Tag Archives: Al Qaeda

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 9 Mars 2017

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…
Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.

Read the 9 March 2017 scan

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: Antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two companion galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy, can be seen as bright smudges in the night sky, in the centre of the photograph. This photograph was produced by European Southern Observatory (ESO), ESO/C. Malin [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 16 February 2017

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…
Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.

Read the 16 February 2017 scan

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: Antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two companion galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy, can be seen as bright smudges in the night sky, in the centre of the photograph. This photograph was produced by European Southern Observatory (ESO), ESO/C. Malin [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 9 February 2017

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…
Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.

Read the 9 February 2017 scan

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: Antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two companion galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy, can be seen as bright smudges in the night sky, in the centre of the photograph. This photograph was produced by European Southern Observatory (ESO), ESO/C. Malin [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Impact of the Islamic State Terrorist Attacks – Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (5)

Since the Islamic State declared a Khilafah on 29 June 2014, it carried out, worldwide, 6 attacks or series of attacks in 2014, which killed 2 and wounded 12 people, 23 in 2015, which killed 1020 and wounded more than 2171, 36 in 2016, which killed more than 1455 and wounded more than 3505 and so far 3 in 2017, which killed more than 109 and wounded more than 169 people, assuming all attacks are known and referenced as such (WikipediaList of terrorist incidents linked to ISIL“). As a whole, we thus faced 68 attacks, during which more than 2586 people lost their lives and more than 5857 were injured.

Prospects for the near future look no less grim as reminded by Europol as far as Europe is concerned in its report Changes in Modus Operandi of IS revisited (2 Dec 2016 – main points here). Indeed, a weakening if the terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, Berlin attackIslamic State in Syria and Iraq is most likely to imply a heightening of terror attacks elsewhere (Europol, Ibid.), as we warned here repeatedly considering the global character of the so-called Khilafah of the Islamic State (see Helene Lavoix “At War against the Islamic State – A Global Theatre of War“, 23 Nov 2015 and following articles, The Red (Team) Analysis Society).  Furthermore, Europol also points out that the weakening of the Islamic State may see a strengthening of its competitors such as Al Qaeda, which are also likely to carry out terror attacks (Changes in Modus Operandi…, Ibid.). This forward looking assessment would be reinforced by one of the latest declaration of Al-Qaeda’s leader al-Zawahiri stressing “the call to our nation and the mujahedeen to raise the jihad against the current idol, and its allies as their priority as long as they can make it” (Sheikh Ayman Al-Zawahiri, “Brief messages to a victorious nation; Part 5: Letter to our nation. For Allah we will not kneel”, 5 Jan 2017 – message and translation shared by Expect Consulting, specialist on jihadist groups, notably in Africa, in the Red (Team) Analysis partner network).

Intuitively, we would expect such numerous attacks, notably by a single (if distributed over territory) player trying to achieve a terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, Bangladesh, Dhakasingle aim, a Khilafah, to have a deep and wide impact not only on states and societies as a whole, but also on one of their actors, businesses.

This impact would stem from the specific character of terror, which aims at causing not only bodily harm while targeting civilians or non-combatants, as suggested by the 2004 description of terrorism of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (U.N., A more Secure World, par. 164, p.52), but also to disrupt the system perceived as enemy (see, for example, for the plethora of official definitions, “Definition of Terrorism by Country in OECD Countries“).

Yet, terrorist attacks only made it to the top five risks of the “Global Risks Perception Survey” of the Global Risk Report 2017 (World Economic Forum) in Autumn 2016*, and only for large-scale attacks (see also report pdf, p.68). Similarly, the terrorist threat is mentioned neither in the May 2017 survey “Geostrategic risks on the rise (Drew Erdmann; Ezra Greenberg; and Ryan Harper, McKinsey & Company, 2016) nor in the latest “McKinsey global survey” (December 2016) regarding potential risks to businesses, even though we may surmise it is implicitly part of “geopolitical risks”.

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Does that mean that businesses do not care about terrorist attacks, beyond, of course, humanitarian concern? Should the corporate sector, whatever the size of the businesses involved, pay more attention to these geopolitical threats or, on the contrary, neglect them as not likely enough or not impactful enough to deserve consideration? Should only some sectors feel concerned, such as obviously tourism? But in that case, which are these sectors and what could be the depth and scope of impacts? These are the questions that this article and the following ones intend to address.

We shall start with seeking to identify the impacts of terrorist attacks, because being able to estimate the full range of potential impacts for uncertainties is a fundamental necessary condition if we are to do a useful thus actionable strategic foresight and warning. Starting with older studies on the economic impact of 9/11, we shall use them to single out potential types of impacts, while beginning to bring in elements of comparison with the current string of attacks. Indeed, 9/11, considering the very characteristics of the attack and the shock it created, may not easily compare with the current Islamic State’s attacks, which are globally distributed but with some countries being more hit than others (when furthermore each country has its own specificities and conditions in terms of stability), which occur over a relatively long time-span and display wide-ranging types of modus operandi, from the murder by stabbing of policemen to killing people in festive gathering by ploughing the crowd with lorries through mass shootings or more classical bombings.

We shall notably point out that the use of confidence indices may not be adapted to the current attacks and to those which are likely to happen in the near future. We shall also outline that states’ policies and answers, thus feedbacks, must fully be integrated in any such impact assessment, thus demanding  an adapted approach. This initial assessment will give us a general framework that we shall refine and further explore with the next articles.

Immediate, short-term and direct impacts

The OECD in its 2002 study (Patrick Lenain, Marcos Bonturi and Vincent Koen, “The Economic Consequences Of Terrorism“, Economics Department Working Papers No. 334) adopted a time-bound framework, distinguishing between immediate and short-term consequences on the one hand, and medium-term impacts on the other. A similar framework was used by a March 2005 IMF Working Paper (R. Barry Johnston and Oana M. Nedelescu, “The Impact of Terrorism on Financial Markets“), unsurprisingly as it grounded its work in the 2002 OECD study. There, the short-term effects are seen as direct economic impacts and medium-term effects as indirect.

Immediate impacts include the destruction of life and property, responses to the emergency, restoration of the systems and the terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, 9/11infrastructure affected, and the provision of temporary living assistance (OECD: 6; IMF: 3-4). They were evaluated for 9/11 in 2002 to USD 27.2 billion (Ibid.). This figure is lower than what was assessed by the more recent New York Times assessment (Shan Carter and Amanda Cox, “One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion“, September 8, 2011), which, using a survey of multiple damage estimates,  gives a figure of USD 55 billion for the immediate toll and physical damage (which does not appear to include restoration of systems).

This shows first that impacts evaluation changes over time and may increase. Thus, for the current series of attacks we shall probably need to wait before a full evaluation is available. Furthermore, the fact that we are facing an ongoing series of attacks multiplies the work needed to obtain an estimate.

The OECD study then identifies that short-term general impacts are loss of confidence, potential instability of financial market and “self-fulfilling depression”. It points out that the shock was truly short-term, and emphasises that the major negative impacts were, in a large part, avoided thanks to proper liquidity management integrating “financial support to any sector or industry … [through] short-term loans or guarantees”, while  only some sectors were truly impacted. We see here emerging a crucial point if we are to properly evaluate impacts of terrorist attacks: we must also consider state policy answers to these attacks, as we shall detail further below.

If we take confidence indices as a first element of measure for impacts, and apply them to the current string of attacks, we would expect to see confidence dipping over the period (mid 2014 until today) or right after each attack. However, none of the most commonly used statistics as provided by the OECD (consumer and business confidence indices, see graphs below), shows in an obvious way such a reaction. As far as consumer indices are concerned, Germany, and Turkey appear as displaying the most obvious downward trends, while Belgium, although appearing to have registered the attacks that hit it on 22 March 2016 (see Wikipedia for a summary), shows for the period following the attack a dip which is less strong than what is displayed for the end of 2016.

terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, consumer index

If we look at the Business Confidence Index for the same countries, the attacks appear to have been even less registered.

terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, Business Confidence Index, BCI

Surprisingly, France, which has been one of the worst hit countries by the attacks, shows no major dip in confidence.

terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, Business Confidence Index, BCI

When shown on the longer term, for all countries, the periods following terrorist attacks appear to register less loss of confidence than other events, notably the financial crisis.

terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, Business Confidence Index, BCI

These curves could thus confirm a lack of corporate interest as well as a disinterest by citizens. We may hypothesise, cautiously at this stage, that a mix of absence of awareness of the threat, including as a result of psyops operations by governments of hit countries, added to the low probability to be hit by an attack contributed to this result. It could also be that the very short-term impact on confidence pointed out by the OECD study is sufficient, furthermore considering the small size of each Islamic State terrorist attack compared with 9/11, to imply that the current string of attacks has no effect on confidence.

However, we should also consider that such indices as confidence may not be suited to measure the real impact of the types of terrorist attacks we are currently facing.

Indeed, assuming that the statistics communicated by each country are trustworthy, it is, first, particularly difficult to attribute a terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, Turkey, Istanbulsingle cause to an indicator meant to indicate confidence in general. For example, Turkey knows so many upheavals, that imputing a loss of confidence solely to terrorist attacks would be most probably wrong, even though the multiplication of these attacks participates in the evolution of the Turkish situation. A single statistical measure cannot follow such complex dynamics.

Furthermore, on top of the very short-term effect of attacks on confidence pointed out above, as far as 9/11 was concerned, the attack was much larger than each of the attacks we now face, and can be seen as the first in a long series continuing nowadays, hence the shock and thus the fact it registered on confidence index. As far as the current attacks are concerned, the specific character of the distribution of the attacks, may stop any confidence index to register them. We may however wonder why there is not, to the least, a slow degradation of the confidence overtime.

Let us thus compare the confidence measures to a survey investigating relations to the European Union carried out by RedC and Win Gallop International (25 Nov – 7 Dec 2016), which also asked the question: “In general do you think that things in your country are heading in the right direction or the wrong direction?” To this, 78% of Belgium people, 82% of French people and 62% of German people answered that they thought their country heads in the wrong direction.

This does not sit very well with the confidence expected from the confidence index, unless we should also consider some fatalism at work, including a measure of desperation and feeling of terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, Paris, Bataclan, Sidney, Opera House, Australiapowerlessness. Thus, in our case, the terrorist attacks would participate in an overall negative outlook, which is not expressed through purchasing plans for consumers and “assessment of production, orders and stocks” for businesses (the confidence indices), but could be expressed during elections, as we showed in the case of the Brexit for the U.K. (Helene Lavoix, “Lessons from and for the Brexit – Geopolitics, Uncertainties, and Business (2)“, 7 Nov 2016, The Red (Team) Analysis Society). This implies that the impact of terrorist attacks should be seen from a dynamic point of view, through complex and cascading effects, and not through a single aggregate index. For the corporate sector in general, it is these nth order cascading impacts that should be taken into account as highly likely to largely upset the whole framework within which they operate.

The OECD report then points out that a direct negative impact hit airlines and aircraft manufacturers, the insurance sector, tourism-related industries, the upscale retail sector and U.S. postal service, whilst businesses in security and information technology were positively impacted. The negative impacts are constituted by business interruption and business reduction, evaluated by The New York Times for 9/11 to USD 123 billion, notably for airlines, to which should be added other costs such as interests to finance all activities related to the impacts of the attacks (estimated for 9/11 at $185 billion), and social costs (between $300 billion and $400 billion, including immediate damage) (NYT, Ibid, “What’s not shown in this tally?“).

This outlines the importance of the target and of modus operandi of the attack(s) to identify those that will see their operations impacted. We may also point out that little foresight is used by those reacting to terrorist attacks and contributing to business reduction (for example avoidance of some places or activities). Indeed, the highly likely possibility that future attacks may take various forms – as terrorists also follow a learning curve – obviously is not considered in the reaction. This is all the more important in the Islamic State attacks’ case, as we have here a series of diverse attacks and not a single large one. We shall look more in detail to these specific impacts for the current Islamic State – or more generally jihadist attacks –  in the next articles.

Medium term and indirect impacts

According to the OECD report, on the medium term, first, insurance premiums were raised while coverage was lowered.

Second, as transportation systems were disrupted and border controls were tightened, the “just-in-time supply chain management system” was threatened (Ibid. pp.23-27). As pointed out by the terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, Belgium, Zaventem, Germany, Brandenburg, BerlinOECD, a trade-off between security on the one hand, costs on international trade on the other thus appears. Interestingly, the authors stress that terrorism through this cost estimated to 1 to 3 percent ad valorem re-introduces tariffs that globalisation and liberalism strove to abolish (Ibid. p. 25). Seen from the point of view of 2017 and not anymore 2002, after the Arab Spring, which is also a child of globalisation, among other causes (for a review, Ella Moore, “Was the Arab Spring a Regional Response to Globalisation?” July 2012, e-IR students), with the U.S. of President Trump and the post-Brexit U.K. now actively looking for new models of socio-economico-political developments beyond pure liberalism, it might be worth reflecting if thinking in terms of a trade-off between security and international trade is still possible or relevant. As a result, supply-chain management might change or need to be reassessed.

Finally, the OECD underlined that public and “private sector spending [was] likely to be on the rise … to improve the security of premises, employees and information”, with still debated economic consequences, as far as military spending is concerned. The New York Times (Ibid, What’s not shown in this tally?) estimates this cost for 9/11 at “$200 billion in increased state, local and private security spending”, which may also constitute a profit for security companies.

At business level, this last impact will depend first upon the sector of activity. Second it will depend upon the answers designed and implemented by the state hit by terrorist attacks, to which we shall now turn.

Integrating state answers and related impacts

We progressively saw emerging that, in the case of terrorist attacks, it was impossible to neglect answers given at state level as they were having a large impact. This is confirmed in the case of 9/11 by the estimates given by the New York Times (Ibid.):  the overall cost of the 9/11 attacks to the United States ̋for all actors did not only include, as we saw, USD 55 billion for toll and physical damage and USD 123 billion for economic impact (business interruption and business reduction, notably airlines), but also USD 589 billion for homeland security, USD 1649 billion for war, and USD 867 billion for future war and veterans’ care, for an overall cost of USD 3,3 trillion. Hence, the cost of answers is far higher than the rest.

The impacts related to answers are numerous and far-ranging. The OECD report (Ibid: 13-16) pointed out the importance of the management of liquidity in facing the most immediate impacts of terrorist attacks. Further, we had the implementation of border controls impacting the supply chain management, as seen.

We must also consider all the anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism legislations (e.g. for a worldwide list Wikipedia “Anti-terrorism legislation” )terrorism, terrorist attack, Islamic State, scenarios, strategic foresight, warning, geopolitics, uncertainties, political risk, anticipation, sanctions, impact, political impact, forward looking information, forward looking statement, G20, and the compliance measures they entail, which deeply impact business activities, notably in the financial sector. Anti-terrorist financing obligations will then impact all companies and citizens through the regulations banks and financial institutions must follow. Each successful attack is highly likely to prompt legislators to review laws and regulations and possibly to change them, with new consequences added to previous obligations.

Furthermore, and in an even more complex way, if we have, as the New York Times did, to look at supplementary public spending generated by the answer to attacks, and from there deduce an overall cost, which is then born by tax-payers, we cannot limit ourselves to this. For example as far as military spending is concerned, the overall impact will also depend upon the capability of the state – where business operations are based and taxes paid – to ripe dividends from the novel insecurity, not only in showcasing thus selling more arms, which may lower the overall cost of security spending (and even allow for surpluses), but also in acquiring or losing international influence. This may be considered as being the case in terms or arms sales for Russia and its Syrian campaign (e.g. Mansur Mirovalev, “How Russia’s military campaign in Syria is helping Moscow market its weapons“, Los Angeles Times, 25 Nov 2016), while a rising Russian influence in the Middle East is debated (e.g. Joshua Landis, interviewed by John Judis, “America’s Failure — and Russia and Iran’s Success — in Syria’s Cataclysmic Civil War“, 12 January 2017, Syria Comment; Anna Borshchevskaya and Philip Gordon, “Putin’s Middle East Policy: Causes and Consequences“, March 23, 2016, The Washington Institute; Nikolay Kozhanov,Arms Exports Add to Russia’s Tools of Influence in Middle East“, 20 July 2016, Chatham House; Walter Russel Mead, “Russia Re-Emerges as a Great Power in the Middle East“, 12 Sept 2016, The American Interest).

As another example, the ability of the host polity to let emerge through its policies a new and adapted model of socio-political organisation able to win against the aggressor carrying out the terrorist attacks  will also have important consequences on impacts. Indeed, societies that will be able to reorganise themselves, from systems of values and beliefs to political authorities through economic interactions and adequate regulations as seen previously, to win against the enemy carrying out the terrorist attacks, will be stronger, more influent and wealthier and those actors inhabiting them will benefit from these favourable conditions.

To be able to identify precisely and then estimate these multiple impacts, we need to adopt a complex framework, which allows us to address feedbacks and cascading effects. We must be able to include the various impacts identified for previous attacks, yet not become dependent upon frameworks that may have been adapted to these attacks but are unsuited to what we face now and are highly likely to face in the future. Considering the needs, the approach to the evaluation of impacts will most probably be best done through mapping the network of impacts, which will allow us to look at first, second, third and nth order effects and at feedbacks in a multi-disciplinary way, as we practice and recommend (e.g. “Assessing Future Security Threats” series;  online course “From Process to Creating your Analytical Model for Strategic Foresight and Warning, Early Warning, Risk Management and Scenario-building“).

Considering the multiple impacts we have started identifying, it seems obvious that businesses indeed should feel concerned by terrorist attacks. Building upon these initial findings and identification of impacts, with forthcoming articles, we shall turn to more specific cases such as the tourist and transportation industries and wonder if and how strategic foresight and warning, anticipation and risk management may practically help actors and notably businesses in addressing current and future terrorist threats.

*conducted between early September and mid-October 2016 (GRR 2017, p.65)

About the author: Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the Director of The Red (Team) Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for national and international security issues.

Featured image: Before the start of the G20 summit. A minute of silence to honour the memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris. 15 November 2015 – Russian Presidential Press and Information Office – Kremlin.ru [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 4.1 An Al-Qaida Victory

This article focuses on the first of the scenarios depicting a Salafist victory, where Al-Qaida (AQ) becomes the dominant force on the battlefield, defeats the other actors, then works towards establishing the caliphate. In our previous scenario we detailed the scenario of a nationalist victory where the new government guides Libya towards a secular and nationalist state where Sharia is not a source of governance.

Note: Considering the future names of potential factions that would result from a new split between the unity government, we shall use the label nationalist for those that supported the nationalist-dominated Council of Representatives (COR) and any future anti-Islamist factions; Islamist to note those that supported the General National Congress (GNC) and any future pro-political Islamic movements; and Salafist will remain the label of choice for groups that reject democratic institutions and embrace jihadism.

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Scenario 4 Salafist Conquest

In this scenario, a “Salafist victory” refers to the cessation of major hostilities resulting from a Salafist group’s military domination of the other actors. Once a Salafist group – either Al-Qaida or the Islamic State – defeats the others, it will be in a position to rebuild Libya as an Islamic State governed by Sharia law.

As the war drags on, the Islamist and nationalist coalitions fragment – thus replacing powerful coalitions on the battlefield with weaker, singular players, or, they become too exhausted to achieve a total military victory; meanwhile, Salafist groups’ strength increase in numbers and capabilities, allowing them to make strategic gains. With the rival governments now significantly weakened, the Salafist groups finally become the dominant military force and achieve a total victory. Having gained the military victory and now having the dominant influence in Libya, the Salafist groups begin rebuilding the country as an Islamic state.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 4 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. The level of exhaustion suffered by the Islamists and nationalists. Heightened levels of exhaustion will decrease the ability of the Islamist and nationalist coalitions to achieve a military victory. Having to simultaneously fight each other, as well as the Islamic State and Al-Qaida may increase exhaustion levels, thus increasing the likelihood of a Salafist conquest.
  2. The level of cohesion of the Islamist and nationalist coalitions. If either of the coalitions begins to lose cohesion, their risk of fragmentation begins to increase. Also affecting their cohesion is the coalitions’ ability to maintain ties with the tribes loyal to them. The fragmentation of one or both coalitions increases the likelihood of this scenario, as the Salafist groups could more easily exploit the situation and defeat weaker, singular factions instead of having to face a large coalition. A past indication occurred when some of the Misratan brigades in the Dawn of Libya coalition pledged support for the unity government and others refused – instead, forming the Steadfast Front (STRATFOR, April 2, 2016).
  3. The willingness of the Islamists and nationalists to unite to defeat the Salafist threat. If the Islamist and nationalist coalitions temporarily unite to defeat a growing Salafist threat, the likelihood of this scenario decreases. Although the coalitions may not cease all hostilities against each other, they may agree to divert more of their forces to focus on a mutual Salafist threat. A past indication occurred when militias from Misrata and Zintan agreed to a truce in order to combat the advance of Islamic State forces (El-Ghobashy and Morajea, The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2015).
  4. The number of jihadists joining the ranks of Salafist groups in Libya. An increase in the number of jihadists crossing into Libya will increase this scenario’s likelihood. If Salafist groups are able to significantly increase their ranks as the Islamist and nationalist coalitions grow weaker, they will begin gaining the upper hand in military capabilities. A past indication occurred when hundreds, if not more than 1,000, Boko Haram fighters joined the Islamic State’s ranks in Libya (Paton, International Business Times, March 5, 2016).
  5. The quality of jihadists fighting in Libya. If Al-Qaida and Islamic State groups in Libya are able to recruit large numbers of experienced Libyan fighters or import experienced jihadists from other countries, the likelihood of this scenario increases. With more experienced fighters, the Salafist groups will pose a larger threat and be more difficult to repel. A past indication occurred when Islamic State leadership sent senior members to Libya (The Soufan Group, March 3, 2016).
  6. The ability of either Al-Qaida or the Islamic State to militarily defeat all other armed actors. If Al-Qaida or the Islamic State is unable to defeat the Islamist and nationalist coalitions, as well as each other, this scenario could not occur. An Al-Qaida victory would require the defeat of the rival coalitions as well as the Islamic State, while an Islamic State victory would require the defeat of the coalitions and Al-Qaida. The ability to achieve a total military victory would largely depend on the above indicators, as well as the level of external support and the current situation of regional conflicts.
  7. The level of Al-Qaida expansion in Africa. If Al-Qaida affiliates in Africa grow in strength and are able to carry out increasingly-successful attacks, Al-Qaida in Libya will likely gain better access to fighters, weapons, and other resources, thus increasing the likelihood of this scenario occurring. Al-Qaida expansion throughout Africa would also benefit AQ in Libya by diverting the focus and counter-terrorism assets from international operations in the region. Past indications of diverting external counter-terrorism assets occurred when the United States deployed military assets to Niger, Cameroon, Central Africa, and Somalia with the purpose of conducting or supporting counter-terrorism efforts (RT, December 5, 2016; Savage, Schmitt, and Mazzetti, The New York Times, November 27, 2016).
  8. The severity of conflicts or threats elsewhere that reduce Libya to a secondary interest. If conflicts or more significant threats arise elsewhere that consume the focus and military resources of external actors – particularly the United States – the international focus on Libya will lessen, thus increasing the likelihood of this scenario.
  9. The severity of the European Union’s core problems that push Libya to the background. This year, the European Union saw failed policies, Brexit, and the beginning of a shift towards populist movements. Now facing what the BBC calls a “looming existential threat” (Mardell, BBC News, December 6, 2016), the EU has had to refocus many of its priorities. If the EU’s existential issues remain severe during an Al-Qaida victory in Libya, the likelihood of this scenario increases.

Sub-scenario 4.1 An Al-Qaida Victory

With the Islamists and nationalists having significantly weakened the Islamic State in Libya, the stronger Al-Qaida affiliates are able to more easily defeat Islamic State forces. In the aftermath, Islamic State jihadists are either killed while defending their last strongholds, or flee the country.

Considering its opposition to democratic institutions, Al-Qaida uses violence to eliminate political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Justice and Construction Party, and uses the threat of force to prevent future political movements from arising. However, once political parties are removed, Al-Qaida turns toward a local form of rule – one where local councils are responsible for governing their own people – overseen by a central AQ organizational structure.

Having learned lessons from Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Qaida leadership in Libya turn over the responsibility of everyday governance to local civilian councils. Implementing a grassroots approach to influencing and controlling populations, as well as seeing the strategic mistake made by the Islamic State (declaring a caliphate too soon, taking territory, and aggressive action beyond the Levant – thus prompting massive international intervention), Al-Qaida shuns a strong centralized form of government that the Islamists and nationalists would have utilized, and instead covertly integrates itself into the local councils to garner domestic legitimacy and avoid foreign intervention. This model gives the illusion that Libyans are self-governed by their own local councils instead of Al-Qaida, but of course, Al-Qaida members are embedded within local councils to ensure AQ’s long-term strategy in Libya is carried out.

Propaganda photos by Ansar al-Sharia highlighting its “Department for Public Works”, posted by Michael Horowitz, 28 May 2015

Again, applying lessons from AQAP and AQIM, Al-Qaida focuses on the problems of the local populations while gradually applying selected Sharia principles, instead of forcefully implementing full Sharia law. By assisting with public services and providing charitable acts, Al-Qaida gains the trust and support of Libyans, and make them “sympathize with us and feel that their fate is tied to ours,” as emphasized in an AQAP strategy document (Green, The Washington Institute, December 12, 2013). Through a selective implementation process of Sharia, Al-Qaida tactfully avoids the harshest provisions until the Libyan population is more susceptible to its implementation (note: this process has the potential to exceed our 3-5 year analysis timeline). Once Sharia is close to being fully integrated in Libyan society, the Al-Qaida leadership in Libya begins propagating the country as an Islamic emirate.

Al-Qaida’s organizational structure in Libya is somewhat similar to the Islamic State structure. Based on a comparison of the organizational structures of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Qaida’s organization in Libya has a head leader, a Shura council [consultative body], a military wing, a propaganda wing, and a Sharia council [judiciary body] (Counter Extremism Project, AQAP, AQIS, and AQIM). The Islamic State also has the Caliph [leader], the Shura council, the Sharia council, and the Military council in its central hierarchy (see Dr. Helene Lavoix, “Understanding the Islamic State’s System – The Calif and Legitimacy,” and “Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Means of Violence” for detailed analysis of the Islamic State structure). However, Al-Qaida’s governance strategy in Libya is profoundly different from that of the Islamic State. Once they secured the city of Sirte, Islamic State fighters called on residents to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the caliph of the Islamic State, cracked down on forbidden vices, and enforced Sharia law on the population, including severe punishments such as ‘flogging, stoning, amputation, and execution” (Zelin, The Washington Institute, August 6, 2015). Wanting to avoid this strategy and gain the support of the Libyan people, Al-Qaida utilizes a localized governance model with a very gradual implementation of Sharia – all while its leadership directs its will and influence on the population from the background.

To gain influence over the tribes, Al-Qaida members begin marrying into the tribes and recruiting their unemployed youth. Furthermore, the localized system of governance allows the Amazigh, Tuareg, and Toubou to become more autonomous and not have to endure systematic discrimination by a centralized state – an appeal that earns some favor, despite tensions that exist between Libyan tribalism and Salafism (Mitchell, “Tribal Dynamics and Civil War III,” May 11, 2015). To lessen these tensions and avoid drawing attention to incompatibility, Al-Qaida does not overtly attempt to draw the tribes into its long-term strategy for the caliphate. With Al-Qaida’s growing presence in Libya comes an influx of fighters and resources from other countries. Such an influx coming through southern Libya boosts the economic gains for the Tuareg and Toubou, who become dependent on the jihadist-dominated trade routes for money and other support.

Ansar al-Sharia snipers in Benghazi train by shooting at picture targets of General Haftar and Egyptian President el-Sisi, posted by Oded Berkowitz, 16 September 2015

After achieving military victory, the Al-Qaida groups initiate a vengeance campaign against hated political and military figures that have not fled the country, as well as outspoken opponents of Al-Qaida. By eliminating prominent leaders that once opposed Salafist groups during the war, Al-Qaida removes any future possibility of opposed Libyans rallying around one of these leaders in a resurgent insurgency; it also provides a useful propaganda piece to rally Al-Qaida affiliates around the region.

Jihadist recruits training near Benghazi

Victory over the Islamists and nationalists by Libya’s Al-Qaida groups earn the recognition of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, who seeks to integrate them with its regional organization and increases the amount of money, fighters, and weapons flowing into the country. With Libya now under the influence of Al-Qaida, it offers a safe haven for jihadist training camps. This allows Al-Qaida in the Sinai Peninsula (AQSP), AQIM, AQAP and smaller Al-Qaida affiliates in the region to send their fighters to Libya for training. Libya’s vital trade routes also allow Al-Qaida a protected route to transnationally move fighters, arms, and resources with greater ease. A victory in Libya thus allows Al-Qaida to expand its operations across the region with the added benefit of defeating what is left of the Islamic State there.

Unless Al-Qaida begins launching widespread attacks out of Libya, the international community is very hesitant to intervene. Considering Al-Qaida’s new support from the population, the lack of friendly armed factions on the ground, and no desire to commit large amounts of troops, the international community – particularly Western powers – do not wish to get involved in a large-scale occupation. Alternatively, some countries – such as Egypt – see a direct threat from an Al-Qaida-controlled Libya and decide to intervene. However, this would require new scenarios to fully understand their depth.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 4.1 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. The level of the Islamic State’s strength. The level of Islamic State strength or weakness will impact how long it takes Al-Qaida to dominate the battlefield. If the Islamists and nationalists manage to degrade Islamic State strongholds and capabilities before becoming weak themselves, the likelihood of this scenario increases. A past indication occurred when the Islamist and nationalist coalitions cleared the Islamic State stronghold in Sirte (Amara, Reuters, December 6, 2016).
  2. The ability of Al-Qaida affiliates in Libya to defeat the Islamic State. In order to defeat Islamic State forces in Libya, Al-Qaida’s affiliates will need to form a united and coordinated front to destroy remaining IS strongholds and quash leftover IS cells. The likelihood of this scenario increases if Al-Qaida groups launch a united military offensive against the last Islamic State strongholds. A past indication occurred when an Al-Qaida linked jihadist alliance – the Mujahideen Shura Council – drove the Islamic State out of its burgeoning stronghold in Derna (Joscelyn, The Long War Journal, April 20, 2016).
  3. The willingness of Al-Qaida to base its strategy on lessons learned from AQAP and AQIM. Implementing learned lessons from regional Al-Qaida organizations is crucial to the success of the Libyan branch. If Al-Qaida in Libya is willing to adopt the strategy recommendations from AQAP and AQIM, the likelihood of this scenario significantly increases. However, both recommendations would have to be implemented: 1) gaining the support of the population by allowing local institutions to govern (although still very much influenced by AQ, and overseen by the central AQ leadership in Libya) – an example set by the AQAP group that seized Al Mukalla (Hubbard, The New York Times, June 9, 2015) and 2) gradually implementing Sharia law while primarily focusing on the needs of the local population to gain their support and trust – advice from both AQAP and leaders in AQIM (The Associated Press, February 14, 2013; Green, The Washington Institute, December 12, 2013).
  4. The willingness of Al-Qaida affiliates to unite behind a cohesive, long-term strategy for Libya. Alliances between Al-Qaida affiliates in Libya do not mean that they all will immediately unite behind a cohesive strategy for the long-term. Considering the more localized nature of Libya’s Al-Qaida affiliates (e.g. Ansar al-Sharia in Derna, Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi, Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade [primarily Derna]), they may compete for leadership roles or instead wish to pursue their own strategy in their areas of influence. If these groups are unwilling to participate in a cohesive long-term strategy, the likelihood of this scenario decreases.
  5. The ability of AQ to embed itself in the local councils. If local civilian councils are vehemently opposed to Sharia and Al-Qaida, and are aware of the jihadists’ strategy, they may prevent AQ members from participating in the local councils or even having a presence in their town or city. In this case, the likelihood of this scenario decreases.
  6. AQ’s ability to provide public services and charity to the population. Providing public services and charity to local populations has proven to generate positive support for Al-Qaida groups in Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen (Masi, International Business Times, April 7, 2016; Zelin, Hudson Institute, April 6, 2015), and thus will likely play a role in Al-Qaida’s grassroots strategy for Libya. If Al-Qaida is able to establish effective public service groups throughout the country, this scenario’s likelihood increases. Past indications occurred when Ansar al-Sharia’s “General Services Directorate” provided aid to families in Benghazi, Derna, and other towns (Joscelyn, The Long War Journal, June 30, 2015).
  7. The timing of AQ’s implementation of Sharia law. The timing would likely have a serious impact on the likelihood of Al-Qaida succeeding in Libya. If the group forces too much of the strict principles of Sharia on the population too quickly, it will likely lose support. However, if it adopts AQAP’s advice on incremental implementation (see Green, The Washington Institute, December 12, 2013), the likelihood of this scenario increases.
  8. The willingness of the minority tribes to cooperate with Al-Qaida. If Al-Qaida takes a multi-faceted approach to gaining influence over the minority tribes, it will likely increase the willingness of the tribes to cooperate. By marrying into the tribes, its fighters establish familial ties. Through its recruitment of unemployed tribal youth, as well as the influx of fighters, arms, and illicit goods across the southern trade routes, Al-Qaida increases economic opportunity for the tribes, which help boost their willingness to cooperate with the jihadists. And lastly, Al-Qaida’s reliance on local and tribal councils allows these tribes to be more autonomous and not dependent on a central state for their political rights. The likelihood of this scenario increases if the minority tribes are more willing to cooperate with Al-Qaida.
  9. The level of AQ’s desire to eliminate leaders from the Islamist and nationalist camps. Al-Qaida will likely target leaders that are outspoken in their opposition to Sharia law and or Al-Qaida as a whole. In the event of an Al-Qaida conquest, political and military leaders from the rival coalitions may flee the country; Al-Qaida leadership may put a bounty on the heads of those remaining in the country. However, they may not target the Islamist leaders from the Dawn of Libya and the General National Congress that had connections with Al-Qaida affiliates during the war. A past indication occurred when Ansar al-Sharia (an Al-Qaida affiliate) put a bounty on General Haftar and some of his key commanders (Wehrey, Carnegie Middle East Center, June 19, 2015).
  10. The willingness of external actors to militarily intervene in Libya. In the case of an Al-Qaida victory in Libya, the international community would certainly have cause for extreme concern. However, the global situation and the reality on the ground in Libya will likely determine the willingness of external actors to militarily intervene. If an abundance of conflicts and geopolitical situations outside of Libya are preoccupying the focus and military resources of external actors, they may be less willing to commit to a full military incursion. Furthermore, no friendly Libyan factions would be available to partner with a foreign coalition. If external actors are considerably hesitant to militarily intervene in Libya, the likelihood of this scenario increases. However, if some countries – like neighboring Egypt – perceive an imminent threat from an Al-Qaida-controlled Libya, they may decide to act unilaterally, thus decreasing the likelihood of this scenario occurring.

Bibliography

Feature Photo: Ansar al-Sharia gun position, posted by The Long War Journal, 30 June 2015

Aaron Y. Zelin, “The Rise and Decline of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya,” Hudson Institute, April 6, 2015

Aaron Y. Zelin, “The Islamic State’s Burgeoning Capital in Sirte, Libya,” The Washington Institute, August 6, 2015

Alessandria Masi, “Al Qaeda Winning Hearts And Minds Over ISIS In Yemen With Social Services,” International Business Times, April 7, 2016

“Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),” Counter Extremism Project

“Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS),” Counter Extremism Project

“Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),” Counter Extremism Project

“AP: Al Qaeda letter found outlining Mali strategy,” The Associated Press, February 14, 2013

Ben Hubbard, “Al Qaeda Tries a New Tactic to Keep Power: Sharing It,” The New York Times, June 9, 2015

Callum Paton, “Isis in Libya: How Boko Haram jihadis are flocking to join Daesh’s holy war in North Africa,” International Business Times, March 5, 2016

Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, and Mark Mazzetti, “Obama Expands War With Al Qaeda to Include Shabab in Somalia,” The New York Times, November 27, 2016

Daniel Green, “Al-Qaeda’s Shadow Government in Yemen,” The Washington Institute, December 12, 2013

Dr. Helene Lavoix, “Understanding the Islamic State’s System – The Calif and Legitimacy,” The Red Team Analysis Society, May 25, 2015

Dr. Helene Lavoix, “Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Means of Violence,” The Red Team Analysis Society, June 15, 2015

Frederic Wehrey, “Splitting the Islamists: The Islamic State’s Creeping Advance in Libya,” Carnegie Middle East Center, June 19, 2015

Hani Amara, “Libyan forces clear last Islamic State holdout in Sirte,” Reuters, December 6, 2016

Jon Mitchell, “War in Libya and Its Futures – Tribal Dynamics and Civil War (3),” The Red Team Analysis Society, May 11, 2015

Mark Mardell, “Could the European Union fall apart?” BBC News, December 6, 2016

“New report reveals spread of US war on Al-Qaeda around the world,” RT, December 5, 2016

Tamer El-Ghobashy and Hassan Morajea, “Two Main Libyan Militias are Maintaining a Truce to Battle Islamic State,” The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2015

The Soufan Group, “The Islamic State’s Expansion Strategy in Libya,” TSG IntelBrief, March 3, 2016

“The Sun Sets on Libya Dawn,” STRATFOR, April 2, 2016

Thomas Joscelyn, “Ansar al Sharia Libya fights on under new leader,” The Long War Journal, June 30, 2015

Thomas Joscelyn, “Islamic State fighters retreat from bases outside Derna, Libya,” The Long War Journal, April 20, 2016

The Libyan War Spills Over to Egypt, Algeria, Niger and Europe – Scenarios for the Future of Libya

This article is the second of our series focusing on scenarios depicting the range of spillover that could stem from the Libyan war. In our previous article, we detailed two scenarios of spillover that initiate a renewed war encompassing more than just Libya. We discussed a case of spillover in one direction – where Europe is drawn into this renewed war, as well as spillover in two directions, where Algeria and Niger are also drawn into the war. In this article, we shall conclude the spillover scenarios with a contagion taking place in all directions (west towards Algeria, south towards Niger, east towards Egypt, and north towards Europe).

It is important to note our choices for spillover sub-scenarios. There are many combinations that could occur under spillover conditions, but we have chosen three examples that maybe considered as ideal-types with particular country cases for the sake of brevity: spillover in only one direction (north towards Europe), spillover in two directions (Algeria/Niger), and spillover in all directions (Algeria/Niger/Egypt/Europe). Spillover in all directions, of course, is not limited to just Algeria, Niger, Egypt, and Europe – it can also include Tunisia and Chad. For the sake of brevity, we chose one country in each direction for this scenario. Furthermore, the intensity of and response to spillover plays a key role in these sub-scenarios. The renewed war – now encompassing new actors outside of Libya – is altered significantly as intensity and response levels rise. However, we shall only briefly outline these scenarios, as they are fundamentally new conflicts and would require new scenarios to fully understand their depth.

Migrant/Refugee: For the purposes of the spillover scenarios, we have chosen to use the BBC’s use of the term migrant, which refers to people migrating to other countries that have not yet received asylum (BBC News, March 4, 2016). However, we use the term refugee when referring to Libyans fleeing the discussed conflict.

Note: Considering the future names of potential factions that would result from a new split between the unity government, we shall use the label nationalist for those that supported the nationalist/liberal-dominated Council of Representatives (COR) and any future anti-Islamist factions; Islamist to note those that supported the General National Congress (GNC) and any future pro-political Islamic movements; and Salafist will remain the label of choice for groups that reject democratic institutions and embrace jihadism.

Click to access larger image

Sub-scenario 2.2.3 Conflict Spills Over in All Directions (Algeria, Niger, Egypt, and Europe)

Smuggling operations crossing the Libyan-Algerian border expand as conflict continue to rage. Islamist militants also utilize the smuggling routes to infiltrate Libya from Algeria and join Salafist groups there. As Algeria increases the security of its border region with Libya, Islamist militants turn to join extremist groups already operating in Algeria, while spreading to other now easier routes, both north, using the sea and boats and south to Niger. Furthermore, conflict between the Toubou and Tuareg tribes over the lucrative smuggling routes causes their kinsmen from Algeria, Niger, and Chad to cross into Libya, while Salafists move even more freely to and from Libya – thus turning the Southern Libya conflict into a regional conflict between tribal forces. See Mitchell, “Libyan War Spills Over to Europe, Algeria, and Niger – Sc 2.2 (1) – Scenarios for the Future of Libya” for a more detailed spillover scenario in Algeria that has already been discussed.

Niger begins to experience spillover from the Libyan conflict as Toubou and Tuareg cross from Niger into Southern Libya. The severity of tribal conflict in Southern Libya determines whether or not conflict breaks out between the Tuareg and Toubou within Niger’s borders. Facing significant pressure in Libya, as well as the threat of international intervention, jihadists begin relocating their operations to Niger. Considering Niger’s instability and already existing threat of Boko Haram, which leads wilayat Gharb Ifriqiyyiah for the Islamic State (see Lavoix, “At War Against the Islamic State – A Global Theatre of War,” updated June 20, 2016) and operated initially essentially in southern Niger – notably in Diffa and Bosso (see June attacks – UN News Centre, June 6, 2016; Donovan, UNHCR, June 7, 2016), the increase of jihadists arriving from Libya prompts a serious military response and increased operations near the Niger-Libyan border. See Mitchell, “Libyan War Spills Over to Europe, Algeria, and Niger – Sc 2.2 (1) – Scenarios for the Future of Libya” for a more detailed spillover scenario in Niger that has already been discussed. Nonetheless, the Salafist fighters coming from Libya and those controlling the South increasingly connect.

Posted on the Official Page for the Military Spokesman of the Armed Forces Facebook page, 30 May 2016

Meanwhile, considering the presence of Islamic State groups already in the Sinai, the spillover from Libya causes greater instability throughout Egypt. Smugglers utilize routes through the Libyan-Egyptian border to covertly transfer drugs, migrants, militants and weapons – all of which undermine Egypt’s stability. The porous border between the two countries allows Salafist groups to move fighters and weapons between strongholds in Libya and the Sinai. General Haftar increasingly uses Egypt’s assistance to train his forces and to receive weapons. As a result, Islamic State militants target remaining Egyptian migrant workers in Libya. Meanwhile, their Salafist brothers in the Sinai begin to increasingly attack Egyptian targets in retaliation for Egypt’s assistance to Haftar’s forces. Wanting to expand their operations and keep pressure on rivals, al-Qaeda affiliates in Libya escalate their attacks on Haftar’s forces in the east, as well as Egyptian forces along the border. Attacks by Salafist groups forces Egypt to militarily strike back in Libya in a series of operations – effectively opening up a second front in its fight against terrorism (Libya to the west, and the Sinai to the east). The target proves however elusive as it now moves increasingly easily also to the south. To retain Egypt’s support, Haftar’s forces exert additional pressure on Salafist groups as punishment. As the nationalists put intense pressure on these Salafist groups, militants are smuggled into the Sinai region to bulk up their group’s capabilities against Cairo. Wilayat Sinai makes a general call to their global supporters to join their war in Egypt, with tremendous impact on an already dwindling tourism.

If Egypt successfully closes its border and prevents weapons and militants from infiltrating, there is the risk that Salafist groups already in Egypt will launch increased attacks against border security targets in order to disrupt their efforts. However, if Egypt is unsuccessful in closing the border, Salafist groups in Libya and the Sinai will be able to reinforce each other with fighters and weapons – depending on the need in each country. Regardless of success or failure to close the border, spillover from the Libyan conflict permeates Egypt, which increases its instability and draws Egypt into the renewed war.

The migrant flow from Libya into Europe increases as Libyan actors forsake some state functions – such as border security – in order to bolster their frontline forces. Salafist groups utilize the migrant flows to smuggle jihadists into Europe to carry out attacks. These jihadist cells originating in Libya begin targeting European populations as an alternative to fighting mounting pressure in Libya. Two new routes to Europe are now opened, one from Algeria and one from Egypt, taxing European capabilities to deal with the rising threat. Furthermore, the deployment of European advisers and Special Forces in support of Libyan actors against Salafist threats also results in jihadists attacking European targets. If Europe is unsuccessful in stopping the migrant flow, it continues to experience terrorist attacks emanating from Libya. If successful, Europe changes the conflict in Libya. With less opportunity to infiltrate European countries, jihadists begin to increasingly target the government and military officials of the other Libyan actors. This, in turn, forces the Islamists and nationalists to focus more on the Salafist groups. With the migrant flow stopped, the refugees and migrants stuck in Libya cause further instability in the coastal regions, join armed groups as an alternative, or head to neighboring countries – all of which affect spillover and the war in Libya. See Mitchell, “Libyan War Spills Over to Europe, Algeria, and Niger – Sc 2.2 (1) – Scenarios for the Future of Libya” for a more detailed spillover scenario in Europe that has already been discussed.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 2.2.3 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. The ability of militants to use smuggling routes to infiltrate Egypt. The likelihood of this scenario increases if militants are able to infiltrate Egypt through smuggling routes. With civil war in Libya to the west and Egypt dealing with a Sinai problem to the east, militants are more easily able to utilize established drug, migrant, and weapons trafficking routes to infiltrate Egypt (AhramOnline, October 2, 2015).
  2. The ability of Egypt to effectively patrol its border. With Libya not able to secure its side of the border, the responsibility falls to Egypt to secure the entire border. Already having to deal with jihadists in the Sinai, Egypt will likely not be able to secure the entire Libyan-Egyptian border, which allows smuggling rings to profit by moving drugs, weapons, migrants, and militants to and from Libya. A previous indication of Egypt’s attempt to secure the border occurred when it increased its ground and air presence on the border, as well as reached an agreement with the U.S. in 2015 on a “Border Security Mobile Surveillance Sensor Security System” along the Egyptian-Libyan border (Nkala, DefenseNews, July 26, 2015; Muhlberger, AhramOnline, January 27, 2016).
  3. The stability of Egypt. Egypt’s internal stability determines how much it will be affected by spillover from Libya. The level of economic and political stability, as well as terrorism in the Sinai region, all affect Egypt’s overall stability. Past indications affecting its stability occurred when Egypt’s economy faced currency depreciation and a decrease in tourism and investment (Karuri, Africa News, July 4, 2016); as well jihadist groups continuing an insurgency from the Sinai region (STRATFOR, June 29, 2016).
  4. The level of pressure on Salafist groups to migrate operations towards Egypt. If the Islamists, Misratans, and nationalists put enough pressure on Salafist groups to the point of destroying them completely, the jihadists will likely be more willing to shift their operations to Egypt, which increases the likelihood of this spillover scenario. Geographically, the Salafist hotbed of Derna is very close to the Egyptian border and will most likely be the origin of jihadists fleeing into Egypt if this indication occurs.
  5. The willingness of Egypt to support Haftar and his forces. Egypt’s level of willingness to support Haftar and provide military assistance to his forces will play a role in the Salafists’ level of retaliation. The likelihood of this scenario increases the more Egypt directly supports Haftar. Past indications occurred when Egyptian President El-Sisi called on international support for General Haftar and his National Army (Middle East Monitor, March 18, 2016); when Egypt armed Haftar and the Libyan National Army (Dettmer, Voice of America, May 17, 2016; Toaldo and Fitzgerald, European Council on Foreign Relations, June 15, 2016); and when Egypt offered military training and intelligence assistance in 2014 to the forces under the Tobruk government – which included Haftar and his forces (Mitchell, “War in Libya and Its Futures: State of Play – Nationalist Forces (2),” December 1, 2014).
  6. The Salafists’ level of retaliation towards Egypt. The level of Salafists’ retaliation towards Egypt is rooted in Egypt’s assistance for the hated General Haftar. The more Egypt supports Haftar’s forces, the higher the level of retaliation. In Libya, Salafists will likely target Egyptian migrants or Egyptian security personnel on the border. Salafist groups operating in the Sinai will likely carry out attacks within Egypt as retaliation for events in Libya.
  7. The willingness of al-Qaeda to intensify its presence in Libya and Egypt. If al-Qaeda begins to lose influence as a result of pressure from other Libyan actors, it may try to intensify its presence in Libya. Furthermore, if instability continues to increase in Egypt, and if Islamic State groups in the Sinai are seeing greater success, al-Qaeda may attempt to increase its presence their as well. In either case, the likelihood of this scenario increases.
  8. Indicators 1-8 of sub-scenario 2.2.1 also act here in a similar way.
  9. Indicators 1-10 of sub-scenario 2.2.2 also act here in a similar way.

Bibliography

Featured Photo: Still from “New ISIS Video Shows Recruits Training in Sinai Peninsula, Egypt,” April 4, 2016

“Assessing the Jihadist Threat in Egypt: The Sinai Peninsula,” STRATFOR, June 29, 2016

“Attacks by Boko Haram continue in Niger’s Diffa region, forcing more people to flee – UN,” UN News Centre, June 6, 2016

“Egypt’s army sometimes operates beyond border to ‘chase smuggler’: Libyan FM,” Ahram Online, October 2, 2015

Helene Lavoix, “At War Against the Islamic State – A Global Theatre of War,” The Red Team Analysis Society, November 23, 2015

Jamie Dettmer, “Will Arming Libya’s ‘Unity’ Government Escalate Conflict?” Voice of America, May 17, 2016

Jon Mitchell, “War in Libya and Its Futures: State of Play – Nationalist Forces (2),” The Red Team Analysis Society, December 1, 2014

Ken Karuri, “Egyptian pound facing another devaluation as dollar shortage persists,” Africa News, July 4, 2016

Louise Donovan, “Thousands flee Boko Haram attack on Niger town,” UNHCR, June 7, 2016

Mattia Toaldo and Mary Fitzgerald, “A Quick Guide to Libya’s Main Players,” European Council on Foreign Relations, June 15, 2016

“Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts,” BBC News, March 4, 2016

Oscar Nkala, “Tunisia, Egypt Boost Libyan Border Security,” DefenseNews, July 26, 2015

“Sisi calls for support for Libya’s Haftar,” Middle East Monitor, March 18, 2016

Wolfgang Muhlberger, “A Thorny Dossier: Egypt’s Libya Policy,” Ahram Online, January 27, 2016

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 7 July 2016

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.

Read the 7 Juillet 2016 scan in newspaper format


The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and its usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 12 May 2016

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.

Read the 12 May 2016 scan 

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and its usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 2 (5) International Intervention

This article is the fifth of our series focusing on scenarios depicting interventions in the Libyan war. In our previous article, we discussed a Qatari intervention in Libya on the Islamist side. Here, we shall detail scenarios for an international intervention in Libya from beyond the region, which could occur if the nationalists and their internationally recognized government (at least until power is officially transferred to a unity government) extend an invitation to external actors, or if the unity government fails entirely. The unity government could fail if rival Libyan politicians are unable to form a unity government at all, or if the unity government is formed, but fails to make progress and thus disintegrates into former factions.

If we remember the beginning of our set of scenarios 2, at this stage, international actors from beyond the region have decided to militarily intervene in favor of one of the two governments. We chose to develop an intervention on the nationalist side and not on behalf of the Islamists (see terminology in next paragraph) because the latter would be too unlikely – considering that if the intervention does not help the more anti-Islamist movement survive (i.e nationalists), the intervening countries would be in a position of having to support an Islamist state where some of its armed factions had military alliances with groups like Ansar al-Sharia.

Considering the future names of potential factions that would result from a new split between the unity government, we shall use the label nationalist for the nationalist/liberal-dominated Council of Representatives (COR) and any future anti-Islamist factions; Islamist to note the General National Congress (GNC) and any future pro-political Islamic movements; and Salafi will remain the label of choice for groups that reject democratic institutions and embrace jihadism.

scenarios Libya, future of Libya, Libyan war, international intervention
Click to access larger image

Sub-scenario 2.1.1.4: An International Intervention Coalition is Formed to Enter the Libyan Conflict in Favor of the Nationalists

Concerned with the expansion of Salafi power and territory in Libya where the rivals are struggling to form the unity government (or where the unity government has failed to do so), countries from outside the region form an international intervention coalition to protect their national interests and begin combatting Salafi threats in Libya. With current Islamic State (IS) leaders migrating to Libya, and the diverting of jihadists from Syria and Iraq to IS groups in Libya, the intervening powers are among the leading active participants of Operation Inherent Resolve, as they decide to organize it within the framework of the Operation.

In an attempt to avoid serious questions of legality and to avoid opening the door to accusations of Western imperialism, the leading advocates for an intervention coalition attempt to get Russia, and China, to contribute to the intervention. With no united legitimate Libyan government to invite the coalition, diplomatic pressure or persuasion on Russia and China could assist in securing a UN Security Council approval for intervention in Libya – thus avoiding serious issues of legality. However, as the nationalist government and parliament are those currently recognized internationally (Yahoo News, February 24, 2016; Voice of America, February 25, 2016), the multinational coalition decides to emphasize this feature to assert the legitimacy of its coming intervention.

scenarios Libya, future of Libya, Libyan war, international interventionWith either a stalled effort by the rival governments to form the unity government, or the failure of a Libyan unity government and no likelihood in the short-term of a renegotiated political solution, several nations decide to contribute military forces to form the core of Libya’s intervention coalition. These members include the United States, the UK, France and Italy. Once opposed to hasty military intervention and promoting a political solution when the prospect of a unity government was still alive, Italy and France were drawn into the intervention coalition when the GNC and COR’s efforts to form a unity government stalled, or when the unity government failed and Libya descended further into the depths of civil war. Having experienced attacks on its citizens by Islamic State militants out of Libya, France and Italy decide to contribute to the coalition in a way proportional to their interests. After approval by the UN Security Council [as a fully legitimate Libyan government does not exist – would it exist domestically, then there would be no civil war], France contributes fighter aircraft to the air campaign, military advisers to train indigenous partners on the ground (if such partners exist – we will detail in future scenarios), special forces and intelligence, and starts wondering if it should also send troops as was done in Mali. Meanwhile, Italy contributes fighter aircraft and military advisers as well, potentially in addition to reconnaissance aircraft and allowing U.S. and UK fighter aircraft to operate out of bases in Italy.

[We have chosen only a few nations from beyond the region that would likely participate in this intervention coalition for the sake of the scenarios, although participating to the coalition would certainly not be limited to these states.]

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 2.1.1.4 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. Stalled efforts to form a unity government. If the rival governments take exceedingly long to make any progress on forming a unity government – essentially stalled efforts – while the Salafi threats grow exponentially, concerned international actors will likely be forced to intervene to protect their security interests.
  2. Failure to form a unity government and make progress. If the Libyan parliaments fail to implement the agreed-upon structure of a unity government, or they form a unity government but fail to operate cohesively and then fragment into their former rivalry, the likelihood of this scenario significantly increases. See Scenario 1 (4) – Failed Negotiations and Scenarios 1 (3) – A Successful Peacebuilding Mission for details on how this might occur.
  3. The legality of a military intervention. The legality of recent interventions has become a murky issue lately, particularly regarding Syria. The timing of an international intervention would affect whether it is disputed or not. If a coalition intervenes after having been invited by the internationally recognized COR (see War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Nationalist Forces (1) and (2)), it would be justified, but would have stronger justification if invited by a unity government. If the Libyan unity government quickly fails and the actors fragment back into factions, there could be dispute over who has legitimacy, since the unity government would have held all political authority before falling apart. At that point, approval by the UN Security Council might be needed in order to garner international backing for intervening – perhaps only after diplomatic pressure is applied to Russia and China. But if the Security Council cannot come to a consensus on intervention, outside the right to self-defense, any other military intervention falls under questionable legality.
  4. The level of Salafi threats in Libya at the time of intervention. Currently, the Islamic State in Libya has a stronghold in the region of Sirte, which threatens nearby Misrata in the west and the oil fields to the east. Recent estimates put Islamic State militants and sympathizers operating in Libya around the low thousands – many of which are in the Sirte area, with smaller groups operating in other areas of Libya. In addition, Al-Qaida affiliates operate primarily in Northeastern Libya, with training camps and smuggling routes in the south. The Islamic State in Libya, as al-Qaeda, currently occupies a strategic position that links Islamic State affiliates in Africa to those in the Middle East. Thus, Western powers currently feel compelled to deal with the Salafi threats, and intervention will likely happen soon – increasing the likelihood of this scenario occurring.
  5. Whether or not Libya is considered an extension of Operation Inherent Resolve. With senior Islamic State commanders reportedly migrating to IS strongholds in Libya (Gatehouse, BBC News, February 3, 2016; Schmitt, The New York Times, February 4, 2016), as well as ISIS leaders in Syria telling African IS recruits to “stay put in Libya” instead of passing through to Syria, Libya is becoming the next stronghold outside of Syria and Iraq. If their presence in Libya continues to grow as their numbers in Syria and Iraq decline (Schmitt, The New York Times, February 4, 2016; Kuwait News Agency, February 23, 2016), the Islamic State in Libya may be declared an extension of Inherent Resolve, thereby increasing the likelihood of this scenario occurring, as powers already involved in the operation shift resources and forces towards Libya.
  6. The willingness of countries to contribute forces to an intervention that lacks a fully legitimate Libyan government. The countries included in our proposed intervention coalition are currently operating in Libya in a limited capacity, or are opposed to intervention now, but will likely change course if an Islamic State attack on their country emanates from Libya or if the unity government fails and all political solutions dissipate. The U.S., UK and France already have Special Forces on the ground, while the U.S. and UK have conducted airstrikes in Libya (MEA Risk, February 19, 2016; The Nation, January 24, 2016; Altaqi and Aziz, Middle East Briefing, February 11, 2016; Wintour, The Guardian, February 9, 2016; Malta Independent, February 1, 2016; Hanly, Digital Journal, February 18, 2016; Taylor, Reuters, February 24, 2016; The Libya Observer, February 23, 2016). France is working closely with the Pentagon to develop a plan of action for full-scale military intervention after an invitation by a unity government (The Nation, January 24, 2016; Caravelli, World Tribune, February 3, 2016; Middle East Monitor, February 4, 2016); and Italy just signed an agreement with the U.S. to allow armed drones to take off out of its base in Sicily, but only after the Italian government approves each mission, and they can only be used in defensive strikes for ground forces “engaged in anti-Isis missions” (Kirchgaessner, The Guardian, February 22, 2016). Italy and France have stated their intentions of only intervening once a national unity government is established and invites international assistance, although French military advisers are reportedly already consulting and training Haftar’s Libyan National Army, as well as conducting fighting operations (ANSAmed, February 2, 2016; Middle East Monitor, February 4, 2016; Masi, International Business Times, February 1, 2016; Daou, France24, February 25, 2016; Herreros, Huffington Post, February 25, 2016; The Libya Observer,French Commandos are fighting with Haftar’s forces in Benghazi, sources say“, 23 Feb 2016). Stalled efforts to form a unity government, the failure of a Libyan unity government and or a terrorist attack emanating from Libya increases the willingness of France and Italy to participate in an intervention, which in turn increases the likelihood of this scenario, as shown by the latest U.S. as well as French interventions.
  7. The cost and capability to deploy intervention forces. Although the willingness of each country to deploy forces in an intervention coalition depend on the geopolitical and security climates at the time of intervention, the costs and capability may be, notably for European countries a break, especially considering involvement in other operations. We can assume that the United States will contribute the most aircraft, UAVs, and personnel (Special Forces, forward air controllers, intelligence/support personnel), followed by the UK with perhaps several Special Forces teams and support personnel, as well as fighter aircraft, followed by France and Italy, who contribute fighter aircraft and a couple hundred personnel (Special Forces, intelligence, military advisers) – depending on their mission role. Coalition members could also shift aircraft and personnel from Syria/Iraq to Libya, depending on the progress of Inherent Resolve in the Levant and members’ unwillingness to contribute additional forces, but ability to shift forces. ***Force estimates based on contributions to Inherent Resolve, current personnel operating in Libya, national interests, and total military force strength (McInnis, Congressional Research Service, November 18, 2015; Zway, Fahim and Schmitt, The New York Times, January 18, 2016; UK Defence in Numbers, UK Ministry of Defence, August 2015; Defence Key Figures, France Ministry of Defence, 2015).

Sub-scenario 2.1.1.4.1: The International Coalition Attempts to Partner with Libyan Factions for Its Intervention

scenarios Libya, future of Libya, Libyan war, international interventionWanting – and needing – reliable partners in Libya, the intervention coalition attempts to connect with armed factions that have primary interests in actively combatting Salafi groups. Although Libya offers an array of armed factions, only a few are palatable to the coalition. The overall problem facing the coalition is the unreliability, poor organization, tribal allegiances, and shifting interests of Libyan factions – making partnership risky and unpredictable in the long-term. Furthermore, the coalition quickly learns that partnering with particular groups only fosters tribal and local rivalries, as the rivals of coalition-partnered factions turn to ally with other groups (perhaps even Salafist groups) to shift the balance of power. The coalition partners risk becoming pawns in Libyan “games” they do not master. However, the coalition accepts these risks, as they desire more to have at least some Libyan partners on the ground to label the intervention as a Libyan-partnered intervention, rather than a Western-imposed one.

With stalled efforts to institute a fully domestically legitimate government, or seeing a unity government no longer in existence after failure and fragmentation, the coalition focuses on partnering with groups that offer strategic positioning, influence, and determination to combat Salafist threats. Thus, it starts partnering with Misrata, Zintan, and the Libyan military, notably of which, Zintan and Misrata mitigate their tense rivalry to take on Islamic State threats (see Mitchell, “Nationalist Forces II” for Misrata-Zintan rivalry). Partnering with these three groups provides strategic partners that can engage Salafi threats in Northeastern Libya, the Sirte region, and Northwestern Libya.

Meanwhile, and to make sure it will not meet critical setbacks should some of its partnerships fails, the international coalition supports further recruitment and training within the Libyan army to combat Salafi threats in Libya.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 2.1.1.4.1 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. The level of common interest that can unite Libyan groups. International powers will be forced to choose from the actors on the ground that are willing to partner with them, and thus will likely partner with the Libyan military, Misrata, and Zintan. The overarching problem is that tribal and regional interests often outweigh the “common ground” that is needed for Western powers to leverage against Salafi threats (Wuite, The Interpreter, February 12, 2016). Although U.S. and UK Special Forces have been attempting to find reliable partners on the ground for the past several months, the effort has proven extremely difficult. For example, a U.S. Special Forces team sent to Libya in late 2015 was “driven out of the country shortly after their arrival” by local militias (Deutsche Welle, January 28, 2016). With tribal, regional, political, and religious interests often outweighing common interest to completely focus on Salafi threats, the likelihood of finding partners decreases.
  2. The ability to partner with Misrata brigades against Salafi threats. With a partner in the east (Libyan military), the intervention force would likely turn to Misrata as a partner in the west. The Misrata brigades are perhaps the only reasonable faction outside the nationalist forces with which an intervention force could partner, considering its strategic position northwest of the Islamic State stronghold in Sirte and its majority support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Furthermore, Misrata has experienced fighters and, according to Misratan politician Abdulrahman Swehli, has already made “military and intelligence” links with U.S. Special Forces (Zway, Fahim and Schmitt, The New York Times, January 18, 2016). By default, partnering with Misrata would severely weaken the Islamists, who either decline in political authority after the withdrawal of Misrata, or are defeated by the nationalists after Salafi threats are mitigated. With Misrata’s focus now on the Islamic State and Sirte rather than protecting the GNC or opposing the nationalists (The Associated Press, February 19, 2016), the likelihood of partnering with the intervention force increases.
  3. The ability to partner with Zintani militias against Salafi threats. Zintan is potentially showing signs of working with rivals against Salafi threats in the region, which could make Zintani militias easier to enlist as partners in a coalition that targets the same threats. A recent Islamic State attack in Sabratha (rival of Zintan and the nationalists) prompted Zintan to medically treat wounded militia members from Sabratha that opposed the jihadists – a potential sign that “Zintan and Sabratha may be prepared to cooperate in the fight against Islamic State” (Elumami, Reuters, February 24, 2016). Furthermore, main militias from Zintan and Misrata held truce talks and cease-fires that allowed them to withdraw a majority of their forces from fighting each other, and shift them to confront Islamic State threats (El-Ghobashy and Morajea, The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2015). If both Misrata and Zintan are enlisted into an intervention coalition (not showing partisanship is key), the likelihood of this scenario increases.
  4. The level of risk between partnering with existing armed groups or supporting and training a nationalist army. Attempting to partner with existing armed groups potentially means a shorter period of time, considering they won’t have to be sent off for training and incorporation into the nationalist army – which translates into forces already on the ground that can quickly engage Salafi threats. Furthermore, they remain in their cohesive, local militias, instead of being mixed into the nationalist army that has fighters from various regions and tribes that were once enemies – potentially creating a non-cohesive force. However, supporting and training the national army that is committed to fighting the Salafi groups could be seen as promising, instead of relying on existing groups that have their own interests and ambitions. We consider partnering with existing groups from Zintan, Misrata, and the Libyan military necessary if the goal is to engage Salafi threats as soon as possible.

In our next post, we shall detail scenarios where the coalition intervenes with Libyan partners.

Bibliography

Featured Photo: An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off on a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve by USAFE AFAFRICA [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Ahmed Elumami, “Islamic State militants kill 17 in Libya’s Sabratha: officials,” Yahoo News, February 24, 2016

Alessandria Masi, “Political Unity Is Key In Possible US, Europe Anti-ISIS Libya Intervention,” International Business Times, February 1, 2016

“Britain plans aerial bombings against Islamic State in Libya,” Malta Independent, February 1, 2016

Casper Wuite, “Libya: A new Western military intervention would be fraught with danger,” The Interpreter, February 12, 2016

“Defence Key Figures,” France Ministry of Defence, 2015

Dr. Jack Caravelli, “Dunford: U.S., France planning ‘decisive military action’ in Libya,” World Tribune, February 3, 2016

Eric Schmitt, “Obama Is Pressed to Open Military Front Against ISIS in Libya,” The New York Times, February 4, 2016

“French Commandos are fighting with Haftar’s forces in Benghazi, sources say,” The Libya Observer, February 23, 2016

“France considers military intervention in Libya,” Middle East Monitor, February 4, 2016

Gabriel Gatehouse, “Top IS commanders ‘taking refuge’ in Libya,” BBC News, February 3, 2016

“ISIS: Fabius, Italy leader in Libya, France by its side,” ANSAmed, February 2, 2016

“IS trying to attract as many foreign fighters to Libya as possible – US envoy,” Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), February 23, 2016

Jon Mitchell, “Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (3) – A Successful Peacebuilding Mission?” The Red Team Analysis Society, September 28, 2015

Jon Mitchell, “Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (4) – Failed Negotiations,” The Red Team Analysis Society, October 19, 2015

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Paul Taylor, “French special forces waging ‘secret war’ in Libya: report,” Reuters, February 24, 2016

Romain Herreros, “France Is Involved In A Secret Fight Against ISIS In Libya, Local Officials Say,” Huffington Post, February 24, 2016

Samir Altaqi and Esam Aziz, “The Pitfalls of Opening a Libyan Front against ISIL,” Middle East Briefing, February 25, 2016

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, “Italy to allow US drones to fly out of Sicily air base for attacks on Isis,” The Guardian, February 22, 2016

Suliman Ali Zway, Kareem Fahim and Eric Schmitt, “In Libya, U.S. Courts Unreliable Allies to Counter ISIS,” The New York Times, January 18, 2016

Tamer El-Ghobashy and Hassan Morajea, “Two Main Libyan Militias Are Maintaining a Truce to Battle Islamic State,” The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2015

The Associated Press, “A glance at the main political players in Libya,” WRAL.com, February 19, 2016

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 4 February 2016

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.

Read the 4 February 2016 scan  

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and its usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.