Elections in Syria, Algeria and Egypt: A Theater of the Absurd

Algeria’s presidential election this past April was theater of the absurd–complete with wheelchair-bound President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, age 77, casting a ballot accompanied by his little nephew and grown men in the street kissing portraits of the beloved president. Bouteflika, who’s been in power for 15 years and unable to campaign for himself, was reelected in[…]

That Haven-Hopping Al-Qaeda Finds a Viable Landing Pad in the Sinai

What the vacuous security situation means for Egypt, her neighbors, and the U.S. As U.S. drone strikes and targeted killings in states like Pakistan and Yemen continue to make life for terrorists there less and less sustainable, the ethereal group of Islamic Salafists who self-identify as al-Qaeda seem to be adapting to this new brand[…]

Calling for talks, not more air strikes in Mali

Who’s fighting whom? And for What? The ongoing conflict in Mali continues to play out in the periphery of the international news and political machines. News of the death of an Al Qaeda in the Maghrib (AQIM) leader is seized upon in headlines and provides fodder for the never satiated “we-got-another-Islamist!” Western political machine. But[…]


Moammar Gaddhafi, Giantslayer

The Libyan Intervention in Retrospect It would not be surprising if there are many in the Obama Administration who occasionally think, “I miss Moammar Gaddhafi.” And if no one there is thinking that, they should. And not just because of the camping trips he would take in New York City, his amazing sense of style, his[…]

New Hosts of Drone Bowl III?

Reaping Ungovernability in North Africa In the previous edition of the bulletin SISMEC pondered Western involvement in trying to deny al-Qaeda a safe haven in North Africa, wondering if we might see another invasion. It seems that we were provided an answer this week as Niger gave approval for the establishment of a US drone[…]

Western “heroics” and one-eyed villains…the drama continues

Money & Ideology: the one or the other? The UN Security Council voted in December to support a 3,300-strong African Union (AU) force to be deployed to Mali in January of 2013; the AU force was mandated by the UN to assist in the restabilization of the country following the March 2012 coup. In the[…]