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Crises in Mali and Algeria: Disastrous Outcome for the Jihadists in North Africa/Sahel

The North Africa Journal | Arezki Daoud | The Jihadist movement in the Greater North Africa is in bad shape and the ongoing crises are pushing it toward extinction. Poor strategic decisions and bad executions are driving these extremist militants toward complete destruction.
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Terror Attack on Gas Site: Algeria Faces Greatest Crisis in Decades

The North Africa Journal | Arezki Daoud | The terrorist attack perpetrated against an Algerian natural gas complex in the southeast of the country carries enormous implications for Algeria. The takeover of the In-Amenas gas complex could not only hurt Algeria’s hydrocarbons industry, but it also challenges that country’s multi-billion dollar security infrastructure built in and around the nation’s critical oil infrastructure. It is not an exaggeration to conclude that Algeria could face its biggest economic challenge in decades....
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Hundreds of Rebels Killed in Mali, Dangerous Implications Ahead

The North Africa Journal | Unconfirmed reports say the Franco-African offensive in Mali has claimed the lives of hundreds of Touareg rebels and militant Islamists. Observers in Mali put the number of dead militants to 800. Among those killed are some senior commanders including Mohamed Ag Aghaly Ag Wambadja, Moulaye Ag Ahmed, and Hassane Habré allegedly killed on January 10, 2013 in Kona....
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Franco-African Military Offensive Begins in Mali

The North Africa Journal | Aided by West African and French troops, Mali’s government soldiers have began a long-awaited offensive against Islamist rebels in Northern Mali. ...
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U.S. Endorses Algeria’s Lead Role in Mali Crisis, But Skeptics Abound

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Algeria’s diplomacy has scored a victory of sort following the statement made by US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns describing Algeria as the "leader" in the Mali crisis. The move provides Algeria with additional breathing room to get some factions in Northern Mali who have been pushing for independence to revert their position without resorting to force. It may also frustrate those who have been seeking to sideline Algeria fearing that in the eyes of the US, the UN and other global players Algeria could be seen as a regional power broker with growing responsibilities and oversight on economic and security issues....
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Bracing for a Military Offensive Against Islamists in Mali, Algeria Remains Unconvinced but “Willing”

The North Africa Journal | Algiers has long been reluctant to participate in a military offensive in neighboring Mali to root out Islamist militants. Some of these militants are either seeking to create a separate state, and/or intend on imposing Sharia law. Already the northern part of Mali has fallen in the hands of a trio of organizations, namely the Mujao, Ansar Eddine and Al-Qaeda North Africa....
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How to Rule by Proxy: the King’s Eyes and Ears in the Moroccan Provinces

The North Africa Journal | The latest revision of the Moroccan constitution was supposed to usher in a new era of democracy by providing more power to the representatives of the people and reducing the Monarchy's prerogatives. Still, the monarchy remains unchallenged, having created a system that essentially controls virtually everything, directly and through the so-called Makhzen system. ...
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Rise and Struggles of the Islamist Movements in North Africa

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | The popular movements that have toppled dictatorial regimes in North Africa have unwillingly paved the way for Islamists and conservative factions to take over governance. With the Islamists front and center, divisions and differences in ideas have emerged among them, dominated by four distinct factions....
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With the Rise of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and Tunisia, Al Qaeda Starts New Offensive in North Africa

The North Africa Journal | The assassination of American diplomats in Libya has brought to the forefront a new Salafist group with Jihadist tendencies called Ansar al-Sharia. Although the attack against the American consular office was seemingly carried out as a retaliation for an amateur movie insulting to Islam and its Prophet Mohamed, all fingers point to Ansar al-Sharia as being behind the killings for reasons that are not necessarily related to the film in question. ...
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The War Within: Salafists vs. Moderates

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Political Islam in Search for Way Forward | In the aftermath of the toppling of many Arab dictators, Islamist politicians have come into the forefront of governance and are now seemingly in control. But as they move into halls of power in Tunis, Cairo, Rabat and elsewhere, we discover that Political Islam is not as homogenous as many thought. Philosophical differences and ideological gaps exist between the various stakeholders that are likely to make the transition to a stable region a difficult and bumpy road....
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A Busy Fall Season

The North Africa Journal, by Arezki Daoud | Although less dramatic than in 2011, the year 2012 for North Africa remains a period of intense struggle. The countries of the region are dealing with multi-faceted crises, hitting their political systems and their economies, and therefore affecting the balance of their basic social fabrics....
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New Egyptian President Forces Old Military Guard to Retire

Egyptian media outlets are hailing as "revolutionary" a decision by President Mohamed Morsi to dismiss the once-powerful defense minister and curtail the military's authority. "It can be said that starting today, the country is no longer under military rule," said Cairo resident Badawi Sayed Mahmoud. "Military rule is now over and Egypt will become a civil state in which everyone will be entitled to their rights."...
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Egypt's Military Learning to Deal with New Kind of President

By Margaret Besheer [VOANews] Egypt's new president briefly reconvened parliament Tuesday in defiance of the military, which dissolved the legislature last month based on a high court order. About 200 people gathered outside Egypt's parliament on Tuesday as some lawmakers briefly returned to the lower house after President Mohamed Morsi called on them to do so....
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Egypt at the Crossroads

Cairo, Egypt | by Vivian Salama | In early January this year, a headline on Egypt’s political turmoil in state-run Al-Ahram read: “Saving Egypt from Itself.” So is the sentiment following the country’s presidential runoff, with news of the apparent victory by Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and a preemptive decree by the country’s ruling military junta, further clamping down on power even after the new president assumes office. ...
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Tunisia and the Salafist Threat

The North Africa Journal | The general security climate in Tunisia has deteriorated and government response has been timid and inefficient. Given the Islamist offensive appears well organized, it is likely part of an effort to destabilize Tunisia and derail its efforts to recover from a disastrous 2011....
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Potential Pitfalls in the EU’s “More for More” Approach to Democratization in North Africa

The North Africa Journal | By Alec Simantov | Since June of last year, the European Union has been touting its new reform plan for its European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), which calls for a complete revamping of the Union’s political and economic relations with the ‘Southern Mediterranean’ countries, most notably North Africa....
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Libya and the ICC: In the Pursuit of Justice?

The North Africa Journal | By Leila Hanafi | The ongoing post-conflict reconstruction process in Libya is reigniting a crucial debate among transitional justice advocates as to the role the International Criminal Court (ICC) can play in delivering justice and redress to victims of grave crimes. In the midst of the February 2011 revolution, the ICC opened an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in Libya, based on United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1970....
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France’s New President: Foreign Policy and Where North Africa Stands

The North Africa Journal | President-elect François Hollande of France has his work cut out on the foreign policy front. His predecessor is leaving office with a sense of missed achievements and a series of policies blunders that need urgent fixing. In a five-year period, Sarkozy failed to leverage appropriately and responsibly his country’s global leadership position as a major economic and military power. That started with his failure to impose a more assertive France on the burning issues of the Euro-zone and the serious topic of the future of Europe....
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The Rise of North Africans in French Politics

The North Africa Journal | Seeking to discredit his opponent during the Presidential race in France, outgoing President Nicholas Sarkozy stated on April 27, 2012 that François Hollande has received support from 700 Muslim clerics operating in France. Blinded by a bad attitude vis-a-vis North Africans and Sub-Sahara Africans in general, bordering xenophobia, Sarkozy may have lost precisely because he alienated a substantial minority block that is becoming key to French politics, somewhat akin to the Hispanic vote in US elections. ...
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Mutiny in Mali

The State of Mali is the latest victim of a state of lawlessness affecting Sahel nations. Economic misery, an armed conflict against its Touareg ethnic population, relentless actions from terror groups allegedly affiliated to Al Qaeda, and an incompetent regime have pushed Mali into the abyss. Unable to fight on several fronts with insufficient resources, a group of Soldiers are turning against their leaders in what appears to be a coup attempt against the man that led a coup d'etat in 1990....
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US Military Capture Tanker Carrying Libyan Oil

The American military have seized an oil tanker carrying crude illicitly obtained from a rebel-held port in Libya.
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Libya: Time for Something Radically New

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | The sacking of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan may be long overdue, but Libya’s problems remain the same with a dysfunctional and divided Congress, and regions and ethnic groups feeling neglected. The country wants to run as a normal nation but there is nothing normal in its current situation.
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Troubled Times for North Africa’s Oil Sector

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Foreign companies are expressing their frustration with the security and political events affecting their business in North Africa. Many decided to postpone work for some future time, a decision often justified by a reduction in global demand, lower global prices and higher inventories expected in the future. That leaves, however, greater uncertainty in the region and many questions are being asked by the global investor community as to what come next.
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More Violence in Libya: Dozens Killed, Incontrollable Militias

The North Africa Journal | Deadly clashes erupted in the outskirts of Tripoli on Saturday resulting in dozens of deaths, estimated at almost 40. These events are similar to those that occurred last summer in Benghazi, when 30 people died after confronting an unruly armed militia. In Tripoli this weekend, local populations battled a militia from Misrata (some 200 km east of Tripoli), who came to the capital to avenge the death of some of their members following the burning of their south Tripoli headquarters on Wednesday.
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Libya PM Zeidan Kidnapped by a Government “Anti-Corruption Unit” [update]

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Making a public statement on Thursday, the Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Abdulkarim Sadikk clearly missed the mark when he stated that Libya was safe and security was under control. The problem with Mr. Saddikk statement is that nothing could be further from the truth. Early Thursday, Mr. Saddikk’s boss, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was simply kidnapped from his room at the Corinthia Hotel. Yes, only in failed state do we see these kinds of events and to speak of security when the Prime Minister is abducted simply defies logic.
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US Raids in Somalia and Libya | Audiocast

The North Africa Journal's Deputy Editor Alessandro Bruno shares his views on the latest US raids on Al Shabab locations in Somalia and on a location in Tripoli to capture Anas Al Liby. The discussion took place on a TV news program.
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Anas Al-Liby Captured by US Special Forces

The North Africa Journal | US Special Forces have captured Libya-born Al Qaeda leader Anas Al-Liby. Al Liby was seized in a commando-style operation undertaken on Saturday, October 05, 2013. Al-Liby is wanted by the US authorities for his alleged role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. He is also believed to be a key coordinator of North African terrorist organizations on behalf of Al Qaeda.
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Al Qaeda Gets Sophisticated with Intelligence Gathering

The North Africa Journal | The operatives of Al Qaeda's North Africa and Sahel franchises are often considered ruthless and acting as bandits. They are quick to take hostages and conduct criminal operations involving drugs, arms, and human trafficking. Imagining them gathering intelligence to plot attacks is not something widely considered. But that's exactly the case.
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Facing the Truth About Jerusalem

By Dr. Alon Ben-Meir | Those who are privy to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations appear to be more optimistic than ever before about the prospect of reaching an agreement. Yet there are those who believe that, regardless of American prodding, no agreement is likely to emerge because neither Prime Minster Netanyahu nor President Mahmoud Abbas are in a position to make the necessary concessions to make peace and politically survive.
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Why a US-Iran Rapprochement May be a Good Thing in the War against Global Terrorism

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | The horrific attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi may have come as a surprise for many, but for us, the surprise was less about the act in itself and the perpetrators' intentions than about the magnitude of the violence. Whether it is El-Shabaab, Boko Haram, AQIM, etc, the actual perpetrators eventually lead us back to the same source, Al Qaeda Central. Can a US-Iran rapprochement lead to an easing of such violence? I think so.
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Featured author
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Colin Kilkelly

Colin Kilkelly specialises in the Maghreb and is based in Marrakech, Morocco. He has worked in Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania. Previously he has lived and worked in Pakistan where he was Regional Director for South Magazine, and has visited frequently since then. He interviewed President Musharraf on 3 occasions for Pakistan Special Reports in FIRST Magazine, and has written for Blue Chip Magazine based in Islamabad. He recently wrote the UKTI (UK Government Department for Trade and Investment) folders for commercial investment into Morocco, Pakistan and Libya. He is editor of the Marrakech based on-line English language magazine Yacout Info, which has been publishing since July 2008. He is also a correspondent for the North Africa Journal. He is a member of the Middle East Association(MEA) London.
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