Twitter and email info

Monday, December 1, 2014

Islamic State Expanding Into North Africa

Link: Islamic State Pushes Into North Africa

For decades, north Africa and the Sahel have always been Al-Qaeda territory, at least as far as butchers and beheaders are concerned.  But as the Islamic State (IS) continues to
exhibit a potent growth rate, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) had better make sure they've collected their dues this month;  the IS is the new extremist bad-boy club on the block, and they intend on co-opting everyone within range of a bullet.  In the link above, I paid particular attention to comments made by Thomas Joscelyn, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who believes that we should expect the IS to become more active in north Africa.  Joscelyn is a treasure trove of knowledge regarding events in the Near East, and his real-time analysis is always spot-on.  He is the main reason I am such a devotee of The Long War Journal (

So the IS has decided to expand westward.  I'm assuming that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has his own version of Manifest Destiny.  The truth is, the ground is ripe for seeding, especially in the Sudan and Libya.  But lets start in Egypt.  The IS has a variety of scapegoats to drag out in this country, including the traditional whipping boy: the Coptic Christians.  For the life of me I can't fathom how there can be any Christians left in Egypt, let alone Coptic Christians.  They can jump on the "anti-military" bandwagon, but I think that bus is full.  Personally, I don't see the IS finding a receptive audience in Egypt.  I think Morsi was as a religious of a leader as the Egyptian people would like.  Egypt is a country with a modern communications infrastructure.  The people understand the difference between progress and trading in the used Renault for a camel.  I believe the people of Egypt, the vocal young populace in particular, want both a democratic system of government and economic progress.  The IS stands for neither.  On the other hand, Libya is the perfect breeding ground for giant fleas (like the folks we refer to as the IS).  When authority has broken down, and I mean packed up and completely left town, people will look to just about anyone for leadership.  The IS has recently become the governing body for the town of Darna. What the hell is Darna?  It's a start, that's what it is; and the Islamic State will take measures in Darna that will be observed by other communities.  We all know that the Islamic State is well-funded.  All they have to do is feed the people of Darna, maybe get the power turned back on, and keep the muggers and rapists off the streets (and back in the IS camp where they belong).  The IS has used this recipe to co-opt communities in Syria and Iraq, and the formula will work just fine in Libya.  What absolutely amazes me is that western companies are still able to keep their petroleum operations functioning.  I imagine that a huge amount of money is being paid to private security armies, but just how much longer are these operations going to be feasible?  And here comes the IS.  Let Mookie make a prediction.  In roughly six months or less, Libya is going to return to the headlines.  No one wants the IS to take possession of the petroleum set-ups in Libya anymore than the ones they fight for in Baiji, Iraq, where the battle continues on currently.

Let move south to the Sudan.  The government currently sitting in Khartoum would make great badminton partners for al-Baghdadi and his herd.  President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Court in the Hague, loves to send his minions on "Christian
slaughtering" expeditions.  The Sudan (force of habit...I say "the Sudan" and "the Cameroon" and a few other left-over examples of colonial bad manners) is no longer what it used to be.  We now have a South Sudan, but don't ask me who is President, or even the name of the capital city (Juba, maybe?).  I believe that the IS would find a warm welcome in Khartoum, as al-Bashir and al-Baghdadi seem to adhere to the same brand of extreme Islam.  I can't imagine that the IS would stretch its Caliphate map to include the Sudan, and al-Bashir would welcome any opportunity to stick his finger in the eye of the EU and the United States.  Khartoum would be an ideal staging ground for an IS expansion into Chad, Niger and Mali.  The people of Saharan Africa would probably welcome the IS, since no one else seems to give a damn about them.  Mali is already dealing with a re-emergence of AQIM (who, interestingly enough, keep stirring up shit in Niger).  With the west focused almost exclusively on Ebola, and AQIM a shadow of its former self, a bit of a vacuum does exist.  North of Boko Haram in Nigeria, west of Khartoum, and east of Mauritania is where the IS will find its most fertile recruitment locations.  Folks will look at the map and say, "Mookie, have you lost your mind?  The only thing east of Mauritania is the Sahara Desert!"  Believe it or not, people live in that desert.  But its the communities on the very periphery of the Sahara that cause me concern.  A strict form of Islam is enforced, which promotes reliance on family ties and inter-dependence.  In many ways, adherence to strict principles of Islam have helped many of these villages and communities survive.  Al Qaeda had no trouble taking route here, and I can't imagine that the IS will either.  The bunch of filthy rich investors with money in the gold and diamond mines of west Africa had better keep an eye on this potential problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment