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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Why should the West be concerned with the intentions of the Islamic State in Africa? (Part I)

Links: A. The Islamic State in Africa
           B. So this is the latest version of the Caliphate.....

We've already addressed the presence of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Africa in a number of posts. FYI, I'm one of those bloggers who analyzes statistics, and I'm well-aware, that for my core audience, anything having to do with the continent of Africa is about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit.  Its vital to me that my blog remain relevant; unfortunately, that requires continued efforts to increase my audience, but it also obligates me to discuss all theaters of conflict.  No doubt this includes both North and Sub-Saharan Africa.  North Africa is rather simple to break down, and I usually include it with the Middle East anyway.

Egypt.  This particular piece of Mediterranean-bordered geography is important because Egypt shares a border with Israel, and has a huge, well-equipped and well-trained army.  And in spite of the best efforts of the current government, Egyptian society is inundated with extremists.  The Muslim Brotherhood, which commands a shockingly impressive number of supporters, is lurking around every corner.  Egypt also borders Libya.

Lybia.  When Libya started to crack at the edges, Muammar Gaddafi looked to the West, particularly to the United States, for assistance in creating some level of order.  Gaddafi had recently taken the first step and reached out to the West and the United States.  But the Department of State under Hillary Clinton never seemed prepared for any contingency.  When she accepted the position of Secretary of State, the Department itself was meant to be a vehicle for her star-studded arrival at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016.  A review of foreign affairs during the Clinton tenure at Foggy Bottom makes it clear that the only events, issues or summits that were worth our attention were the ones that allowed Hillary to shine.  It's as if the entire State Department morphed into her make-up closet.  As for developments in the real world, our entire diplomatic posture was reactive.  Again, except for the New Start Treaty, and a handful of other expertly-crafted engagements, the State Department just waited for things to happen, and then looked to the White House for direction.  Gaddafi was left out in the cold, and the opportunity to create something positive for the Libyan people, from the people of the United States, never materialized.  We sat back and watched Gaddafi get butchered, and a flock of nasty extremists move in to fight over what's left of Libya.  The night of the Benghazi incident, the State Department claims that efforts were made to contact the Libyan government.  WHICH ONE?

Tunisia.  Tunisia is very important.  The people of Tunisia fought and sacrificed to keep their nation from falling into the talons of extremists.  The removal of the ruling family, which had become so corrupt that certain members of the ruling family actually considered the Gross National Product (GNP) of Tunisia to be their own personal ATM account, was absolutely essential.  Since independence from France, the governments of Tunisia have always been at least a little corrupt, but they also exhibited a love of country that allowed for most of the GNP to be used for the good of the state.  Because Tunisia had good roads, nice resorts, and well-maintained historic sites, revenue from tourism continued to support economic growth and job creation. But recently, things had begun to get a bit out of hand.  Tunisia deserves an honest, Democratic government, and their relatively low population removes a major stress faced by many of Tunisia's neighbors.  But one threat that won't go away without a fight, is the presence of Islamic extremists.  Last week they shot up the Bardo Museum in Tunis and killed a bunch of European tourists.  The government of Tunisia, fresh off free and fair elections, needs the support of the United States and the international community now more than ever.

Morocco & Algeria.  At present, both Morocco and Algeria enjoy the security of effective, no-nonsense security forces.  The military in both countries, which traditionally seconds the security forces, are both disciplined, well-equipped, well-trained, and loyal to the government.  Hell, for all practical purposes, the military IS the government in Algeria.  But don't quote me, please.  I'm a huge fan of King Mohammed VI of Morocco.  Like his father, he has a keen sense of politics in the Islamic world, and manages to avoid really pissing off anyone.  Mohammed VI is as progressive as it gets for a Muslim regent, and he considers his inherited position to be a full-time job which he takes with the utmost seriousness. Algeria's economy can rely on oil for the foreseeable future, but Morocco imports $38.7 billion worth or goods every year, and exports only $16.8 billion.  Thank goodness for the relatively low population growth rate and high revenues from tourism.  But the pseudo-fascist government in Algiers and the monarchy in Rabat must look at the same map I have provided (link B).  Both Morocco and Algeria are part of the Caliphate, baby.  Realistically, the armies of either Morocco or Algeria could defeat the IS in a conventional war.  But the trick is, the IS won't limit itself to a conventional war.  The IS will engage in every type of warfare at its disposal.  The tourists will stop coming to the beaches of Morocco after a few well-placed incendiary devices and blown people to pieces.  And the Algerian government will lose its cash cow if the IS can successfully capture or blow up a refinery here and there.  And if this conflict grows to the point of endangering Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, then the IS will have grown into a military force to be feared.

North Africa is very important to the conflict that currently is being waged in Iraq and Syria. The IS is in Egypt, it is in Libya, and it is in Tunisia.  I guarantee you that operatives are in place in Algeria and Morocco, recruiting, reminding poor, jobless young men about the lifestyles of the rich diplomats and generals in Algiers, and the sinful lifestyle of the monarch in Rabat (it has long been suspected, and in fact, discreetly accepted that King Mohammed VI lived a homosexual lifestyle in Europe before the death of his father.  He has since married and fathered and heir, which at this point is all anyone seems to care about).

Click here to continue to Part II of this post. 

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