Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Al-Qaeda's African Plans
It's become clear that Al-Qaeda has found open arms in North Africa and the African Horn, and it seems as though the largely ungovernable sects of Northern Africa are going to be a fertile base for them.

Yesterday, Al-Qaeda stated that they would launch a fresh escalation of attacks of "enemies of Allah" in North Africa, undoubtedly to try to gain complete control of what will prove an effective launching pad for attacks into Europe.

The US has responded to the growing threat, and in the last few months launched planning for their first African Command (AfriCom), to be commenced September 2008. The US used the Ethiopia-Somalian conflict to launch a number of attacks on Al-Qaeda operatives in Somalia and has upped their intelligence presence in the region.

The challenge however, is similar to their challenges in the Middle East - they are in unknown lands where the US has little history of intelligence capabilities. Everything is being established largely from scratch, which makes it all the more simple for Al-Qaeda groups to defend against. Clearly, much work needs to be done to contain this threat, and the US and European allies will have to work closely to provide a comprehensive intelligence strategy.