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....
January 2, 2008 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Despite passing considerable economic and social reforms Arab regimes continue to avoid substantive political reforms that would jeopardize their own power. Reformers in ruling establishments recognize the need for change to increase economic competitiveness, but the preferred process of “managed reform is leading to further political stagnation, says a new paper from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In Incumbent Regimes and the “King’s Dilemma in the Arab World: Promise and Threat of Managed Reform, Carnegie Senior Associates Marina Ottaway and Michele Dunne argue that emerging, reform-minded leaders in Arab nations face a dilemma”globalization and better public access to information are prompting calls for modernization, yet history shows that even limited reforms introduced from the top often increase, rather than decrease, bottom-up demand for more radical change, as in the case of the Iranian revolution. To contend with this threat, Arab regimes are attempting to control the process of change through “managed reforms: the introduction of formal, institutional reform without the transfer of real power (Bahrain and Egypt); substantive improvements in citizens’ rights without institutional reform (Morocco); or the limited participation of legitimate opposition groups (Yemen and Algeria)....
March 28, 2007 German Institute for International and Security Affairs
The strongest armed faction in Algeria has changed its name to "al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb", thus announcing a move towards internationalisation. It is not clear whether the group, in its weakened state, has simply adopted a new handle for recruitment purposes or whether it aims to step up its activities outside Algeria. The second alternative seems likely as the group is attempting to extend its operational area to the neighbouring states and to extend its recruiting activities in Morocco and Tunisia. Regardless of the actual magnitude of the terrorist threat, these efforts are likely to trigger a sequence of negative consequences, in that increased activities by the group will prompt the Maghreb states to increase their repressive measures and intensify their military cooperation with the USA. Both these responses have been shown to encourage armed groups in the past. Thus Europe would be wise to insist on the observance of human rights and due legal procedures despite the necessity of cooperation in security matters....
March 22, 2007 Middle East Research and Information Project
In late February 2007, Western Saharan nationalists celebrated the thirty-first anniversary of their government, the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic. The official ceremonies did not take place in Laayoune, the declared capital of Western Sahara, but in the small outpost of Tifariti near the Algerian border. This is because most of Western Sahara is under the administration and military occupation of Morocco, which claims the desert land as its own. The Western Saharan independence movement, led by the POLISARIO Front and the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic, exists largely in exile, as does nearly half the native population. Roughly 100,000 Sahrawis have lived in refugee camps in the southwest corner of Algeria, near Tindouf, since POLISARIO proclaimed an independent republic in 1976. A generation has come of age in the camps, knowing nothing but refugee life and cut off from contact with their homeland. The other half of the population, those Sahrawis living under Moroccan occupation, have become a minority in their own country, pushed to the margins by three decades of "Moroccanization." Despite these realities, or perhaps owing to them, Western Saharan# nationalism remains a powerful idea for many Sahrawis. Likewise, POLISARIO's leadership role in the movement remains unchallenged. Unlike so many African and Middle Eastern liberation movements, POLISARIO has never disintegrated into factions and never resorted to brute force to maintain cohesion. Only in recent years have signs of internal division surfaced, thanks largely to the Internet. Yet endogenous criticism is more about the tactics and leadership style of POLISARIO's elite rather than POLISARIO itself. The great success of POLISARIO's founding fathers is that they fostered a political movement that is now self-sustaining and, more importantly, self-motivating. But that is part of the problem. Having reared younger Sahrawis on the slogan "All the homeland or martyrdom," the POLISARIO elite is now hostage to its own rhetoric. It has become a practical and logical impossibility for POLISARIO's leadership to compromise the fundamental goal of independence. To do so would mean that they are no longer POLISARIO; and if they were no longer POLISARIO, then their constituents -- Western Saharan nationalists -- would have no further use for them....
August 22, 2006 Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
In late May 2005, a popular uprising against foreign domination rocked the
Maghreb region of North Africa. With scenes reminiscent of the recent unarmed
insurrections against unpopular governments in Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004-05), and
Lebanon (2005), thousands of ethnic Sahrawis from the Western Sahara, a former
Spanish colony that has been under strict military control by the Kingdom of Morocco
since the latter invaded and occupied the territory in 1975, took to the streets en masse
demanding the withdrawal of Moroccan troops and #independence for Africa's last
remaining colony. Sahrawis are calling their sustained defiance against foreign rule an
Intifada, or "shaking off". The desert uprising represents a dramatic turning point in the Sahrawi people's
struggle for national self-determination for three main reasons. First: the scope,
intensity, and mass civilian involvement in the nationalist uprising took Moroccan
occupation forces by surprise. Moroccan police, soldiers, and intelligence agents, who controlled the Western Sahara using violence and intimidation, were suddenly
confronted by thousands of fearless civilians. Second: Sahrawis of Western Sahara, a
traditionally nomadic people with a distinct language and culture, confronted their
oppressors with neither guns nor bombs. Like the first Palestinian Intifada, a largely
unarmed mass civilian uprising against the Israeli occupation launched in December
1987, the Sahrawi Intifada has featured nonviolent "weapons" like symbolic protests,
mass demonstrations, civil disobedience, and other forms of nonviolent defiance. Third:
like the first Palestinian Intifada, this uprising was led by Sahrawis living under
occupation and not by any armed vanguard on the outside. The local Sahrawi
resistance is being supported by a strong transnational component led by members of
the Sahrawi diaspora who are in daily communication with their compatriots using
interactive internet chat rooms. This internet communication has helped promote unity,
nonviolent discipline, and strategic coordination in the Sahrawi movement....
Last week both Morocco and the Polisario Front unveiled their respective proposals for a solution for Western Sahara. The Council is expected to hold consultations on 20 April prior to renewing the mandate of MINURSO, which expires on 30 April. It remains to be seen how the new proposals may impact discussions on MINURSO and whether the Council is inclined to give weight to those plans as a basis for pushing the parties into direct negotiations, as recommended by the Secretary-General in his most recent report.
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....
July 13, 2006 Project on International Courts and Tribunals // African International Courts and Tribunals
The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) was established in 1989 by the Treaty of Marrakech. Although the Member States of the AMU envisioned creating strong ties that would assist them in working together for regional peace and economic development with greater negotiating power against the Europe of the twelve in particular, they did not create an independent Union with many supranational powers. This is reflected in the Treaty of Marrakech provisions on its regional court, the Instance Judiciaire (AMUIJ) and the statute of the Court....
May 19, 2006 Middle East Research And Information Project
From independence in 1956 through the 1990s, the Moroccan state sent thousands of dissidents and political opponents to prison. During these decades, known to Moroccans as the "black years," the act of expressing an "unauthorized opinion" could earn years of arbitrary detention. Political opponents of King Hassan II's regime, many of them leftists or Islamists, were often "disappeared" in the manner of dictatorships in Chile and Argentina and tortured or killed while in state custody. In 1990, Hassan II established an Advisory Council on Human Rights to begin the rehabilitation of his regime's reputation for repression. These official efforts intensified after the king's death in 1999. Anxious to burnish Morocco's new image as a developing democracy, and pushed at every stage by vocal and organized survivors of the prisons, as well as Morocco's vibrant community of human rights activists, King Mohammed VI has endeavor#ed to fulfill his father's 1994 promise to "turn the page definitively" on the rampant abuses of the past....
An animated map of recent protests in the Middle East as they spread from country to country, updated with the most recent events. Particular outcomes indicated with descriptions of the progression of events for each nation.
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....
WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean consists of four technical divisions headed by directors reporting to Deputy Regional Director/Regional Director. They are: Health Protection and Promotion (DHP), Health Systems and Services Development (DHS), Communicable Disease Control (DCD), General Management (DAF). There are two departments in the office of the Assistant Regional Director and they report directly to the Assistant Regional Director. The two departments are Knowledge Management & Sharing and Policy & Strategy Support. Five priority programmes are supervised by the Regional Directory/Deputy Regional Director while reporting through their respective divisional directors. The priority programmes are the Tobacco Free Initiative, Roll Back Malaria, Stop TB, Community-based Initiatives, Women in Health and Development. Further, the regional office runs a special programmes on Polio Eradication, which reports directly to the Regional Director. Another is the UNAIDS Inter-Country Programme. It gives support to the development of an expanded response to HIV/AIDS through the coordinated action of the UN theme groups on HIV/AIDS as well as the process of national strategic planning; collaborates with EMRO in the joint response to HIV/AIDS at the regional and country level; strengthens partnerships with UNAIDS cosponsers through joint regional initiatives in HIV/AIDS priority areas.
The Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) was established in 1984 as an academic unit of the University of Jordan concerned mainly with research in the fields of regional conflicts, international relations and security. With the initiation of the country's democratization process in 1989, the center expanded its scope of activities to inclu#de planning and research in such new fields as democracy, political pluralism, the economy and the environment. Over the past few years, the CSS has organized numerous conferences, seminars and workshops, and has conducted several opinion polls aimed at providing researchers and decision-makers with valuable material and data....
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.
May 20, 2011 United States Army // Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute
Foreign fighters fuel the world’s conflicts. They
make conflicts more costly for host nations and
peacekeepers. These extremists come from all over
the world and believe they need to fight for their
ideological survival. The best way to combat the
use of foreign fighters is to stop them as close to the
source as possible. This can be difficult, especially if
the U.S. is lacking diplomatic, informational, military,
and economic relations with the source country.
The U.S. government, especially military and
political agencies, needs to be aware of the foreign
fighter phenomenon and plan for it when developing
new contingency and campaign plans as well as
further developing bilateral and regional relationships
in foreign fighter source and transit countries.
This paper will discuss and highlight, from the
national security perspective, the potential military
actions for interdicting foreign fighters. The foreign
fighter problem set, terminology, and life cycle are
defined and discussed. Foreign fighters in current
conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Somalia
are discussed as well. Finally, potential solutions
are introduced as well as actions the U.S. military
can take to stem the flow of foreign fighters within
stability operations framework....
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....