Saudi-led alliance against terrorism

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Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Salman announces a new military alliance of thirty-four Muslim states against terrorism. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan not included. Not much substance yet.

Algeria: good work in Sahel and Sahara, nothing on Morocco

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A government shakeup. Close relations with France. Useful contribution to reconciliation in Mali and security in the Sahara, but a blind spot on Morocco. Yesterday 14 May Algeria announced a major government shakeup, replacing the ministers of energy, finance and interior but retaining the Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, described …

Israel: perfect storm?

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Three sources of pressure, separate but reinforcing each other – violence in the occupied territories, reactions to Netanyahu's proposed nationality law, international opinion critical of Israel. Elections in Israel and Palestinian action at the UN likely. Tension in Jerusalem and the other occupied territories is at a high level, with talk of an intifada of individuals, …

Algeria – new theatre for IS?

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Video of beheading of a French captive by an Algerian group aligned with IS – a game changer, or old Saharan brigandage in new colours? Algeria remains out of the Anglophone media except for football and terrorism. On 24 September a video was released of the beheading of a French mountain guide …


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The UK House of Commons home affairs committee has published a report on female genital mutilation (), sometimes known as female circumcision. The report mainly concerns the problem in Britain where there are said to be up to 170,000 victims, mostly or entirely among immigrants from countries where it is prevalent; it has been illegal for 29 years …

Libya: holding together

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Following the removal Ali Zaidan, the interim Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni is likely to remain at least for a few weeks, and possibly until the election of a National Assembly to replace the General National Congress. That could be in July. The key constitutional process is the election of the 60 member committee which is to draft the …

Libya: holding on

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The Libyan government remains weak, and security is poor particularly in Cyrenaica and the south. On 2 March protesters broke up the General National Congress, which has been obliged to move to a hotel.  A Reuters report of 6 March is headed "Western countries alarmed as Libya slides towards chaos". BP has mothballed …