The MED This Week newsletter provides expert analyses and informed comments on the most significant developments in the MENA region, bringing together unique opinions on the topic and reliable foresight on future scenarios. Today, we focus on Afghanistan and on what the US withdrawal by September 11, 2021, will mean both domestically and internationally. Also, what shoul we expect from the diplomatic talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to be held in Turkey?
On the last Sunday before Easter, the city of Makassar, South Sulawesi, was rocked by a suicide bombing that took place at the gates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral while the morning mass was held. Two suicide bombers detonated a homemade, improvised explosive device, wounding around 20 people and killing themselves. In a press conference following the attack, Police General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, Chief of the Indonesian National Police, stated the two suicide bombers were believed to be members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD).
Violent extremism is evolving in the Liptako-Gourma region, and the response of domestic and foreign forces in the Sahel is changing too.
A year has passed since the relationship between the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) deteriorated into a full-fledged turf war in the Sahel, joining the league of conflict between Al-Qaeda (AQ) and Islamic State (IS). The conflict between JNIM and ISGS is amongthe deadliest in the world. What the inter-jihadi battles across the broader Middle East and Africa have in common is that they are either cyclical or gradually decline.
During the last decade security experts and practitioners have frequently described the Sahel as the quintessential exemplification of an ungoverned space. According to this narrative, large parts of the region’s territory remain out of the reach and control of local governments. Because of the structural fragilities and lack of resources, most of the Sahelian peripheries are seen as places deprived of any form of order, lands of chaos where local populations struggle to survive in a sort of perpetual and violent anarchy.
On 22 January, Italian Police arrested a neo-Nazi sympathizer on terrorism-related offenses in the northwestern port city of Savona. Police also searched the houses of 12 other suspects across Italy, from Turin in the north of the country to Palermo in the south.
Ten years after the Arab Spring, Egypt has become more authoritarian than ever. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power through a military coup in June 2013, has reconstructed the country into a military-police state.
When President-Elect Biden entered the Oval Office, only 100 days remained before May 1, 2021, which the Doha Agreement with the Taliban sets as the deadline for the U.S. to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan.
The five years following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris saw two important changes in jihad- inspired terrorism in France. Between 1995 and 2015, the profile of the terrorists and their modus operandi were quite constant: a huge majority of young, second- generation Muslims, mainly from North Africa, and a smaller group of converts, who set up networks of relatively well-trained friends and brothers, aimed at killing the largest possible number of people by using explosives and automatic weapons.
Check-points guarding the entrance to a village or road junction. In January and February, I crossed many of them in the southern regions of Egypt, on the Luxor-Aswan-Abu Simbel axis. The guards do not appear very attentive. Helmets are worn loosely, bullet-proof vests are laid on a mobile shield, coffee mugs lay around, vehicles are under canopies, and there are few mobile barriers. From a turret, the muzzle of a Kalashnikov emerges, but upon closer observation, there is no guard ready to embrace it. The rifle is instead fixed to a firing slit.