Legacy Articles On Iran

2024-01-03 Iran Announces Integration Of Artificial Intelligence Into Drone Fleet (Michael Rubin)
2024-01-03 Iran Equips Drones With Heat-Seeking Missiles (Michael Rubin)
2024-01-03 Iran Demands Disarmament Of Kurdish Dissidents In Iraq (Michael Rubin)

2023-11-08 Iran Promoting Medical Tourism To Generate Hard Currency (Michael Rubin)
2023-11-08 Iran’s Supreme Leader Accuses West of Ukraine War Conspiracy (Michael Rubin)

2023-10-03 Iran Claims Development of Cruise Missiles Guided by Artificial Intelligence (Michael Rubin)
2023-10-03 Requirements for Desirable Iranian Oil Ministry Jobs Revealed (Michael Rubin)
2023-10-03 Iran’s Supreme Leader Warns of Declining Fervor of New Generation (Michael Rubin)

2023-08-25 Iran Claims New Flight Simulator Will Enhance National Power (Michael Rubin)
2023-08-25 Iran’s Simorgh Transport Plane Makes Maiden Flight (Michael Rubin)
2023-08-25 Iran Indicates Plans To Commercialize Nuclear Technology, Sell Heavy Water (Michael Rubin)
2023-08-25 Iran’s Persistent and Growing Influence in Latin America (Ryan Berg)

2023-06-01 Iran Unveils New Thermobaric Warhead (Michael Rubin)
2023-06-01 Iran Opens New Helicopter, Drone Base in Southeastern Provincial Capital (Michael Rubin)
2023-06-01 Iran Ready To Help Syria Rebuild Its Defense Infrastructure (Michael Rubin)

2023-05-01 Iran Installs New Precision Missiles on Army Helicopters (Michael Rubin)
2023-05-01 Iran Seeks To Reestablish Embassy and Consulate in Saudi Arabia Before Hajj (Michael Rubin)
2023-05-01 Iran Considers Rapprochement With Pakistan (Michael Rubin)

2023-04-01 Iran Unveils Updated Yasin Training Jet With Possible Close Combat Applications (Michael Rubin)
2023-04-01 Iran’s Increased Defense Budget Leading to More Arms Exports (Michael Rubin)
2023-04-01 Iran Capitalizing on Post-Earthquake Conditions To Deepen Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)

2023-03-01 Iran Praises Revolutionary Guards’ Proxy Afghan Brigade (Michael Rubin)
2023-03-01 Iran Profiles the Female Police Seeking To Quell the Women’s Protests (Michael Rubin)

2023-02-01 Iran Moves Sea-Borne Drone Fleet Closer to Reality (Michael Rubin)
2023-02-01 Iranian General Reiterates Goal To Expel United States From Region (Michael Rubin)
2023-02-01 Iran Fires Indigenous Torpedoes From Submarines for First Time (Michael Rubin)

2023-01-01 Iran Asks Tajikistan Not To Use Iranian Drones in Dispute With Kyrgyzstan (Michael Rubin)
2023-01-01 Iran Claim of Hypersonic Missile Capability Probably Exaggerated (Michael Rubin)

2022-11-01 Iran Vaunts Persian Language as Marker of National Identity Despite Country’s Ethnic Diversity (Michael Rubin)
2022-11-01 Iran’s Proposal To Build Railroads and Housing in Syria Could Enrich IRGC (Michael Rubin)
2022-11-01 Iran Lauds Air Defense, Claims Sepehr Radar Will Soon Be Operational (Michael Rubin)

2022-10-01 Iran Wants Sukhoi-35 Fighters From Russia (Michael Rubin)
2022-10-01 Iran Intercepts Crystal Meth Shipment From Afghanistan (Michael Rubin)

2022-09-01 Iran Reportedly Using New Carrier, Submarines To Expand Reach of Drones (Michael Rubin)
2022-09-01 Iran Unveils Stealth Speedboats (Michael Rubin)
2022-09-01 Iran’s Flawed Statistics and Growing Drug Addiction (Michael Rubin)

2022-08-01 Iranian F-14 Crash Highlights Iran’s Need for New Fighter Contract (Michael Rubin)
2022-08-01 Iranian Trade With China Is Up, but So Is Political Risk (Michael Rubin)
2022-08-01 Iran’s Revolutionary Guards To Expand Drug Treatment Center (Michael Rubin)
2022-08-01 Iran Believes Turkey’s Rapprochement With Israel and Saudi Arabia Is a Threat (Ihsan Gunduz)

2022-07-01 Iran Unveils New Drone-Fired Cruise Missile (Michael Rubin)
2022-07-01 Iran Opens New Drone Plant in Tajikistan (Michael Rubin)
2022-07-01 Iran Warns UAE Against Allowing Israel in the Persian Gulf (Michael Rubin)

2022-06-01 Khamenei Speaks on Necessity of Palestinian “Resistance” (Michael Rubin)
2022-06-01 Iran Initiates and Defends New Bread Subsidies Amid Deteriorating Economy (Michael Rubin)
2022-06-01 Iran Seeks To Counter Misinformation Circulating on Social Media (Michael Rubin)

2022-05-01 Iran Digs into Central Syria, Filling Vacuum Left by Russia (Lucas Winter)
2022-05-01 Iran Tries To Justify Abstention in UN Vote Condemning Russian Invasion of Ukraine (Michael Rubin)
2022-05-01 Iranian Navy Joins Indian Naval Exercises (Michael Rubin)
2022-05-01 Iran’s New Damavand Destroyer Set To Join Navy (Michael Rubin)

2022-04-01 Iran: Emphasizing Religiosity in Regular Army Promotions (Michael Rubin)
2022-04-01 Iran Uses Online War Games To Teach Younger Generation of Officers (Michael Rubin)
2022-04-01 Iran’s Supreme Leader Condemns Alleged Corruption of the West (Michael Rubin)
2022-04-01 Iran Repositions Its Proxies in Syria as Russia Turns Focus to Ukraine (Lucas Winter)

2022-03-01 Iranian Authorities Arrest Alleged Deputy Leader of Royalist Terrorist Group (Michael Rubin)
2022-03-01 Iran’s Prosecution of Arab Separatist Highlights Supposed Saudi Ties (Michael Rubin)
2022-03-01 Russia and China To Help Iran Build New Airports (Michael Rubin)

2022-02-01 Iran and Syria Discuss Transportation Cooperation (Michael Rubin)
2022-02-01 Iran’s Purported Counter-Hijacking Record (Michael Rubin)
2022-02-01 Iran Busts Weapons and Ammunition Smuggling Ring (Michael Rubin)

2022-01-01 Iran-Pakistan Bolstering Naval Cooperation (Michael Rubin)
2022-01-01 Iran Agrees To Gas Swap with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (Michael Rubin)
2022-01-01 Iran and Syria Seek To Jumpstart Economic Ties (Michael Rubin)

2021-04-01 IRAN Unveils New Baman Radar System (Michael Rubin)
2020-10-01 Iran Stockpiling Supplies through Chahbahar (Michael Rubin)

2020-09-01 More Iran in Venezuela (Geoff Demarest)
2020-09-01 Iran Increases Range of Smart Bombs (Michael Rubin)
2020-09-01 Iran: Passive Defense Organization and Basij Sign Memorandum of Understanding (Michael Rubin)
2020-09-01 Iran: Khamenei Speaks on Sanctions, Enmity toward America, and Nuclear Power (Michael Rubin)

2020-08-01 Iran: Khamenei Speaks on Corruption (Michael Rubin)
2020-08-01 Iran: What’s Behind the Government’s Secrecy on Handing Over Kish Island to Chinese? (Michael Rubin)
2020-08-01 Iran Eager to Enter the Global Market as a Military Equipment Exporter (Jerrilee Plude)
2020-08-01 China and Iran Announce $400 Billion Trade Deal (Peter Wood)

2020-07-01 Russian Arms Sales to Iran? (Ray Finch)
2020-07-01 An Afghan Perspective: A New Phase in Afghanistan-Iran Relations (Michael Rubin)
2020-07-01 More Iran in Venezuela (Geoff Demarest)
2020-07-01 The Three Main Missions of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Michael Rubin)

2020-06-01 Iran: Prosecute Cybercriminals (Michael Rubin)
2020-06-01 Iran Improves its UAV Technology (Robert Bunker and Alma Keshvarz)

2020-05-01 Iran: Khamenei on Power and Patience (Michael Rubin)
2020-05-01 Iran Unveils Ghadir Submarine Upgrades (Michael Rubin)
2020-05-01 India Evacuates its Citizens from Iran (Michael Rubin)
2020-05-01 Iran Announces Mass Production of COVID-19 Test Kits (Jerrilee Plude)

2020-04-01 Israel Establishes New ‘Strategy and Iran Directorate’ Under General Staff (Zachary Fesen)
2020-04-01 Iran: Sanctions Don’t Impact Military Spending (Michael Rubin)
2020-04-01 Iran: IRGC Establishes Biological Defense Headquarters (Michael Rubin)

2020-03-01 Counterfeit Bank Notes Seized in Iran (Michael Rubin)
2020-03-01 Iran-Increasing Domestic Production of Rare Earth Elements (Michael Rubin)
2020-02-01 Iran to Send Astronaut into Space? (Michael Rubin)

2020-01-01 Iran: Identity Theft and Extortion in Isfahan (Michael Rubin)
2020-01-01 Iran and Russia to Establish Visa Waivers (Michael Rubin)
2020-01-01 Iran: Use Suicide Drones as Air Defense (Michael Rubin)
2020-01-01 Iran, China, and Russia Plan Joint Naval Drills in Indian Ocean (Zachary Fesen)

2019-12-01 Iran- Khamenei Speaks on America (Michael Rubin)
2019-12-01 Iran Establishes Official VPN Operators (Michael Rubin)

2019-11-01 Iran and Turkey- Friend or Foe (Ihsan Gunduz)
2019-11-01 Iran Opens Persian Gulf Air Defense Command Center (Michael Rubin)
2019-11-01 Iran- Mobile Rocket Systems and Underground Tunnels (Michael Rubin)
2019-11-01 Iran Announces Dome Defense against Drones (Michael Rubin)

2019-10-01 Iran- Khamenei Speaks on Kashmir (Michael Rubin)
2019-10-01 Iran- Armed Forces Ready to Take Over National Intranet Project (Michael Rubin)
2019-10-01 Israel- Iran’s Military Entrenchment in Iraq Poses Threat (Karen Kaya)

2019-09-01 Iran Warns of Phone and Text Scams (Michael Rubin)
2019-09-01 Iran – Mohajer-6 UAV Strikes Targets in Iraq (Michael Rubin)
2019-09-01 Iran’s Negotiations with Domestic Kurdish Opposition Groups (Ihsan Gunduz)
2019-08-01 Iran: Optoelectronic Military Developments (Michael Rubin)

2019-07-01 Iran: Progress on National Intranet (Michael Rubin)
2019-07-01 Iran: Nationwide Curriculum for Computer Programming (Michael Rubin)
2019-07-01 Iran: Preparing for Zafar III Satellite Launch (Michael Rubin)
2019-07-01 Iran: Admiral Fadavi Selected as Revolutionary Guards Deputy (Michael Rubin)
2019-06-01 The Dynamics of Trilateral Relations between Turkey, Russia, and Iran (Ihsan Gunduz)

2019-05-01 Iran Cements its Presence in Syria (Lucas Winter)
2019-05-01 Iran: Khamenei Threatens to Use Precision Missiles (Michael Rubin)
2019-05-01 Iran Conducts its Largest UAV Exercise (Michael Rubin)

2019-04-01 Iran: Hovercraft successfully fires cruise missiles (Michael Rubin)
2019-04-01 Iran Diverting Money from Development to Military (Michael Rubin)
2019-03-01 Iran Builds Up Syrian Proxies on the Western Banks of the Euphrates (Lucas Winter)
2019-02-01 IRGC: Iran Can Extend Ballistic Missile Range (Michael Rubin)

2019-01-01 Iran’s Basij in Cyberspace (Michael Rubin)
2019-01-01 Iran Unveils JDAMs? (Michael Rubin)
2019-01-01 China, Russia and Iran Seek to Revive Syrian Railways (Lucas Winter)

2018-11-01 Iran to Build New Missile System? (Michael Rubin)
2018-11-01 Supreme Leader’s Advisor- United States Common Enemy of Iran and China (Michael Rubin)
2018-09-01 Will Iran Pivot to the East (Michael Rubin)
2018-09-01 Iran: IAEA Shouldn’t Inspect Universities (Michael Rubin)
2018-09-01 Russia and Iran Hamper Turkey’s Aspirations to Become Energy Hub (Ihsan Gunduz)

2018-08-01 Questions on Shortfalls in Electricity Generation in Iran (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Achieving Gasoline Self-Sufficiency in Iran (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Visit of Chinese Military Delegation to Iran (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Iran to Re-Launch “Helicopter Carrier” (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Iran Preparing to Host Nanotechnology Festival (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Iran to Launch New Satellite by Year’s End (Michael Rubin)

2018-07-01 Group Planning to Hack Bank in Iran Arrested (Michael Rubin)
2018-07-01 Who Took $30 Billion out of Iran? (Michael Rubin)
2018-07-01 Iran to Attend Russian Military Trade Show (Michael Rubin)
2018-07-01 Iran Cracks Down on Internet Café VPNs (Michael Rubin)

2018-06-01 Iran, Russia to Jointly Manufacture Helicopter (Michael Rubin)
2018-06-01 Iran Unveils New Unmanned Helicopter (Michael Rubin)
2018-06-01 Russia and Iran Compete for Syria’s Phosphates (Lucas Winter)
2018-06-01 Is Iran Ready to Send Its Navy to Japan (Michael Rubin)

2018-05-01 Iran and Russia Compete for Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)
2018-05-01 Will Iran Interfere in Kashmir? (Michael Rubin)
2018-05-01 Iran and Russia Compete for Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)
2018-05-01 Iran and Russia Compete for Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)
2018-05-01 Will Iran Interfere in Kashmir? (Michael Rubin)
2018-05-01 Iran and Russia Compete for Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)

2018-04-01 13 Million Users of Domestic Messaging Apps in Iran (Michael Rubin)
2018-04-01 Iran: Supreme Leader Advisor Lauds Russian Strategic Ties (Michael Rubin)
2018-04-01 Iran: Muslims Supported by US, UK are Illegitimate (Michael Rubin)
2018-04-01 Iran: Israel’s Missile Defense Can Be Overwhelmed (Michael Rubin)
2018-04-01 Iran Unveils New Anti-Armor Missile (Michael Rubin)

2018-03-01 Iran: Warship Sinks after Mishap (Michael Rubin)
2018-03-01 Iran: Winning Hearts and Minds in Deir Ezzor (Lucas Winter)
2018-03-01 Iran Develops UAS with “Smart Bomb” Capability (Alma Keshavarz and Robert Bunker)
2018-03-01 Iran: US Sponsoring Islamic State in Afghanistan (Michael Rubin)
2018-03-01 Iran: Winning Hearts and Minds in Deir Ezzor (Lucas Winter)
2018-03-01 Iran: Telegram Giving Data to US and Israel (MIchael Rubin)

2018-02-01 A Malaysian Perspective on US-Iran Relations (Jacob Zenn)
2018-02-01 Turkish Perspectives on Iran (Karen Kaya)
2018-02-01 Iran: Was America Behind Uprising? (Michael Rubin)
2018-02-01 Iran: Lifting the Ban on Instagram was Illegal (Michael Rubin)

2018-02-01 Iran Approaches the Syria-Jordan Border (Lucas Winter)
2018-02-01 Indonesian Perspectives on the Iran Protests (Jacob Zenn)
2018-02-01 India’s Interest in Stability in Iran (Matthew Stein)
2018-02-01 China Limits Internet Exposure to Iran Protests (Jacob Zenn)
2018-02-01 Saudi-Iran Tensions Seen in Nigerian Crackdown on Shia Group (Jacob Zenn)

2018-01-01 Iran: New Military Budget Proposed (Michael Rubin)
2018-01-01 Iran-Khamenei Speaks on Views toward America (Michael Rubin)
2018-01-01 Iran’s Amphibious Aircraft from Russia (Michael Rubin


CAR Joins Mali in Accusing France of Funding Terrorists

View from Bangui, Central African Republic.

View from Bangui, Central African Republic.


“The Central African Republic has been subjected since its independence to systematic looting facilitated by the political instability maintained by certain Western countries or their companies which finance armed terrorist groups.”


The leader of the Central African Republic (CAR), Faustin-Archange Touadéra, is taking a now-familiar tack in the region by accusing French entities of funding insurgents in the country. As described in the first accompanying article from the pan-African news outlet Jeune Afrique, at a recent UN meeting of the Least Developed Countries in Doha,Touadéra offered a fiery speech denouncing his country’s destabilization thanks to “certain Western countries or their companies which finance armed terrorist groups.”Of note is the inclusion of “or their companies” in this statement. The second excerpted article, from the pan-African news aggregator Le Journal de l’Afrique, reveals that the French beverage manufacturer Castel is being investigated for potentially having funded rebels in CAR to allow Castel to maintain production there. Touadéra’s decision to implicitly claim that France and its companies are funding insurgents in the country may sound familiar: the president of the transition government in Mali, Assimi Goïta, did essentially the same thing during a speech to the UN General Assembly in September 2022.[i] Anti-French, and relatively newly pro-Russian sentiment, is most visibly taking hold in Mali[ii] and Burkina Faso,[iii] but it is also evident in CAR, which likewise employs Russian Wagner Group mercenaries. These three countries, along with Guinea, are now all seemingly establishing closer ties, especially in the security realm. Denouncing France as the source of instability would appear to be a tactic that will continue to be used by all four in the future.


Sources:

“Faustin-Archange Touadéra charge les Occidentaux (Fausting-Achange Touadera accues the West),” Jeune Afrique (centrist pan-African news site), 6 March 2023. https://www.jeuneafrique.com/1424138/politique/faustin-archange-touadera-charge-les-occidentaux/

During a summit of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) under the aegis of the UN in Doha, Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra violently attacked Westerners, accusing them of “maintaining political instability” to plunder the wealth of the country and prevent its development. The Head of State deemed his country “a victim of geostrategic aims linked to its natural resources”.

The Central African Republic [CAR] has been subjected since its independence to systematic looting facilitated by the political instability maintained by certain Western countries” and “armed terrorist groups whose leaders are foreign mercenaries”, he denounced. “The recurring attacks” of these groups aim to “make the country ungovernable, to prevent the State from exercising its right of sovereignty over natural reserves and its legitimate right to self-determination”.


Omar Lucien Koffi, “Centrafricaine: Touadéra dénonce le ‘pillage’ de l’Occident (Central African Republic: Touadéra dencounces the ‘pillage’ by the West),” Le Journal de l’Afrique (pan-African news aggregator), 6 March 2023. https://lejournaldelafrique.com/republique-centrafricaine-touadera-denonce-le-pillage-de-loccident/  

In Bangui, in the Central African Republic, pro-government activists took to the streets of the capital to denounce the “Machiavellian plan of Westerners” against their country. Among the targets of the demonstrators: Castel. The beverage giant has been the target of an investigation by the French anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office since last summer after revelations about alleged remuneration for the Unit for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) by Castel, which had thus been able to continue its activities in Ouaka province, despite rebel control. In February, several campaigns were launched against Castel, and more precisely its local subsidiary, the Mocaf brewery, under the leadership of Wagner.

From now on, it is no longer simply Castel that poses a problem, but the West. And now, it is no longer a question of a simple campaign on social networks or in the streets of Bangui. This Sunday, March 5, it is the President of the Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, who attacked the West. A resounding exit, in full United Nations Conference on the least developed countries. And which echoes a discourse that is increasingly widespread throughout the continent.

“The Central African Republic has been subjected since its independence to systematic looting facilitated by the political instability maintained by certain Western countries or their companies which finance armed terrorist groups whose main leaders are foreign mercenaries”, launched Touadéra who considers that the CAR is a “victim of geostrategic aims linked to its natural resources.” Thus, “foreign interference” would keep the CAR in “dependence, insecurity, and instability,” to better plunder the wealth of the country, therefore.But at the same time, the president of the Central African Republic is asking for the relaunch of international budgetary aid, while his government has had to do without it since it has been in contact with the Russian group Wagner. Touadéra met Emmanuel Macron in Libreville, during the One Forest Summit, on March 2.


Notes:

[i] See: Jason Warner, “Mali Claims France Funded Terrorists: France Denies,” OE Watch, 10-2022. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-2-singular-format/428171

[ii] See: Jason Warner, “Mali Defends Reliance on Russian Counterterrorism Assistance,” OE Watch, 3-2023. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-2-singular-format/437332 

[iii] See: Jason Warner, “Burkina Faso: A Bellwether on Russia and French Presence,” OE Watch, 11-2022. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-2-singular-format/429302; Jason Warner, “Burkina Faso Fights Terrorism with Recruits and Russia,” OE Watch, 02-2023. https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-articles-2-singular-format/436264


Image Information:

Image: View from Bangui, Central African Republic
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gridarendal/31380037380
Attribution:  Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Algeria Seeks Non-Alignment by Preserving Russia Ties While Welcoming NATO Overtures

Algeria hosts final planning conference for joint Russian-Algerian exercise Desert Shield 2022.

Algeria hosts final planning conference for joint Russian-Algerian exercise Desert Shield 2022.


“Algeria clings to the principle of non-alignment.”


While Russia appears to be courting Algeria in a bid to reduce its isolation, Algeria is keeping its options open by engaging with both Russia and NATO member states. In January 2023, the Algerian government announced that President Abdelmadjid Tebboune would visit Moscow and meet with President Putin in May 2023.[i] At the May 2023 presidential summit, Russia is hoping to sign a new strategic cooperation partnership document with Algeria, if for no other reason than to make the case that Russia is not fully isolated and retains key strategic partnerships. In addition, Russia seeks to finalize a major weapons deal to show that its military export industry remains viable. The deal would be centered on the Su-57 [GRLCUT(1] stealth multirole fighter aircraft, according to the second article excerpt from the Russian-language news network RT Arabic and other news stories regularly recycled by Russian Arabic language media over the past year. Indeed, Russian expectations for the presidential summit are high, and its media and officials are going out of their way to flatter Algeria: as detailed in the first excerpted article, in an early February interview with RT Arabic, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that, in trying to turn Algeria against Russia using pressure, the West was “messing with the wrong guy.”

Algerian leadership, however, seems less enthusiastic about a singular deepening of relations with Russia: quite the opposite, judging by recent Algerian diplomatic activities. A week before the January announcement that he would visit Moscow in May, President Tebboune hosted Italy’s prime minister and discussed expanding bilateral trade, of which Algerian gas supplies to Europe via Italian pipelines are a centerpiece. Concurrently, Said Chengriha, the Chief of Staff of the Algerian armed forces, led a large delegation to Paris, where he was received by President Macron, met with several high-ranking military and government officials, and signed a security cooperation “roadmap” on his government’s behalf, as reported in the second accompanying excerpt from the Algerian monthly military journal El Djeich. Shortly after returning from Paris, Chengriha hosted U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander Gen. Michael E. Langley, where he reiterated Algerian non-alignment and commitment to dealing “with many friendly countries,” including the United States, as reported in the third accompanying piece, a Facebook post from the Algerian Ministry of Defense. Algeria remains an appealing security partner for Russia, given its strategic location on NATO’s southern flank and the historical links between the Algerian and Soviet militaries; however, Algeria is unlikely to sacrifice its substantial commercial relations with Europe. Indeed, except for arms deals, Russian-Algerian trade remains negligible, and Europe’s embargo on Russian natural gas may ultimately benefit Algerian gas exports. Still, the fact that Algeria continues to value its partnership with Russia will force its government to carefully balance existing relations and new entreaties from both Russia and NATO countries. If Algiers continues to successfully navigate these competing pulls, its approach may well emerge as a model for other Arab countries seeking to do the same, most notably Saudi Arabia.


Sources:

لافروف: الولايات المتحدة تحاول إملاء سياستها على الجزائر لكنها “هاجمت الشخص الخطأ”

(Lavrov: The United States is trying to impose its policy on Algeria, but it messed with the wrong guy),” RT Arabic (Russian Arabic-language media outlet), 1 February 2023. https://tinyurl.com/yjwsfakc

In response to a question about whether Western pressures will affect the Algerian authorities’ policy towards Russia, he added, “We have a popular saying that says, ‘You messed with the wrong guy’. Algerians can’t be told what to do in this manner, you cannot expect them to comply with and implement directives that contradict their national interests based simply on a hand signal from across the ocean. Algeria, like most countries, is a country that respects itself, its history and its interests, and draws its policies on this basis.”

هل تحصل الجزائر على مقاتلة روسية تتبع 60 هدفا في وقت واحد؟

(Will Algeria obtain Russian jets that can simultaneously track 60 targets?),” RT Arabic (Russian Arabic-language media outlet), 1 February 2023. https://tinyurl.com/2uautj98

Russian media reported that Algeria might become the first country to possess the fifth-generation Russian Su-57 fighters, as talks were held with Russia at the end of 2020. There is talk of at least 14 aircraft being involved, scheduled for delivery before 2030.

“Monsieur le général d’armée, Saïd Chanegriha, chef d’état-major de l’Armée nationale populaire, en visite officielle en France (Army General Saïd Chanegriha, Chief of Staff of the National People’s Army, on an official visit to France),” El Djeich (Algerian armed forces monthly magazine), February 2023. https://rb.gy/levz2

The talks examined ways of strengthening military and security cooperation between the two countries. Subsequently, the meeting was formalized by the signing of a joint roadmap.

No title. Algerian Ministry of Defense Facebook Page, 8 February 2023. https://www.facebook.com/mdn.gov.dz/posts/505345958434848“I would like to emphasize on this occasion that Algeria clings to the principle of non-alignment, and jealously guards its history full of glories and heroism, as well as its independence and sovereign political decision-making. It interacts in a way that serves its own interests and deals with many friendly countries with which it has military and economic relations, such as the United States of America.”


Notes:

[i] Although officially neutral vis-à-vis Ukraine, the Algerian government has been accused of aligning with Russia due to its abstention on UN votes condemning the Ukraine invasion and the extensive bilateral high-level security contacts that followed the invasion. The deepening partnership was to be bolstered by two much-anticipated late-2022 events: joint anti-terror exercises on Algerian soil in October (“Desert Shield 2022”), and the Algerian president’s Moscow visit, which was supposed to occur before the end of 2022. In the end, the exercises were unceremoniously called off at the last minute, and the 2022 presidential visit has now been rescheduled for May 2023, though a firm date has not been set. For added context see: Lucas Winter, “Algeria Caught Between Neutrality and Strategic Relations with Russia,” OE Watch, 5-2022.  https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/fmso/m/oe-watch-past-issues/415497


Image Information:

Image: Algeria hosts final planning conference for joint Russian-
Algerian exercise Desert Shield 2022.
Source: https://rb.gy/zgyvr
Attribution: CC BY-SA 4.0

Morocco and Algeria Strengthen UAV Capabilities With Imports From China, Turkey, and Israel

TAI Aksungur at Teknofest 2019.

TAI Aksungur at Teknofest 2019.


“Morocco issued a warning to Iran, which is accused of militarily supporting separatist and terrorist groups


Over the past year, both Algeria and Morocco have bolstered their unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities by importing technology from China, Turkey and—in the case of Morocco—Israel.[i] As detailed in the first excerpted article, in October 2022, the Spanish news website OkDiario reported on a video showing a Chinese Wing Loong II UAV flying over Morocco, seemingly confirming that Morocco had acquired several of these platforms after expressing interest in them earlier this year. Also in October, as detailed in the second excerpted article, the independent Algeria-focused military news website Menadefense reported that Algeria, which has a Wing Loong II fleet of its own, had become the first export client for the Turkish TAI Aksungur long-range UAV, after signing a deal to acquire six units.

While China and Turkey appear willing to sell technology and deepen security cooperation with both Morocco and Algeria, Israeli-Moroccan cooperation has likely geopolitical implications given fears of Iranian and Russian meddling in the region.[ii] As shown in the third excerpted article, in September the Moroccan English-language news website Morocco World News reported that Morocco had acquired at least 150 small vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft from the Israeli firm BlueBird Aero Systems. The deal includes both the small WanderB model and a larger ThunderB model, as well as an agreement to build two UAV manufacturing plants in Morocco, the first of their kind. In the fourth excerpted article, in early October, as reported by the Moroccan news website Le360, an official from the Polisario Front, the Western Sahara independence movement that is supported by Algeria and opposed by Morocco, claimed that Sahrawi fighters would soon begin employing armed UAVs against Moroccan forces. These remarks prompted Morocco’s Foreign Minister to equate Polisario with Yemen’s Houthi Movement, accusing Iran of arming Polisario with Algerian complicity. Indeed, Moroccan accusations of Iranian support for Polisario are not new, as explained in the fifth article from the Qatari-aligned al-Araby al-Jadeed. While the accusations may have seemed fanciful four years ago, they seem less so now, given Israel’s quickly growing security footprint in Morocco and the fact that Algeria’s key security partner—Russia—is itself relying on Iranian military support in Ukraine.


Sources:

Pelayo Barro. “Marruecos compra los drones militares chinos más modernos mientras España le regala 4×4 (Morocco buys the most advanced Chinese drones while Spain gifts it 4x4s),” OkDiario (Spanish news website), 2 October 2022. https://okdiario.com/espana/marruecos-compra-drones-militares-chinos-mas-modernos-mientras-espana-regala-4×4-9739842

The latest [Moroccan] acquisition has not been ignored by Spain’s military intelligence: new-generation strategic Chinese drones with air-ground attack capabilities and endurance of over 7,000 kilometers… Mohammed VI’s armed forces had previously eyed these drones – called Wing Loong II – and had even proposed acquiring them to replace a previous Chinese drone they had already employed in their war against the Polisario Front.

“L’Algérie achète des drones d’attaque Aksungur (Algeria purchases Aksungur attack drones),” Menadefense (independent Algeria-focused military news website), 7 October 2022. https://www.menadefense.net/algerie/lalgerie-achete-des-drones-dattaque-aksungur/

The Algerian Air Force has ordered six Turkish MALE drones from TAI. They are the Aksungur, a larger, more modern, and better performing version than its Anka-S counterpart.

Aya Benazizi. “Morocco Purchases 150 Israeli Military Drones,” Morocco World News (Moroccan English-language news website), 22 September 2022. https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2022/09/351475/morocco-purchases-150-israeli-military-drones

Morocco has purchased 150 military drones of the WanderB and ThunderB types, manufactured by Israel’s BlueBird Aero Systems, a company specialized in designing and developing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) equipment…

The agreement concerned the construction of industrial units in Morocco for the manufacture of Israeli drones.

البوليساريو تعلن أن الجزائر ستمدها بطائرات “درون” إيرانية لمهاجمة المغرب

Mohammed Ould Boah. “Polisario announces that Algiera will provide it with Iranian drones to attack Morocco,” Le360 (Moroccan news website), 4 October 2022. https://ar.le360.ma/politique/197102

According to the so-called “interior minister” of the Polisario, the separatists have obtained military drones, which they will use in their attacks against Moroccan territory. In the face of this dangerous escalation, Morocco issued a warning to Iran, which is accused of militarily supporting separatist and terrorist groups.

إيران والمغرب: تشيّع وصواريخ ودرونز

Abdelhamid Ajmahiri. “Iran and Morocco: Shiization, missiles and drones,” al-Araby al-Jadeed (Qatari-aligned daily), 11 October 2022. https://tinyurl.com/2p83v8hm Almost four years after accusing Tehran of handing the separatist Polisario Front advanced weapons – especially Strela surface-to-air missiles – last week Rabat accused Tehran of providing Polisario with drones… It is clear that relations between Rabat and Tehran have entered a bleak zone, now that the [Western Sahara] conflict has been resolved in favor of Moroccan national unity.


Notes:

[i] See: Lucas Winter, “Morocco and Algeria Bolstering Their Drone Fleets as Bilateral Tensions Rise,” OE Watch, Issue 11, 2021; Lucas Winter, “Morocco Denys Conducting Drone Strike Against Algerian Targets in Western Sahara,” OE Watch, Issue 12, 2021; Lucas Winter, “China Arming Algeria To Fight Its ‘New Generation Wars’,” OE Watch, Issue 8, 2022. 

[ii] See: Lucas Winter, “Algeria Sees Threat from Morocco as Western Sahara Conflict Threatens To Reignite,” OE Watch, Issue 6, 2022; Lucas Winter, “Algeria Likely To Deepen Military Ties with Russia as Morocco–Israel Security Cooperation Expands,” OE Watch, Issue 9, 2022.


Image Information:

Image: TAI Aksungur at Teknofest 2019
Source: CeeGee (own work), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TAI_Aksungur_Teknofest2019_(1).jpg
Attribution: CC 4.0

“Chronic Instability” Atop Algerian Military’s Foreign Intelligence and Security Directorate

President of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune (2021).

President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune (2021).


…a politico-military regime… which cuts off heads instead of questioning the structural reasons for its inadequacy.


The Algerian military seems plagued by internal rifts that negatively affect leadership and cohesion.  Some evidence of this can be found in what the widely read Moroccan news website Le360 characterizes as”chronic instability” atop Algeria’s foreign intelligence and security agency, the General Directorate of Documentation and External Security (DGDSE).  The Le360 article considers the instability atop DGDSE leadership as proof of a political-military regime that “cuts off heads instead of questioning the structural reasons for its inadequacy,” in ways that “destabilize both the officers and the troops.” 

In early September 2022, Major General M’henna Djebbar was appointed as director of the DGDSE, making him the fifth person to hold the position since current President Abdelmadjid Tebboune assumed office in December 2019.  The volatility is noteworthy, given that for approximately 25 years, from 1990 until 2015, Algerian intelligence services were controlled by a single man: Mohamed Mediene, also known as “Toufik.”  Since then, factional struggles within the military and between the military and intelligence services have led to sudden falls from grace within the DGDSE, as one-time powerbrokers have been dismissed, indicted, or imprisoned for being on the losing side of a factional battle.  Djebbar, who is a longtime associate of Mohamed Mediene, was briefly jailed in 2019-2020, during the purge led by then-chief of staff Ahmed Gaid Saleh, following the ouster of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.  According to the accompanying excerpt from the France-based online news and analysis website Maghreb Intelligence, Djebbar has become a close ally to President Tebboune but is distrusted by Said Chengriha, the army’s current chief of staff. 

Major security challenges, including Libya’s civil war, Morocco’s annexation of the Western Sahara, and lawlessness in the Sahel are also likely to affect Algeria’s military performance.  Indeed, some recent DGDSE directors seem to have been appointed expressly to deal with the various crises of the moment.  The first head of the DGDSE in the Tebboune era, Major General Mohamed Bouzit, was a Libya specialist appointed in April 2020 at a time of growing Turkish influence in Libya.  After nine months on the job, he was dismissed and subsequently arrested on espionage charges. A report published at the time in the Africa-focused political weekly magazine Jeune Afrique argued that failure to curb Turkish influence in Libya was behind his fall.  His replacement, nicknamed “Polisario” due to his strong ties with leaders in the Western Sahara independence movement, was likely appointed to deal with Algerian concerns over growing international support for Moroccan claims on the Western Sahara. Domestically, the military-controlled Algerian government seems to be in a position of relative strength, having largely neutralized the protest movement that overthrew Bouteflika in 2019.  Algeria’s natural gas reserves and relatively stable relations with both Russia and Europe have yielded newfound geopolitical leverage in the shadow of war in Ukraine.  The Algerian military is strong on paper, thanks to substantial purchases of advanced Russian and Chinese weaponry in the past decade. Still, the chronic instability atop the DGDSE may be symptomatic of internal leadership and cohesion issues which, while not visible on the surface, should be considered when assessing Algeria’s military capabilities.


Sources:

Mohammed Ould Boah. “Les non-dits des nouveaux changements  à la tête des services du renseignement algérien (What goes unsaid about new changes in the leadership of Algerian intelligence services),” Le360 (widely read Moroccan news website), 16 July 2022. https://fr.le360.ma/politique/les-non-dits-des-nouveaux-changements-a-la-tete-des-services-du-renseignement-algerien-263715

This chronic instability at the head of Algerian foreign intelligence is indicative of the improvisation, mistakes, even casting errors, of a politico-military regime visibly incapable of scoring points and which cuts off heads instead of questioning the structural reasons for its inadequacy. At this rate of purges, the Algerian army has become leaderless – in the sense of lacking a head. Decapitated, this army capsizes according to the news and thinks of reassuring the chain of command by changing commander each time. This destabilizes both the officers and the troops.

Ilyes Aribi. “Algérie: la cruelle désillusion des partisans du général M’henna Djebbar (Algeria: the cruel disillusion of General M’henna Djebbar’s supporters),” Maghreb Intelligence (French-based online news and analysis website), 20 July 2022. https://www.maghreb-intelligence.com/algerie-la-cruelle-desillusion-des-partisans-du-general-mhenna-djebbar/

In 2021, M’henna Djebbar convinces Tebboune to include him in his inner circle to consolidate his faltering presidential power… But since June 2022, M’henna Djebbar’s plans have been troubled by the strong comeback of his number one opponent: Said Chengriha, the head of the Algerian military institution, who has worked to slow down the rehabilitation of former generals from the 1990s, fearing their stranglehold on Algerian power.

“Algeria: Is the Russia-Turkey rivalry at the heart of the Bouzit affair?” Jeune Afrique (Africa-focused political weekly magazine), 24 September 2021. https://www.theafricareport.com/130371/algeria-is-the-russia-turkey-rivalry-at-the-heart-of-the-bouzit-affair/

Major General Mohamed Bouzit (aka Youcef ), the former head of Algerian foreign intelligence, was appointed in April 2020 and replaced in January 2021. He was placed in detention in the Blida military prison, 60km south of Algiers, following his arrest on 7 September 2021…

Bouzit… is accused of having left the field open for Turkey to extend its field of intervention in Libya by installing several military bases, among other things… [and] is suspected of having misled Algerian diplomacy and favouring Ankara’s Libyan interests…

Therefore, the Bouzit affair is just another episode in the clan struggle that dominates the Algerian political-military seraglio. This muted war is taking place between President Tebboune’s close advisors, Chengriha’s entourage and even generals from Ahmed Gaïd Salah’s former team, who are all prepared to ally themselves with one or another of the factions to avoid joining their comrades in prison.


Image Information:

Image:  President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune (2021)
Source: https://www.quirinale.it/elementi/60784 
Attribution: Quirinale.it

Mali Claims France Funded Terrorists; France Denies

French soldiers talk to locals in southern Mali in 2016.

French soldiers talk to locals in southern Mali in 2016.


These flagrant violations of Mali’s airspace have served France to collect intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups active in the Sahel, and to drop arms and ammunition to them.


Tensions between France and Mali continue to mount. As the articles below—one from Mali, one from France—delineate, the junta leaders of Mali recently sent a letter to the UN Security Council accusing France of illegally violating its airspace to aid terrorist groups in the country, which France’s years-long Barkhane counterterrorism mission has been in the country to fight.

The private Malian paper Le Journal du Mali reports that the ruling military junta in Mali, which came to power in May 2021, had sent the UN Security Council a letter claiming that it had proof of French violation of its airspace. It claimed that this occurred more than 50 times to collect intelligence and deliver arms to terrorists in the country.   Malian diplomats went on to request a special meeting of the UN Security Council but ultimately provided no proof. For its part, as detailed in the second article from the private, left-leaning French editorial site L’Opinion, the French embassy in Bamako denied the claim. As the writer of the article pondered: “Is this [letter to the UN] a way for Bamako to designate an external enemy to veil its internal shortcomings?”  Such accusations—unfounded as they appear to be—play out against the backdrop of France’s last nine years in the Sahel leading its Barkhane counterterrorism mission against groups associated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. While France officially ended its Barkhane mission in August 2022, the ruling Malian junta and large swathes of the Malian population have taken to blaming the French mission not only for failing to stem the tide of jihadist violence, but also for offering support to such groups. Until now, such accusations have percolated in bilateral circles, angering French diplomats and even President Macron. Their elevation to the UN Security Council places them at unprecedented new levels. 


Sources :

Source: “Sécurité : le Mali accuse la France d’aide aux terroristes (Security: Mali accuses France of aiding terrorists),” Le Journal du Mali (private Malian newspaper) 17 August 2022. https://www.journaldumali.com/2022/08/17/securite-mali-accuse-france-daide-aux-terroristes/

In a letter dated August 15 and addressed to the UN Security Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mali accuses France of repetitive and frequent violations of Malian airspace by French forces. In the letter signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdoulaye Diop, he asserted that the Malian government has several pieces of evidence that these flagrant violations of Malian airspace have been used by France to collect intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them. The government underscored that it is because of suspicion of destabilization maneuvers by France that Mali firmly opposed France’s request for air support for MINUSMA, so that “France does not use the UN mission as a pretext to carry out subversive operations aimed at further weakening Mali and the Sahel region.” In addition, Mali requests that France immediately cease its acts of aggression against Mali, in the event of persistence, Mali says it reserves the right to use self-defense.

Source: “Le Mali accuse la France d’armer les combattants islamistes (Mali accuses France of arming Islamist militants),” L’Opinion (private French news site), 18 August 2022. https://www.lopinion.fr/international/le-mali-accuse-la-france-darmer-les-combattants-islamistes

Is this a way for Bamako to designate an external enemy to veil its shortcomings internally? Mali said in a letter to the president of the United Nations Security Council dated Monday that France violated its airspace and delivered weapons to Islamist fighters in order to destabilize the country. Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop estimated that more than 50 violations of Malian airspace had been observed this year, saying most of them were due to the use by French forces of drones, military helicopters, or fighter planes.

The Malian government claims to be able to demonstrate where and when France would have delivered weapons to Islamist groups, it is added in the letter, without any proof being provided. Bamako requests the holding of an emergency meeting of the Security Council on the issue.“France has obviously never supported, directly or indirectly, these terrorist groups, which remain its designated enemies throughout the planet”, indicated the French embassy in Mali on Twitter, stressing that 53 French soldiers were dead in Mali in the last 9 years. These accusations come as France on Monday completed the withdrawal of French soldiers from Barkhane, a military operation aimed at fighting Islamist movements in the Sahel.


Image Information:

Image: French soldiers talk to locals in southern Mali in 2016. 
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Op%C3%A9ration_Barkhane.jpg
Attribution:  CC BY-SA 4.0

Coastal West African States Brace for Wave of Terrorism From the Sahel

A Ghanaian soldier in 2013.

A Ghanaian soldier in 2013.


We need all of us to understand that the best way of making sure that our country continues to be at peace…will be undermined if we go to sleep on this terrorist matter. 


The wave of terrorism that has engulfed the Sahel over the past four years is now threatening to spread even further south than ever before, into the states of littoral West Africa. Both Ghana and Togo had previously been viewed to be insulated from the larger-scale jihadist violence caused by Salafi jihadist groups plaguing their neighbors to the north, namely al-Qaeda’s Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) and the Islamic State’s Sahara province (ISGS). Now, both Ghana and Togo are preparing for what they perceive to be an impending challenge of violence in their northern borders as both groups seek greater influence even further south. Two articles from each country help to paint a picture of local perspectives.

As the first article published in pan-African news aggregator AllAfrica.com describes, Ghana is undertaking extensive efforts to fortify its northern regions, those in closest proximity to Burkina Faso, which is one of the continent’s states most prone to jihadist violence. Taken from a transcript released by the office of the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the article details that in response to the insecurity it views at its northern borders, Ghana has significantly increased recruitment into its armed services since 2020 and aims to recruit an additional 4,000 soldiers per year through 2024. Additionally, it opened at least 15 new forward operating bases in the north; has rolled out a new “See Something, Say Something” campaign; and has created new special operations, armor, signals, and mechanized artillery brigades. This is all in addition to ambitious new drives for weapons procurements for land, air, and sea. As President Akufo-Addo stated: “We need all of us to understand that the best way of making sure that our country continues to be at peace…will be undermined if we go to sleep on this terrorist matter.” The second article, from the state-owned Ghanaian newspaper Ghana Today, describes how Ghana recently asked a U.S. delegation for counterterrorism assistance to address challenges at its northern borders.  As the article notes, the request was underscored by Ghana’s claims that the jihadist insecurity in Burkina Faso (and Mali and Niger further north) is a result of the United States’ wars in the Middle East and South Asia, as well as its role in deposing Moammar Qaddafi in Libya in 2011. 

Ghana’s neighbor, Togo, is interpreting the impending threat of jihadist violence from the north similarly. As the third article from Togolese news source ALome.com notes, Togo’s diplomatic corps returned to Lomé recently to convene under a new theme related to strategies for regions dealing with terrorism. Emphasizing Togo’s new concern for the threats of jihadist violence coming from the north, the convention’s keynote speaker was Somalia’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, whom Togo had invited to share with it lessons learned from Somalia’s fight against al-Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, al-Shabaab. Finally, in the fourth article, also from ALome.com, two editorialists writing under pseudonyms underscored the broader relationship between so many West African countries’ recent victimization by al-Qaeda and Islamic State terror attacks and the question of national unity.  As they write, so widespread and destabilizing have threats of terrorism become in West Africa, touching more citizens than before, that states and their citizens could reasonably find a new sense of patriotism—a “rally around the flag” effect—in banding together to combat the threats of such groups. As they write, “In order to counter the common agreement of terrorist groups to create anarchy and carry out massacres…it is really a question of awakening the patriotic fiber where it is sleeping and restoring it where it is destroyed.”


Sources:

Source: Office of the Presidency of Ghana, “Ghana: ‘We’re Investing to Secure Our Borders Against Terrorist Threats’ – President Akufo-Addo,” AllAfrica.com (a centrist pan-African news aggregator), 22 August 2022. https://allafrica.com/stories/202208230416.html

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has emphasized the government’s strong commitment to strengthening and fortifying the country’s northern borders and points of entry against the threats of terrorism and violent extremism.

According to the President, “We can’t be complacent and take that for granted. We need all of us to understand that the best way of making sure that our country continues to be at peace so that we can get on with resolving the challenges of development and elimination of poverty, which is our main concern, will be undermined if we go to sleep on this terrorist matter.”

The President noted that the “See Something, Say Something” campaign, being undertaken by National Security, has caught the imagination of people.

In terms of manpower expansion, the Armed Forces recruited and trained some three thousand (3,000) soldiers between 2017 and 2020. It has, since 2021, embarked on accelerated nationwide recruitment and training to churn out a minimum of four thousand (4,000) officers and soldiers annually until 2024, in order to beef up the strength of our Armed Forces to optimal levels.

The Akufo-Addo Government has created additional bases, specialized units, and brigades, with the acquisition of requisite equipment, to enhance operations, particularly along Ghana’s northern frontiers. This expansion has already seen the creation and establishment of the Army Special Operations Brigade, Armoured Brigade, Signal Brigade, and two (2) Mechanised Battalions, which are deployed in the Upper West and Upper East Regions.

The construction and equipping of fifteen (15) Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) across our northern frontiers for the Armed Forces for the Northern Border Project are also ongoing.

A number of combat vehicles, equipment, and weaponry, comprising about one hundred and sixty-three (163) Armoured Personnel Carriers and other combat vehicles, trucks and general vehicles, surveillance, and communication equipment, including optical and critical mass of night vision equipment, as well as weapons, ammunitions, and body armor, have been acquired to enhance intelligence acquisition, offer better protection, improve mobility and firepower for troops on internal security operations, including those deployed to the northern frontiers.

Source: Rex Mainoo Yeboah,West Africa: Ghana Appeals to the U.S. to Help Fight Terrorism in West Africa,” Ghana Today (state-owned national newspaper), 29 August 2022. https://ghanatoday.gov.gh/news/ghana-appeals-to-us-to-help-fight-terrorism-in-west-africa/

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appealed to the United States Government to help West African deal with the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.

Speaking with a U.S. bipartisan Congressional delegation that paid him a visit at the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo said the threats posed by the expanding Islamic network were detrimental to the socioeconomic development of the region.

He told the delegation that the growing threat of terrorism in the region was a result of the U.S. decade-long fight against terrorism in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

The President said the terrorism phenomenon further heightened in the region when the U.S. fought and drove hardened jihadist groups from the Middle East a decade ago, and the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Terrorism groups, which were originally confided in countries bordering the Sahel regions, took advantage of the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and penetrated the West African region such as Mail to find refuge from the U.S. fight against them in the Middle East.

Source: Akoyi A. and K. T. (Pseudonyms), “Les priorités de la diplomatie togolaise pour les 12 mois à venir: Maintenir le cap ‘des initiatives de bons offices et de médiation’ (The priorities of Togolese diplomacy for the next 12 months: Maintain the course of ‘good offices and mediation initiatives’).” ALome.com (Togolese news site), 6 September 2022. http://news.alome.com/h/140788.html

Diplomats accredited to the Togolese Republic made their diplomatic return on Friday, September 2 to the capital Lomé for the year 2022-2023. For its second edition, this meeting between diplomats posted in Lomé took place around a topical theme linked to the challenges facing the continent: “Security challenges and strategies for stabilizing regions of the continent confronted with terrorism and to violent extremism.” 

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Somalia, Abdissaïd Muse Ali, was rightly invited to share his country’s experiences in the fight against terrorism. With this in mind, he presented a presentation to enlighten his fellow diplomats on the Modus Operandi of pirates and extremists.

In recent years, radicalism is gaining more and more status. Following Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, and other countries are expanding the list of countries targeted by armed groups. Hence the need to converge energies, harmonize stabilization strategies, to stick together between nations, forgetting political divisions.

Source: Kossi Kone, “Lutte contre le terrorisme, restaurer la fibre patriotique (Fight against terrorism, restore the patriotic fiber),” IciLome.com (Togolese news site),9 September 2022. https://icilome.com/2022/09/afrique-lutte-contre-le-terrorisme-restaurer-la-fibre-patriotique/

In Mali, as in Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, and Togo, terrorist attacks affect populations and defense forces with loss of life and destruction of infrastructure. Earlier this week, dozens of civilians (traders and students) were killed by an artisanal mine laid by terrorists in northern Burkina Faso.

The governments of all these countries fight as best they can, militarily, against this barbarism. However, with the experiences of the Western powers in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is obvious that the military component is insufficient to carry out this fight effectively.

In order to counter the common agreement of terrorist groups to create anarchy and carry out massacres, it is essential that the social contract, which must be the figurehead of any nation, should be revisited and rebuilt. It is really a question of awakening the patriotic fiber where it is sleeping and restoring it where it is destroyed.To this end, this love of the fatherland cannot be decreed as some governments hope. It is the result of continuous construction, the foundations of which are laid by the social, economic, and security policies of the leaders.


Image Information:

Image: A Ghanaian soldier in 2013. 
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ghana_Armed_Forces_%E2%80%93_Military_Sergeant_Soldier.jpg 
Attribution: CC BY 2.0

DRC Conflicts Reveal Difficulties in Deploying Regional Forces

M23 rebels in the DRC.

M23 rebels in the DRC.


“But however noble President Kenyatta’s deployment proposal, not everyone in the DRC agrees with the regional leaders’ decision of a military solution to stabilise the restive eastern DRC provinces.”


Kenya’s influential President, Uhuru Kenyatta, recently proposed deploying the East African Standby Force (EASF) to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Regional leaders at the East African Community Heads of State Conclave even endorsed Kenyatta’s proposal, but still no troops have been sent to help combat M23 rebels as well as the multiple militias who have ramped up attacks on civilians.  As the excerpted article from the Africa-based media company The East African notes, there are several reasons for this delay.  Many politicians in the DRC, as well as a significant segment of the population, view a potential EASF deployment with distrust.  They are especially wary of having Rwandan troops in the DRC given the long history of hostility between the two nations.  Troops from Uganda and Burundi, as well as Rwanda, are also unwelcomed as they all have rebel groups in the country.  There is fear their divergent goals might further complicate an already complicated situation.  There is also concern that EASF will be comprised of countries that have formerly plundered DRC’s mineral riches.  Finally, there are traditional obstacles to deployment including logistics, communications, rules of engagement, budgets, and agreements on the status of forces.  As the article explains, no timeline exists regarding when these issues would be resolved.   Meanwhile, violence in eastern DRC is increasing, portending further destabilization and the potential interruption of the importation of critical minerals, including those for defense industries.  The recent military intervention in The Gambia by several West African countries under the auspices of ECOWAS gives some hope that East African countries can also come together and find that delicate balance whereby all parties can agree on the terms of a deployment.  Additionally, any solutions to the struggle of launching the EASF could be valuable in helping the African Union’s African Standby Force finally stand up.  Both forces have the potential to help provide the security and stability desperately needed in the DRC and elsewhere in Africa.


Source:

Patrick Ilunga and Luke Anami, “Why the EAC regional force is yet to be deployed to DR Congo,” The East African (African-based media company), 27 June 2022. https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/news/east-africa/why-the-eac-regional-force-is-yet-deployed-to-dr-congo-3861010

“All the armies from the East African Community states are already present in the east of our country in one form or another.  The Rwandan army is associated with the M23 in North Kivu and supports the Red-Tabara [Burundian rebellion based in Congo].  The Ugandan army, which you invited, has been operating openly in North Kivu and Ituri since November 2021.  The Burundian army operates regularly in South Kivu, and the South Sudanese army in the province of Haut-Uele [northeast of DRC].  The Tanzanian and Kenyan armies are already present in North Kivu and Ituri as part of the UN intervention brigade,” the letter reads.

“At least three out of seven member states of the East African Community have been involved for more than two decades in the aggression and destabilisation of our country through direct interventions of their armies or by proxy, through armed groups.  Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi accuse each other of destabilisation.  They compete for influence, even control of part of our country for security as well as economic and geopolitical reasons, so much so that more than once they have had to confront each other on our territory, directly or through armed groups,” Lucha writes.President Tshisekedi has to make tough decisions.  His main political opponent Martin Fayulu accuses him of “subcontracting the security of the country to Rwanda and Uganda and unnecessarily creating a competition of East African countries over the Congo”” He has called on the president to reveal “his secret deal.”


Image Information:

Image: M23 rebels in the DRC
Source: Al Jazeera/Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M23_troops_Bunagana_4.jpg
Attribution: CC BY-SA 2.0

Benin Park Rangers Take on Counterterrorism Tasks

“In Benin, there is a lot of communication between us [park rangers] and the Beninese armed forces, but our roles are very distinct.”  


The French-language Beninese investigative media website daabaaru.bj published an article discussing an attack that left two Beninese police officers and two militants dead along Benin’s northern border with Burkina Faso.  A separate excerpted article in the Paris-based pan-African website jeuneafrique.com discussed the incident in the context of Pendjari Park rangers, who work in the area.  Although no one has taken credit for the attack, it occurred in the area of operations of the al-Qaeda–affiliated Group for Support of Muslims and Islam (JNIM).  According to the jeuneafrique.com article, the rangers acknowledge that they now coordinate with security forces to monitor jihadists’ infiltration into bases in the national park.  Current protocol for the park rangers when confronting jihadists is to contact the Beninese military and withdraw to allow the soldiers to intervene.  The article suggests that if the rangers are to be trained by a third party, the contractors should be former soldiers because they already have some relevant skills for both conservation and encountering terrorist groups.  In addition, although the park rangers acknowledge that several of them have lost their lives to jihadists in the Sahel in recent years, they are determined to continue working.  The rangers also note that they are not capable of developing a strategy to prevent terrorism, but it is necessary for the governments in the Sahel to formulate a more comprehensive strategy for how park rangers should deal with not only poachers, but now also jihadists.


Source:

“Quatre morts dans une Attaque terroriste (Four dead in a terrorist attack),” daabaaru.bj (French-language Beninese website), 26 June 2022. https://daabaaru.bj/atacora-quatre-morts-dans-une-attaque-terroriste/

The Commissariat of Dassari, commune of Matéri, department of Atacora was attacked by an armed group on the night of Saturday June 25 to Sunday June 26, 2022. The result was four dead, including two on the Beninese side and significant material damages.

Source: “African Parks: ‘Au Bénin, face aux jihadistes, nous ne définissons pas la stratégie militaire’ (African Parks: ‘In Benin, faced with the jihadists, we do not define the military strategy’),” jeuneafrique.com (Paris-based pan-African website), 25 June 2022. https://www.jeuneafrique.com/1355173/politique/african-parks-au-benin-face-aux-jihadistes-nous-ne-definissons-pas-la-strategie-militaire/

The rangers are armed according to the park where they work for the needs of the missions entrusted to them.  Their training, on the other hand, is relatively standard: it includes modules on respect for human rights, on escalation during an engagement, on how to deal with different risks and on how to behave when arriving at a crime scene.We use external trainers, who work under the direction of our head instructor.  The outside supporters are often former soldiers, some of whom also have real expertise in the field of conservation.  Our role is not to carry out national security missions, but to preserve the integrity of the areas entrusted to us.  Our rangers are trained to fight against poaching, but are effectively confronted with all kinds of threats, including jihadists.  In Benin, there is a lot of communication between us and the Beninese armed forces, but our roles are very distinct.  And when it is established that jihadists are involved, we withdraw immediately and let the military intervene.

Regional Coalitions Supersede the AU’s African Standby Force

Should the African Standby Force become fully operational, soldiers such as these from Burundi would play a key role in peacekeeping for the organization.

Should the African Standby Force become fully operational, soldiers such as these from Burundi would play a key role in peacekeeping for the organization.


“The ASF has never seen action, with ad hoc troop coalitions instead becoming the norm in Africa.”


It has been nearly two decades since the African Union (AU) created the African Standby Force (ASF), a proposed multinational and multidisciplinary peacekeeping military organization.  However, despite numerous conflicts across the continent, the ASF has yet to respond.  Instead, as the accompanying excerpted article from South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies explains, various African regions have created their own ad hoc coalitions of troops to deal with security issues in their associated territories.  For example, seven East African Community countries established a regional military force in April 2022 that helped restore stability in parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where militia groups were conducting violent attacks.  Likewise, in 2021 Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community sent forces to northern Mozambique to fight Islamic militants.

These regional coalitions of militaries have not followed the ASF’s concepts regarding how and when forces should be deployed and have called into question the ASF’s relevance.  The coalitions believe they are doing the work the ASF was designed to do but has not done.  According to the article, there are several reasons why the ASF has failed to launch.  First, there have been numerous political problems in addition to security concerns between African nations.  There have also been difficulties between the AU and the five regional economic blocs that are supposed to coordinate the ASF.  Some African countries have been slow to commit necessary resources to the ASF.  However, as the article notes, the ASFs biggest problem is that violent extremism was not originally addressed in the organization’s framework, forcing regional coalitions to fill this gap.

Efforts are underway to resolve some of the issues constraining the ASF.  These include forming mechanisms to improve decision-making, facilitating a better understanding of when to deploy the ASF, and expediting the formation of an ASF counterterrorism unit.  While these may sound promising, this is not the first time that the ASF has seen such attempts.  This inability of the AU to have a large, ready, and unified force means Western powers seeking to support peacekeeping operations must deal with several different regional forces instead of one.  Meanwhile, with regional coalitions providing forces to deal with their regional problems, the pressure is off a bit for the AU to stand up the ASF quickly.  However, the inability of the AU to do so reflects the many difficulties it faces trying to unite Africa even in the face of conflicts and terrorism. 


Source:

Meressa K. Dessu and Dawit Yohannes, “Can the African Standby Force Match Up to Current Security Threats?” Institute for Security Studies (South African think tank), 2 June 2022. https://issafrica.org/iss-today/can-the-african-standby-force-match-up-to-current-security-threats

The ASF has never seen action, with ad hoc troop coalitions instead becoming the norm in Africa.

The ASF originated in 2003 as a multidisciplinary standby mechanism comprising soldiers, civilians and police in their countries of origin. It is coordinated by the five regional economic communities with the aim of being ready for rapid deployment at short notice. The intention is to help the AU Peace and Security Council discharge its responsibilities relating to peace support missions.

Analysts attribute this problem to the power that regional blocs have over peace and security decisions due to a lack of clarity on the subsidiarity principle between regions and the AU. This ambiguity of roles and responsibilities enables countries to opt for ad hoc security arrangements over the ASF.

Some analysts believe these ad hoc security coalitions complement the ASF and are best suited to tackling Africa’s deadliest transnational armed groups. The coalitions are seen as filling a gap in the AU’s peace and security arsenal by providing immediate responses to violent extremism and other complex threats – which the ASF’s framework doesn’t address.


Image Information:

Image: Should the African Standby Force become fully operational, soldiers such as these from Burundi would play a key role in peacekeeping for the organization.
Source: U.S. Army Africa/Wikimedia Commons/Flickr, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Burundi_peacekeepers_prepare_for_next_rotation_to_Somalia,_Bjumbura,_Burundi_012210_%284324781393%29.jpg
Attribution: CC BY 2.0