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Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Paperback)

Shadow of Terror over The Sahel, from 2007

Modern Warfare Afghanistan Military

By Al J. Venter
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: History of Terror
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 80
ISBN: 9781526728739
Published: 2nd May 2018


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Author article: How Africa Is Becoming The Western Front In The Struggle Against Militant Islam as featured by Forces Network

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Insurgencies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere – the majority linked to Al Qaeda – are in the news on an almost daily basis. But very little surfaces about a festering insurgency that has been on the go for six years in West Africa under the acronym of AQIM, or al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. This low-level series of guerrilla conflicts is widespread and sporadic, covering an area as vast as Europe. Nigeria has been drawn into the equation because its Boko Haram insurgent faction maintains close ties with AQIM and Islamic State.

For now though, the focus is on Mali where several jihadist groups – despite formal peace agreements – remain active. Involved is the French army and air force as well as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) as well as the European Union Capacity Building Mission (EUCAP).

The insurrection that fostered all this broke out early 2012 when President François Hollande announced the beginning of Operation Serval. Five hours later the first squadrons of French Gazelle helicopter gunships began attacking Islamist columns. A day later French fighter jets based in Chad, almost 2,000 kilometres away, were making sorties against rebel ground targets in northern Mali.

Following on from his feature about dirty bombs, author Al J Venter writes about another alarming development – the spread of Islamic fundamentalist terror in recent years into Africa, and, in particular, West Africa.

Forces Network

As featured in

South African Military Veteran Newsletter

Featured 'ON THE SHELF' by Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, May 2018

About Al J. Venter

Al J. Venter is a specialist military writer and has had 50 books published. He started his career with Geneva’s Interavia Group, then owners of International Defence Review, to cover military and related developments in the Middle East and Africa. Venter has been writing on these and related issues such as guerrilla warfare, insurgency, the Middle East and conflict in general for half a century. He was involved with Jane’s Information Group for more than 30 years and was a stringer for the BBC, NBC News (New York) as well as London’s Daily Express and Sunday Express. He branched into television work in the early 1980s and produced more than 100 documentaries, many of which were internationally flighted. His one-hour film, Africa’s Killing Fields (on the Ugandan civil war), was shown nationwide in the United States on the PBS network. Other films include an hour-long programme on the fifth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as AIDS: The African Connection, nominated for China’s Pink Magnolia Award. His last major book was Portugal’s Guerrilla Wars in Africa, nominated in 2013 for New York’s Arthur Goodzeit military history book award. It has gone into three editions, including translation into Portuguese.

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