North Africa

  • streets in Tripoli decorated for the second anniversary of the revolution against Qaddafi's regime

    Commentary

    NATO, US Must Shore Up Libya

    A smaller-scale training mission to help the Libyan government build reliable forces that will answer to the country's elected leadership would do much to help the Libyan state get control over its own territory, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Feb 15, 2013

  • USARAF commander meets with Mauritanian senior leaders

    Commentary

    What Does the Amenas Attack Mean for U.S. Policy in Africa?

    Coinciding with continuing, contentious hearings on the U.S. response to last September's terrorist attack in Benghazi, the attack on the Amenas natural gas facility in Algeria has elevated a more general debate about the war on terrorism and U.S. policy in Africa, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 31, 2013

  • Algerian soldiers stand near the Tiguentourine Gas Plant in In Amenas, 994 miles southeast of Algiers, January 31, 2013

    Commentary

    The Dynamics of the Hostage Situation at Amenas

    Looking at the turmoil in Libya following Qaddafi's removal; the overthrow of governments in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen; and Syria's ongoing civil war, it is easy to see why the Algerian government would view any manifestation of an Islamist resurgence as a threat that had to be promptly crushed, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 30, 2013

  • Armed Islamist fighters race near the Mauritania-Mali border

    Commentary

    The Motivations Behind the Amenas Terrorist Attack

    An attack of this complexity would have required months of reconnaissance, planning, recruiting of inside confederates, and training of participants. France's intervention in Mali was used to “justify” an attack that would likely have taken place anyway, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 29, 2013

  • French soldiers prepare for their departure for Mali on January 25, 2013

    Commentary

    Foreign Intervention in Mali Is Libya in Reverse

    France is in Mali not just to prop up a failing state in French Africa, but because Mali was becoming a magnet for jihadis from around the world and Paris rightly feared the country could become the next Afghanistan—only much closer to Europe, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Jan 25, 2013

  • Touareg rebels in Mali hoist a flag

    Q&A

    The al Qaeda Threat in North Africa

    Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.

    Jan 24, 2013

  • A Tuareg rebel in Mali poses with an assault rifle.

    Commentary

    Hostage Taking Exposes Terror Threat in Africa

    There is a danger in viewing Mali through the prism of counter-terrorism, since the rebel element there is tangled up in movements and groups with a wide variety of interests and motives, ranging from sincere religious conviction to local political rivalries to base economic opportunism, writes Michael Shurkin.

    Jan 18, 2013

  • a huge demonstration marched to the federal palace to protest against the draft constitution and the constitutional decree announced by President Mohamed Morsi

    Commentary

    The Mirage of the Arab Spring

    Like it or not, the United States counts among its allies a number of authoritarian Arab countries, and they are essential partners in protecting its interests, writes Seth G. Jones. The normative hope that liberal democracy may flourish in the future must be balanced by the need to work with governments and societies as they exist today.

    Jan 3, 2013

  • On Dec. 4, 2012, Egyptians marched to the federal palace to reject the constitution referendum

    Commentary

    Egypt's Constitutional Referendum Was an Opportunity Lost

    The Egyptian process left no room for broad deliberation of the constitutional issues, or even for educating citizens about the text of the document on which they were asked to vote, writes Laurel Miller.

    Dec 21, 2012

  • Egyptians protest against the draft constitution and the constitutional decree announced by President Mohamed Morsi

    Commentary

    Political Impasse in Egypt

    If there ever was a honeymoon in Egypt's post-Mubarak politics, it is long over. The two main ideological camps—Islamists and secular-liberals—have shown a willingness to cooperate only when brought together by a common foe, writes Jeffrey Martini.

    Dec 13, 2012

  • Anti-Mursi protesters chant anti-government slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo November 27, 2012

    Commentary

    Don't Give Up on Egypt's Political Transition Just Yet

    Many transitions around the world in recent decades have been just as chaotic, yet 180-degree returns to autocracy have been exceedingly rare, writes Laurel Miller.

    Nov 28, 2012

  • Arab Spring protestors holding up a symbol from the Tunisian flag

    Blog

    In Brief: Laurel E. Miller and Jeffrey Martini on Democratization in the Arab World

    In this two-minute video blog, RAND's Laurel Miller and Jeffery Martini discuss the challenges ahead for democracy after the Arab Spring as the countries in the Arab world rebuild, work to find a balance between civilian and military authorities, and include Islamist voices in the democratic process.

    Nov 13, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Libya's Post-Qaddafi Transition: The Nation-Building Challenge

    Despite its role in helping topple Qaddafi, NATO is absent from Libya today. A year after Qaddafi's death, the light-footprint approach adopted for Libya's postwar transition is facing its most serious test.

    Oct 29, 2012

  • Libyans in Zawiya celebrating one-year anniversary of anti-Qadhafi uprising

    Commentary

    The Challenges of Libya's Post-Qadhafi Transition

    Libya should remain in charge of its own post-conflict path, but it needs the help of external actors to succeed with its transition, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Oct 26, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    NATO Faces Growing Fiscal Austerity and Declining Defense Budgets

    Seven NATO countries are reducing the size of their armies, navies, and air forces. The capacity of these major European powers to project military power will be highly constrained.

    Oct 22, 2012

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Can NATO Meet Defense Challenges in an Era of Austerity?

    This study analyzes the impact of planned defense budget cuts on the capabilities of seven key European members of NATO and suggests ways in which the Alliance can adapt to meet emerging security challenges.

    Oct 22, 2012

  • Morsi's presidential campaign poster

    Commentary

    Muslim Brotherhood Failing to Learn from Mistakes

    The Muslim Brotherhood is falling into the same trap of overreach exhibited by the Egyptian military when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) held the reins of authority during the first 16 months of the transition, writes Jeffrey Martini.

    Oct 18, 2012

  • Report

    Muslim Brotherhood Challenged by Generational Divides

    The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic political movement that headed the national government in Egypt until its ouster in the summer of 2013, faced a generational divide that posed significant challenges to the group as it worked to extend its role in Egyptian society.

    Oct 18, 2012

  • Libyan children at a refugee camp hold up a sign with revolutionary slogans

    Commentary

    Libya and the Future of Liberal Intervention

    As a case of military intervention, Libya does not tell us much about how useful the lower-cost, lighter footprint adopted there can be under more challenging conditions, or when the objective is broader and more transformational, as was the case at the outset in Iraq and Afghanistan, writes Christopher S. Chivvis.

    Oct 12, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Historical Lessons for Creating Local Defense Forces for Afghanistan and Beyond

    Lessons learned from past cases of local defense forces used in the context of counterinsurgency—in Indochina, Algeria, South Vietnam, Oman, El Salvador, Southern Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq—can be applied to the current development of the Afghan Local Police.

    Sep 18, 2012

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