December 2012 Newsletter

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December 2012
The Jamestown Foundation Leadership: Glen E. Howard, President
At a Glance
JTF 6th Annual Terrorism Conference
Forthcoming Events

New Releases

Hot Issues
Media Appearances
Support Jamestown
Jamestown Staff
& Fellows
Editor, China Brief
Program Associate
Program Associate/Events Coordinator
Managing Editor of Global Terrorism Analysis
Director of Programs, Balkans, Caucasus & Central Asia
Senior Fellow – China Program
Senior Fellow – Eurasia Program
Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow – Eurasia Program
Senior Fellow
Jamestown 6th Annual Terrorism Conference
On December 12, The Jamestown Foundation held its Sixth Annual Terrorism Conference: “Implications of the Arab Spring for Insurgencies, the Jihadist Movement and al-Qaeda.” The first panel discussed the evolution of al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The second panel provided analysis of the Syrian uprising and the various militant strains that emerged as well as other reactions in the region. Following the luncheon, a keynote address was provided by Sheikh Falah Ajil Abdul Karim al-Jarba who focused on the impact of the uprising on Syrian tribes and cross-border considerations. He discussed the problem of massive youth unemployment in Syria, which plays into the hands of extremists. He stated that the United States should create a no-fly zone over Syria

and explained that the strength of traditional tribes in Syria is a bulwark against extremist ideologies.

After a brief intermission, a panel of Jamestown analysts spoke about al-Qaeda affiliates and Jihadist strategies in North Africa. The conference concluded with remarks from General Michael Hayden who discussed the national security choices that the United States will face as it confronts international terrorism and the deep battle against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
Forthcoming Events

Save the Date! Third Annual China Defense and Security Conference


The Jamestown Foundation will hold the 3rd Annual China Defense and Security Conference on February 28, 2013, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In addition to covering significant developments in Chinese security and the People’s Liberation Army, the conference also will address the outcomes of China’s leadership transition as the implications become more clear. Sign up for the Jamestown email list and China Brief to receive updates on the conference.
More information coming soon

Refer to our website to learn more about other conferences and events hosted by The Jamestown Foundation.

New Releases
Militant Leadership Monitor – December Issue
The December issue of Militant Leadership Monitor features profiles of militant leaders across the globe. Andrew McGregor provides a snapshot of a suspect in the Madinat Nasr cell amidst new political turmoil in Egypt. Elie Issa offers a sketch of Omar Bakri Muhammad who has recently called for Jihad in Syria against the Assad regime. Igor Rotar describes Uzbek Imam Obidhon Nazarov whose recent attempted assassination could push formerly peaceful Salafists to join the more extreme Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Dominic Kalms delves into a profile of the El Salvadorian MS-13 Leader Borromeo Enrique Henriquez Solórzano who, while languishing in prison for over a decade, has risen to become the nominal leader of MS-13. 
Quarterly Special Report – Mayhem in Mali

In this Quarterly Special Report (QSR) on Mayhem in Mali, we focus on the various Islamist fighters who have taken over northern Mali. The QSR includes profiles of important personalities in the Sahel region such as Abou Zeid, a brutal, committed and resilient militant under whose leadership AQIM has become extremely realist and results-oriented, tinged with a ruthlessness. A portrait is also provided of former AQIM leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar whose strong knowledge of the territory, connections with local gangs and his links with Tuareg groups via intermarriage have allowed him to play a

prominent role in the region. Another sketch in the QSR is of AQIM’s new Saharan amir Jemal Oukacha whose appointment can be seen as an attempt by the Boumerdes-based leadership to reassert their authority in the wild Sahara/Sahel sector. A snapshot of  the commander of MUJWA’s Osama bin Laden brigade, Ahmed el Tilemsi, is included along with description of MUJWA’s split from AQIM, which occurred under his leadership in 2011. The concluding profile is of veteran Tuareg rebel Iyad ag Ghali, the head of Mali’s Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad, a small Salafist group.

We focus not only on the leadership of the West African states and African Union in tackling the problem but also on the lack of resolve by all parties involved in the military intervention and the interrelated assembling of Islamist and Tuareg rebel forces.

The Economic Community of West African States has endorsed a military intervention operation in the northwest side of the beleaguered Sahel belt that is scheduled to begin in January. ECOWAS will send 3,300 troops to northern Mali to “regain the occupied regions in the north of the country, dismantle the terrorist and criminal networks and restore effectively the authority of the state over the entire national territory,” said Ramtane Lamamra, the commissioner for peace and security of the African Union which has endorsed the plan. 

The ECOWAS military operation might have difficulty getting started by January, however, chiefly because the roles of the 15 member states are uncertain. A leaked internal ECOWAS assessment of the Nigerian armed forces, which would lead any ECOWAS intervention, says the Nigerian armed forces are in terrible shape and unlikely to be able to carry out anything more than rear-area support and security operations. Algeria may find itself compelled to join the campaign as the price of keeping Western troops out of it. Alternatively, there is also the possibility of a quick deterioration of the situation in northern Mali before then or even a preemptive al-Qaeda strike designed to warn off possible

participants in the intervention. 

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Hot Issues
Wladimir van Wilgenburg’s Hot Issue “New Arab-Kurdish Front Could Strengthen Assad” is now available. Wilgenburg examines the clashes between Kurdish militias and armed Syrian opposition groups in Aleppo starting at the end of October in Ras al-Ayn near the Turkish border, which have raised the specter of a possible Arab-Kurdish civil war in Syria. He describes how an Arab-Kurdish civil war would weaken the efforts of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and non-FSA affiliated groups to take over strategic areas in northern Syria such as oil-rich Hasakah province and Aleppo. Any fighting between the Syrian armed opposition and Kurdish militias trying to establish their authority in Kurdish-dominated areas could strengthen the resolve of the Assad-government.
The Hot Issue, “The Face of Egypt’s Next Revolution: The Madinat Nasr Cell” by Andrew McGregor is now available on our website. McGregor examines the raid by Egyptian security forces in a suburb of Cairo on October 24, which revealed an unexpected intersection of several important threads in the evolving security situation in the Middle East, including a possible revival of domestic terrorism in Egypt, the attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi and Cairo, the

cross-border shipment of Libyan arms, the growing Islamist role in the Syrian insurgency, the growth of Islamist militancy in the Sinai, the return to arms by political prisoners freed during the Egyptian Revolution, a possible reversal in the declining fortunes of Egypt’s internal security services and a new direction for a beleaguered al-Qaeda leadership.

The Hot Issue,Traits and Orientations of China’s New Politburo Standing Committee” by Willy Lam is now available on our website. Lam takes a first look at the composition of China’s new leadership that was announced on November 15. Although the 18th Party Congress was supposed to herald a generational change, outgoing President Hu Jintao’s generation continues to hold five of the seven seats on the Politburo Standing Committee. Moreover, as Lam points

out, China’s new leaders led by new party General Secretary Xi Jinping, are largely conservative and are not known for proposing innovative solutions to China’s fiscal and development problems.

Media Appearances
Senior Fellow Andrew McGregor was interviewed by Radio France International in an article entitled “Mali: EU aid to states, Washington expressed doubts about the level of ECOWAS.”
Jamestown’s Chris Zambelis was interviewed on the use of social media in the Syrian uprising for Cross Cultural Reporting.
Jamestown Senior Fellow Dr. Willy Lam was interview by the Los Angeles Times about the outcomes of China’s 18th Party Congress for the article, “China’s Communist Party Wraps Up Congress with Little Sign of Reform.”
Jamestown Senior Fellow Andrew McGregor was cited by Toronto Star in an article entitled “Death of Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari heightens Mideast tensions.”
An article by Jamestown’s Chris Zambelis entitled “Heeding the Call for Jihad”: The Sudden Resurgence of Baloch Nationalist Militancy in Iran” was posted on the Gulf 2000 News Thread.
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