March 7, 2011 Prism // Center for Complex Operations (National Defense University)
Since the dawn of aviation, airpower has played an important role in counterinsurgency operations. This has been especially true as the security situations in Iraq and Afghanistan have deteriorated. While ground forces learned to reapply old lessons to a new environment, air support was reshaped to provide an asymmetric advantage. The capabilities that were developed have become indispensible for conducting a modern counterinsurgency effort. The proliferation of antiaccess and area denial capabilities along with long-range precision weaponry will result in greater challenges for all military operations, even COIN. Airpower will continue to provide critical support and must integrate lessons from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq....
April 23, 2010 German Institute of Global and Area Studies // Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien
This paper explores the use of hydrocarbon revenues in post‐conflict Algeria. While the
bloody years of the 1990s now seem to be over, recurring terror attacks and the ongoing
state of emergency leave room for doubt that a situation of stable peace has been achieved
yet. It is therefore necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of post‐conflict peace‐building efforts
in Algeria and identify ways of improving these measures. The resources, which are
mainly controlled by the central state, can have positive and negative effects on the political
economy: they can enhance growth and possibilities for the distribution of wealth, but
the dependency on them makes the whole economy vulnerable to crises. Analysing the
economic (and other) causes of the outbreak of the intra‐state war in 1992 and the reasons
for its escalation and its fading out can be revealing when assessing the extent to which
critical conditions have or have not been addressed by recent and current peace‐building
efforts. The author’s analysis reveals that the measures taken by the government—such as
implementing a programme of national reconciliation, the stimulation of certain sectors of
the economy and the resolute reduction of foreign debt—all aim at stabilization and have
all been driven by hydrocarbon income to a large extent. However, the recent rise and
sudden drop in the price of oil and gas have both had an effect on the scope of these
measures and reveal their limits. Moreover, some of the critical causes of the civil war such
as the unfair distribution of revenue, the lack of political participation and destabilizing
demographic changes still persist and have largely remained unaddressed. One of the author’s
concluding assumptions therefore is that it is very likely that the use of resource
revenues for conflict prevention and peace‐building will only lead to sustainable results
when embedded in full‐fledged reforms of Algeria’s entire economic and political system....
January 13, 2010 German Institute of Global and Area Studies // Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien
Algeria’s intrastate war in the 1990s, during which militant Islamists and the state fought
fiercely against each other, still raises questions concerning the decisive factors leading to
its onset and escalation. This paper uses the resource curse approach and the rentier state
theory to understand the impact resource wealth could have had on the outbreak of this
violent conflict, then goes one step further, adopting a context‐sensitive approach. This
approach attempts to juxtapose those conditions directly linked to the resource sector with
the general conflict‐fueling conditions diagnosed in Algeria. It takes into account conditions
both within the country and in the international context. The application of a context
matrix allows us to examine the interplay of resource‐related factors and other conflictdriving
forces, such as socioeconomic, demographic and ideological changes. Such an approach
not only broadens the general understanding of the resource‐violence link but also
enhances our understanding of the eruption of violence in Algeria....
October 5, 2009 Institute for National Security Studies // Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies
The Middle East remains one of the world’s stormier regions, with fault
lines running across ethnic groups, nation-states, communities, and
religions. Even a cursory overview of the region yields a long list of active and nascent strength in the nuclear realm as the most severe threat to their security.
Over the course of 2008 Iraq witnessed an improvement in security, but
there is still no guarantee that this achievement is stable or that it will be
possible to maintain it once American forces leave the country. At the same time, the conflict in Afghanistan is intensifying anew, and the growing involvement of NATO and US forces is expected to increase even further.
Over the last three years, Israel was involved in two armed confrontations
that were characterized as wars, both against sub-state organizations and
elements supported by Iran. The weight of non-state players in military
confrontations is growing, and military confrontations between countries
are becoming rarer.
Against this background, there is little wonder that the Middle East
remains a region characterized by ever-growing national armed forces
and non-state militias, and remains one of the largest customers of various
types of weaponry....
August 17, 2009 Duke University // Mediterranean Quarterly
The recent formation of al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) could be interpreted
as the opening of a new battlefield in the cause of international jihad.
Such a front, however, is not unprecedented. Algerian veterans of the 1980s
Afghan campaign against the Soviets returned home and played a key role in
the Islamist insurgency. Composed mainly of Algerian “Afghans,” the Armed
Islamic Group (GIA) committed unspeakable atrocities in the 1990s. Moroccan
and Algerian émigré communities in Europe, moreover, have played
important roles in financing for al Qaeda and a variety of North African
Salafist groups. Given its consolidation of North African Salafist terrorist
groups under one umbrella, al Qaeda in the Maghreb does present substantial
security challenges for North African and European governments.
Terrorism in the Mediterranean region has grown recently because of
numerous factors. By far the most important have been the growing fundamentalism
of some Maghrebi communities in Europe, the failures of the
jihadist movement (most notably in Algeria), and the financial largesse provided
to jihadist terror organizations by Islamist civil society and criminal networks. The Iraq war has added a powerful new impetus to the expansion
of the jihadist movement.
In this essay I argue that the al Qaeda – North African Salafist alliance is
a response to post-9/11 organizational and ideological problems. Al Qaeda’s
loss of its Afghan sanctuary and the breaking up of its command-andcontrol
operations have made it dependent on affiliates to recruit terrorists.
The inability of the North African Salafists to overthrow any government in
the Maghreb, moreover, requires the commissioning of a cause that could
give them new life. The crossfertilization of al Qaeda and North African
Salafists is a mutually beneficial arrangement designed to compensate for
My argument proceeds on four levels. First, I analyze various jihadist
movements, their common problems, and the reasons why they crossfertilize
their operations. Second, I examine the role of extremist Maghrebi communities
in Europe in facilitating this intermarriage between international
and nationalist jihadism. Third, I note the role of wars (Afghanistan, Bosnia,
Chechnya, Iraq, and Kashmir) in raising Muslim consciousness and Islamic
extremism. Finally, I provide an overview of the security threats created by
the Salafists’ incorporation into al Qaeda for the Mediterranean region....
One of the most remarkable archive sequences we came across while researching the Age of Terror programme, features a seven-year-old Algerian boy called Abdelkahar Belhadj. He is seen addressing a political rally of thousands in 1991 with all the confidence and fire of a mature adult. In 2007, 16 years later, we watched another clip, a propaganda video announcing the launch of al-Qaeda in North Africa featuring non other than Abdelkahar Belhadj, now a fully-fledged jihadi.
The Armed Islamic Group, known by its French acronym, GIA, waged a violent war against Algeria's secular military regime during the 1990s. Though terrorism continues to plague Algerian society, the GIA's role in current violence appears to have abated. The GIA grew out of a 1992 decision by Algeria's military government to cancel an election in which it appeared that a moderate, mainstream Muslim party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), was headed for victory. The backlash took many forms, including formation of the Islamic Salvation Army, a militant group linked with the FIS. But the separate and more radical GIA soon gained a notorious reputation for mayhem and murder, targeting those affiliated-even remotely-with the military and the government, as well as innocents and foreign nationals. The GIA vowed to raze the secular Algerian government and, in its place, establish a Muslim state ruled by sharia, or Islamic law. The ensuing civil war ranked as one of the most violent in the world during the 1990s but petered out in 2002 following a cease-fire declared by the Islamic Salvation Army, a group that never condoned the civilian violence perpetrated by the GIA. In its most active period in the 1990s the GIA established a presence in France, Belgium, Britain, and Italy. While the GIA is now largely defunct, it remains designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Algerian and Western counterterrorism officials say that many members may have defected in recent years and joined al-Qaeda or its sister organization al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)....
The Armed Islamic Group, known by its French acronym, GIA, waged a violent war against Algeria's secular military regime during the 1990s. Though terrorism continues to plague Algerian society, the GIA's role in current violence appears to have abated. The GIA grew out of a 1992 decision by Algeria's military government to cancel an election in which it appeared that a moderate, mainstream Muslim party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), was headed for victory. The backlash took many forms, including formation of the Islamic Salvation Army, a militant group linked with the FIS. But the separate and more radical GIA soon gained a notorious reputation for mayhem and murder, targeting those affiliated—even remotely—with the military and the government, as well as innocents and foreign nationals. The GIA vowed to raze the secular Algerian government and, in its place, establish a Muslim state ruled by sharia, or Islamic law. The ensuing civil war ranked as one of the most violent in the world during the 1990s but petered out in 2002 following a cease-fire declared by the Islamic Salvation Army, a group that never condoned the civilian violence perpetrated by the GIA. While the GIA is now largely defunct, it remains designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Algerian and Western counterterrorism officials say that many members may have defected in recent years and joined al-Qaeda or its sister organization al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)....
Algeria has experienced a significant economic upturn in recent years. In 2006, Algeria's real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate was 4.0 percent. Oil and natural gas exports, which made up 98 percent of Algerian exports (by value) in 2006, are the main driver of Algerian economic growth. With continuing investments being made in Algerian oil and gas development, both sectors have potential for increasing production capacity over the next few years.
December 8, 2006 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
With the world's attention focused as never before on political reform and democratization in Arab countries, giving rise to often highly politicized debates, it is important to provide accurate, factual information about Arab political systems and reforms being introduced in the region. This webpage represents a joint undertaking of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington and the Fundacixc3xb3n para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Dixc3xa1logo Exterior (FRIDE) in Madrid. It provides easily accessible baseline information about the political systems of Arab countries, with links to official documents and websites, and will be frequently updated to provide information about reforms being introduced....
Two years ago a ruthless Algerian terrorist outfit, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, better known by its French abbreviation, GSPC, announced it was joining al-Qaeda. Since then, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), as the group is now known in counter-terrorism circles, has stepped up a bombing campaign in Algeria and claimed responsibility for operations in several other North African countries. Last month the Moroccan government said it had broken up a terrorist cell with links to the group, while Algeria has toughened its security measures since more than 70 people were killed in attacks by AQIM in the last two weeks of August. The emergence of a powerful regional group of Islamist insurgents, recruiting members from among the millions of religious and poor North Africans, is rattling all the governments in the region and raises the unnerving prospect of a new wave of North African bombers heading for the cities of western Europe. But does AQIM really exist as a co-ordinated regional organisation?
So far there is little evidence that it does. Until now, nearly all of AQIM’s claimed attacks have been in a rectangle of land to the east of Algeria’s capital, Algiers. (The GSPC, from which AQIM has emerged, is a ruthless remnant from the civil war which began after the Algerian army stepped in to prevent Islamists from taking over after they had won the first round of an election in December 1991, thereby prompting a decade of strife that left as many as 200,000 people dead.) In this mountainous zone, clashes between AQIM fighters and Algerian security forces are occurring almost every day. Whenever the authorities claim a big victory, AQIM invariably sets off a suicide-bomb or a remote-controlled explosion, usually aimed at Algerian forces, sometimes at foreigners. AQIM said it was behind the double bombing last December of the UN offices in Algiers and a court house, killing more than 40 people. But AQIM’s presence elsewhere in the region is fuzzier. In Algeria, says George Joffé, a north Africa specialist at Cambridge University, there is “constant low-level violence, a bit like in Colombia”. But he doubts that AQIM is a “coherent regional organisation, more a series of groups with national agendas and a common ideology”. He discounts the idea that they are controlled by al-Qaeda’s leaders on the Afghan-Pakistan border....
October 5, 2006 Middle East Media Research Institute
Since the "Berber Spring" of 1980, the Kabylie region in northern Algeria has often been the center of agitation for political reform in the country. Two groups from Kabylie have recently launched ambitious programs for political reform. The Arouch Citizens' Movement, a non-parliamentary association of popular councils that arose in the aftermath of clashes with security forces in 2001, adopted, at a conference held September 21-22, the Memorandum for a Democratic and Social Republic in Algeria. The memorandum calls for democratic reform, separation of religion and state, and granting Amazigh (Berber) the status of a national language alongside Arabic. The second group, the Movement for Autonomy in Kabylie (MAK), was also slated to hold a conference on September 21-22, to promote its March 2006 Tifrit Declaration, but the conference was postponed to November after state authorities refused to grant the necessary permits. Whereas the Arouch Memorandum presents its demands as being the fulfillment of the ideals of the Algerian War of Independence, the Tifrit Declaration calls for political decentralization, local autonomy, and a clean break with what it terms "militarist Arabo-Islamic Algeria."...
The Africa Center is a unique American institution that fosters professional development of Africa's civilian and military leaders, supports democratic governance in Africa, and facilitates long-term, continuing dialogue with and among leaders from Africa, Europe, and the United States. As a p#rimarily academic organization, the Africa Center is located within the U.S. Department of Defense's National Defense University. Founded on the DoD's Regional Center concept, the Africa Center (and its four counterpart regional centers) represent one way that the United States promotes and reinforces American values and strengthens U.S. national security. ...
This Policy Brief examines the real and imagined influence of al-Qa‘ida in North Africa and the Sahel. Despite a perception of the transnationalization of terrorist movements in North Africa under al-Qa‘ida’s banner, robust evidence of an effective al-Qa‘ida’s expansion in the Maghreb and the Sahara/Sahel region remains elusive at best. Rather, doubts about al-Qa‘ida’s actual threat and the efficacy of international response in the context of pervasive state failure in the Sahel raise questions regarding the policy objectives of US-led counter-terrorism in the region....
The recent political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa region have exposed growing concerns about conflict risk, political stability, and reform prospects across its societies. Given the prevalence of oil and gas resource endowments in the region, which a voluminous literature suggests can be associated with adverse development consequences, this paper examines the interplay between their associated rents and political economy trajectories. The contribution of the paper is threefold: first, to examine the quantitative evidence of violent conflict in the region since 1960; second, to provide a nuanced review of the regional case study literature on the relationship between resource endowments, political stability, and conflict risk; and third, to assess how prospective political transitions have implications for the World Bank Group's work in the region on public sector management and private sector development. The authors find that resources and regimes have intersected to provide stability and limited violent conflict in the region, but that these development patterns have yielded a set of policy choices and development patterns that are proving increasingly brittle and unsustainable. A major institutional challenge for reforms will be to consolidate a requisite degree of inter-temporal credibility and stability in these regimes, while expanding inclusiveness in state-society relations....
July 27, 2011 International Centre for Black Sea Studies
This policy brief focuses on a case study. It is suggested that an environmental disaster during the summer of 2010 in the Black Sea region triggered in winter 2011 a food crisis in the Arab World; in turn, this led to massive riots, revolts, political instability, a NATO operation and, alas, an oil crisis that accentuates an already suffering global economy. Coextensively, it may be suggested that an environmental crisis triggered a political crisis, which escalated in a series of conflicts that are of major concern for traditional security structures in Europe and beyond. In sum, the argument is made that as a result of this experience, the human security agenda must have a direct effect on our traditional security agenda. The question addressed at this point is how these interrelated chains of events affect the security establishment and our notions of a ‘high strategy.’...
June 15, 2011 Center for Strategic and International Studies
North Africa is bracing itself. Not since Algeria’s brutal civil war a generation ago has the region witnessed so much turmoil and uncertainty. Angry and frustrated masses demanding improved governance and greater socioeconomic opportunities present regimes with new challenges. The need for governments to address these grievances is urgent. Failure to respond will intensify public pressure and heighten the risk of more violence.
The level of women’s participation in armed violence in Africa is determined by the nature and
typology of conflict. Using prior research as a data source, the article examines the nature of
women’s participation in on-going and recently-concluded armed conflicts in 15 countries in Africa.
Based upon data that show variations, and similarities in the contextual conditions under which
women become war participants, this article presents three kinds of wars, and the conditions that
distinguish them from one another, as a theoretical framework in analysing women’s involvement in
Africa’s armed conflicts. The findings show that in ‘resources/opportunistic’ driven wars, women’s
participation is higher and more complex when compared to ‘ethno-religious’ and
‘secessionist/autonomy’ driven wars. Moreover, this paper finds that women’s participation can be
active and passive; coerced and voluntary....
September 29, 2008 Minorities at Risk Project // Center for International Development and Conflict Management // National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
The Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) dataset is a subsidiary of the
Minorities at Risk (MAR) Project. The purpose of this project is to answer fundamental
questions focusing on the identification of those factors that motivate some members of ethnic
minorities to become radicalized, to form activist organizations, and to move from conventional
means of politics and protest into violence and terrorism. Focusing initially on the Middle East
and North Africa, the MAROB project provides information on the characteristics of those
ethnopolitical organizations most likely to employ violence and terrorism in the pursuit of their
perceived grievances with local, national, or international authority structures. The project has
identified 118 organizations representing the interests of all 22 ethnopolitical groups in 16
countries of the Middle East and North Africa, operating between 1980 and 2004. The project developed a set of criteria for the inclusion of organizations into the MAROB dataset. These are as
• The organization makes explicit claims to represent the interests of one or more ethnic groups and/or the
organization’s members are primarily members of a specific ethnic minority.
• The organization is political in its goals and activities.
• The organization is active at a regional and/or national level.
• The organization was not created by a government.
• The organization is active for at least three consecutive years between 1980 and 2006.
• Umbrella organizations (coalitions/alliances) are NOT coded. Instead, member organizations are coded.
Organizations were selected on the basis of their basic longevity. This was operationalized in the following manner:
The first year that an organization is mentioned in a source as being active, it is put on a “watchlist” for potential
inclusion. Once the organization is mentioned in sources for three consecutive years, it is included in the dataset,
coded from the first year of the three consecutive years. If an organization included in the dataset disappears from
source material for five consecutive years, it is no longer coded for following years. If after that time, it is again
mentioned for three consecutive years, it is again included but as a separate organization....