The opening of the so-called Western Balkan route in the summer of 2015 brought the region back to our living rooms and to political boardrooms. One could sense relief and hope among those long advocating for increased efforts on the side of the EU for the Thessaloniki agenda to reach its finalité. Relief because it looked like the immense strains the refugee wave put on the countries along the route did not seem to endanger the regional stability still feared to be fragile.
Over the last three years Europe and North America have been hit by an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks perpetrated by individuals motivated by jihadist ideology. Who are the individuals who have carried out these attacks? Were they born and raised in the West? Or were they an “imported threat”, refugees and migrants? How did they radicalize? Were they well educated and integrated, or social outcasts? Did they act alone? What were their connections to the Islamic State?
The answers to these and other questions have large implications for our understanding of the threat facing us and, consequently, help us design sounder policy solutions built on empirical evidence. This study, the first of its kind, seeks to analyze the demographic profile, radicalization trajectories and connections to the Islamic State of all the individuals who have carried out attacks.
After the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013, Sinai Peninsula became a safe haven for many radical Bedouins and Jihadists, who used Morsi’s ouster both to legitimize their ideological and political battles in Egypt and to enlarge their strategic range from the Sinai Peninsula to the immediate neighborhood of the Egyptian Peninsula. Indeed, during these years’ attacks and violence increased exponentially of the 69% in Sinai and in Egypt.
Not all extremists are under investigation - At the end of last year, just over 1,000 Islamist extremists across all 50 states were being actively investigated by the FBI. In order to open an investigation, the FBI needs to have evidence of criminal behavior, or high suspicion of criminal behavior.
France has suffered terrorist attacks since the end of WWII. The terrorism stemming from former colonies in the mid-1950s; the terrorism of international communism (Action Directe) and the internationalized Middle-Eastern terrorism (Carlos and the Palestinians at least). Since 1995, France has been the target of attacks by radical Islam terrorism.
North Africa is a geographically strategic region for Italy. Currently, however, the region navigates troubled waters. The Libyan crisis, the rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS), migration flows and economic and energy relations in the Mediterranean basin are key priorities for Italian foreign and security policy. On Libya, the country’s internal chaos has paved the way for the expansion of IS and further increased migration flows from the region. Turning to Egypt, until recently Italy used to be its first European economic partner. However, relations with the al-Sisi regime worsened in the aftermath of the Regeni diplomatic rift. At the same time, Tunisia is facing a difficult transition and the future of the Algerian leadership seems to be still uncertain. How is the Italian government coping with current challenges? The Vienna conference (May 16), co-chaired by Italy and the United States, aimed at finding viable options to the Libyan impasse. Over the last two years, Matteo Renzi’s government tried hard to follow a wider multilateral approach, mainly hinging upon the UN and the EU. In order to foster the Italian role in the wider Mediterranean region, Renzi sponsored Federica Mogherini’s appointment as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR). Despite all these efforts, Italy is still struggling to cope with the many challenges in its southern neighborhood. Although the Italian government is working to escape the fate of a stalemate in the region, a way out from the crisis is still there to be found.
The arrival in Sicily on May 13 of 898 migrants, mainly from Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, marked an important new development in migration routes from North Africa to Italy. Instead of taking the sea from Libya, as is usually the case, the two fishing vessels rescued by the Italian navy in international waters started the crossing from Egypt. After few minor cases in the last two months, this massive arrival is clear evidence that the Egyptian route has officially reopened.
It is well known that the oil and gas sector is the backbone of the Algerian economy, accounting for about 35 per cent of gross domestic product, and two-thirds of total exports; that the first commercial oil discovery was in 1956 and that production started in 1958 during the bloodiest anti–colonial revolt of national liberation in Arab history. And that Italy was at that time – and still is - in great need of this resource for its own development.
Africa and the Middle East are the two regions of the world with the highest conflict burden. Since the mid-1990s, Africa has gradually improved across all measurements of death and war (Figure 1). These positive changes are due to several factors, including greater regional cooperation, decreased intrastate wars, economic growth, and increased democratic governance.
The types of conflicts have also changed: from wars of independence, long term civil wars, and intrastate wars, conflicts are now due to weak governance structures and state presences which are exacerbated by religious and ethnic differences as well as to transnational crime and global governance failures.
The last Boko Haram’s attacks in Cameroon are yet another confirmation that the Nigerian Islamist group has now turned into an organization capable of striking at the regional level.
To affect in a tangible way on the overall strategy of Salafi Nigerian was also the alliance with the Islamic State (IS), in consequence of which the organization has changed its name to “Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP).