NARCO ANALYSIS: Algeria and Mauritania: Abdelazizan, 8 terms, & 40 years


Algeria and Mauritania are on the cusps of 2019 presidential elections. And the likely outcome will be a combined eight terms and forty years for the incumbents. In Algeria, pieces are being prepositioned for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a fifth consecutive five-year presidential term. In Mauritania, President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz is lining up for a third consecutive five-year term. And the Abdelazizan have each other’s back. But their paths to staying in office differ considerably.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Correlation v. Causality in Algeria & Occam’s Razor


Questions about changes in Algeria's security services are justified. The changes have been extensive; they occur at a time of political sensitivity, with the president having recently been out of the country for medical care; the economy is only just beginning to find its footing after the “lower-for-longer” oil price environment; and the security situation in surrounding countries is deteriorating. The military and the security services are the country’s cornerstone. So, to tinker with them at this time causes understandable agita.



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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 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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