Terror’s future after the death of Bin Laden

As the history of the twentieth and twenty-first century teaches us, Africa is a continent marked by wars of eternally warring factions, who side against one another committing – at times – the most horrendous crimes.What we are witnessing today in Africa are continuous conflicts between the Islamic state and al-Qaeda: causing a genocide that has been perpetuated for years, claiming thousands of victims every day. Africa has thus become the land where clashes for the leadership of terror is everyone’s business. This causes the proliferation of bloody attacks: the latest one is the recent attack in the Ivory Coast, where we could clearly observe the collaboration between different armed groups related to al-Qaeda.

Photo credits: Wikimedia/ CC BY 2.0/Le Mali entame le dialogue avec les Touaregs

Photo credits: Wikimedia/ CC BY 2.0/Le Mali entame le dialogue avec les Touaregs

The history of these kinds attacks is long: since the dissolution of the al-Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden, different terror groups were created which all developed autonomously even if they had common origins. But now something is changing inside of terror organizations. As well explained by Marco Di Liddo, an analyst of Ce.S.I (Centro Studi Internazionali in Rome):

“These groups have well understood the importance of cooperating in order to achieve higher goals. Working separately, in fact, would not guarantee them the same results.”

In other words they have rediscovered their common origins, which had functioned as common ground for many years, but that after the death of the sheikh of terror, Osama Bin Laden, had not been able to hold together the different leaders who in the meantime had separated. A diaspora that now is experiencing a phase of re-stitching. “Only this was,” continued Di Liddo, “al-Qaeda can compete with its rivals of the Islamic state.”

Macrocosm and microcosm. Globality and local realities

Photo credits: Wikimedia/ ArnoldPlaton - Own work, / CC BY-SA 3.0/

Photo credits: Wikimedia/ ArnoldPlaton – Own work, /Boko Haram Logo/ CC BY-SA 3.0/

Everything is suddenly changed when ISIS began to expand its territory and stealing domains to al-Qaeda. In these groups of terror there is an ongoing relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm, between the global and the regional realities that are more closely interwoven with the cracks of the social fabric.

“Then there are local realities” continued Di Liddo, “where war is not experienced directly: as is the case of the Nigerian armed group Boko Haram which dominates unrivalled.”

The conflict thus generated between Isis and al-Qaeda is essentially a conflict for monopolies, as it is happening today in Libya and Syria. “In Libya they are fighting for people’s support,” Di Liddo explains, “both the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. The former governs Derna and Sirte, while the latter has the control of Benghazi.” Then there are countries in Africa where the “career” of terror in the world is guaranteed by a continuous change of the roadway. “And ‘the case of today’s Algeria,” he told Di Liddo, “but it could be so for Somalia in some time.”

Photo credits: Energyfuse.org

Photo credits: Energyfuse.org

Isis and al-Qaeda in Africa. What will happen next?

Regardless of the continuous contentions for territory, in Africa the Islamic state and al-Qaeda have carved out of the boundaries within which to exercise their power. One way to have no rivals.  Al-Qaeda is thus strong in Saharan Africa and Western Europe, while the Islamic state has the dominance in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Tunisia. But Africa continues to be a “land of blood.” The expansion of al-Qaeda is scary both for the African population as well as for the West. “Al-Qaeda today boasts a top-leading strategic profile” has yet explained Di Liddo, “The presence of Belmokhtar at the leadership of the organisation has allowed this terror group to win over Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.” But also the infrastructural conflict between Isis and al-Qaeda is strong in Africa. If the Islamic state is strong in the state model, al-Qaeda has primacy in the dissemination of propaganda. So we could say that today Africa is under attack of al-Qaeda: the undisputed master of the news media. Nevertheless, the Islamic State will not stand back and watch. It will continue its bloody fight for new conquests. Africa is a “land of blood” that struggles to find peace.

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Stefano Boscolo

Stefano Boscolo

Stefano Boscolo was born in Turin in July 1986. He graduated in Literature and with honours cum laude in Comparative Modern Culture at the University of Turin. He is the author of several publications and of a dissertation on "The image of Christ, Marian devotion and the meaning of salvation in the poetry of Karol Wojtyla". He is completing a master degree in Philology and Literature of Antiquity. He is auditor-student at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy - Turin.