Tag Archives: al-Qaeda

A divorce years in the making: Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)

The tendency in international affairs after a dramatic event is to hastily address the question of “what does it mean?”—as if the event represents a pivotal turning point that bends an otherwise steady trend line. Such is the case after … Continue reading

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The Benghazi whodunit: the curious case of Sufian bin Qumu

The same week that the State Department blacklisted three different but identically-named armed groups in North Africa as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, two conflicting reports—a Washington Post story and a New York Times article one day apart—resurrected a related, highly charged … Continue reading

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After Westgate, assessing a terrorist group’s “strength,” “weakness,” and strategy

One of the principal analytical errors committed by journalists and “experts” in international affairs is to hastily transform a singular data point into a “trend.” A case in point: after the recent, horrible terrorist attacks at the Westgate Shopping Center … Continue reading

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Defining “success” in proxy arming: the Afghanistan case

As expected, my recent post on arming Syria’s rebels (see here) generated a bit of debate among Notes on the Periphery readers. Danny, among others, made an important conceptual point: in assessing the “success” of four past cases of proxy … Continue reading

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Weekly News Roundup: What you missed while watching the “Boston manhunt”

It has certainly been a harrowing week, especially for current residents of the Boston area—including myself. As far as we know now, the Boston Marathon bombers were Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechen brothers born in Kyrgyzstan with family in … Continue reading

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March Madness at Notes on the Periphery!: Part 2 (Sub-Saharan Africa)

We’re now two weeks into the most exciting three weeks of the year—NCAA college basketball’s final tournament. For those of you who might not know: each year, 68 college teams (annoyingly bumped up from 65 a few years ago) compete … Continue reading

Posted in Angola, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, East Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, March Madness, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, territorial disputes, terrorism, Uganda, West Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Al Qaeda’s Gamble in Mali

A few years from now, when the first full-length book on Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is written (any takers?), how will it characterize the group’s recent adventure in Mali? My bet: Mali will be described as a … Continue reading

Posted in Al Qaeda, Algeria, Mali, Middle East and North Africa, terrorism, West Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments