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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:30
source ISW

source ISW


February 2, 2015: Strategy Page


ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) was seemingly invincible and unstoppable in mid-2014. In July 2014 ISIL had recently taken control of Mosul (the largest city in northern Iraq) and was advancing on Baghdad, the Kurdish north and the capital of western Iraq (Anbar province).  Similar gains were being made in Syria. All that has changed in the last few months. ISIL still holds the cities of Raqqa (the largest city in eastern Syria) and Mosul in Iraq. But both cities are increasingly rebellious and require a growing number of ISIL gunmen to maintain control.  Now ISIL is in retreat in Iraq and Syria. Sunni tribes in Anbar and western Syria are in open revolt and subject to increasingly savage reprisals by ISIL gunmen (often foreigners, which makes the tribesmen angrier). Half the ISIL leadership has been killed by coalition (Arab, NATO and allied) warplanes since August 2014. This air support and a Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish troops, Shia militias and armed Sunni tribesmen have taken back much of the territory ISIL overran in early 2014. American and other Western troops are rebuilding the Iraqi Army and arming anti-ISIL Sunni tribesmen. Iran is training and sometimes leading Shia militias. In Syria ISIL is getting beaten by Kurds, Syrian soldiers and more Iranian trained Shia militias.


While still bringing in new recruits from outside of Syria and Iraq, ISIL has lost the propaganda war inside those two counties and the Islamic world in general. History often repeats itself and in the case of Iraqi Islamic terrorists there is, for the second time since 2007, a major dip in Islamic terrorist approval ratings because of the brutality of Iraqi Islamic terrorists. Back in 2007 it was the "Al Qaeda In Iraq" leadership that was out of control. At the time opinion polls in Moslem countries showed approval and support of al Qaeda plunging, in some cases to single digits. This came after the 2003 invasion of Iraq when al Qaeda managed to take itself from hero to zero in less than four years. Al Qaeda has since recovered somewhat but that kinder and gentler approach did not last and by 2013 the Iraqi al Qaeda (now ISIL) was again losing popular support. That was quite visible after June 2014 when ISIL seized control of parts of Iraq and promptly slaughtered captured Iraqi soldiers and police, mainly because these men were Shia. Then ISIL declared the parts of Syria and Iraq it controlled were the new Moslem caliphate.


Naturally the ISIL leaders running this new caliphate called on all Moslems to follow them in making the new caliphate work. Most Moslems responded, according to subsequent opinion polls, by expressing greater fear rather than more admiration for Islamic terrorist groups, especially ISIL. This was not a radical change in attitude. Earlier in 2014 al Qaeda leadership condemned ISIL for being completely out of control and not to be trusted or supported. Throughout 2104 opinion polls showed Moslems becoming more hostile to Islamic terrorists, seeing them as a cause for concern not as defenders of Islam. The same thing happened back in 2007. Then as now there continued to be young (teens and twenties) Moslem men who saw all this mindless mayhem as an attraction and kept rushing to join the slaughter (most often of themselves). The Islamic world has not been able to control these violent young men or the older men who encourage and organize this violence.


When al Qaeda could not, in 2007, exercise any real control over the parts (mostly Anbar province in the West) of Iraq they claimed as part of the new Islamic State and that claim was the last straw for many Moslems. The original caliphate came apart because the Islamic world was split by ethnic and national differences and the first caliphate fell apart after a few centuries.  Various rulers have claimed the title over the centuries, but since 1924, when the Turks gave it up (after four centuries), no one of any stature has stepped up and assumed the role. So when al Qaeda "elected" a nobody in 2006 as the emir of the "Islamic State of Iraq", and talked about this being the foundation of the new caliphate, even many pro-al Qaeda Moslems were aghast. The key allies of the Iraqi Islamic terrorists (the Sunni minority of Iraq), battered by increasingly effective American and Iraqi (Shia and Kurd) attacks, dropped their support for al Qaeda and the terrorist organization got stomped to bits by the "surge offensive" a year later. The final insult was delivered by the former Iraqi Sunni Arab allies, who switched sides and sometimes even worked with the Americans (more so than the Shia dominated Iraqi security forces) to hunt down and kill al Qaeda personnel.


Between then and 2013 al Qaeda in Iraq slowly rebuilt and received a major boost in 2011 when the Sunni Arab majority in neighboring Syria rose up against four decades of Shia dictatorship. While the Sunni Arabs are a minority in Iraq (20 percent of the population versus 60 percent Shia) it is quite the opposite in Syria (15 percent Shia and 75 percent Sunni). The Sunnis are most numerous in eastern Syria and western Iraq which the Sunnis see as one entity divided by artificial political boundaries imposed by Turks and the Western nations that replaced the Turks after 1918. This “Sunnistan” is the northernmost concentration of Sunni Arabs and long subjugated by non-Sunni or non-Arab powers. Turks and Persians (the Indo-European Iranians) have long fought over the area, with the Turks largely in charge since the 16th century. The Turks were Sunni and what is now called Iraq has long been, not surprisingly, a center of the long religious battle between Sunni and Shia sects of Islam.


Ever since al Qaeda showed up in the 1990s they were popular to Moslems in proportion to how far away the al Qaeda violence was. Once al Qaeda began killing people nearby Moslems tended to change their mind and actively dislike Islamic terrorists. Thus in 2013 37 percent of Turks were concerned about Islamic terrorism while by 2014it was 50 percent thanks to increased ISIL violence on the Syrian border and some inside Turkey itself. Similar situation further south where 54 percent of the people in Jordan were concerned in 2013 versus 62 percent now. In Lebanon, where the Syrian violence spilled over quickly after 2011 last year 81 percent were concerned in 2013 Islamic terrorism versus over 90 percent today.


The hostility towards al Qaeda in the region has tainted all forms of Islamic radicalism, including the Shia ones (especially Hezbollah in Lebanon). Yet once Islamic terrorism disappears again (as it does regularly) many Moslems will get nostalgic for those legendary warriors seeking to defend Islam. This is a cycle many Moslems would like to break, but so far the cycle of violence persists.

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14 août 2014 4 14 /08 /août /2014 07:30
Counter-Terrorism: When Rebranding Does Not Work


August 13, 2014: Strategy Page


Hamas hoped for a big popularity boost by taking on Israel again. Didn’t work out that way. While there is a lot of sympathy for the Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Hamas is getting no love. It’s gotten so bad that even when Israel bombed mosques that Hamas has been using to store rockets or fire rockets from there were no protests even in Moslem countries. Hamas appears to be suffering from the Al Qaeda Disease. This happens when an Islamic terrorist group gets a lot of Moslems killed and seems to have no realistic agenda to justify the lives it so enthusiastically snuffs out. Hamas should have seen this coming as what is happening to them is just another case of Islamic terrorist groups suffering a big drop in popularity even among Moslems. This was also seen happening with Iraqi Islamic terrorists (ISIL or Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) who, for the second time since 2007, suffered a major dip in approval ratings because of their seemingly pointless brutality.


Back in 2007 it was the "Al Qaeda In Iraq" leadership that was out of control. Back then opinion polls in Moslem countries showed approval and support of al Qaeda plunging, in some cases into single digits. Thus after the 2003 invasion of Iraq al Qaeda managed to take itself from hero to zero in less than four years. Since that low point al Qaeda recovered somewhat but that kinder and gentler approach did not last and by 2013 the Iraqi al Qaeda (now rebranded as ISIL) was again losing popular support. That was quite visible in 2014 when ISIL seized control of parts of Iraq and promptly slaughtered captured Iraqi soldiers and police, mainly because these men were Shia. ISIL put videos of these mass killings on the Internet.


Then ISIL declared the parts of Syria and Iraq it controlled were the new Moslem caliphate. Naturally the ISIL leaders are running this new caliphate and are calling on all Moslems to follow them. Most Moslems have responded, according to recent opinion polls, by expressing greater fear rather than more admiration for Islamic terrorist groups, especially ISIL. In the meantime (earlier in 2014) al Qaeda leadership condemned ISIL as completely out of control and not to be trusted or supported.


In the last year opinion polls show Moslems becoming more hostile to Islamic terrorists, seeing them as a cause for concern not as defenders of Islam. The same thing happened back in 2007 and now, when Hamas began getting more aggressive towards Israel in June of 2014 they found that there Hama was now considered as pointless, and dangerous to Moslems, as ISIL


When al Qaeda showed up in the 1990s as a post-Afghanistan international Islamic terrorist organization they were popular to Moslems in proportion to how far away the al Qaeda violence was. Once al Qaeda began killing people nearby Moslems tended to change their minds and disliked the Islamic terrorists. In 2013 37 percent of Turks were concerned about Islamic terrorism while now it is 50 percent thanks to increased ISIL violence on the Syrian border and some inside Turkey itself. In 2013 54 percent of the people in Jordan were concerned versus 62 percent for the same reason. In Lebanon, where the Syrian violence spilled over quickly after 2011 last year 81 percent were concerned about Islamic terrorism versus 92 percent today.


The hostility towards al Qaeda in the region has tainted all forms of Islamic radicalism, including the Shia ones (especially Hezbollah in Lebanon). Yet once Islamic terrorism disappears again (as it does regularly) many Moslems will get nostalgic for those legendary warriors seeking to defend Islam. This is a cycle many Moslems would like to break, but so far the cycle of violence persists.

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19 février 2014 3 19 /02 /février /2014 08:30
Syrie: le terrorisme gagne en ampleur (diplomates russe et chinois)


MOSCOU, 18 février - RIA Novosti


Moscou et Pékin sont unanimes à constater que la menace terroriste en Syrie s'amplifie, indique un communiqué de la diplomatie russe diffusée à l'issue d'une rencontre entre le vice-ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Guennadi Gatilov et l'ambassadeur de Chine à Moscou Li Hui.


"Il a été constaté que la menace terroriste en Syrie prend de l'ampleur et exige que tous les Syriens unissent leurs efforts en vue de l'éradiquer ", lit-on dans le communiqué.


Les diplomates ont également évoqué le comportement du médiateur international Lakhdar Brahimi aux négociations inter-syriennes de Genève.


"Les interlocuteurs ont été unanimes à affirmer que l'envoyé spécial sur la Syrie Lakhdar Brahimi devait effectuer son travail de façon objective et impartiale en encourageant les parties à rechercher un compromis et à tenir compte de leurs intérêts réciproques sur la base du Communiqué de Genève du 30 juin 2012", souligné le document de la diplomatie russe.


Moscou reproche à M. Brahimi d'émettre des accusations unilatérales et de rejeter sur Damas la responsabilité de l'absence de progrès aux négociations de Genève.


Le deuxième round de ces négociations s'est achevé le 15 février. D'après les diplomates russes, la tendance de Damas à privilégier la lutte contre le terrorisme s'explique par le fait que la Syrie ne cesse d'attirer des "djihadistes et des radicaux islamiques de tout poil". Ces derniers se battent contre les autorités syriennes pour faire triompher leur idéologie.

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29 janvier 2014 3 29 /01 /janvier /2014 18:30
Livraisons d'armes en Syrie: risque d'alimenter le terrorisme (Moscou)


BRUXELLES, 29 janvier - RIA Novosti


La reprise des livraisons d'armes et de munitions en Syrie crée le risque de les voir tomber de nouveau entre les mains des terroristes, a déclaré mardi à Bruxelles le chef de la diplomatie russe Sergueï Lavrov.


"Nous parlons avec nos partenaires américains de la nécessité de prévenir toute démarche susceptible d'intensifier davantage l'activité terroriste en Syrie. L'Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant ne se fixe pas pour objectif unique de s'emparer du pouvoir en Syrie, son but est de créer un khalifat dans toute la région (Proche-Orient, ndlr).  La reprise des livraisons d'armes létales et non létales dans cette région augmente le risque existant de la dissémination de ces armes entre de mauvaises mains", a indiqué le ministre russe aux journalistes.


Se référant à des sources au sein du gouvernement américain, les médias ont annoncé que Washington avait relancé la livraison de munitions non létales aux rebelles syriens. D'après la source, il s'agit principalement de matériel de communication. La source souligne que ces envois sont destinés exclusivement aux groupes non armés, mais n'écarte pas une éventuelle reprise de livraisons d'équipement aux autres groupes.


D'après l'agence Reuters, contrôlées par l'Armée syrienne libre (ASL, branche armée de l'opposition anti-Assad), les livraisons en question se font via la Turquie. Les Etats-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne ont suspendu la livraison de munitions militaires non létales aux rebelles syriens début décembre dernier, suite à une série d'attaques lancées par des extrémistes contre des bases et des entrepôts de l'ASL.

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29 janvier 2014 3 29 /01 /janvier /2014 08:40
Joint EU-Russia statement on combatting terrorism


28/1/2014 EU source: Council Ref: CL14-011EN


Summary: 28 January 2014, Brussels - Joint EU-Russia statement on combatting terrorism


1. Guided by our common goals and noting with satisfaction the new format of the regular meetings within the political dialogue on counter-terrorism under the auspices of the MFA of Russia and the European External Action Service, that allows, in particular, an exchange of views in this field, we agreed to further develop strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the European Union, especially in combating and preventing terrorism, and to this end, in particular:


- consider possibilities for further strengthening cooperation in response to crimes committed by terrorists and organised crime, including exploring prospects of signing cooperation agreements in the future, to ensure, inter alia, an information exchange between Russia and the EU in the sphere of combating terrorism in conformity with their respective internal legislation including data protection standards;


- expand cooperation in exchanging best practices in counter-terrorism and training experts in counter-terrorism through joint seminars, training courses and other activities, the list of which will be adopted at consultations on combating terrorism within the Russia-EU political dialogue;


- intensify our cooperation in the UN framework as well as other multilateral fora such as the G8, in particular G8 Rome/Lyon Group, and the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF), OSCE, and the Council of Europe, as well as other international organizations actively involved in combating terrorism.


2. The Russian Federation and the European Union condemn as criminal any acts of terrorism as defined by article 2 of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999). Under no circumstances can such acts be justified, be it based on political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other consideration. We declare that we are united in countering terrorism based on the rule of law and respect for human rights and believe that an effective response to this global threat will be achieved through coordinated actions of the international community under the auspices of the UN, based on the UN Charter, the UN Security Council resolutions, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant principles and norms of international law, in particular international human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.


3. We commit to ensuring that measures taken against terrorism, including by international bodies, fully respect human rights and rule of law principles, and that human rights laws are applied and implemented in counter-terrorism programmes and policies of national governments. We affirm that effective counterterrorism measures and the protection and promotion of human rights are not conflicting but complementary and mutually reinforcing goals.


4. We state that, in spite of the success in addressing this challenge in recent years, terrorism remains one of the most serious and constantly evolving threats to global peace and security. In the context of the increasing speed of globalisation and the growing use of advanced technologies, terrorism develops rapidly, extends to new regions of the world, and the range of activities by its supporters expands.


5. We act on the premise that the fight against terrorism is a long-term process, requiring from the international community a complex approach and united efforts for countering terrorists striving to impose their will on states, both at national, regional and global levels.


We consider it important that the legal protection for individuals is ensured as international regulation on counter-terrorism intensifies.


6. We note with concern the growing ties between global terrorism and cross-border organised crime. We call for joint efforts towards concrete and full implementation of the United Nations Convention against Organized Crime (UNTOC), signed in 2000, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), signed in 2003, as key multilateral tools to fight transnational organized crime.


We are concerned by negative effects of the integration between drug syndicates and terrorist networks which creates a new challenge - the increased link between organised crime, drug trafficking and counter-terrorism. We call for joint efforts, with the coordinating role of the UN, above all, against global centres of heroin and cocaine production, as well as synthetic drugs, from which a part of revenues is used for financing terrorist activities.


7. We intend to strengthen our cooperation countering terrorist financing activities, as well as legal cooperation, in particular in extradition and legal assistance on criminal cases, including identification, arrest, confiscation and return of property acquired through terrorist activities. To this end, we will promote cooperation between the competent agencies of the Russian Federation and EU including Eurojust and Europol.


We will further strengthen cooperation and interaction through Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as well as in the format of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) in order to ensure greater efficiency of joint efforts in blocking channels for financing terrorism and countering money laundering. EU and Russia will encourage a stronger commitment at international level towards fully tracking financial flows originating from illicit trafficking, including off-shore jurisdictions.


8. The European Union and the Russian Federation agree on further exchanges and developing cooperation concerning the prevention of terrorism, in particular on the radicalization and recruitment of terrorists, foreign fighters as well as on the protection of critical infrastructure in the energy field. In this context we also consider it important to focus on the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. We express concern with the increasing threat of misuse of the internet by terrorists for spreading terrorist ideology and propaganda, and for recruiting and training new members and supporters among citizens of Russia and EU Member States. We welcome cooperation and initiatives to counter these threats.


9. We note the importance of developing public-private partnership in combating and preventing terrorism, and contacts with all the components of the civil society, including media, religious groups, business community, cultural and educational institutions in order to prevent the spread of ideology of terrorism and violence.


10. We stand together to assist and support victims of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, according to our national laws and principles of international law. We underscore that victims of terrorism can contribute to the prevention of terrorism, including by serving as credible messengers against the ideology of violence espoused by terrorist groups.


11. We declare our commitment to:


- continue, individually and jointly, our international efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and to ensure and strengthen the widest possible global counterterrorism coalition,


- bring to trial criminals, organisers and sponsors of terrorist attacks on the basis of the principle 'aut dedere aut judicare' (extradite or prosecute) and ensure that persons responsible for hiding, financing, and supporting them are punished in accordance with obligations under international law,


- strengthen international cooperation in order to prevent, detect and suppress terrorist attacks, identify, search for, and extradite persons involved in terrorist activities, block channels for financing terrorism, including through full implementation of relevant international counter-terrorism conventions and UN Security Council resolutions, in particular UNSC Resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

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20 décembre 2013 5 20 /12 /décembre /2013 13:45
ISS: Terrorism and the threat radical Islam poses to Cameroon


19 December 2013 by Martin Ewi, Senior Researcher, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Pretoria


The kidnapping of a French priest, Reverend Georges Vandenbeusch, in northern Cameroon on 14 November 2013, barely seven months after the negotiated release of a French family who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram and Ansaru in the same region, demonstrates Cameroon’s vulnerability to the threat of global jihad.


Recent actions by France seem to confirm this vulnerability. Fearing the Islamists’ growing influence, France has for the first time since Cameroon’s independence, issued a red alert travel warning, declaring certain parts of the country no-go zones (see map).


This reaction has led many analysts to ask whether Cameroon, once lauded as an oasis of peace and stability in a turbulent region, is in danger of becoming another African country where terrorism has degenerated into a chronic social problem. If France’s paranoia is anything to go by, Islamists’ recent activities in Cameroon should be taken as a serious symptom of the growing insecurity in the country.


Despite its relatively stable history since gaining independence in 1960, Cameroon has not been immune from the threat of terrorism. According to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) maintained by the University of Maryland, roughly 28 major terrorist incidents occurred in Cameroon between 1970 and 2011. The deadliest attack to date took place on 12 November 2007, when gunmen in speedboats attacked a Cameroonian military post on the Bakassi Peninsula, killing 21 soldiers.


Between 2011 and November 2013, 13 major terrorist attacks were reported in Cameroon. The most recent attack occurred on 16 November 2013, when unidentified gunmen from the Central African Republic (CAR) attacked a Cameroonian border post at Gbiti. Seven people died in the attack. Of the 13 attacks that have been recorded since 2011, at least eight have been attributed to Boko Haram and Ansaru, making them the principal terrorist threat to Cameroon.


Until the recent escalation in kidnappings in the country’s far north, the places most vulnerable to terrorism have been the area surrounding the Bakassi Peninsula and the high seas linking Cameroon and the piracy-ridden Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Here Cameroon has suffered at least ten major piracy incidents in the past two years. With the civil war in CAR, east Cameroon has also become vulnerable, broadening the threat of terrorism to include all Cameroon’s borders with Nigeria, Chad and CAR.


The drivers of terrorism in Cameroon may be found in the country’s complex historical, geostrategic and socio-economic dynamics. Often described as Africa in miniature, Cameroon is not only diverse in landscape but also in people. The estimated 21 million Cameroonians comprise more than 250 ethnic groups, many of which trace their roots to other African countries. This diversity also exists in relation to religion, with the population consisting of roughly 40% Christians, 30% Muslims and 30% espousing traditional beliefs. This diversity has never been a source of conflict or instability in Cameroon, but it does provide a setting conducive to the exploitation of certain groups and religions. Kinship is one of the biggest factors in the spread of modern terrorism, as ethnic and religious ties provide a base for both support and protection.


The roots of radical Islam in Cameroon may be traced to the period of Islamic revivalism in northern Nigeria, which took concrete institutional form with the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate (1804–1903). Until the arrival of the German colonial powers, most of northern Cameroon formed part of Nigeria’s Adamawa Emirate, populated by the same people – mainly the Hausas and Fulanis – and administered by the British from Lagos. It was only after the 1893 agreement between Great Britain and Germany that Adamawa was split between Nigeria and Cameroon with a formula that did not respect ethnic boundaries. As a result, the religious activism that animated the Sokoto Caliphate and particularly the Adamawa Emirate continued in Cameroon, and to some extent took a more radical turn as Muslims in those territories vehemently opposed the split and the subsequent secular regimes in Cameroon.


This historical and ethnic affiliation is vital to understanding the cross-fertilisation of jihadism in Cameroon and Nigeria. For example, the Cameroonian Muhammad Marwa, who moved to Nigeria from northern Cameroon, is believed to be the founder of the Maitatsine Doctrine, an extremely radical form of Islam that spread throughout northern Nigeria and culminated in the Kano uprising of December 1980, in which over 4 000 people died. Boko Haram, which today has many Cameroonian members, espouses the Maitatsine Doctrine, which rejects Western forms of education and other aspects of Western life it considers to be corrupting. In this context it is important to ask why radical Islam has been so violent in Nigeria and not in Cameroon, especially given their geographical proximity, and historical and ethnic affinities.


Indeed, the split of Adamawa and the end of the Sokoto Caliphate were met with same violent reactions in Nigeria and Cameroon. The colonial approach to Islam and the role that the latter played in the nation-building projects of the two nations, are however, different. From the beginning of the German colonial administration, Islamic militancy was identified as the greatest threat to the construction and governance of the Cameroonian nation. This view was upheld by the subsequent British and French administrations, as well as the country’s post-independence regimes.


As a result, policies were developed to pacify, coerce and integrate Muslims into the nation-building project. This began with the dismantling of the religious edifices that underpinned the Sokoto Caliphate. For example, the power of Islamic theocracies, clerics and local chiefs or laamidos was reduced and made subordinate to secular institutions. Other policies have included direct negotiation and preferential treatment, as well as the monitoring and strict regulation of Islamic affairs, including state oversight of mosques.


The 1984 attempted coup by Ahidjo’s loyalists brought to the fore the continued threat from the north and the gaps in the nation-building project. The state responded by developing programmes to encourage and reward cooperative Muslim elites, and created institutions to support and advance Islamic culture. Central to these efforts has been the creation of a unitary republican state that recognises plurality but does not define Cameroon on the basis of any ethnic or religious creed.


The current radical Islamist threat comes from sources external to Cameroon – primarily from neighbouring countries. The pressure Boko Haram and Ansaru face from Nigerian military operations has forced the groups to look for safe havens outside the country. Cameroon is believed to be one of the countries in which Boko Haram has regrouped following the massive military crackdown in Nigeria in 2009. The group is believed to have established a comfortable berth in northern Cameroon, using porous borders, false identity cards and kinship ties to infiltrate the country. Although it traditionally used its Cameroonian bases only for resources, recruitment and planning attacks, it recently started to carry out attacks in the country, including assassinations, murders, armed robberies and kidnappings.


Cameroon, which has no experience in combating terrorism, is employing conventional military tactics similar to those used by Nigeria. Last year, Cameroon reportedly killed about 180 Boko Haram fighters in such operations. Several of the sect’s fighters have been arrested and imprisoned. However, these measures are inadequate to deal effectively with the threat of terrorism in the long term. The overwhelming emphasis on military responses may risk Cameroon falling into the same predicament as Nigeria, where military responses have helped foster Boko Haram’s resistance.


If Cameroon is to be successful in repelling the threat, it will have to take a robust criminal justice approach that combines sound intelligence with effective investigation and prosecution of terrorist suspects. Cameroon must prioritise the adoption of comprehensive national counter-terrorism legislation. It should also provides guidelines for both military responses and long-term measures, with a view to addressing the legal, social, political, economic, religious and cultural conditions that give rise to terrorism. Cameroon should also tighten border security, strengthen the capacity of its judiciary, eliminate corruption among the security forces, and strengthen cooperation at regional and international levels.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 17:45
Gabon President urges international support for Africa’s fight against terrorism

25 September 2013 by Staff Writer/UN - defenceWeb


Citing the deadly terrorist attack at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, President Ali Bongo of Gabon used the podium of the UN General Assembly to appeal for full global support for Africa in the battle against terrorism.


“Africa, which is becoming a target for terrorism, must benefit from the full support and solidarity of the international community in its effort to combat this threat,” he told the Assembly on the first day of its General Debate, noting that poverty nurtures extremism around the world and the battle against poverty must therefore remain at the centre of national policies.


Turning to the post-2015 development agenda, the theme of the 68th General Assembly, Bongo said attention must be paid to Africa’s priorities, such as energy, access to potable water and sustainable agriculture, as well as the realisation of those Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) not met by the target date of 2015.


The MDGs seek to slash extreme hunger and poverty, boost access to health care and education, achieve gender equality and environmental stability and reduce maternal and child mortality and the incidence of HIV/AIDS, all by the end of 2015, while Assembly President John Ashe says he hopes the focus on the post-2015 agenda will set the stage for sustainable development in the decades ahead.


Bongo underscored the need for predictable funding for development from public and private sources, the importance of combating climate change and the threat to wildlife and biodiversity and voiced his concern over conflicts in the DRC and the Central African Republic (CAR), praising the efforts of the UN peacekeeping mission in the former country.


He repeatedly appealed for international support. “Africa cannot face all these challenges to peace and security alone. Its efforts must receive greater support, because the destabilisation of Africa will have implications for other regions.”

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 17:45
EU supports Kenya in facing terrorism and its consequences

25/9/2013 EU source: European Union Ref: EU13-443EN


Summary: 25 September 2013, Brussels - Since the beginning of the hostage taking in the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi on Saturday 21 September, the EU has been engaged to provide every possible support to the people of Kenya.


On Monday 23 September, Nick Westcott, Managing Director for Africa at the European External Action Service, left Brussels for Nairobi to link up with the Government, offer the EU's solidarity and support, and discuss follow-up action to combat radicalisation and financing of terrorism, both in Kenya and in the region. The EEAS and the Commission are also liaising with international partners and organisations, including Interpol, on the possible support the EU could bring.


Terrorism is as a global threat and as such requires a comprehensive and coordinated response. The EU is a longstanding partner of the Horn of Africa in facing terrorism and remains committed to cooperating with all countries to free the region from the scourge of Al-Shabab:

  • The Brussels conference co-organised by the EU and the Somali government on 16 September allowed to raise the international support for the government to implement its priorities, including combatting terrorism, as seen both from the New Deal Compact endorsed at the meeting and the financial support pledged (€1.8 billion overall).
  • The EU is the first donor to AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. On 9 September, the EU announced a new funding of €124 million which will cover the period of 1 June to 31 December 2013 and bring the overall EU contribution to AMISOM to almost €600 million. The EU also calls on other donors to contribute to funding for AMISOM.
  • The EU's military training mission (EUTM Somalia) has trained in Uganda more than 3,000 Somali soldiers who have played an important role, alongside AMISOM, in recovering large areas of Somalia from Al Shabab control. In June 2013, the EUTM began activities, including mentoring and advising, in Mogadishu. The EUTM will contribute to the implementation of the Compact security objective to build the Somali National Army (SNA). 


EU Development cooperation with Kenya

The overall EU development cooperation with Kenya for the period 2008-2013 amounts to €391 million. Development support on the country focuses on rural development and road infrastructure but also covers macro-economic support, Trade & Private Sector Development and Good governance & Non-State Actor support.

Since peace and security are essential for the development and prosperity of any countries, other initiatives linked to security have been launched in the region, of which the Kenya and its population are direct beneficiaries. One of them is a regional project on anti-money laundering and countering financial terrorism, which will strengthen the capacities of financial intelligence units and other law enforcement bodies, as well as establish closer links between relevant authorities across the region.

The EU will organise a regional seminar on countering violent extremism in Nairobi early December, which will bring together EU and national governments from the region to identify specific interventions tailored to each partner country.


Humanitarian aid

The European Commission has made on 25 September 2013 an additional €25,000 of aid available to the Kenyan Red Cross Society (KRSC), its longstanding partner. This new assistance will help replenish of the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) that will support the Kenyan Red Cross society in its current efforts to give referral and blood donation services, provide community-based health care and boost the psycho-social care for the people affected by the Nairobi incident. The Commission has already contributed in recent months to strengthening the response capacity of the KRCS through capacity-building, first aid training of local volunteers, stockpiling of basic items and coordination with stakeholders. This support, for an amount of €800,000, goes on.



High Representative / Vice-President Catherine Ashton issued a statement on Sunday 22 September, condemning the attack and pledging the EU's full support to the Kenyan authorities in handling the crisis and responding to the threat. President of the Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy sent a letter to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday 23 September, expressing the EU's solidary and continued commitment.

On Monday 16 September, the EU co-organised an international conference in Brussels on 'A new deal for Somalia' to support the re-establishment of a stable government, proper security and the rule of law in the country. €1.8 billion were pledged, including an additional €650 million from the European Commission.


For more information

EU Relations with Kenya

Humanitarian aid Kenya


Support to African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)

EUTM Somalia

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28 août 2013 3 28 /08 /août /2013 11:30
source RAND Corporation Aug 2013

source RAND Corporation Aug 2013

August 27, 2013: Strategy Page


Al Qaeda has survived by becoming regional, rather than international. The original al Qaeda is back where it was founded three decades ago, in the tribal territories of northwest Pakistan. Here, about a thousand members (many of them married into local tribes and semi-retired) manage to protect supreme leader Ayman al Zawahiri, along with a shrinking network of training camps and safe houses. About ten percent of these al Qaeda men are actually in eastern Afghanistan but are even less active. Al Qaeda is tolerated by the Pakistani government as long as it does no (or very little) violence inside Pakistan. Thus, the relatively large number of al Qaeda operatives “retiring” to the tribal territories. Many did this to survive growing hostility from local tribes against the largely foreign al Qaeda members. In the last decade over a thousand foreign al Qaeda men (mainly Arabs and Central Asians) have been killed by local tribesmen for, well, not getting along with the locals. Many al Qaeda members fled and this played a part in the development of the two major operational branches that emerged over the last decade in Yemen and North Africa.


AQAP (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) has suffered heavy losses in the last year. AQAP was formed in 2009, after the remnants of the Saudi al Qaeda organization (several thousand full and part time members) fled to Yemen and merged with the Yemeni al Qaeda branch. AQAP also benefitted from hundreds of Iraqi al Qaeda members who arrived after the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq in 2007-8. Growing unrest in Yemen (against the long-time Saleh dictatorship) enabled AQAP to recruit locally and take over several towns in the south by 2011. Then the government launched a counteroffensive last year and AQAP got hurt very badly. That offensive continues, along with the growing use of American UAVs in Yemen. At the same time there are few other places for defeated al Qaeda men to flee to. The sanctuary in Mali was destroyed earlier in the year by a French led offensive. The sanctuary in Pakistan (North Waziristan) is hostile to active al Qaeda and mainly for local Islamic terrorists. Surviving al Qaeda men are increasingly operating in isolation and under heavy attack. Sometimes, as is happening now in Syria, they attack each other. While the al Qaeda situation is desperate in Yemen, AQAP is still al Qaeda’s most capable branch and the only one that has shown any ability to support attacks (few successful) in the West.


In North Africa there are three major Islamic radical groups, as well as some smaller ones. Ansar Dine was originally from Mali and led by Tuareg Islamic radicals.  MOJAO (Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa) is from neighboring Mauritania. It is largely composed of black African Islamic radicals and led by Mauritanians. The largest of the three is AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) which has members from all over North Africa but mostly from Algeria. MOJAO is basically a Mauritanian faction of AQIM and there continues to be some ethnic and racial tension between the two groups. AQIM has the most money and weapons and used this to exercise some control over the other two major radical groups (who outnumbered AQIM in Mali). AQIM and MOJAO are sometimes at odds with Ansar Dine, which felt it should be in charge in Mali because it is Malian. Until late 2012 all three groups cooperated in order to maintain their control of northern Mali. Then Ansar Dine began negotiating with the Mali government for a separate peace and some kind of compromise over Tuareg autonomy in the north. In part this was because MUJAO and AQIM were bringing in reinforcements from Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, and Sudan and threatened to reduce the area Ansar Dine controlled. Ansar Dine saw itself as the only Malian group in the Islamic radical government up north and was determined to defend Tuareg interests against the many foreigners in MUJAO (which also has some Malian members) and especially AQIM (which wanted to run everything). Ansar Dine saw AQIM as a bunch of gangsters, dependent on its relationship with drug gangs (al Qaeda moves the drugs north to the Mediterranean coast) and kidnappers (who hold Europeans for multi-million dollar ransoms). All this cash gave AQIM a lot of power, both to buy weapons and hire locals. With the high unemployment in the north and the daring image of Islamic warriors, working for AQIM was an attractive prospect for many young men. Most of those new recruits deserted as their employers fled the advancing French in January 2013. The Tuareg members of MUJAO and Ansar Dine could find locals in the north to shelter them while the foreigners (mainly from AQIM) had to flee because they were too easily spotted by Mali civilians and pointed out to the French, Malian, and other African troops who now occupy the north. The French led invasion was a crushing blow to AQIM, just like the Yemen offensive last year was to AQAP.


In the wake of the Mali disaster, Islamic terrorists in North Africa have reorganized. AQIM has relocated to southern Libya while Ansari Dine, especially the Tuareg leadership, faded back into the many Tuareg living in the Sahel (the semi-desert region between the Sahara Desert and the tropical forests to the south). Recently two North African Islamic terrorist factions merged to create a new group: Al Mourabitoun. The new group has already been operating, largely in Niger, where it recently carried out several daring attacks (including a prison break in June and twin bombings in May). One of the merger partners is an al Qaeda splinter group led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar (the planner of the January natural gas facility attack in southern Algeria that got 37 workers and 32 terrorists killed). Belmokhtar has a reputation for always escaping the many efforts to kill or capture him. Belmokhtar was number two or three in the North African al Qaeda organization (AQIM) but formed his own splinter group in late 2012. Belmokhtar’s faction survived the French invasion. The other component of Al Mourabitoun comes from MOJWA.


This merger was another aftereffect of the French led invasion that began last January. Within months hundreds of experienced Islamic terrorists scattered and slowly reorganized via email, cell phones and hand-carried documents. Recruiting took a big hit as the operations in Mali this year showed once more that Islamic radicals cannot stand up to professional soldiers and their governing methods tend to turn the population against them. This caused over a thousand AQIM members to desert while nearly 500 were killed in the Mali fighting. Hundreds of local Islamic terrorists (Tuaregs, MOJWA, and other black Africans from countries in the region) stayed in northern Mali and continue to try carrying out terrorist attacks. There are a few larger groups of these Islamic terrorists still wandering around the far north but they were hunted by French aircraft and hit with smart bombs until most fled to neighboring countries. Some of these Islamic terrorists have renounced their alliance with al Qaeda and sought to evade attack by just being another group of Tuareg separatists. Most of the still functional Islamic terrorists have reformed in Niger, Tunisia, and Libya. Many individual terrorists made their way to Syria, which is the next-big-thing for murderous religious radicals.


Despite the senior leadership remaining in Pakistan, the most active, and dangerous, international terrorism operations are coming out of AQAP. AQIM survives by becoming a drug gang that smuggles various narcotics to North Africa and Europe. As a result of this, al Qaeda is urging Islamic radicals everywhere to try and organize and carry out terrorism operations wherever they are. Thus, even some large al Qaeda organizations (like the ones in Iraq and Syria) are devoting all their energies to killing people (mostly fellow Moslems) where they are and not in the West (which al Qaeda Central would prefer).

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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 08:20
Le NORAD et la Force aérienne Russe s’entraînent ensemble contre le terrorisme aérien

Un CF-18 du 409e Escadron d’appui tactique vole en formation serrée avec un KC-135 du 465th Air Refueling Squadron de la United States Air Force (Photo: Archives/AW/NAC Scott Taylor/U.S. Navy)


26/08/2013 par Jacques N. Godbout – 45eNord.ca


Le NORAD ( North american air command) et la Force aérienne Russe s’entraîneront ensemble les 27 et 28 août contre le terrorisme aérien lors de l’exercice Vigilant Eagle 2013, auquel participeront du personnel militaire et des aéronefs de la Russie, du Canada et des États-Unis, à partir de centres de commandement en Russie et aux États-Unis.


En partenariat avec la Federal Aviation Administration américaine et sa contrepartie russe, l’exercice de cette année sera en effet axé sur les procédures nationales de surveillance et d’intervention en cas de situation de terrorisme aérien.


L’exercice portera sur les procédures pour faciliter le transfert de la surveillance d’un avion détourné – un avion digne d’intérêt – d’un pays à un autre et l’échange d’information sur la poursuite aérienne.

L’exercice de cette année prendra la forme d’aéronefs simulant deux vols internationaux : un en provenance de l’Alaska en vol dans l’espace aérien russe, puis un en provenance de Russie en vol dans l’espace aérien américain.

Dans le scénario de l’exercice, un transporteur aérien commercial immatriculé à l’étranger est saisi par des terroristes lors d’un vol international et ne répond pas aux communications. Cette situation fera en sorte que la Force aérienne de la Fédération de Russie et le NORAD devront lancer ou détourner des chasseurs pour enquêter sur le transporteur commercial et le suivre. L’exercice portera sur le transfert de la surveillance de l’aéronef d’un pays à l’autre par les pays participants.

La série d’exercices Vigilant Eagle permet aux États-Unis, au Canada ( via NORAD) et à la Russie de coordonner leurs interventions combinées à l’égard des menaces de détournement d’avion.

La série d’exercices Vigilant Eagle a été menée à quatre reprises depuis sa création.

Elle a été lancée en 2008 avec un exercice de simulation par ordinateur, suivi par le premier exercice de vol réel en août 2010, auquel ont participé des intercepteurs, des avions ravitailleurs et des avions AWACS des deux participants.

Il a eu ensuite un autre exercice de vol réel réussi en 2011 et, 2012, un autre exercice de simulation par ordinateur a été réalisé à la demande de la Force aérienne de la Fédération de Russie.

«Des exercices de simulation poar ordinateur réalisés dans les dernières années ont permis d’établir des relations de travail et de trouver des solutions techniques au partage d’information, ce qui a mené aux succès des exercices de vols réels en 2010 et 2011», souligne le NORAD.

L’exercice Vigilant Eagle 2013 servira donc à approfondir et à renforcer la coopération et le partenariat continus dans ce domaine.

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22 juillet 2013 1 22 /07 /juillet /2013 11:30
Hezbollah flag source Ria Novisti

Hezbollah flag source Ria Novisti

22/07/2013 Par Lefigaro.fr avec Reuters

Les ministres des Affaires étrangères de l'Union européenne réunis à Bruxelles ont décidé aujourd'hui d'inscrire la branche militaire de l'organisation chiite du Hezbollah libanais sur la liste de l'UE des organisations terroristes, ont rapporté des diplomates.

"Un accord a été trouvé pour y inscrire le Hezbollah", a dit un diplomate de l'UE. Trois autres diplomates ont confirmé ses dires.
Le Royaume-Uni, soutenu entre autres par la France et les Pays-Bas, cherchait depuis le mois de mai à persuader les autres pays européens de prendre cette décision.

Londres a mis notamment en avant des preuves montrant l'implication de la branche militaire du Parti de Dieu dans un attentat à la bombe contre un car de touristes israéliens en juillet 2012 dans une station balnéaire de Bulgarie. Cinq Israéliens et leur chauffeur avaient trouvé la mort.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 16:45
Drones in Niger Reflect New U.S. Tack on Terrorism

July 10, 2013 By ERIC SCHMITT - nytimes.com


NIAMEY, Niger — Nearly every day, and sometimes twice daily, an unarmed American drone soars skyward from a secluded military airfield here, starting a surveillance mission of 10 hours or more to track fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda and other militants in neighboring Mali.


The two MQ-9 Reapers that are based here stream live video and data from other sensors to American analysts working with French commanders, who say the aerial intelligence has been critical to their success over the past four months in driving jihadists from a vast desert refuge in northern Mali.


The drone base, established in February and staffed by about 120 members of the Air Force, is the latest indication of the priority Africa has become for the United States at a time when it is winding down its presence in Afghanistan and President Obama has set a goal of moving from a global war on terrorism toward a more targeted effort. It is part of a new model for counterterrorism, a strategy designed to help local forces — and in this case a European ally — fight militants so American troops do not have to.


Read more

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31 mai 2013 5 31 /05 /mai /2013 07:20
GEN Raymond T. Odierno 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

GEN Raymond T. Odierno 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

May. 30, 2013 - by PAUL McLEARY  - Defense News


WASHINGTON — While the size and relative buying power of the US may be declining, American allies will depend on the US Army even more in the future than they do now, Army chief Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday.


While the question-and-answer session at the Atlantic Council in Washington contained the requisite talk of sequestration and how the mandated cuts will affect the force, Odierno spent the bulk of his time fielding questions about threats that the United States, and the Army, will likely face in the coming years.


Chief among his concerns is the evolving nature of international terrorist organizations and the fact that groups such as Hezbollah — which is very publicly fighting for the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war — are “not held to any accountability in terms of international law because they are not a nation-state. So to me that’s the problem … and that’s why [future conflicts are] so difficult to predict.”


Warfare in the 21st century is changing rapidly, Odierno said, as criminal and terrorist groups cross borders both physically and virtually, and “international law and other international bodies are yet to recognize this evolving conflict.” The fact that Hezbollah “is verbally saying ‘we are now going to support [the Assad] government,’ what does that mean?”


Of greatest concern, he said, is the “underlying Sunni/Shia conflict that we see in the Middle East; that’s what you’re seeing play out in Syria” as Hezbollah fights to support the Syrian government, which is also supported by Iran.


He also cited “both the internal stability of Pakistan and its effect on the region,” along with its nuclear stockpiles as a major worry. Next on his list are the unpredictability of the new regime in North Korea and finding ways to partner with China on an array of military and diplomatic issues.


Odierno is also worried about US allies, he said, and the fact that critical NATO partners are cutting their military budgets and troop numbers at the same time as the United States.


“We gotta make sure we stay in sync, because we might become unbalanced” within the NATO umbrella if the US and its allies don’t talk through their cuts and find ways to try and complement each other’s capabilities, he warned.


For example, “as the British Army continues to reduce in size we’ve had several conversations about keeping them integrated in what we’re trying to do. In a lot of ways they’re depending on us, especially in our ground capabilities into the future,” Odierno said.


While the French have not reduced significantly yet they may begin to slash military budgets soon, along with the Italians and the South Koreans, who are increasingly unable to maintain traditional troop numbers due to demographic changes in South Korean society.


The most recent plans for the South Korean Army call for a troop reduction from 560,000 to about 370,000 by 2020.


As far as the current US budget mess is concerned, Odierno complained that “since 2010 we’ve had 15 continuing resolutions. That’s killing us.”


In 2013, “we ended up with a $20 billion shortfall in operations and maintenance money. We’ve been able to get that back down to about $12 billion or so, based on new [reprogramming] legislation that was passed,” but the service is still short by about $8 billion.


That shortfall will have significant ripple effects in 2014 and beyond as readiness atrophies due to the lack of money to hold training exercises. And that $8 billion shortfall in 2013 will only get worse in 2014 because the sequestration cuts are “not part of our calculation for the ’14 budget, so we’re already in the hole before we even get to ’14,” he said.


And cuts to the Army’s end-strength won’t be enough to close that gap.


“In the Army, 45 percent of our budget is people,” he said. “I cannot take people out fast enough to meet sequestration numbers.”

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17 avril 2013 3 17 /04 /avril /2013 14:44
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