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NARCO RoundUp (JUL18)


July was topsy-turvy in North Africa with changes all around. Whether those changes amount to anything or they simply mark time is another question entirely. In Algeria, the security services were extensively overhauled. In Libya, more of the same: no political process; terrorism; spikey oil production. In Mauritania, Ould Abdelaziz’s term is coming to an end, the security situation is more dire, and oil activity is ramping up.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Algeria's Top Cop Axed


What matters and what doesn’t in Algeria is often hard to discern. This is as true of Tuesday’s unexpected firing of DGSN Abdelghani Hamel as it is of other big news coming out of Algiers. The police chief had been in the seat for eight years (after the murder of his predecessor Ali Tounsi) and had become increasingly politically powerful and popular, so much so that North Africa Risk Consulting had him on its shortlist of potential presidential successors.

NARCO ANALYSIS: The Libya Oil Port Attack and the Origins of Opposition to Haftar


The political dimension of Ibrahim Jadhran’s 14 June 2018 attack on Libya’s Ras Lanuf and El-Sidr oil terminals, which represent over 560kbpd worth of crude exports, is key to foreseeing the future. On the one hand, the young militia leader and former Abu Slim prisoner is trying to capitalize on eastern and central Libyan tribal and political grievances. And, on the other hand, if he sticks to his usual modus operandi, Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Field Marshal General Khalifa Haftar will use brute force to regain the terminals.

NARCO RoundUp (MAY18)


May was actually a surprisingly busy month in North Africa despite it coinciding with Ramadan, when things typically slow down. Politics remain fluid in Algeria, Libya, and Mauritania. Security is still a paramount concern in Libya and Mauritania, but Algeria is finally starting to recognize IOC concerns. And speaking of IOCs, Mauritania is starting to bustle, Algeria is getting its act together. And Libya, well, it’s still Libya.

NARCO Report: Algeria's Top 10


Power in Algeria is opaque. Although individuals’ official positions are known, it is less known how much power they actually have and how decisions are actually taken. Often times, an individual’s power is not reflected in his or her official position. Instead, political power and the ability to take decisions is determined by an individual’s informal network.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Sometimes There's a Man


To paraphrase Sam Elliott as the Stranger, sometimes there's a man who, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there… and that’s Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, in Algiers. And Ould Kaddour is determined to make Sonatrach great again.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: al-Qaeda Rethinks Mauritania


In a communiqué on 8 May, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) explicitly mentioned Mauritania among the countries that it encouraged its members and supporters to attack. Or rather it urged them to attack foreign companies in Mauritania, and especially those perfidious French ones. Most of the communiqué was boilerplate al-Qaeda messaging. Tyrannical regimes. Corrupt corporations. Pillaged resources. Injustice. Fard al-kifâya (فرض الكفاية). Jihad. Yada yada. But the mention of Mauritania was odd and merits further analysis.

NARCO RoundUp (APR18)


Ramadan is fast upon us (رمضان كريم لجميع المسلمين) and things are starting to slow down but haven’t come to a complete halt yet. It’s a season of revival and return: politics is dynamic with Ouyahia hanging on in Algeria, Haftar coming back to Libya, and Mohamed VI to Morocco. The Islamic State is back also, especially in Libya. And so are oil prices, which has ramifications for Algeria and Libya. Morocco not so much.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: The Islamic State in Libya #bâqîyah


A couple weeks ago, North Africa Risk Consulting spoke with its most trusted Islamic State source. The source detests the Islamic State with a passion that only someone who's suffered from its atrocities can, but at the same time the source is the most level-headed, least alarmist Islamic State analyst NARCO knows. The subject was Libya and the status of the Islamic State...



NARCO CLOSEHOLD is timely, actionable analysis derived from discreet sources. NARCO CLOSEHOLDs are crafted as events merit. They are available to NARCO's subscription and retainer clients and on a case-by-case basis.

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