrorist in when quoting someone else.

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3 Reasons Benghazi Still Matters

From Reason.tv:

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Kenyan Terrorists Include Americans

From The Daily Mail:

The FBI is investigating claims that up to five of the terrorists who killed 68 people in a despicable attack on an upmarket Kenyan shopping mall are Americans, as the the siege moved into its third day with fresh gunfire and explosions reported coming from the center on Monday morning in Nairobi.

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Egypt: Military Coup Bodes Ill for Future Stability

Egypt: Military Coup Bodes Ill for Future Stability is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Analysis

Egyptian military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced July 3 that the country’s president, Mohammed Morsi, had been removed from office in the wake of popular unrest. In a short media statement, al-Sisi, who was flanked by the three armed services chiefs, opposition leaders, the sheikh of al-Azhar Mosque and the pope of the Coptic Church, announced that Adly Mansour, chief justice of the Constitutional Court, has replaced Morsi as interim president. He also announced that the constitution has been suspended. Mansour’s appointment is notable in that one of the key demands of the Tamarod protest movement was that he become president. The provisional government will be holding fresh parliamentary and presidential elections.

The arrangement was made without the involvement of Morsi, whose whereabouts remain unknown, or of anyone representing the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has effectively been thrown out of power, must now figure out how to respond. The group probably will not respond violently, but it will engage in civil unrest that will lead to violence. Though the Brotherhood is unlikely to abandon the path of democratic politics, Morsi’s ouster will lead elements from more ultraconservative Salafist groups to abandon mainstream politics in favor of armed conflict.

The overthrow of Egypt’s moderate Islamist government undermines the international efforts to bring radical Islamists into the political mainstream in the wider Arab and Muslim world. Ultimately, within the context of Egypt, Morsi’s ouster sets a precedent where future presidents can expect to be removed from office by the military in the event of pressure from the masses. In a way, this was set in motion by the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, and it does not bode well for the future stability of Egypt.

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Possible Military Coup in Egypt

Possible Military Coup in Egypt is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Analysis

The deadline attached to the Egyptian military’s ultimatum expired July 3, and it appears the military is removing President Mohammed Morsi from office to begin the plan that it leaked to the press on July 2. Morsi gave a defiant speech last night, saying that he would not give up his electoral legitimacy — essentially forcing the military to choose between intervening and removing him directly or reaching some kind of compromise. It appears the former is in the process of happening, though it is still possible that the military could be engaging in a show of force to dramatically increase pressure on negotiations. The military could be using this brinksmanship to get the Muslim Brotherhood to adopt the “road map” the military released for the political future.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The Rise of a New Nigerian Militant Group

The Rise of a New Nigerian Militant Group is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Matthew Bey and Sim Tack

In the past week, 14 foreigners have been kidnapped in northern Nigeria and Cameroon in two separate attacks. No group has claimed responsibility for the second attack, which occurred Feb. 19 in Cameroon, but the location is adjacent to Boko Haram’s core territory in northeast Nigeria. Ansaru, a splinter group of Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the first attack and could be responsible for the second since, unlike Boko Haram, it has a history of kidnapping foreign nationals. If Boko Haram conducted the second attack, it would signal a significant shift in the group’s targets and tactics.

As Stratfor noted, Boko Haram’s capabilities in 2012 were limited to soft targets near the group’s base of operations in northeastern Nigeria. Ansaru has emerged over the past year and appears to have surpassed Boko Haram in its range of tactics and targets. Ansaru has relied on armed attacks for kidnappings rather than suicide bombings. Ansaru’s targets have included foreigners and those involved with the intervention in Mali, while Boko Haram’s targets have been Nigerian.

Nearly all of the Ansaru attacks since December 2012, as well as the unclaimed kidnapping in Cameroon, have targeted French nationals or those supporting French operations in Mali. This has raised the fear that widespread kidnappings will be fallout from the Mali intervention. A continuation of this violence could harm foreign interests in Nigeria and the surrounding countries and strengthen militant jihadism throughout the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Unspectacular, Unsophisticated Algerian Hostage Crisis

The Unspectacular, Unsophisticated Algerian Hostage Crisis is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis

The recent jihadist attack on the Tigantourine natural gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria, and the subsequent hostage situation there have prompted some knee-jerk discussions among media punditry. From these discussions came the belief that the incident was spectacular, sophisticated and above all unprecedented. A closer examination shows quite the opposite.

Indeed, very little of the incident was without precedent. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who orchestrated the attack, has employed similar tactics and a similar scale of force before, and frequently he has deployed forces far from his group’s core territory in northern Mali. Large-scale raids, often meant to take hostages, have been conducted across far expanses of the Sahel. What was unprecedented was the target. Energy and extraction sites have been attacked in the past, but never before was an Algerian natural gas facility selected for such an assault.

A closer look at the operation also reveals Belmokhtar’s true intentions. The objective of the attack was not to kill hostages but to kidnap foreign workers for ransom — an objective in keeping with many of Belmokhtar’s previous forays. But in the end, his operation was a failure. His group killed several hostages but did not destroy the facility or successfully transport hostages away from the site. He lost several men and weapons, and just as important, he appears to have also lost the millions of dollars he could have gained through ransoming his captives. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Boko Haram More Dangerous Than Ever?

Is Boko Haram More Dangerous Than Ever? is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis

On Nov. 25, Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group from northern Nigeria, attacked a church in Jaji, Kaduna state, using two suicide bombers during the church’s weekly religious service. The first bomb detonated in a vehicle driven into the church, and the second detonated approximately 10 minutes later, when a crowd of first responders gathered at the scene. About 30 people were killed in the attacks; the second blast caused the majority of the deaths. The incident was particularly symbolic because Jaji is the home of Nigeria’s Armed Forces Command and Staff College, and many of the churchgoers were senior military officers.

In the wake of the Jaji attacks, media reports quoted human rights groups saying that Boko Haram has killed more people in 2012 than ever before. The group has killed roughly 770 people this year, leading many to conclude that Boko Haram has become more dangerous.

However, it is important to look beyond the sheer number of fatalities when drawing such conclusions about a group like Boko Haram. Indeed, a less cursory look at the group reveals that while 2012 has been a particularly deadly year, the Nigerian government has curtailed the group’s capabilities. In terms of operational planning, the group has been limited to simple attacks against soft targets in or near its core territory. In other words, Boko Haram remains deadly, but it is actually less capable than it used to be, relegating the group to a limited, regional threat unless this dynamic is somehow altered.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The Expensive, Diminishing Threat of Somali Piracy

The Expensive, Diminishing Threat of Somali Piracy is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Ben West

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has dropped off dramatically in 2012. Successful ship hijackings have decreased from 31 in 2011 (and 49 in 2010) to only four so far in 2012. Attacks against ships have also decreased, falling from 199 reported attacks in the first nine months of 2011 to 70 attacks over the same span in 2012 — a 65 percent drop. However, diminished activity does not necessarily mean a decrease in the cost of sailing around the Horn of Africa. Somali pirates occupy a unique position, which is right along highly strategic global shipping lanes yet outside the reach of any national power. For international actors, it is politically and militarily easier to try to contain the Somali piracy threat than to eliminate it. But containment comes at a high cost. Read the rest of this entry »

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Resurgence of al Qaeda

From RAND:

One significant trend is the expansion of al Qaeda’s global network. The leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Shabaab in Somalia, al Qaeda in Iraq, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (in North Africa) have sworn bayat, or loyalty, to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and provided him with funding, global influence, and a cadre of trained fighters. None of these affiliate organizations existed a decade ago. But, over the past several years, attacks by these affiliates have increased.

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