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North Africa’s Troubles: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | North Africa is in an accelerated downward spiral, and the bottom is nowhere near. All indicators, whether they are economic, political, and social point clearly to the the fact that the entire region has sunk to a new low. While it would be easy to equate today’s North Africa to yesterday’s American wild west, there is a massive difference and that is there is no “Sheriff in town” in North Africa. The region and its populations are left to fend for themselves, abandoned by their politicians, abused by their business leaders.
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JCP Islamist Party Seeks Way out of Coalition Government in Libya

The North Africa Journal | While their peers are accused of having too much power in Tunisia, the Islamists in Libya think they don’t have enough of it. The religious-leaning Justice and Construction Party (Hizb Al-Adala Wal-Bina), affiliated to the broad Muslim Brotherhood's political tendency, is seriously considering leaving the coalition government that was formed to manage the country. ...
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Tunisian PM Jebali Resigns: a Case of "Should I Stay or Should I Go."

The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali is calling it quit. Having failed to form a neutral technocratic cabinet as he promised following the assassination of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid, Jebali decide to resign on Tuesday this week. Is he really completely out of the picture or repositioning himself to put pressure on his Islamist party Ennahda?...
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Killing of Belaïd in Tunisia Accelerates Confrontation Between Secularists and Islamists, and Among Islamists Themselves

The North Africa Journal | Tunisia is in the third phase of its “Jasmine” Revolution. The first phase was the ousting of dictator Ben Ali, which brought euphoria, optimism, and a great sense of democracy in a country long controlled by a rogue regime. ...
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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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Trapped Between Delusion And Denial

The Israelis and Palestinians have been trapped for decades between delusions and denial and both have resorted to ideological and religious dogmas that dismiss with conviction any factual evidence to the contrary.
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Maghreb & Sahel Face Deadliest Period on the Security Front

The North Africa Journal - MEA-Risk released its latest assessment on the state of security and stability in the Maghreb and Sahel region. Findings from MEA-Risk's Critical Incidents Tracker shows that the region continues to face unprecedented violence. All data measuring negative factors tracked by MEA-Risk’s Critical Incidents Tracker have been on the rise, some at alarming rates.
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Intensity of Crises in Maghreb and Sahel Regions Remains Dangerously High, Says MEA-Risk

The North Africa Journal: For the week ending June 8, 14, the combined disruptive events recorded by sister company MEA-Risk’s Critical Incidents Tracker showed an intensity that remained within the “High-Risk Zone” level, just as in the previous week.
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Severity of Crisis in Maghreb/Sahel Region Intensifies, Says MEA-Risk

The North Africa Journal: Sister company MEA-Risk issued its weekly analysis on the multi-faceted crisis affecting the whole Maghreb and Sahel region. The findings show while the number of incidents for the week ending June 1, 2014 dropped by about 10% from the previous cycle, the intensity of the crises rose at an alarming 22.4%. Casualties in the Maghreb/Sahel region rose 11% to 83 deaths, mostly concentrated in the Mali/MLNA conflict and in Libya.
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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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Featured author
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Vivian Salama

Vivian Salama has spent much of the past decade in the Middle East, reporting for publications including Bloomberg News, BusinessWeek, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and USA Today, as well as a number of academic journals. She also has appeared as a commentator on the BBC, France24, Bloomberg TV, TV New Zealand, CBS News, and many more. Last year, she wrote about the revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen.
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