Haftar Holds the Upper Hand in Libya Power Struggle, The Cipher Brief [Opens in new tab]


Imagine a multi-pronged, low intensity conflict. It’s been dragging on for five or so years. Sometimes this faction gains ground. Sometimes that. Or maybe it’s a third or fourth group. And then imagine a truce between two of the conflict’s numerous groups. Progress, you think. A first step toward ultimately reconciling all the other groups. Peace will surely break out.

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Macron in Morocco, France24 (video) [Opens in new tab]


Macron in Morocco: High-stakes first presidential visit to North Africa

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Algeria Takes the Lead in Libya, The Cipher Brief [Opens in new tab]


That Libya is a mess is beyond doubt, but who is actually trying to resolve the conflict is a harder question to answer.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently said that he sees no role for the U.S. in Libya and there seems to be no urgency to appoint a new U.S. Special Envoy for Libya after the previous one left four months ago. Paris is entirely preoccupied with its presidential elections, the outcome of which will be momentous for France and for the EU. To the extent that Italy engages with Libya, it is focused on Libya’s role as an entrepôt for human trafficking. Even Martin Kobler, the UN’s Special Representative to Libya, is on borrowed time. He was supposed to have been replaced earlier this year, but the proposed candidate was nixed. An alternative candidate was also rejected.

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So You Want to Partition Libya..., POLITICO [Opens in new tab]


Dear Dr. Gorka,

So I hear you’re interested in being Donald Trump’s envoy to Libya. You even sketched a plan on a napkin to partition the country. The plan would divide Libya into three provinces that date back to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, and thereby solve Libya’s current crisis. If it were only that simple.

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AQIM Ten Years On, The Cipher Brief [Opens in new tab]



Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) emergence ten years ago this month was a Hail Mary. In 2004, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had orchestrated the second of two national amnesties in an attempt to finally bring an end to Algeria’s decade-old Islamist insurgency. The leader of one remaining terrorist organization, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), had just turned himself in. The GSPC’s new leader, Abdelmalek Droukdel, inherited a dispirited group that was struggling to remain relevant. Algerians were tired of the Islamists, the insurgency, and the violence. By rebranding GSPC as AQIM in January 2007, Droukdel was able to transform a stale group into a newer, sexier one with a wider mission set.

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Is Algeria Next for the Islamic State, The Cipher Brief [Opens in new tab]


Fighting jihadi groups has been compared more than once to whack-a-mole. You thump a group here and it pops up there. You thump it again and it pops up somewhere else. A front is lost but another opens up. The challenging part is anticipating where the jihadis will go next. And this is precisely the question around the Islamic State in Libya: having lost their stronghold in Sirte, where did all the fighters go, and where are they likely to pop up?

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« L’UE veut parler avec Bouteflika et elle n’est pas satisfaite par le fait de dialoguer simplement avec Sellal » Tout sur l'Algérie [Opens in new tab]


Geoff Porter dirige la société North Africa risk consulting, spécialisée dans l’analyse des risques politiques et sécuritaires en Afrique du Nord. L’expert américain revient sur la polémique engendrée par l’article de Politico dans lequel il a été question des relations entre l’Union européenne et l’Algérie. Entretien.

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Hunting Down Jihadists in the Malian Desert, FRANCE24 [Opens in new tab]


Two French soldiers died of their wounds this Wednesday after their vehicle hit a landmine in northern Mali on Tuesday. Seventeen French troops have now been killed in the Sahel region of West Africa since Paris first sent soldiers to Mali in 2013. More than 3,000 French troops remain on the ground and have managed to drive jihadist groups out of some zones, but they and their Malian counterparts lack the manpower to control the whole desert. Our colleagues from France 2 report from Mali.

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How Realistic Is Libya as an Islamic State “Fallback”?, The CTC Sentinel [Opens in new tab]


As the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria comes under pressure from the international anti-Islamic State coalition, there are increasing expectations that it is trying to develop its affiliate in Libya as a “fallback” option. The particular characteristics of the Libyan landscape and the Islamic State’s limitations there make this unlikely. Nonetheless, the Islamic State in Libya will still be a dangerous threat to North Africa and beyond, including across the Mediterranean.

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Why ISIS is Destroying Libya's Oil, The Cipher Brief [Opens in new tab]


For the second time this month, massive clouds of black smoke from burning oil billowed above Libya. The first time, in early January, the Islamic State (ISIS) attacked two major oil storage facilities. Out of the seven tanks targeted, one collapsed entirely. Damage to the others rendered them unusable. Together, the two storage facilities accounted for 40 percent of Libya’s oil export capacity. A few weeks later, ISIS struck again, blowing up a pipeline that feeds one of the terminals. It is clear that ISIS in Libya is trying to destroy Libya’s oil sector. To make matters worse, this was entirely foreseeable.

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