News / Europe

Europe Alarmed Over Threat of New Conflict in Africa

Alarm in Europe Over Threat of New Conflict in Africai
X
February 02, 2013 3:36 PM
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. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA on whether North Africa represents a new front for Europe and the West.
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 For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid