The Attack on the US Consulate, Emerging Signs of Jihadist Sentiment in Libya, The CTC Sentinel [Opens in new tab]


On September 11, 2012, armed militants attacked the U.S. Consulate in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, resulting in the deaths of four U.S. Foreign Service members, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. The Benghazi incident was preceded by other manifestations of extremist violence in Libya, such as earlier attacks on Western diplomatic facilities and personnel, a violent assault on the Tunisian Consulate in Benghazi in protest of an art exhibit in Tunisia, and the destruction of Sufi shrines throughout the country that Salafists had deemed un-Islamic. These incidents suggest that violence in Libya is evolving from predictable militaristic violence characteristic of guerrilla warfare to now include Salafi-jihadi terrorism.

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Salafi Violence in Libya, Huffington Post [Opens in new tab]


The news that US Ambassador Christopher Stevens died during an assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi came as a shock. Although there was already increasing awareness of radical Islamist sentiments in eastern Libya, and in fact throughout the country, their full extent and their threshold for violence were unknown. Even so, it may have been only a matter of time before the mix of radical Islamists and abundantly available weaponry in Libya catalyzed into catastrophic violence.

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US Consulate Attacks, Benghazi, al-Jazeera English [Opens in new tab]


Let's take a closer look at the film that seems to have provoked violence and protest in Libya and Egypt.

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Dispatch: Algeria's "nif", The Arabist [Opens in new tab]


Since there was a lot of interest in Abu Ray's recent piece on Algeria, I have asked friend-of-the-blog Geoff Porter if I could reproduce an email he sent me just before the parliamentary elections there. Geoff's take is quite unique, and while I'm not sure what to make of it (having not been to Algeria) I thought it was worth sharing. Let us know what you think of it.

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Libya One Year after Qadhafi, PRI Marketplace [Opens in new tab]


Kai Ryssdal: It's been a year -- just a bit more, actually -- since the start of the civil war in Libya that ended with the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi last October. Since then there's been little progress in forming a government and getting the Libyan economy back to something resembling normal.

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Libya's Franchise Fiasco, The New York Times [Opens in new tab]


Libya’s new electoral law, passed by the National Transitional Council last month, provides guidelines for selecting the country’s first-ever democratic government. Many, including the United Nations, hailed the law’s passage as a significant step down Libya’s rocky political road.

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The Impact of Bin Ladin's Death on AQIM in North Africa, The CTC Sentinel [Opens in new tab]


Confronted with the sudden death of a leader, terrorist groups become cornered animals. When wounded, they lash out. Not only in hopes of surviving, but also to demonstrate their remaining power and continued relevance. Al-Qa`ida is no different. Al-Qa`ida will thus keen for its leader by killing. It will not necessarily attack soon. Yet the United States should brace itself once the 40-day mourning period that some Muslims observe ends. The dual prospect of punishing the United States and re-igniting fear and anxiety following a time of celebration and relief must surely figure prominently in al-Qa`ida’s calculus.

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The Unvanquished, The New York Times [Opens in new tab]


I open my window and this is the house, in the depths of central Cairo, that looks back at me.

The people who live in the city’s working-class neighborhoods are not ashamed of being poor. Instead, in this house I look at from my window, I see heroic efforts in the fight against poverty. For the most part the residents are tradesmen or public employees. There was a time when they earned enough to enjoy a comfortable life, but the waves of hardship rose suddenly and they drowned.

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AQIM's Objectives in North Africa, The CTC Sentinel [Opens in new tab]


On February 11, 2011, Egypt had its revolution when President Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down after 18 days of massive protests. With the military taking control and promising a transition to democracy, the question of what comes next has acquired a particular urgency. Specifically, Western fears of the Muslim Brotherhood stepping into the political vacuum have re-energized a longstanding debate about the role of Islamists in Middle Eastern politics, and the dilemma that poses for the United States. Missing from the discussion is an attempt to put the Brotherhood’s actions during the protests in historical perspective. Doing so reveals that the Brotherhood’s cautious approach to the protests over the last few tumultuous weeks has been in large part an extension of the group’s strategy of the past decades: a preference for incremental rather than revolutionary change, caution and pragmatism, and close cooperation with other Egyptian political actors.

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The difference between Egypt and Libya, NPR Planet Money [Opens in new tab]


When Egyptians rose up against their government, the Egyptian military protected them. When Libyans rose up against their government, the military started shooting. On today's Planet Money, we try to figure out why the responses were so different.

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