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  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Although all indications are that most of the principal players favour a political resolution, the military situation will remain volatile as long as Haftar’s forces are in Sirte and remain in control of the economically vital oil region.
  • Topic: War, Natural Resources, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Libya, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The utilization of mercenaries has become one of the key predicaments in the Middle East, particularly in the hotbeds of armed conflict, including Libya, Yemen and Syria. Such militia are usually transferred through the use of civil flights, crossing land borders or smuggling through organized crime networks. This has been reflected by numerous evidence including the escalating tensions between the international powers such as ‘France’ and regional ones such as ‘Turkey’, even affecting the mutual hostility between the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ and Ankara, and the latter's policy aiming at disturbing Libya's neighboring countries. In the case of Yemen, the Houthi militia and Islah party have also used African mercenaries. It is further evident in the warning given by the Yemeni government to ‘Tehran Mercenaries’ against turning Yemen into a battlefield after the murder of Qassem Soleimani.
  • Topic: War, Non State Actors, Houthis, Militias, Mercenaries
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, France, Libya, Yemen, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Nilsu Gören, Wolfgang Pusztai, Jason Pack, Mohamed Htweish, Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Over the last year, a new form of extraterritorial air war has proved extremely decisive in military conflicts in both Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. In both instances, the Turkish backed side has emerged victorious, despite initially being on the backfoot. In 2019, it seemed Tripoli was on the verge of falling to the forces of General Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA.) The LNA had received military assistance in the forms of drones, mercenaries, and diplomatic support from the UAE, Egypt, and Russia. However, following an announced ceasefire, Turkey utilized the brief pause of fighting to turn the tide of battle by backing Haftar’s rival, the General National Council. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to launch a recent publication, “Turning the Tide: How Turkey Won the War for Tripoli.” Why did Turkey decide to fully engage in Libya’s Second Civil War? What strategies and tactics did Turkey establish throughout its involvement? Which modern military technologies helped shape the outcome of the War for Tripoli? What are the next likely steps in the international community’s mediation efforts in Libya?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, War, Drones, Conflict, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Hamzeh al-Shadeedi, Nancy Ezzeddine
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: National politicians and international actors cannot ignore the resilience of premodern tribalism in Libya. Libyan governance structures have historically relied on the top-down distribution of favours to selected tribal allies, rather than on inclusive and representative governance. Such arrangements took the shape of cyclical processes of selective co-optation, exclusion, rebellion and, again, new forms of selective co-optation. Even the uprisings of 2011, which symbolise the appearance of a national Libyan polity, was mobilised and organised along tribal lines. Accordingly, efforts to build a new Libyan state today should take into account the strong tribal character of Libya and should look into integrating tribal forces into the state in a manner that favours the central state project while simultaneously allowing for true representation and inclusion of all local and tribal entities. In this policy brief authors Al-Hamzeh Al-Shadeedi and Nancy Ezzedine provide recommendations on how to realistically and effectively engage with tribal actors and traditional authorities for the benefit of the current central state-building process while avoiding past mistakes.
  • Topic: War, Governance, Conflict, Tribes
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Rina Bassist examines new alliances between international powers as a result of the ongoing Libyan civil war. The April 4 offensive launched by Gen. Khalifa Haftar and the National Libyan Army (LNA) to take control of Tripoli is now, as of May 2019, in its second month; regional actors are becoming fearful of a bloody stalemate. While the ongoing civil war in Libya has pitted mostly local forces against each other, countries such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia have allied against Italy and Great Britain, in an intensified diplomatic battle primarily being waged at the UN Security Council. In fact, the ongoing Libyan crisis has shattered traditional alliances. The usual global camps have been turned upside down, replaced instead by new, improbable partnerships. This article will deal with these new emerging alliances which are replacing, in this particular context, the long-established balance of power in the UN Security Council and the international arena. More particularly, we will look into the motives behind the strategic shift, and why world powers have abandoned their initial objectives for Libya.
  • Topic: War, Alliance, Crisis Management, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Daniel Maxwell, Peter Hailey, Lindsay Spainhour Baker, Jeeyon Janet Kim
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Since 2014, Yemen has been engaged in a civil war between the Houthi group and supporters of Yemen’s internationally recognized government. By the end of 2018, the UN estimated that 15.9 million people—more than half the population—were facing severe acute food insecurity and in need of immediate food assistance. This report analyzes the challenges facing famine analysis in Yemen, including the Famine Risk Monitoring system recently put in place, and the integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, used globally. The IPC is managed by a technical working group with the support of the food security and nutrition clusters and close involvement of the Yemeni authorities. Following the analysis, the report offers recommendations for ways to improve data collection and analysis on famine and famine risk in Yemen.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, War, Food, Food Security, Refugees, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, North Africa
  • Author: Ed Erickson, Christian H. Heller, T. J. Linzy, Mallory Needleman, Michael Auten, Anthony N. Celso, Keith D. Dickson, Jamie Shea, Ivan Falasca, Steven A. Yeadon, Joshua Tallis, Ian Klaus
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: There are a variety of reasons to study geopolitical rivalries, and analysts, officers, and politicians are rediscovering such reasons amid the tensions of the last several years. The best reason to study geopolitical rivalries is the simplest: our need to better understand how power works globally. Power not only recurs in human and state affairs but it is also at their very core. Today’s new lexicon—superpower, hyperpower, and great power—is only another reminder of the reality of the various ways that power manifests itself. Power protects and preserves, but a polity without it may be lost within mere decades. Keith D. Dickson’s article in this issue of MCU Journal, “The Challenge of the Sole Superpower in the Postmodern World Order,” illuminates how fuzzy some readers may be in their understanding of this problem; his article on postmodernism calls us to the labor of understanding and reasoning through the hard realities. Ed Erickson’s survey of modern power is replete with cases in which a grand state simply fell, as from a pedestal in a crash upon a stone floor. Modern Japan, always richly talented, rose suddenly as a world actor in the late nineteenth century, but the Japanese Empire fell much more quickly in the mid-twentieth century. A state’s power—or lack thereof—is an unforgiving reality. This issue of MCU Journal, with its focus on rivalries and competition between states, is refreshingly broad in its selection of factors—from competing for or generating power. Dr. Erickson recalls that Alfred Thayer Mahan settled on six conditions for sea power, all still vital. Other authors writing for this issue emphasize, by turns, sea power (Steven Yeadon, Joshua Tallis, and Ian Klaus); cyberpower (Jamie Shea); alliances (T. J. Linzy and Ivan Falasca); information (Dickson); and proxies (Michael Auten, Anthony N. Celso, and others).
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Islam, Terrorism, War, History, Power Politics, Military Affairs, European Union, Seapower, Cities, Ottoman Empire, Hybrid Warfare , Cyberspace, Soviet Union, Safavid Empire
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Lithuania, Georgia, North Africa, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Juan Pastrana Piñero
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on International Security Studies (RESI)
  • Institution: International Security Studies Group (GESI) at the University of Granada
  • Abstract: The lack of a dissuasive policy was one of the key factors that explains the outbreak of the last Spanish colonial war. This article analyses the contradictory policy of general Franco’s regime about its territories of the Africa Occidental Española. Especially, it deals with the absence of a credible dissuasive policy in contrast to the increasing menacing presence of the so-called Army of Liberation of the Sahara.
  • Topic: War, History, Colonialism, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: France, North Africa, Morocco, Sahara
  • Author: Alan J. Kuperman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many commentators have praised NATO\'s 2011 intervention in Libya as a humanitarian success for averting a bloodbath in that country\'s second largest city, Benghazi, and helping eliminate the dictatorial regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi. These proponents accordingly claim that the intervention demonstrates how to successfully implement a humanitarian principle known as the responsibility to protect (R2P). In-deed, the top U.S. representatives to the transatlantic alliance declared that “NATO\'s operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention.” A more rigorous assessment, however, reveals that NATO\'s intervention backfired: it increased the duration of Libya\'s civil war by about six times and its death toll by at least seven times, while also exacerbating human rights abuses, humanitarian suffering, Islamic radicalism, and weapons proliferation in Libya and its neighbors. If this is a “model intervention,” then it is a model of failure.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, War, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: United States, Libya, Arabia, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This edited volume has been published at the end of a year in which African actors have enjoyed almost unprecedented global attention. Protest movements across North Africa, but particularly in Egypt and Tunisia, captured headlines during the Arab Spring, and Time magazine named 'The protestor' as their person of the year for 2011. The world's newest state was born in South Sudan in June. The second half of the year was dominated by a violent revolt and civil war in Libya, against the backdrop of massive western intervention. As the year drew to a close, environmental diplomats and activists from across the world convened in Durban in December, as the possibility of a legally binding global successor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change was hammered out. One might think, therefore, that the continued warnings from Africanists that most analyses of the continent's inter - national politics continue to 'occur largely from a vantage point of detachment, exclusion and aberrance' (p. 2) might start to ring a little hollow.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Will the next Middle East conflagration involve Israelis and Palestinians? After the serious escalation of the past week in which eight Gazans, including children, were killed in a single day, and the 23 March 2011 bombing in Jerusalem, that took the life of one and wounded dozens, there is real reason to worry. The sharp deterioration on this front is not directly related, nor is it in any way similar to the events that have engulfed the Middle East and North Africa. But the overall context of instability and uncertainty undoubtedly has made a volatile situation even more so. Israelis' anxiety is rising and with it the fear that outside parties might seek to provoke hostilities to divert attention from domestic problems and shift the focus back to Israel. Hamas has been emboldened by regional events and is therefore less likely to back down from a challenge. The combination, as recent days have shown, has proven combustible.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jerusalem, Gaza, Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Matt Bucholtz
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: While one could be forgiven for wondering if yet another volume concerning the North African campaign in the Second World War was truly needed, Martin Kitchen's book Rommel's Desert War: Waging WWII in North Africa, 1941-1943 is nevertheless a significant and worthwhile contribution to the field. Kitchen states early in his introduction that his aim is to produce a complete and comprehensive account of the desert war, and judged by this standard the author is, on the whole, quite successful. He does not pretend that his is the first, nor the last, work on the topic, but rather seeks to provide a detailed and balanced account of the campaign based on current historiography, examining each of the combatants, and spanning the entire length of the conflict in North Africa.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Author: Michael Noonan
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have confronted third-party national combatants. Known as “foreign fighters,” these individuals have gained deadly skills and connections that can be exported or exploited to devastating effect in other locations. Over the past two decades, the foreign fighters phenomenon has grown after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979—to the ethnically cleansed fields of the Balkans to Chechnya and beyond. But this is not a new problem. This report is the second volume of findings from an important series of FPRI conferences on the so-called foreign fighter problem. These conferences have brought together leading experts in the field to examine and discuss this phenomenon from different ideational and disciplinary perspectives. While the first volume dealt primarily with functional areas of the phenomenon, this edition focuses primarily on the case studies of al Qaeda franchises or allied affiliates in Somalia, the Maghreb, Yemen, and Afghanistan/Pakistan. Today, the outcomes of the geopolitical revolution unfolding across North Africa and the Middle East are far from clear, the problems associated with al Qaeda and its affiliated movement are likely to breed havoc for the foreseeable future across the region. Furthermore, the veterans spawned by such conflicts undoubtedly will present problems for international security writ large, too. The cases and phenomenon analyzed here may well provide important lessons for both those interested in the regions under examination here, but also for others who examine international challenges far removed from the study of radical extremism of the al Qaeda variety.
  • Topic: War, International Security, Insurgency, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, North Africa
  • Author: Luke A. Patey
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: What do policy-makers at national governments, international organizations, aid agencies, and non-governmental organizations need to know about Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in war-torn societies? The answer is not simple to provide. However, there is a clear starting point: understand the behaviour of MNCs in the instable and insecure environments in which they are engaged. It is certainly a worthwhile objective considering the immense influence, whether de liberate or not, MNCs have on many civil wars in the developing world.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Author: Daniel Zisenwine
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The August 3 bloodless military coup in Mauritania that removed president Maaouiya Ould Taya from power took place in one of the world's most impoverished nations, situated on Africa's northwest coast between Arab North Africa and black sub-Saharan Africa. The coup had all the familiar trappings of an African military overthrow of a corrupt and detested civilian regime. Mauritania has supported the American-led war on terror and actively supports Washington's counterterrorist and training operations in the trans-Sahara region. It is also among only three Arab League members (along with Egypt and Jordan) that maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel. As Mauritania's new leaders seek to stabilize their authority, they are likely to come under considerable pressure from local opposition forces opposed to existing pro-American policies and its links with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Washington, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Agency for International Development
  • Abstract: The humanitarian emergency in Darfur is a direct result of violence and harassment directed toward the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masaalit civilian groups by Government of Sudan (GOS) forces and GOS-supported militia groups collectively known as Jingaweit. In early 2003, the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) stated that they would engage in armed struggle to achieve full respect for human rights and an end to political and economic marginalization in Darfur. On April 24 and 25, 2003 the SLM/A attacked GOS military forces at El Fasher in North Darfur. Following this attack, GOS military forces and Jingaweit militia initiated a more coordinated campaign of violence against civilian populations, including aerial bombardments to kill, maim, and terrorize civilians who the GOS claimed were harboring opposition forces. Conflict-affected populations have described recurrent and systematic assaults against towns and villages, looting, burning of buildings and crops, destruction of water sources and irrigation systems, gang rape, and murders. Throughout late 2003, armed conflict intensified, as GOS military and Jingaweit clashed with the two main opposition groups – the SLM/A and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) – in Darfur. Following U.S. Government (USG) and European Union (EU) facilitated negotiations in N'Djamena, Chad, the two main opposition groups and the GOS signed a renewable 45-day humanitarian ceasefire on April 8 that took effect on April 11. This agreement included a GOS commitment to disarm Jingaweit militia groups and a protocol on providing humanitarian assistance in Darfur. The ceasefire agreement was renewed on May 22. Despite the ceasefire, Jingaweit violence against civilians continues in all three states of Darfur resulting in increasing displacement. Because the victims are displaced and vulnerable, they become targets of further violence. Even in villages where there is nothing left to burn, the fear of further violence continues to paralyze displaced populations, preventing voluntary returns. This cycle prevents many internally displaced persons (IDPs) from safely returning home, trapping them in camps or informal settlements for the foreseeable future. Out of an estimated population of 6.5 million in Darfur, approximately 2.2 million people are affected by the crisis, including more than 1 million IDPs and approximately 158,000 refugees who have fled into neighboring Chad. Humanitarian access to conflict-affected populations outside of the state capitals of Geneina, El Fasher, and Nyala was extremely limited until late May due to GOS impediments that blocked humanitarian access and relief operations. As a result of intense international pressure, the GOS lifted some of the restrictive travel regulations and announced a series of measures, effective May 24, to facilitate humanitarian access to Darfur. USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) and other humanitarian agencies have deployed additional staff to Darfur to increase emergency response capacity. However, several obstacles remain, including continued delays in obtaining visas for relief personnel, travel restrictions within Darfur, difficulties in clearing essential relief supplies and equipment though customs, and GOS interference in relief activities that address protection of civilians and human rights abuses.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Agency for International Development
  • Abstract: For more than 20 years, Sudan has been adversely impacted by armed conflict, famine, and disease, largely associated with the civil war between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Since war began in 1983, more than 2 million people have died, approximately 628,000 Sudanese have sought refuge in neighboring countries, and more than 4 million people have been displaced, creating the largest internally displaced person (IDP) population in the world. Until April 2003, when violence increased dramatically in western Sudan, conflict had mainly affected southern Sudan and the transition zone between North and South. In 1989, the United Nations (U.N.) established Operation Lifeline Sudan, a tripartite access agreement among the GOS, the SPLM/A, and the U.N. Under this framework, U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) provide humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance to vulnerable southern Sudanese. Since 1983, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided more than $1.9 billion in humanitarian assistance to Sudan.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Agency for International Development
  • Abstract: I thank the Chairman and Members of this Committee for holding this hearing. Your interest in Sudan is helpful and can have useful repercussions on the ground in Sudan at a time when the situation there is more fragile and more complicated than ever. Several Members of this Committee have been involved in Sudanese issues for many years, and I can assure you that that fact is known and respected in the region. Your veteran wisdom, fresh ideas, and steady engagement on Sudan are welcome and appreciated by me, by my USAID colleagues, and by many Sudanese I have met in my regular travels to the region. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The next few weeks will go far to determining whether Ethiopia and Eritrea resume a path toward war - which took some 100,000 lives between 1998 and 2000 - or solidify their peace agreement. Ethiopia must decide whether to allow demarcation of the border to begin in October 2003 even though the international Boundary Commission set up under the Algiers agreement that ended the fighting has ruled that the town of Badme - the original flashpoint of the war - is on the Eritrean side. The outcome will have profound implications for both countries and the entire Horn of Africa, as well as for international law and the sanctity of binding peace agreements and arbitration processes. The international community, particularly the U.S., the African Union (AU), and the European Union (EU), all of which played major roles in brokering the Algiers agreement, need to engage urgently to help Ethiopia move the demarcation forward and to assist both parties to devise a package of measures that can reduce the humanitarian costs of border adjustments and otherwise make implementation of the demarcation more politically palatable.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, North Africa, Ethiopia