The resurgence of Al-Qaeda

2018/03/12 – Nearly seven years after the killing of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda is numerically larger and present in more countries than at any other time in its history. Indeed, the movement now boasts of some 40,000 men under arms, with approximately 10,000–20,000 fighters in Syria; 7000–9000 in Somalia; 5000 in Libya; 4000 in Yemen; a similar number dispersed throughout other countries across the Maghreb and Sahel; 3000 in Indonesia; and approximately 1000 in South Asia. From north-west Africa to South East Asia, al-Qaeda has been able to knit together a global movement of some two dozen local franchises. Continuer à lire … « The resurgence of Al-Qaeda »

Niger – Senate Democrats seek to limit Trump’s counter-terrorism powers

With questions still looming over the deaths of U.S. troops in Niger, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee faced top Trump administration officials last week in a public hearing and warned of a “global, endless shadow war” against terror groups.

Sen. Ben Cardin’s comments to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were part of the new political battle over President Trump’s authority to target a growing roster of extremists aligned with the Islamic State and al Qaeda across Africa and the Middle East. Continuer à lire … « Niger – Senate Democrats seek to limit Trump’s counter-terrorism powers »

America’s counterterror strategy must be fixed starting with Libya

We now know that the attacker who mowed down cyclists and pedestrians on a bike path in Manhattan, was inspired, if not directly enabled, by ISIS. The act of terror killed eight people and injured more than a dozen others, reminding us that whatever we are doing to fight ISIS, al Qaeda, and their ilk is not working. The recent spate of terror attacks in the United States and Europe are evidence enough, as is the constant stream of devastating attacks throughout the Muslim world.

Our gut reaction when any attack occurs is to fixate on the attacker’s country of origin and his affiliation with a particular group. U.S. counterterrorism policy is framed the same way, and it is missing the point. The real threat to the West is the Salafi jihadi movement, as my colleague Katherine Zimmerman writes. Continuer à lire … « America’s counterterror strategy must be fixed starting with Libya »

Niger – Special forces unit ambushed in Niger desperately called for help, sources say

An email from a retired senior officer with knowledge of the attack says soldiers tried to convince nearby French warplanes to engage the enemy, to no avail.

The US special forces detachment ambushed in the Niger last month fought alone for hours after the local Nigerien forces they were accompanying fled in the first minutes of the engagement, retired and serving special forces officers with knowledge of events have said. Continuer à lire … « Niger – Special forces unit ambushed in Niger desperately called for help, sources say »

US troops sent on doomed Niger mission after request for military backup was rejected

No wonder Trump refused to acknowledge the deaths of four fallen U.S. troops last month.

The Pentagon originally described the joint American-Nigerien mission as a routine meet-and-greet session with local elders at a Nigerien town, which meant American troops were “unlikely” to encounter any hostile forces. But sources now describe the mission as a dangerous kill-and-capture one that went very wrong. Continuer à lire … « US troops sent on doomed Niger mission after request for military backup was rejected »

Niger – America’s options in Niger: join forces to reduce tensions, or fan the flames

Numerous reports have appeared recently about beefing up US military presence in Niger, and potentially allowing American forces to more actively target suspected jihadist leaders in the region. This follows the deaths of US and Nigerien soldiers in Niger on October 4.

Most US and Nigerien officials have made it clear they believe that the attack was committed by the self proclaimed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) under Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, or fighters under his sway.

But the links between militant groups in the region – whether identified as “jihadist” or not – are often fluid and belie easy categorisation. This label obscures a situation which deserves much more consideration before pulling the trigger. And it takes attention away from the experiences of local populations who are often stuck between militant groups and sometimes hostile governments and foreign armies. Continuer à lire … « Niger – America’s options in Niger: join forces to reduce tensions, or fan the flames »

Niger – In Niger, Where U.S. Troops Died, a Lawless and Shifting Landscape

DAKAR, Senegal — When United States forces set out on what was ultimately a deadly joint patrol with Nigerien soldiers this month, they were entering terrain crisscrossed by criminal elements and terrorist organizations in a dangerous, yet often forgotten, corner of the world.

The area in Niger, near the border with Mali, is known to host groups loyal to both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and has long been used as a smuggling route for arms, drugs and people. Just over a week ago, gunmen killed 13 Nigerien soldiers in an attack on their base, not far from where the joint patrol was ambushed, the latest in dozens of assaults unleashed in the past two years. Continuer à lire … « Niger – In Niger, Where U.S. Troops Died, a Lawless and Shifting Landscape »