Posts Tagged north africa

ISIS Leaders Killed By Mysterious Sniper

From The Daily Mail:

According to unconfirmed social media reports, ISIS fighters are now sweeping the city for the man ordinary Libyans are said to be dubbing ‘Daesh hunter’. 

The reporter also urges caution in believing what could be nothing more than ‘wild rumours’ on his Twitter account. 

Even so, social media is ablaze with reports of rumours of the sniper, who has become somewhat of a hero to those living under the control of the evil terror group, according to the Libya Herald.

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Holding Our Leaders Accountable

From SOFREP:

Many are quick to light their torches and encircle presidential candidate Hillary Clinton without due process. It’s worth taking a step back to acknowledge that Clinton’s role as secretary of state was largely to serve as a public figurehead; the day-to-day, on-the-ground operations were run by Patrick Kennedy.

The big questions that should be asked by the House Select Committee on Benghazi are, “Why didn’t Mrs. Clinton hold Kennedy and Lamb accountable in the aftermath?” and “What do these two have on her that keeps Hillary blocking and tackling in the media for two diplomats whose decisions got good Americans killed that day?”

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Egypt, Israel May Join Against ISIS

From Arutz Sheva:

An Egyptian source has revealed that if after launching a brutal attack in Sinai the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group approaches Gaza, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi may “invite” the IDF to strike it.

The source, who is “familiar with Egypt’s decision-making process,” told Haaretz on Thursday that Sisi may give the green light given that Gaza falls under Israel’s responsibility.

 

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A Net Assessment of the Middle East

A Net Assessment of the Middle East is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

The term “Middle East” has become enormously elastic. The name originated with the British Foreign Office in the 19th century. The British divided the region into the Near East, the area closest to the United Kingdom and most of North Africa; the Far East, which was east of British India; and the Middle East, which was between British India and the Near East. It was a useful model for organizing the British Foreign Office and important for the region as well, since the British — and to a lesser extent the French — defined not only the names of the region but also the states that emerged in the Near and Far East.

Today, the term Middle East, to the extent that it means anything, refers to the Muslim-dominated countries west of Afghanistan and along the North African shore. With the exception of Turkey and Iran, the region is predominantly Arab and predominantly Muslim. Within this region, the British created political entities that were modeled on European nation-states. The British shaped the Arabian Peninsula, which had been inhabited by tribes forming complex coalitions, into Saudi Arabia, a state based on one of these tribes, the Sauds. The British also created Iraq and crafted Egypt into a united monarchy. Quite independent of the British, Turkey and Iran shaped themselves into secular nation-states. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pentagon Tried to Stop Secretary of State Clinton From Going to War in Libya

From The Washington Times:

Mrs. Clinton’s main argument was that Gadhafi was about to engage in a genocide against civilians in Benghazi, where the rebels held their center of power. But defense intelligence officials could not corroborate those concerns and in fact assessed that Gadhafi was unlikely to risk world outrage by inflicting mass casualties, officials told The Times. As a result, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, strongly opposed Mrs. Clinton’s recommendation to use force.

Instead of relying on the Defense Department or the intelligence community for analysis, officials told The Times, the White House trusted Mrs. Clinton’s charge, which was then supported by Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice and National Security Council member Samantha Power, as reason enough for war.

“The decision to invade [Libya] had already been made, so everything coming out of the State Department at that time was to reinforce that decision,” the official explained, speaking only on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

 

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What Is Political Islam?

From The CATO Institute:

The tragic events in Iraq, where the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is currently mounting an offensive against the government of the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, certainly appears to be consistent with Blair’s concern—namely that “the battles of this century … could easily be fought around the questions of cultural or religious difference.”2 But to what extent do Blair’s claims reflect the experience of political transitions throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)?

The rise of political Islam into prominence poses important questions both for people in the MENA region and for policymakers in the West. Since 9/11, the thrust of Western foreign and security policy toward the MENA region has aimed at containing radical forms of Islam. In practice, that often meant cozying up to authoritarian regimes, as long as they were secular, since these were seen as superior to their theocratic alternatives. When the Egyptian military brought down President Mohamed Morsi in early July 2013, there was a sense of relief among many in Washington. American neoconservative commentator Bill Kristol, for example, articulated it in the following way:

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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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Soft Targets Back in Focus

Soft Targets Back in Focus is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis

From time to time, I will sit down to write a series of analyses on a particular topic, such as the fundamentals of terrorism series last February. Other times, unrelated events in different parts of the world are tied together by analytical threads, naturally becoming a series. This is what has happened with the last three weekly security analyses — a common analytical narrative has risen to connect them.

First, we discussed how the Jan. 16 attack against the Tigantourine natural gas facility near Ain Amenas, Algeria, would result in increased security at energy facilities in the region. Second, we discussed foreign interventions in Libya and Syria and how they have regional or even global consequences that can persist for years. Finally, last week we discussed how the robust, layered security at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara served to thwart a suicide bombing.

Together, these topics spotlight the heightened and persistent terrorist threat in North Africa as well as Turkey and the Levant. They also demonstrate that militants in those regions will be able to acquire weapons with ease. But perhaps the most important lesson from them is that as diplomatic missions are withdrawn or downsized and as security is increased at embassies and energy facilities, the threat is going to once again shift toward softer targets. 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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History of Saharan Africa and Terrorism

Here is an in depth analysis of North African history and how it affects current issues from SOFREP.

…there is this strange gap where political science, history, and journalism do not quite merry up with each other.

Journalism doesn’t care about history very much. Political Science often ignores historical precedents and anecdotal evidence on the ground, and history is by its nature going to be 20 years or more behind the power curve because someone has to write white papers and PhD dissertations before the information can be cited as a source.

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The Benghazi Report and the Diplomatic Security Funding Cycle

The Benghazi Report and the Diplomatic Security Funding Cycle is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis

On Dec. 18, the U.S. State Department’s Accountability Review Board released an unclassified version of its investigation into the Sept. 12 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack, so the report was widely anticipated by the public and by government officials alike.

Four senior State Department officials have been reassigned to other duties since the report’s release. Among them were the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security; two of his deputy assistant secretaries, including the director of the Diplomatic Security Service, the department’s most senior special agent; and the deputy assistant secretary responsible for Libya in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

The highly critical report and the subsequent personnel reassignments are not simply a low watermark for the State Department; rather, the events following the attack signify another phase in the diplomatic security funding cycle. The new phase will bring about a financial windfall for the State Department security budgets, but increased funding alone will not prevent future attacks from occurring. After all, plenty of attacks have occurred following similar State Department budgetary allocations in the past. Other important factors therefore must be addressed.  Read the rest of this entry »

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From Gadhafi to Benghazi

From Gadhafi to Benghazi is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By George Friedman

Last week, four American diplomats were killed when armed men attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The attackers’ apparent motivation was that someone, apparently American but with an uncertain identity, posted a video on YouTube several months ago that deliberately defamed the Prophet Mohammed. The attack in Benghazi was portrayed as retribution for the defamation, with the attackers holding all Americans equally guilty for the video, though it was likely a pretext for deeper grievances. The riots spread to other countries, including Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, although no American casualties were reported in the other riots. The unrest appears to have subsided over the weekend.

Benghazi and the Fall of Gadhafi

In beginning to make sense of these attacks, one must observe that they took place in Benghazi, the city that had been most opposed to Moammar Gadhafi. Indeed, Gadhafi had promised to slaughter his opponents in Benghazi, and it was that threat that triggered the NATO intervention in Libya. Many conspiracy theories have been devised to explain the intervention, but, like Haiti and Kosovo before it, none of the theories holds up. The intervention occurred because it was believed that Gadhafi would carry out his threats in Benghazi and because it was assumed that he would quickly capitulate in the face of NATO air power, opening the door to democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Libya and Iraq: The Price of Success

Libya and Iraq: The Price of Success is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By George Friedman

In a week when the European crisis continued building, the White House chose publicly to focus on announcements about the end of wars. The death of Moammar Gadhafi was said to mark the end of the war in Libya, and excitement about a new democratic Libya abounded. Regarding Iraq, the White House transformed the refusal of the Iraqi government to permit U.S. troops to remain into a decision by Washington instead of an Iraqi rebuff.

Though in both cases there was an identical sense of “mission accomplished,” the matter was not nearly as clear-cut. The withdrawal from Iraq creates enormous strategic complexities rather than closure. While the complexities in Libya are real but hardly strategic, the two events share certain characteristics and are instructive. Read the rest of this entry »

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