The Latest - North Africa

North Africa Latest Articles

10th August 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

France vs Italy in Libya: The U.S. Should Not Choose Sides

Romany Shaker

After meeting with President Donald Trump on July 30, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that he would organize an autumn conference designed to help stabilize Libya “in agreement with President Trump.” more...

4th May 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Morocco Accuses Iran and Hezbollah of Polisario Front Support

Romany Shaker

In a surprise move, Morocco announced this week it would sever diplomatic ties with Iran over its military support for the Polisario Front, an armed group that seeks to end Morocco’s control over the Western Sahara. more...

11th January 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Widespread protests force Tunisian army deployment

Alexandra N. Gutowski, Grant Rumley

The army will be protecting government installations, following an incident in which protesters burned a security headquarters near the Algerian border, prompting police to flee. more...

10th October 2017 – The Jerusalem Post

BDS Morocco Attacks World-Renowned Israeli Singer in Tangier

Benjamin Weinthal

Vazana is active in humanitarian causes, including aid to Syrian refugees and organizing musical projects between Israeli and Palestinian musicians.“Music should connect people,” she said. more...

24th August 2017 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State fighters overrun checkpoint in Libya, behead captives

Thomas Joscelyn

Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State overran a checkpoint manned by the Libyan National Army (LNA) yesterday. A spokesman for the LNA confirmed that 11 victims were beheaded. more...

18th May 2017 – FDD's Long War Journal

Kenyan soldier held hostage since Jan. 2016 appears in Shabaab video

Thomas Joscelyn

On Jan. 15, 2016, Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, overran an AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) base in the town of El Adde. At sunrise, two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) cleared the way for hundreds of jihadists to stream into the base. more...

3rd April 2017 – Foreign Affairs

Russia’s Charm Offensive in North Africa

Boris Zilberman

With the world’s attention focused on the question of Russian influence in the United States and the European Union, the Kremlin is quietly making inroads in another region critical to both the United States and Europe: the five North African states of the southern Mediterranean shore. more...

20th February 2017 – FDD Press

Islamic State 2021

Islamic State 2021

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

The Islamic State (referred to in this report as ISIL) has seen its prospects in North and West Africa grow increasingly dim since early 2015. ISIL has experienced significant losses in North Africa in the past year, especially in Libya, which was once ISIL’s most valuable territory outside of Syria and Iraq, and was home to the group’s unofficial African capital. more...

21st September 2016 – The Cipher Brief

Limited Options

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

The Cipher brief spoke with Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, CEO of Valens Global and a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, about the growing al Shabaab threat in the Horn of Africa. more...

20th June 2016 – Foreign Policy - Co-written by Jacob Zenn

Boko Haram’s Buyer’s Remorse

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

When Boko Haram pledged loyalty to the Islamic State in March 2015, it seemed to signal that the jihadi world was bending in the direction of the self-proclaimed caliphate. more...

9th June 2016 – The Long War Journal

Libyan forces seize key points from the Islamic State around Sirte

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State is losing ground around its stronghold in Sirte, Libya. Forces aligned with the UN-backed interim Libyan government claim to have captured key points near the city in the last three weeks. And the so-called “caliphate’s” fighters have been forced to defend their positions against a multi-pronged assault. more...

20th May 2016 – The Long War Journal

Treasury sanctions al Qaeda, Islamic State ‘financiers and facilitators’

Thomas Joscelyn

The US Treasury Department announced terror designations for six jihadists yesterday. Five of them allegedly serve al Qaeda’s international organization, while the sixth is a key figure in the Islamic State’s operations in Libya and the Sinai. more...

27th April 2016 – Jamestown Foundation

Recent Attacks Illuminate the Islamic State’s Europe Attack Network

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

The recent major terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels represent a watershed moment not just for the Islamic State (IS), but for the entire jihadist movement. more...

20th April 2016 – The Long War Journal

Islamic State fighters retreat from bases outside Derna, Libya

Thomas Joscelyn

Fighters belonging to the Islamic State’s arm in Libya have reportedly withdrawn from their positions on the outskirts of the city of Derna. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s loyalists were opposed by rival jihadists inside the city. Airstrikes by the Libyan Army, the US and Egypt have also repeatedly hit the so-called “caliphate’s” fighting positions in the area over the past year and a half. more...

23rd February 2016 – War on the Rocks

Neither Remaining Nor Expanding: The Islamic State’s Global Expansion Struggles

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

Judging from the Islamic State’s propaganda, it would appear the group is rapidly overtaking the Muslim world. The Islamic State has declared wilayats (provinces) in ten countries spanning from Nigeria to the Caucasus region. It has executed high-profile attacks in several otherwise stable countries, including Tunisia, Turkey, Kuwait, France, and the United States. The group has championed its victories and downplayed its defeats at every turn, portraying itself as a military behemoth destined to restore the caliphate to its former glory. In short, the Islamic State would like the world — and especially prospective recruits — to believe it is “remaining and expanding” (baqiya wa tatamaddad), a slogan that defines the group’s propaganda. more...

22nd January 2016 – The Weekly Standard

A Dangerous Combination

Benjamin Weinthal

Two weeks ago, al Qaeda-linked jihadists attacked the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso and murdered 28 people, including an American missionary. more...

4th January 2016 – The Long War Journal

Islamic State’s Libyan ‘Province’ Launches New Offensive

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State’s so-called “province” in Libya has launched a new offensive and claims to have captured a town on the Mediterranean coast. more...

7th December 2015 – The Long War Journal

US Kills Jihadist Leaders in Airstrikes in Somalia and Libya

Bill Roggio

The US military confirmed today that two senior jihadist leaders were killed in separate airstrikes in Somalia and Libya over the past several weeks. The two leaders were identified as Abdirahman Sandhere from Shabaab, al Qaeda official branch in Somalia, and Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi, from the Islamic State’s province in Libya. more...

29th October 2015 – The Long War Journal

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb Honors Ansar al Sharia’s Slain Military Commander

Thomas Joscelyn

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a regional branch of al Qaeda’s international organization, has posted a eulogy for Mansur al Shalali (aka “Harun”), the slain military commander of Ansar al Sharia in Libya. more...

22nd October 2015 – Combating Terrorism Center at West Point

Tunisian Jihadism After the Sousse Massacre

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

This article assesses the state of Tunisian jihadism after the Sousse massacre. After providing a brief history of jihadism’s growth in Tunisia following former President Zine el Abedine Ben Ali’s fall, the article explains the serious challenges the beach attack has placed upon the Tunisian state—especially given the strong reliance of Tunisia’s economy on the tourism industry. more...


Jonathan Schanzer

Senior Vice President

Bill Roggio

Senior Fellow and Editor of FDD's Long War Journal

Thomas Joscelyn

Senior Fellow


5th February 2014 - 12:00 PM

Understanding al Qaeda and its Affiliates: A Global Threat or JV Squad?

A Conversation with Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Bruce Hoffman, Thomas Joscelyn and Jonathan Schanzer

Speaking about organizations claiming allegiance to al Qaeda, President Barack Obama stated that "if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant." The president’s remarks have sparked yet another debate about whether al Qaeda is weakened, whether it is resurgent, or whether it was ever weakened in the first place.  Has the Arab Spring spawned a surge in jihadism? Are these organizations taking advantage of the new environment in the region, or is the expansion of jihadist groups largely independent of the revolutions? How well is Washington’s current approach to al Qaeda working? If the group is growing despite U.S. efforts, how do we put our policies on the right track?

20th August 2013 - 12:00 PM

Al Qaeda and its Affiliates: On Life Support or an Imminent Threat?

A Conversation with Eli Lake, Thomas Joscelyn and Cliff May

Twelve years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and more than two years after Osama bin Laden was killed, how great of a threat is al Qaeda to the U.S. homeland and America’s interests abroad? Has the instability in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and throughout Africa allowed al Qaeda to grow in size and power? How should the latest threats against America’s diplomatic facilities, paired with the recent prison breaks in Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere impact U.S. counterterrorism strategy?