January 22, 2013

West Must Tread Carefully in West Africa

Peter Jones, The Scotsman

AP Photo

The origins of the present conflict are, of course, much more complex than just an exodus of arms and, to some extent, trained mercenaries from Libya. That has served to amplify existing tensions. Although Algeria is closer to dictatorship than democracy on the political spectrum and, indeed, its rulers are distant supporters of the noxious Assad regime in Syria, the Arab Spring has left the regime largely unscathed. There were plenty of protests, including self-immolations of the Tunisian type that kicked off the whole Arab revolt, but they failed to spread. In part, that is because the regime moved to defuse much of the reason for the protest by reintroducing food subsidies. But the main reason is that memories of the 1990s civil war (known as the black decade) between Islamist...

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TAGGED: Libya, Africa, Algeria, Mali, West Africa, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM


January 21, 2013
The Real Stakes in West Africa's War
Susanna Wing, Foreign Affairs
The last few months have shaken Mali to its core. In March 2012, the country's 20-year relationship with democracy ended abruptly after a group of low-ranking military officers overthrew the government. Within weeks of the coup,... more ››
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Don't Panic: Al-Qaeda Is Still Losing
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Cameron is wrong to call north African militants an 'existential threat' -- the tide has turned against al-Qaida and its offshoots. more ››
January 20, 2013
Algerian Bloodbath -- and Trouble Ahead
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The latest Algerian episode effectively expands al Qaeda’s North African front, threatening to draw Western powers into a new round of intervention and war. Algerian al Qaeda affiliates have thus far been suppressed by the... more ››
January 20, 2013
Al-Qaeda the Least of Africa's Problems
Howard French, Foreign Policy
Pundits who bang on about the events in Mali on television today speculate glibly about the possible linkup of militant Islamic movements in places like Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, and northern Nigeria, potentially constituting a... more ››
Events in Africa are a vivid illustration of what happens when the west forgets all that has gone before. more ››