By: Amb David Shinn
While I normally do not cover North Africa in this blog except as it relates directly to East Africa and the Horn, I call your attention to a particularly good article titled “Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb’s Tunisia Strategy” in the 23 July 2013 issue of West Point’s CTC Sentinel.
The authors are Aaron Y. Zelin, a fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; and Andrew Lebovich, a Washington-based analyst for North Africa and the Sahel.
The article analyzes how al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), viewing events in Tunisia through its strategic lens, has responded to that country’s revolution. It concludes that AQIM has tried to insert itself into Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia’s (AST) relationship with the Tunisian state. AQIM has urged AST to be patient to prevent the Tunisian government from cracking down on its activities. At the same time, AQIM’s rhetoric toward the Tunisian state has become sharper, opening the possibility of an increase in AQIM-related violence in Tunisi