Islamic State Eyes North Africa

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Islamic State (IS) fighters are trying to flee Mosul. No doubt, the US-supported Iraqi forces will establish control over the city pretty soon. At first, IS militants will leave Iraq for the province of Deir-ez-Zor, Syria, to intensify fighting there. But with Syria no longer a safe haven, they’ll have to move elsewhere looking for weak points, like the countries of Maghreb.

Roughly, 8-11 thousand jihadi fighters come from Maghreb countries. The numbers vary according to different estimates. Some of the militants will lose lives on the battlefield, some will lay down their arms, but a large part will continue the efforts to reach the coveted goal of establishing a caliphate. With the battle experience received in Syria and Iraq, these seasoned fighters will pose a great threat to the stability of their respective homelands.

It has already started. Algeria faces a security challenge. The war against jihadism has turned Algeria into one of Africa’s top military powerhouses. In the past 20 years, Algeria has spent more on its military than all three of its immediate neighbors — Mo­rocco, Libya and Tunisia — com­bined.

Algeria is a country with a 1,200 km coastline. If waves of asylum seekers hit Europe from there, the Old Continent will be in real trouble. Besides, the country is a key supplier of oil and gas to the West. The implications of internal conflict in Algeria could be a real nightmare. Russia helps to prevent it and, thus, save Western Europe.

At least 6 thousand of IS fighters are Tunisians. Some of them hold prominent positions in the IS and the Nusra Front (Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) in Syria. Many Tunisian extremists are affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which is active in a half-dozen countries across North Africa. Tunisia is at odds over what to do if and when they come home. These fighters would have the capabilities and cultural familiarity to potentially create a formidable and sustained destabilizing force in Tunisia. Meanwhile, Tunisian security forces break up one IS recruiting cell after another.

Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco face threats from the East as well as from the South, where they have to counter the emerging «Sahara-Sahel Front». Islamists from Mali, Niger and Mauritania are regrouping to expand the zone of influence. For instance, Al-Qaeda militants have recently attacked a Malian army post near the border of Burkina Faso.

In North and West Africa, Al Qaeda is on the rise again. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has withstood the chokehold of the Algerian security services, US drones, and the French-led intervention in Mali, to launch a range of attacks in recent years, whether storming a beach resort in Ivory Coast or conducting a low-level insurgency in northern Mali.

A number of terrorist groups operating in Mali and neighboring areas – Ansar Dine, al-Mourabitoun, the Massina Brigades, the Sahara Emirate – united this February into one organization called Nusrat-ul-Islam. The newly formed group pledged allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah, al-Qaida leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri and the leader of al-Qaida's North African franchise Abu Musab Abdul Wadud.

Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are challenged by the IS. In November 2016, the Islamic State in Greater Sahara was formed, led by Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi.

The IS militants may regroup in the war-torn Libya. This country is probably the weakest link among Maghreb states. Defense officials have said the hardline Sunni Muslim militants are considering moving their headquarters to that country. A US military intervention is an option. According to Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, head of the Pentagon’s Africa Command, «The instability in Libya and North Africa may be the most significant near-term threat to U.S. and allies’ interests on the continent». Russia has been asked to intervene by Libyan political and military leaders.

The armed forces of Maghreb countries are getting prepared. The Moroccan military has just held exercises Flintlock-2017 with the US. Weapons systems, like, for instance, Russian Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopters, are procured to make the counterterrorist operations more effective. On March 15th, 2016, King Mohamed VI visited Moscow to sign several important agreements, including the agreement on mutual protection of classified information on military and military-technical matters and the declaration on the fight against international terrorism. Morocco is interested in strengthening its military capabilities with Russian weapons.

Last year, Russia provided Algerian and Tunisian authorities with intelligence and military aid to strengthen counterterrorism efforts. The package included Russian high-resolution satellite imagery of key Algerian border crossings with Tunisia, Libya, Chad and Mali. The imagery has enabled Algerian authorities to thwart several attempts by terrorists and insurgents to infiltrate Algerian borders. Algeria has shared this data with Tunisia.

Russia has close military cooperation with the states of the region. A country with a significant Muslim minority, about 10% of its popula­tion, it has been battling jihadists in the Caucasus for a number of years. It understands the problem and has vast experience to share. Unlike the US and other Western powers, Russia does not accompany its aid with lectures about human rights or political demands pushing for «democra­tic reforms». As Rus­sian armaments have proven themselves on the battlefield, it seems likely that Maghreb governments under terrorist threat will increasingly turn towards Moscow.

Today, Islamists of all kinds, especially the IS, are emerging as a very serious threat for the United States, its NATO allies and Russia. Despite the existing differences on Ukraine and a host of other issues where Russia and the West are on opposite side of the barricades, cooperation on fighting the threat is possible and necessary. After all, the enemy is common and its deadly activities go far beyond the scope of a regional threat.

Russia and the West could coordinate activities in Libya. Sharing intelligence and cooperating in joint special operations against key targets could be a start of a broader process. Russia and the US-led West could launch preliminary talks on the wording of a hypothetical UN Security Council resolution to make it approved if an international effort will be required to keep the region from abyss.

North Africa should not become a divisive issue to complicate the relations between Russia and the West. The situation calls for cooperation and dialogue. The IS will soon become a thing of the past if Russia and the West set aside what divides them and concentrate on what brings them together. This approach will benefit all.

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moorewasthebestbond's picture

First bitchez!


I still say these ISIS punks wouldn't last two minutes in Newark or St. Louis when the sun goes down.

Mr Blue's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

Pliskin's picture

Bloody Hell, how much land do the 8.5 million people of Israel need??


Wahooo's picture

All of it, and all of us slaves in support of eternal Jew Wars.

Juliette's picture

"The IS will soon become a thing of the past if Russia and the West set aside what divides them and concentrate on what brings them together. This approach will benefit all."


LOL. You should have realized by now that ISIS = [USA + GB + ISRAEL] ... There is no common interest between Russia and the so-called West. Russia wants ISIS defeated and the West wants it to succeed and grow.

Hope Copy's picture

"....  ..."will benefit all"."  Not if they have the mind set that war is they way they want to achive their ofjectives..

Ecclesia Militans's picture

I'd say between 60 and 80 percent of what is consumed in Libya is smuggled in.  I laughed when our Libyan JV partner explained to me that he smuggled in children's clothing and cooking oil, car batteries and infant milk powder.  But that underscores one fundamental fact: borders are, and have always been, meaningless.

In 2013 the GNC government in Tripoli deployed some sort of military unit near to my location in Sebha, purportedly to construct and operate several small drone facilities in an attempt to monitor and probably interdict incursions from Mali of Islamic fighters (our PSD providers had Intel that they were coming thick and fast into the area.)  I am guessing the military units were Qatari since Matiga Airfield in Tripoli is basically run by them and there are quite a few of their military assets located there.  I cannot see and central Libyan military force (since the country is controlled by various militias anyway) actually deploying current generation drone technology.  But the units were recalled after all the old regime loyalists in places like Braq and Sebha protested there presence (and in Libya, protesting means showing up with all your boys and guns and making threats that you do intend to keep.)

not dead yet's picture

After Libya fell huge quantities of weapons disappeared into the southern deserts and into Africa itself. Al Qaeda went from playing rat patrol in the deserts to a major force spreading into Africa. A lot of those weapons made it to the Sinai which has caused headaches for Egypt and Israel. Libya is the obvious place for the wakiedoodles to end up as they control some cities and have training camps there. With all the infighting between competing governments and militias it could be a piece of cake to make Libya their caliphate if no outside intervention comes to their rescue. Supposedly we have, or had, boots on the ground in Libya and doing bombing runs on the bad guys.

Ignatius's picture

Headline could read, "CIA eyes North Africa," and be completely consistent.

Hope Copy's picture

That was a good 'read'.  2 conclusions, 1: this radicalising of Islam has spun out of control and 2: The southern Shara is developing into a real stronghold of Radical Islam.

vesna's picture

How come nobody can kill Soros?

Voice of insanity's picture

Do you still think killing Gaddafi was a great idea?

Hope Copy's picture

Qaddafi:  Not  corruptible. Was a stabilizing force for the religion of Islam.  Could profit to much from oil price manipulation.  Had to much gold.  Forgot to give Russia an air-force and naval base..  Did not transition his government into a perceived parliamentarian system that could have the needed perceived elements of corruption that MI5, the CIA and Mossad desired.  I suggest Algerians take note...

Joe A's picture

People that stand to benefit from this will make sure this will continue. But the US could lose these North African countries to the Russians if the latter provides all the support to the former to battle IS. But this will lead to the rise of more oppressive regimes there. Both ISIS and oppressive regimes there will lead to more people heading for Europe. Unless of course Europe does what it did in the past: make deals with guys like Ghadaffi to keep people from coming to Europe. But no, Europe had to get rid of Ghadaffi. Thanks Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama!

DuneCreature's picture

As the veil of secrecy and confusion lifts one can only conclude this is the start of WW III.

Trump must have finally been shown the movie and his role in it.

ISIS is just the vehicle and will probably be mostly consumed in the first few hours of an exchange of nuclear weapons on the ground in the ME.

That is, ISIS in the ME.

Imported Hello Kitty on USSA soil is another matter all together.

The big picture :

Live Hard, History Is Written In Advance Of Events With The Assistance Of AI AL, Die Free

~ DC 5.0

oncemore's picture

Author is a clueless person, probably he came back from the moon yesterdey, otherwise he would know, that ISIS is a US-Israel army for proxy wars in ME.

south40_dreams's picture

Too many Soros trolls on ZH.

Time for a break.

Omega_Man's picture

Merica moving some ISIS to Africa to stir shit up there

Arrest Hillary's picture

I miss Idi Amin .... that stupid "nigger" was cruel .... but, in the scheme of things, clueless .... Islam is a much more serious threat ?

Hope Copy's picture

Well, I'd suggest that you get a copy of "The Last King of Scotland":


Humm, reminds me to make a contribution to Wikipedia...

Arrest Hillary's picture

It has become clear, you don't side with 'Murica nor the Jooish bankers (East and West Bank of Israel, Ltd.) .... who do you like in this dog fight .... the Paleostonians, ISIS, "I_Ran" when Reagan won, Turdogan, Puteen, Hillary .... Enigma/Smegma/Omega_Man .... come out of your water boarding closet ?

dogismycopilot's picture

Fuck you Rex.

Rex tells Russia to leave Syria and come to the dark side (the US)

Hope Copy's picture

Thanks for africaninteligence..  that other two, well they develop a situation of local awareness for the need for stability and that does not seem to be in 'the plan'.