News / Europe

    Europe Alarmed Over Threat of New Conflict in Africa

    Henry Ridgwell
    With Britain agreeing to send troops to Mali in a non-combat role, there is growing alarm in London that the country is being dragged into another battleground against terrorism, just as it tries to extract its military forces from Afghanistan. 

    British Prime Minister David Cameron took a stroll through Tripoli's Martyr's Square this week - part of a tour, which has taken him to Libya, Algeria and Liberia. It was on a balcony overlooking this wide plaza that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gave speeches denouncing the West.

    In September 2011, Cameron and then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy drew cheers in Benghazi after their intervention helped oust Gadhafi.

    Eighteen months on, Cameron was in Libya to discuss a new threat.  

    "There is no true freedom, there is no true democracy without security and stability as well, and we are committed to helping you with that both here and also in your neighborhood," he said at a press conference with his Libyan counterpart on Thursday.

    The fallout from the Arab Spring has generated a new threat for the West, says Rafaello Pantucci of the Royal United Services Institute in London.

    "Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and other radical terrorist groups, insurgent networks and criminal networks in North Africa were able to strengthen themselves from the flood of arms that came out of Gadhafi's armories," he said. "And this really helped to foment instability across the region."

    The French military has aided Mali in driving out Islamist militants from strongholds in the north. Observers say they could now face a protracted guerrilla battle in the sands of the Sahara.

    Britain has agreed to send at least 200 troops to Mali in a training role, and to boost security ties with Algeria.

    Speculation that Western countries are being drawn into a new battleground against terrorism is wrong, says Rafaello Pantucci.

    "Frankly there is no political appetite in Western capitals to get involved in that sort of conflict again," he said.  "And I think also the approach that Western governments are taking at the moment, which is very, very focused on building up local capacity."

    The attack last month on the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria resulted in the deaths of at least 37 foreign hostages.  In a video posted online, the alleged mastermind, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, warned of further attacks.

    Two security guards died as militants attacked an oil pipeline in Algeria Sunday.

    "Al-Qaida's affiliates in North Africa have the means and the ability of creating large-scale terrorist activities and plots," said Sajjan Gohel is director for international security at the Asia-Pacific Foundation. "It also means that they are able to penetrate and bypass security.  North Africa has had problems in the past; they haven't necessarily attracted as much attention as say situations in South Asia.  But now I'm afraid we're looking at another theater of concern when it comes to terrorism."

    Analysts say policymakers in Washington are content to play a supporting role as European powers take the lead in confronting the terror threat in the Sahel.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Centurion
    February 04, 2013 12:07 PM
    These Servicemen from Africa, serving the Crown, left their country to serve so far abroad and their Country collected monies for the War Effort as donations. What more could be expected from them? In the end Zimbabwe was abandoned.

    by: Raefaello from: Burma Star
    February 03, 2013 7:10 AM
    "No political appetite in Western Capitals". So much can be written on many of those from the Colonies, who loyally served the Crown, in Burma, North Africa and elsewhere in the 2nd World War . How opinions have changed now. Suggest you visit Zimbabwe for an outsiders view and then, please publish your findings on what has happened there, since independence.

    by: Awot
    February 02, 2013 6:54 AM
    The West powers have to also pay attention to tyrants who perpetuate fundementalist by their extreme repression. The extreme communist movements of Latin American and many African countries was partly because of the unreserved support for dictators by the Western powers. A similar mistake is seen in the unreserved support for dictators (such as the Ethiopia regime) in the name of antiterrorism. This regimes are pushing their people towards hatred of the Western power.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora