7. The U.S.- Maghreb relations in the aftermath of 9/11

On the 11th of September 2001, 19 men hijacked four commercial airliners. Two planes were deliberately driven into the twin towers of the Wold Trade Centre in New York City and another into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defence in Washington D.C., causing large scale destruction and death of some 3,000 people, mostly civilians. The fourth plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania, presumably on its way to a fourth highly symbolic target in the Washington area. The terrorist attacks made an immediate impact on U.S. foreign policy, and brought the issues of international terrorism and national security to the top of the U.S. government agenda.

The day after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush declared the strikes by al-Qaeda “more than acts of terror”. They were, he said, “acts of war”, thus signalling that “war on terror” was not just a rhetorical figure of speech but an assertion by the chief of the U.S. Forces of the new national security predicament. On 20 September 2001, President George W. Bush announced his pre-emption doctrine and the premises of his “war on terror” in his Address to a Joint Session of Congress and to the American People. “Our response”, he said, “involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism”. Still more dramatically, America’s friends had to prove their loyalty by taking concrete steps in that global war. As Bush put it, “No nation can be neutral”, and by requiring governments to stand up and be counted, the United States would be able to single out the hostile regimes and deliver punishments or favours accordingly.

While the speech was in response to the events of 9/11, and though its immediate targets was the al-Qaeda organization and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the “war on terror” claimed to be a redefinition of U.S. national security strategy and called for pre-emptive action against the terrorist threat. Bush’s pre-emption doctrine not only made no distinction between a terrorist organization and the “rogue” states believed to support it, but in a more aggressive stance, it did not allow neutrality, forcing countries around the world to choose sides in the U.S.-led campaign against terror.

Since 9/11, the United States has demonstrated greater attention to the Maghreb region due partly to the upsurge of Islamist activism in the area and to the fact that some members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, the so-called “Arab-Afghans”, were of North African origin. The post 9/11 period also saw a reinforcement of U.S. presence in the region, marked notably by a significant development of military and security cooperation between the United States and the four North African countries, accompanied by a series of initiatives to secure U.S. economic interests in the region.

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Post-9/11 U.S- Algerian relations: an enhanced yet guarded relationship

Moving swiftly after the 11th of September 2001 attacks, President Bush began to drum up support for his war on terrorism which became the focus and rallying cry of the U.S. foreign policy. In the Maghreb region, it brought Washington to a significant re-ordering of its relations with countries which it had neglected like Algeria or ostracised like Libya.

Algeria which had been fighting its own internal battle against terrorism for nearly a decade was quick to express its support for the United States and its war on terrorism. For that country as for most governments of the region, the war on terrorism offered a chance of reinforcing their relations with the United States whose support they needed to improve their international standing or to solve their domestic or regional problems.

Actually, since the coming in office of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the ending 1990s, relations between the United States and Algeria had considerably improved. Even if political differences had not totally disappeared, they were more muted. Algeria was no longer by-passed by U.S. officials on their visits to the Maghreb region. The Algerian President was invited to the White House on his official visit to the United States in July 2001. But it was the dramatic events of the 11th of September which contributed to accelerate the rapprochement between the two countries and to advance U.S.-Algerian co-operation, notably on security and military matters to a level that had never been reached before. These matters were at the centre of the talks between the two presidents when the Algerian president visited the White House in November 2001, for the second time in four months. The two presidents met again at the U.N. in September 2003. Another sign of the growing relationship between the United States and Algeria was the invitation extended to the Algerian president to attend the June 2004 G-8 Sea Island Summit where the “Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative” was introduced and promoted by the American president.

Cooperation on intelligence and security matters improved considerably. Algerian services increased information sharing with their U.S. counterparts and provided lists of suspected militant Islamists who had taken refuge in Europe and America. On his second visit to Washington in November 2001, which was mostly concerned with the war on terrorism, the Algerian president sought increased aid and advanced equipment, such as night-vision systems and sensors to facilitate search-and-destroy missions against Islamist armed groups. Similar requests by previous Algerian officials had consistently been turned down by the U.S. government. After 9/11, Washington decided to increase its military assistance to a country which the U.S. State Department was now hailing as a “front-line state in the war on terror”.

In the first four years after the New York attacks, Algeria received more than ten times the amount of military assistance it had received in the previous twelve years. Licensed Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) totalled over $ 350 million between fiscal year 2002 and fiscal year 2005 and consisted of aircraft spare parts, radar systems and other military electronics as well as riot control chemicals. About $ 17 million more in DCS was projected during fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2007 (1). Algeria was eligible in fiscal year 2007 to receive Excess Defence Articles (EDA) on a grant basis under Section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act (2). The United States also provided the country with several sources of counter-terrorism training and funding. Algeria became a beneficiary of the Regional Defence Counter-terrorism Fellowship

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Programme (CTFP) and received $ 200,000 in fiscal year 2005, with $ 100,000 budgeted in both fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2007. Further funding was made available to expand the country’s counter-terrorism capabilities through the Anti-Terrorism Assistance programme (ATA) which was part of the Non-proliferation, Anti-terrorism, De-mining, and Related (NADR) programmes. The country also received $ 482,000 from the NADR-ATA account in fiscal year 2005 and $ 575,000 was requested for fiscal 2007 (3). In addition, Algeria benefited of an International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme for training Algerian military personnel in the United States which amounted to a modest $ 67.000 for fiscal year 2002. However, improving U.S.-Algerian relations led to a substantial increase in IMET with $ 612,000 and $ 722,000 in fiscal year 2003 and fiscal year FY 2004, respectively. Algeria was slated to receive $ 850,000 and $ 750,000 in IMET funding for fiscal year 2005 and fiscal year 2006 respectively.

The U.S.-Algerian military cooperation was also intensified. A Joint Military Dialogue was launched, increasing direct military contacts between the two countries. In May 2005, the United States and Algeria met for their first formal military dialogue in Washington; the second joint military dialogue took place in Algiers in November 2006. Washington had also come to recognise the pivotal role the North African states could play in the safeguarding of security in the Mediterranean, a vital area for the Atlantic Alliance. A programme of cooperation, as well as joint operations in the Mediterranean with Algerian forces were established following President Bouteflika’s visits to Washington in December 2001, and to NATO headquarters in Belgium in December 2002. Algeria participated in the NATO-Mediterranean dialogue and expressed interest in joining in NATO’s maritime operations to counter and deter terrorist activity in the Mediterranean. Since then, U.S. and Algerian naval forces have conducted joint exercises in the Mediterranean, and Algeria has hosted a number of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ship visits.

The NATO Supreme Allied Commander for U.S. European Command, General James L. Jones visited Algeria in June and August 2005, and then in early 2006. FBI Director Robert Mueller and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld visited Algeria as part of a three-nation North African tour which included neighbouring Tunisia and Morocco to discuss cooperation in the fight against terror. The Secretary’s tour followed an earlier NATO Ministerial Conference in Taormina, Sicily that had included the three North African states.

Beside the significant increase of military cooperation, contacts in key areas of mutual concern were bolstered, marking a watershed in U.S.-Algerian relations. The U.S. and Algeria consulted closely on key international and regional issues, and the pace of senior-level visits accelerated. In June 2003, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman travelled to Algeria, followed by the October 2003 and May 2004 visits of Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns. Speaking on his first visit to Algiers on 3 December 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell went public declaring that the U.S. relationship with Algeria “has never been stronger than it is today” as a result of its “exceptional cooperation” in the war against terrorism and its growing economic ties with the United States.

In April 2006, Algerian Foreign Minister Mohammed Bedjaoui met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who visited Algiers in September 2008. The message regularly delivered on those occasions by U.S. officials was that Washington had much to learn from Algiers on ways to fight terrorism and that increased military assistance was being considered.

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On the other hand, Algeria sought to launch a campaign in the United States to attract more U.S. investments. Those efforts resulted in the setting-up of the U.S.-Algerian Business Council (US-ABC) in 2002 in Virginia. It comprised fifty large-scale Algerian and American companies amongst whom Boeing, Anadarko, Air Algérie, Saidal and Sonatrach.

On the first visit of President Bouteflika to Washington in July 2001, the two countries had then signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which set up common principles on which the economic relationship between the two countries, thus providing a platform for further bilateral agreements. Two additional agreements were annexed to TIFA covering double taxation and investment protection. TIFA had a boosting effect on U.S. direct investment in Algeria raising it from $ 3.3 billion in 2003 to $ 5.45 billion in 2007, mostly in the petroleum sector which U.S. companies dominate. Apart from oil, American companies in Algeria were mainly active in the pharmaceuticals, medical facilities, telecommunications, aviation, sea water desalination, energy production, and new information technology sectors.

Algeria is the United States’ second-largest trading partner in the Middle-East/North African region. U.S.-Algeria total bilateral trade reached nearly $ 20.6 billion in 2008. U.S. exports to Algeria, mainly machinery, transport and telecommunication equipments, cereals, iron and steel, totalled $ 1.25 billion in 2008. U.S. imports from Algeria reached nearly $ 9.35 billion in 2008 (4), mostly in petroleum products (about 85%) and liquefied natural gas / LNG (about 15%).

A number of corporate world companies like Xeros or Microsoft run their investment from a distance because of concern over security in the country. The other aggravating factors most commonly mentioned by potential investors and foreign chanceries alike had been the slow pace of reforms, bureaucracy, and lack of transparency. With the result that the hydrocarbons sector with such companies as Halliburton, Anadarko, Exxom, Mobil, and Hess Amerada, has continued to concentrate the largest part of U.S. investments in Algeria. Furthermore, U.S. companies strongly lobbied to have the Algerian government open up its petroleum sector to privatization, a goal that was nearly achieved when a new petroleum law was issued in March 2005. The new law stated that foreign companies could own up to 70% of the discovered oil wells, a matter which met with serious opposition from both nationalist and leftist parties as well as from the General Algerian Labour Union (UGTA). The law that had never come into effect was revised in November 2006 when President Bouteflika approved the introduction of several legal amendments that blocked foreign majority ownership of new oil wells. The new dispositions returned to the national oil company, SONATRACH, the right to own 51 % of new oil findings, besides maintaining 100% ownership of all its finds. That decision closed the chapter of the government’s controversial plan to open part of Algeria’s vital oil sector to privatization.

In response to that decision, the State Department released, early in March 2007, its 2006 Human Right Report on Algeria. The report presented a long list of human rights violations, and more specifically arbitrary arrests, reports of abuse and torture, limited judicial independence, restrictions on civil liberties including freedom of speech and press, detention of journalists, limitation of religious freedom, and finally branding the country for corruption and lack of government transparency (5).

Signs of tension in the U.S.-Algerian relationship had actually appeared in the summer of 2006 with the case of the “Brown and Root-Condor Company”. An affiliate of Halliburton, Brown and Root-Condor was a joint venture between a Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, and the National Oil Company, SONATRACH and another Algerian company.

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KBR held 49 % and SONATRACH 51% of the shares of BRC. The company was involved in several projects in Algeria including head office buildings for ministries in Algiers, military hospitals in Blida, Constantine and Oran, as well as the enlargement of military air bases near Bou Saada and Tamanrasset, in the South.

In September 2006, the company came under investigation from the Algerian authorities for contracts obtained without being subject to public tender as stipulated in Algerian law. In December 2006, a roadside bomb and gunfire targeted two buses carrying employees of the Brown & Root-Condor Company while they were returning to their offices in their residence, a seaside hotel a few miles from Algiers. The terrorist attack was the dramatic culmination of a year in which the Algerian leaders had kept their distance from the Bush administration. Difficulties had begun with the U.S. occupation of Iraq and its support to Israel whose bombing of Lebanon, and disproportionate use of force against the Palestinian territories caused reprobation and anger amongst wide segments of the Algerian population.

Finally, another potential cause of dissent between Algiers and Washington was over America’s military presence in Africa. A high ranking U.S. delegation seeking a hosting country for a new military command in Africa ran into opposition when it visited Algeria in February 2007. Algeria ruled out hosting the Pentagon’s planned Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, and said it was firmly against any of its neighbours doing so either. On that occasion, Algerian leaders went public in expressing their opposition publicly and marked their distance from the Pentagon.

Morocco, U.S. closest ally in North Africa and the Arab world

Morocco was among the first Arab and Muslim states to denounce the 9/11 attacks on the United States and to declare its solidarity with the American people in the war against terror. Morocco proved once more to be one of the most reliable and closest allies of the United States in the region, thus reinforcing its position as a solid anchor for the American presence, notably through the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.

The end of the Cold War had seen a reduction of U.S. economic and military assistance to Morocco but it soon regained its position as U.S. major ally in the Arab world by supporting President Bush Senior’s Gulf War in 1991. Morocco was one of the first Arab states to condemn Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and had sent troops to help defend Saudi Arabia. The attacks of 11 September upgraded the importance of the Maghreb region as an area of first security interest to the United States and reinforced at the same time Morocco’s position on the front lines in the global war against terrorism. The Bush administration was highly appreciative of Rabat’s consistent support and its assistance in tracking down al-Qaeda suspects, many of whom were of Moroccan origin. A Moroccan imam was a spiritual mentor to the Hamburg cell that helped execute and support the 9/11 attacks. A French of Moroccan parentage, Zacarias Moussaoui, was tried in the United States as the twentieth hijacker for 9/11 while eighteen Moroccans allegedly linked to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan were detained at the U.S. Naval base of Guantanamo.

In June 2002, a plot to attack British and U.S. Navy ships in the Straight of Gibraltar with explosives-laden dinghies was foiled. The operation appeared to have been inspired by the al-Qaeda’s attack on U.S.S. Cole off Yemen in 2000. The May 2003 Casablanca bombings and the March 2004 bombing of commuter trains in Madrid, Spain in which Moroccan expatriates were implicated, highlighted the threat of trans-national terrorism in the area.

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Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States has taken a number of concrete steps to further reinforce its relationship with Morocco including increasing military and economic aid to the country, concluding a free trade agreement, and sponsoring an international conference in Rabat on reform as part of the Bush administration’s “Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative (BMENA)”. On his visit to three North African states in December 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced a massive increase in U.S. aid, ostensibly as a reward to Morocco for its counter-terrorism cooperation. The U.S. planed to double its military assistance and to more than quadruple its non-military assistance from 2004. Furthermore, in recognition for its efforts to thwart international terrorism, the United States designated Morocco a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization U.S. ally in June 2004. The category also included Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, and other pro-western Asian nations.

As a result of the designation, the U.S. military gained access to Morocco military ports and bases in exchange for U.S. financial assistance to the Moroccan military. Such assistance under the U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programmes totalled $ 10 million in fiscal year 2004 and reached $ 15.1 million in fiscal year 2005 (6). The designation also meant to make it easier for American companies to sell arms to Morocco. Morocco hosted and participated in NATO military exercises, and also joined in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour. Under the latter, NATO ships patrol the Mediterranean, monitoring shipping and providing escorts to non-military vessels through the Straits of Gibraltar to help detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity. The operation had developed out of NATO’s immediate response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.

In December 2007, the Defence Department announced an FMF sale to Morocco for 24 F-16 aircraft and as well as associated equipment and services for $ 2.4 billion. In fiscal year 2008, Morocco received an estimated $ 15.3 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF), $ 3.6 million in Foreign Military Assistance (FMF). $ 1.7 million for International Military Education and Training (IMET), $ 496,000 for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE), and $ 1.3 million for Non-Proliferation, Antiterrorism, De-mining, and Related Activities (NADR) programmes (7). The NADR funding was to finance new operations and equipment that Morocco needed to develop its support of the Global War on Terrorism while the INCLE funds were to help address the challenges of illegal migrations, smuggling of goods, narcotics production and to strengthen Moroccan law enforcement institutions that assist the U.S. in the war against terrorism.

In addition to military assistance, the United States provided substantial economic assistance. In 2005, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided over $ 25 million in foreign assistance to Morocco, with 43 percent devoted to trade capacity building to take full advantage of the opportunities that the Free Trade Agreement would provide. The remaining funds were used to support such major goals as improving governmental capacity and transparency, fostering economic growth and private sector development, and undertaking educational reform. Educational funds were particularly to focus on increasing opportunities for skills development and workforce training by improving the capacity of schools to deliver quality and relevant education. Civil society, women’s rights, and youth issues were recognized and addressed as crucial aspects of U.S-Moroccan comprehensive efforts to combat extremism. The amount of the USAID assistance to Morocco in fiscal year 2006 was $ 19.2 million with an estimated $ 18.9 million allotted for fiscal year 2007.

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To increase trade exchanges, the United States signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2004 which came into force in January 2006. It provided for more than 95% of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products to become duty-free immediately upon entry into force of the agreement, with all remaining tariffs to be eliminated within nine years. It made broad commitment to open services markets. U.S. financial service suppliers such as banks and insurance companies would have the right to establish subsidiaries and joint ventures in Morocco. Non-discriminatory access was to be given to the national telecommunications networks and markets. Each government was committed to publish its laws and regulations governing trade and investment, and to apply fair procedures in administrative proceedings covering trade and investment matters. Each government also committed itself to combat corruption, prohibit bribery, and establish appropriate criminal penalties for violators.

There are over 120 American businesses operating in Morocco, having invested $ 2.2 billion and having created over 100,000 direct or indirect jobs. Morocco-U.S.A. total bilateral trade reached $ 2.313 million in 2008, an increase of 20% compared to 2007. Morocco exports to the USA totaled $ 878 million in 2008 with top exports including electrical machinery, fertilizers, preserved foods, and fruits. U.S. exports to Morocco in 2008 amounted to $ 1.435 million (8). The top export categories were: aircraft, cereals, machinery, iron and steel, and vehicles. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) continued to make significant contributions to infrastructure development in Morocco. In 2005, USTDA funded a technical assistance programme on port security and safety related to the Tangier-Med port project in Morocco. When completed, the port is expected to attract billions of dollars in investment and trade.

Tunisia: U.S. reliable and moderate Arab state partner

Although it did not view it as a priority country in the region, Washington has maintained a close cooperation with Tunisia. Relations between the two countries suffered briefly after the 1985 Israeli raid on PLO headquarters in Tunis and in 1990 during the first Gulf War. On both occasions, however, relations warmed again quickly, reflecting solid bilateral ties. Tunisia has consistently supported the United States on a wide variety of issues, and stood as a valuable ally in post 9/11 global war on terrorism.

The Tunisian Armed forces have worked very closely with U.S. forces to achieve a level of skill and operational readiness enhancing Tunisia’s effectiveness as a counter-terrorism partner. The United States and Tunisia have an active programme of joint military exercises. Joint military commissions meet annually to discuss military cooperation and security matters.

Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds represent the largest part of U.S. aid to Tunisia. The amount of Foreign Military Financing to Tunisia in fiscal year 2005 was $ 10.4 million with an estimated $ 8.4 and $ 8.5 million being requested for respectively fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2007. FMF funding was to help Tunisia modernize its military counter-terrorism programme by providing night vision capabilities and modern communication and surveillance systems, in addition to assisting with logistical needs. These needs were important in the aviation field to improve the military’s operational capabilities to monitor and secure Tunisia’s land borders.

70 percent of the Tunisian military’s equipment is of U.S. origin, but it is ageing and cannot be maintained within Tunisia’s available defence budgets.

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In particular, helicopters, transport and light ground tactical vehicles need to be replaced as they can no longer be supported by U.S. government supply stocks. The fiscal year 2007 FMF was to support the maintenance requirements of critical air and sea assets, tactical support, surveillance, and communications equipment. Tunisia continued to be eligible to receive Excess Defense Articles (EDA), the transfer of which was to assist Tunisia in modernizing its armed forces.

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme amounted to about $ 1.86 million for fiscal year 2005 and 2006 with $ 1.975million being requested for fiscal year 2007. The IMET funds will continue to assist in military technical training for Tunisian non-commissioned and commissioned officers in addition to increasing their familiarity with U.S. military practices including legal and international law training. IMET funds also go to maintenance, logistics and specialist training which are meant to provide soldiers, sailors, and airmen with the skills needed to operate Tunisia’s stocks of U.S equipment, and enhance Tunisia’s value as a regional ally.

The only economic assistance in the fiscal year 2005 Budget Request was included in the $ 150 million for the Middle East Partnership (MEPI) which was launched in April 2003 to support reforms in Arab countries by strengthening civil society, fostering political, economic and education reforms, and promoting women’s rights. The Bush administration has also doubled the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) budget to $ 80 million, to be allocated to the Greater Middle East Initiative. However, the funds requested for the MEPI or NED, are not specifically earmarked for Tunisia, and were to be shared by all the participant countries in the region that were approved to benefit from these funds.

Tunisia had enthusiastically supported the U.S.-North African Economic Partnership (USNAEP), as the Eizenstat Initiative of the late 1990s was then renamed. The project which was designed to promote regional economic integration of the three North African countries allocated over $ 4 million in assistance to Tunisia between 2001 and 2003.

The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), launched in December 2002 by Secretary of State Colin Powell, incorporated the former USNAEP initial goals of economic reforms while adding further projects designed to promote political, economic, and educational reforms in the Arab world. Throughout the end of his first administration and the initial period of his second one, President George W. Bush emphasized his intention to make the promotion of democracy in the broader Middle East, a national security priority of the U.S. foreign policy. The directing principle of this policy line was that greater political freedom and economic and educational reforms in the Arab Middle East were necessary to deprive Islamist radicalism of its oxygen. The President made that point very strongly in his 2004 State of the Union address stating that:
“As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny, despair, and anger, it will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends. So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East” (9).

In 2004, MEPI began issuing small grants directly to NGOs in the Middle East-North African region to support political parties, including moderate, non-revolutionary Islamist parties like the Moroccan Parti de Justice et Developpement (Justice and Development Party or PJD), or human rights organizations. The project has also funded projects favoring economic and educational issues.

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On his visit to the Maghreb region in February 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Tunisia would ultimately result in a Free Trade Agreement. U.S.-Tunisian trade is relatively small in volume as most of Tunisian trade is actually conducted with Europe. In 2008, the United States imported $ 644.1 million in goods from Tunisia and exported £ 502.4 million in goods to Tunisia (10). Colin Powell also announced on that visit plans for the U.S. to open one regional office of the MEPI in Tunis. The Regional Office was to be hosted in the U.S. Embassy and staffed by American diplomats and regional specialists. It was to be responsible for coordinating MEPI activities in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia in close cooperation with the American Embassies in those countries.

In North Africa, MEPI has concentrated its efforts in the areas of democracy promotion and economic reforms. MEPI funds were used for instance for the training of political party staff and bankers in Morocco, parliamentarians in Morocco and Algeria, as well as journalists in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. In the economic sphere, the MEPI programme has funded commercial law initiatives, debt reform, and the development of information technology infrastructures in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. It was also used to help Morocco prepare for Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

However, the American initiative generally received cautious reception in the Arab world. The two most important Arab countries in the region, namely Egypt and Saudi Arabia, made it clear that they wanted nothing to do with the U.S. plan. Although they recognized the need for political and economic reforms in their countries, few Arab countries were prepared to accept programmes emanating from Washington and run by the State Department. Against the background of the continuing war against terrorism, the Middle East Partnership Initiative was largely perceived in the region as the softer side of the hard militarized foreign policy of George W. Bush administration.

The Middle East Partnership Initiative was an important component of the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative, adopted by the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations (G-8) at their Sea Island Summit, Georgia, in June 2004. The initiative endorsed by the leaders of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia was a watered-down version of a U.S. proposal on democratic and economic reforms in the Middle East and North Africa. The Summit saw transatlantic agreement between the United States and its G-8 European partners on the need of political and socio-economic reforms in the Middle East and North Africa. Both sides considered these reforms as essential for their security and the long-term stability of a region, where both had vital interests at stake.

BMENA proposed a U.S.-European framework for the promotion of democracy, a democracy fund, and a regional forum for dialogue. The participants committed themselves to cooperate with the region’s governments as well as business and civil society representatives. Serious differences, however, persisted between the U.S. and their major European partners on how best to achieve these goals. Europeans insisted that change in the Arab world should come from within and not imposed from outside if it was not to be met with resentment or outright opposition. They also stated that reforms should be accompanied by support for a settlement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a point conspicuously absent from the original American proposal and later inserted at the insistence of European countries. European leaders were also worried that the U.S. initiative duplicated their decade-long efforts to engage with Arab countries around the

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Mediterranean on issues of economic and political reform through the European Mediterranean Partnership (EMP), also known as the Barcelona Process. Established in November 1995 the EMP provided a framework for cooperation between E.U. members and their twelve Mediterranean partners (11). It has led to the signing of Association Agreements between the European Union and a number of Arab countries on the rim of the Mediterranean. More recently, the European Union has launched the “European Neighbourhood Policy” (ENP) first outlined in 2003 and which was designed to deepen economic and political ties with the countries across the Mediterranean. Major European powers are pushing for their own Mediterranean Basin Initiative, which will bind all the countries on the rim of the Mediterranean in a trading bloc. Europe already has Free Trade Agreements with Morocco and Tunisia. The E.U. commands two thirds of Moroccan foreign trade. France alone had 40 per cent of Moroccan exports and 30 per cent of its import, compared to just nine per cent and six per cent respectively for the United States. France is also Tunisia’s largest trading partner, and the biggest foreign investor in the country. Algeria is the first client of France in all Africa with exports amounting to 4.2 billion euros in 2007. E.U. exports to the Middle East are almost three times the size of U.S. exports. The figures of the International Monetary fund were roughly $ 64 billion and $ 23 billion respectively for the year 2000.

The MEDA programme, the main financial instrument of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, provided funds which have largely been spent to support economic transition, to gradually create a Euro-Mediterranean trade area, and to offset the social cost of economic reform. Another portion of the MEDA funding has been devoted to promoting good governance on the basis that greater transparency and accountability would contribute to a better business climate.

The American resolution adopted by the leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) countries meeting in Sea Island, Georgia, announced in its first part the launching of a “Partnership for Progress and a Common Future” with countries of the broader Middle East and North Africa. Its second part was a plan for the G-8 to support efforts to advance freedom, democracy, and prosperity in the region. As adopted, the Partnership also established a “Forum for the Future”, a framework for regular ministerial level meetings on political and economic reforms, and for parallel meetings of civil society and business leaders.

The United States pledged $ 15 million over two years to help fund the BMENA programme. Projects will have to draw on the budget of the MEPI -- whose budget was $ 90 million for fiscal year 2004 and $ 75 million for fiscal year 2005-- and other existing aid funds. As European countries were unlikely, on the other hand, to provide money from their own ongoing programmes, it was clear that the BMENA was critically under-funded. The initiative also suffered from the lack of a clear implementation strategy and the absence of concrete projects.

With the cold reception it received in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, U.S. major Arab allies in the region, the lack of enthusiasm of the Europeans, and above all, insufficient financial backing, it was unlikely that the BMENA Initiative could deliver the wide-ranging reforms set by the United States for the region.

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The normalization of the U.S.-Libyan relations

The reversal of the United States’ hostile relationships with Libya was one of the most dramatic outcome of the 9/11 events. After two long decades of confrontation and enmity, the two countries finally managed to clear the ground of all the obstacles that were still blocking a resumption of their diplomatic relations. Conscious that his country was one the potential targets of a possible American retaliation after the attacks on New York and Washington, Qaddafi was quick to dissociate his country from the terrorist action, and was one of the first Arab leaders to “express his condolences” to Washington, and to condemn the attacks as “horrifying and destructive”. The Libyan government also co-operated with American intelligence agencies and provided Washington with information on the activities of al-Qaeda as well as with intelligence about Libyan Islamist militants tied to al-Qaeda. Libya actually considered itself at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates since at least the 1996 assassination attempt against Qaddafi by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an armed Islamist group that was blacklisted by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization.

As a matter of fact, Libya’s commitment to its renunciation of terrorism had come before 9/11. It is worth noting that Libya’s decision to end its support to terrorist organizations was taken in 1999 when Qaddafi decided to cease its support to international terrorism. Among the groups he had financed in the past were the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Spain’s ETA, Italy’s Red Brigades, and Palestinian groups. In April 1999, after 13 years of U.S. sanctions followed by seven years of U.N. sanctions, the Libyan government accepted to turn over to British authorities for trial, two Libyan citizens who were accused by the U.S. of planting the Lockerbie bomb, a move that resulted in the suspension of U.N. sanctions. Furthermore, Qaddafi expelled the Abu Nidal organization and closed its Libyan training camps. The Clinton administration welcomed this last move as a concrete step towards renouncing terrorism but negative views about Libya remained strong in the U.S. In fact they began to dissipate only after two important decisions were announced by the Libyan government. The first was Tripoli’s announcement that it accepted legal responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to a compensation package of $ 10 million to relatives of each of the 270 passengers and crew who were killed in the bombing. The Libyan government tied payments to diplomatic normalisation: Tripoli would pay $ 4 million upon the lifting of the U.N. sanctions; $ 4 million upon the lifting of U.S. sanctions, and the remainder when the U.S. State Department removed Libya from its list of sponsors of international terrorism. Tripoli also agreed to pay compensations for the French UTA airliner bombing over Niger in 1989. The second important step, taken a few months later was Libya’s decision, in December 2003, to abandon all its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Tripoli also revealed the existence of a covert nuclear military program, which it accepted to dismantle completely, pledging to allow monitors to verify the destruction of the programs. As a direct result of that co-operation, and the valuable information provided by Tripoli, U.N. officials were able to uncover and shut down a world-wide network of nuclear technology smugglers. This set in motion the lifting of the U.N and U.S. sanctions which had been imposed on Libya back in the early 1990s.

Just as Libya’s gestures demonstrating its willingness to normalize its relations with the United States came in stages, so too did the rewards and assurances it received. In February 2004, the U.S. State Department reopened a diplomatic mission in Tripoli and lifted the travel ban preventing

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Americans from visiting Libya. In March 2004, U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, William Burns had talks in Tripoli with Colonel Qaddafi. He was the first high ranking U.S. official to visit Libya in more than 30 years. As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Burns had played a leading part in the negotiations with Libya earlier over the Lockerbie settlement. The visit marked improved U.S.-Libyan relations. A few weeks later, Washington upgraded the diplomatic mission to a liaison office, ending an 18-year trade embargo against the country. That same year, Libya authorised a second payment of $ 4 million per family to the relatives of the 270 victims of the 1988 Pan Am Lockerbie bombing, and agreed to pay $170 million to the families of the victims of the 1989 bombing of the French UTA passenger aircraft. On 20 September 2004, the Bush administration lifted both the remaining air travel restrictions and the freeze on Libyan assets, estimated at approximately $ 1.25 billion.

In October 2004, Libya transferred the second in command of the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) Amari Saifi alias Abderrazak al Para to Algeria, where he was wanted on terrorism charges. Qaddafi even urged other Arab governments to fully cooperate with the United States to counter trans-national terrorism. Finally, Libya adhered to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, including the International Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

On 15 May 2005, Washington announced its intention to restore full diplomatic relations with Libya, and to withdraw Libya’s listing as a state sponsor of terrorism. The announcement marked the culmination of a period of improvement and rapprochement in the U.S.-Libyan relations that had begun back in December 2003. American oil companies which had been forced to abandon their oil fields for more than 17 years were now chafing to return to their concessions in Libya. On the other hand, the Libyan government, desperate to boost its oil exports was eager to have them back. Libya then produced less than half of its 1970 peak production of 3.3 million barrels a day. In July 2005, Occidental Petroleum Corporation was given permission by Libya to resume operations there for the first time in 19 years. It was one of the four U.S. oil majors that had to withdraw from Libya in June 1986 two months after U.S. jets bombed one of Qaddafi's palaces in retaliation for the bombing of a West Berlin night club in which two American soldiers had been killed, and many more wounded. Occidental’s properties and installations had not been nationalised, but only placed in the custody of the Libyan state oil company.

The U.S. oil companies were awarded most of the contracts on offer at the first open licence auction in Libya. Occidental acquired five licences alone, and another in conjunction with the Australian Company, Woodside Petroleum Ltd. Chevron Texaco was allocated the Marzouk Basin south of Tripoli, with Amerada Hess being the other U.S. Company to win a licence. In December 2005, it was also announced that three U.S. firms, Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips and Amerada Hess had signed a deal with Libya to return to the fields they abandoned in 1988. The companies had agreed to pay $ 1.3 billion to return and have their licences extended to 2034. Libyan National Oil Corporation was to hold nearly 60% of the new oil venture. At he same time, a fourth U.S. firm, Exxon Mobil Corporation signed an agreement for the exploration and production of oil with the Libyan National Oil Company.

On 15 May 2006, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Libya, and its removal from the U.S. list of states that sponsored terrorism.

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The Pan-Sahel Counter-Terrorism Initiative

Not long after 9/11, the U.S. concern for the security problems in the Maghreb was extending to the Sahel region, a vast semi-arid region between the southern limits of the Saharan desert and the north-western part of Africa where the savana begins. Large parts of that vast area were sparsely populated, and barely controlled by the region’s security forces, raising U.S. concerns over terrorism and related activities. U.S. officials worried that these “grey zones”, with little government control over the trafficking of cigarettes, drugs, and weapons, were running the risk to become entrenched safe havens for Islamist armed groups affiliated to al-Qaeda.

The Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI) came to public attention in November 2002, when the State Department announced that two officials from the Office of Counter-terrorism had visited Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger to discuss with officials in those countries U.S. programmes of cooperation that aimed to put in place a series of counter-terrorism instruments designed to assist the governments of the four Sahelian countries in enhancing their military capabilities against arms smuggling, drug trafficking, and the movements of trans-national terrorists across their borders. The initiators of that programme were primarily the Defence Department and the U.S. commanders in NATO’s European Command (EUCOM) based in Stuttgart, Germany. The Maghreb and the Sahel regions came under the responsibility of EUCOM whose Deputy Commander Charles Wald was instrumental in developing the Pan Sahel Initiative.

The programme began implementation in November 2003. It was funded by the State Department to the amount of $ 6.5 million earmarked for fiscal year 2004. The core of the PSI scheme was to have U.S. Special Forces provide training to troops of the four participating countries. The programme also offered such equipments as pick-up trucks, radios and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to improve the operational qualities of the troops and help governments improve security and border surveillance in their respective country.

In December 2003, the U.S. European Command created a joint task force under the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet to carry out counter-terrorism operations in North and West Africa and to coordinate U.S. operations with the local governments in those regions. More specifically, the joint task force was charged with conducting surveillance operations using the assets of the U.S. Sixth Fleet. The primary assets employed in this effort were a squadron of U.S. Navy P-3 “Orion” based in Sigonella, Sicily. In March 2004, P-3 aircraft from this squadron were deployed to monitor and gather intelligence on the movements of Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) operating in the Sahel region. As part of those operations, U.S. Special Forces cooperated with Algeria and Sahel countries Mali, Niger and Chad against the GSPC. The group had come to public attention when 32 European tourists – 16 Germans, 10 Austrians, four Swiss, a Swede and a Dutchman – were kidnapped in the Algerian Sahara in February 2003 and held for several months by a splinter group of the GSPC led by a former Algerian paratrooper, Amari Saïfi known as “Abderrazak El-Para”. He had reportedly joined the GIA (Islamist Armed Group) in 1992, subsequently becoming second in rank in the GSPC (12).

Following a visit to Algiers of the German foreign minister Joseph Fisher and the head of the federal intelligence service, August Hanning in May 2003, a first group of 17 hostages was freed by the Algerian army a few days later. A second group of 14 hostages was freed 1.000 km away in Mali on 18 August, after Germany, Austria and Switzerland had reportedly paid a ransom of 5 million Euros.

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After releasing the hostages, Saïfi remained in the Malian desert for several months, using the ransom money to acquire new vehicles, equipment and weapons. The United States declared Saïfi a “Specifically Designated Global Terrorist”, a classification also used for Osama Bin Laden and the senior members of al-Qaeda.

For the U.S. Defence Department, Saïfi’s activities became the most evident justification for expanding the U.S. military presence in the Sahel. Following a visit by Secretary of States Colin Powell in October 2003, U.S. military operations in the region were stepped up. The Malian government and militaries were pressured to take a more aggressive stance against Saïfi’s armed groups. And where Mali’s troops were too poorly equipped to be efficient, American Navy P-3 Orion reconnaissance air craft were despatched from Italy to track Saïfi’s movements. American military teams, in northern Mali, monitored operations on the ground and helped local security forces push Saïfi militia from Mali, through Niger and into Chad’s Tibesti mountains. In March 2004, members of the GSPC clashed with troops from Chad, supported by U.S. Special Forces just inside Chad. 43 Salafis fighters from several West and North African countries were killed. The band’s leader, Amari Saïfi escaped but was later captured by a Chadian rebel group belonging to the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT). At the end of October 2004, “El-Para” was eventually handed over to the Libyan government, which sent him to be tried in Algeria.

The American who followed the whole operation most closely was Charles F. Wald, a four-star Air Force General and the deputy commander of U.S.-European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. European Command oversees American troops and military operations in 91 countries, from Europe to the former Soviet Union to Africa. After the 9/11 attacks, General Wald was the key architect in re-developing the Pentagon’s strategy for Northern, Western and Southern Africa.

Starting its operations in January 2004, the U.S. army used substantial resources to support local troops as part of the Pan Sahel Initiative. Some 250 tons of equipment and 350 soldiers were airlifted to the region over two weeks from the Rota airbase in Spain. Later air defence resources were made available from the Royal Air Force bases in Mildenhall and Lakenheath in Britain. Elements of the 32nd Special Operation Group were mobilized to protect the operation. In the weeks before, elements of the 10th Special Forces Group, based in Stuttgart, were sent to supervise training of Malian troops.

In 2005, the United States upgraded the Pan-Sahel Initiative into the Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI) which was expanded to include five new participant countries – Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, and Burkina Faso - into the project. The new initiative represented a further step of the U.S. government to secure a larger front in its global war on terrorism. The TSCTI, renamed later Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), was described in U.S. government documents as “a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy aimed at defeating terrorist organizations by strengthening regional counter-terrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among the region’s security forces, promoting democratic governance, discrediting terrorist ideology, and reinforcing bilateral military ties with the United States” ( 13).

The TSCTP kicked off officially in June 2005 with Exercise Flintlock. This was a Joint Combined Exchange Training operation conducted by units of the U.S. Army Special Forces and the U.S. Army Rangers, along with contingents from other units, to provide training experience both for American troops and for the troops of the participant countries. The operation, which ran

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from 6 to 26 June, was a series of military exercises in which U.S. Special Forces trained their counterparts in more than half a dozen countries bordering the Sahel region. More than one thousand U.S. personnel were sent to North and West Africa for counter-terrorism exercises in Algeria, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Chad that involved more than three thousand local service members. The joint military exercise was described as “U.S. biggest operation in Africa since World War II”. Up to one thousand U.S. personnel and the armed forces of seven countries in the region took part in operation “Flintlock 2005”. The principal purpose of the counter-terrorism training operation was to facilitate cooperation among participating governments in the region, strengthen their regional counter-terrorism capabilities, and help them build up the law enforcement and intelligence infrastructure to prevent terrorist groups from setting up safe havens in the Sahel region.

In September 2006, the GSPC announced that it had joined forces with al-Qaeda, and in January 2007, it proclaimed that it had changed its name to “Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb” (AQMI in its local acronym) to reflect its new allegiance.

In April 2007, U.S. Army Special Forces went to Niger for the first part of “Flintlock 2007” and in August 2007, some 350 American troops arrived in Mali for three weeks of exercises with forces from ten African countries: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia. The U.S. military and State Department, which officially lead the TSCTP programme, planned to spend $ 500 million over 5 years on an annual budget of $ 100 million from 2007 until 2011. This represented a dramatic increase from the $ 30 million allocated to the TSCTP in 2006.

The expansion of U.S. counter-terrorism operations in the region elicited a series of cautionary notes and guarded response both in the United States and in Africa. American analysts cautioned against the “militarization of U.S. foreign policy” in the region and warned that any display of U.S involvement will be exploited by AQMI operatives. (14). Most African governments’ responses to an increased U.S. military presence in the continent was guarded to the point that even U.S. staunch allies in the region were cautious about being seen to welcome the American initiative too warmly. In the Maghreb, Algeria made it clear that it was opposed to the interference of any foreign military force and has taken the lead in considering that the security of the Sahel region was the responsibility of the neighbouring countries and of such regional bodies as the African Union. In April 2010, together with Mali, Mauritania and Niger, Algeria established a collective military command headquartered in Tamanrasset to counter threats posed by AQMI. And to reinforce its point that any initiative against AQMI’s operatives to be strictly regional, Algeria ostensibly abstained from taking part to “Flintlock 2010”, the latest of a series of joint military exercises organized by the United States as part of the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership, which lasted for three weeks, from 3-22 May 2010, and involved about 1200 soldiers, including 600 U.S. special forces, and some 400 African and 150 European troops.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

Early in February 2007, the Bush administration announced that the United States was creating a new unified military command for its operations in Africa. The new U.S. Africa Command headquarters to be known as Africom was designed to coordinate all U.S. military and security

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interests throughout the continent. The focus of Africom’s missions was to be diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian while claiming to aim at prevention of conflict rather than military intervention. Throughout the Cold War and for more than a decade afterwards, the United States did not have a military command for Africa. U.S. military activities on the African continent were divided up between three separate military commands:

  • Central Command (Centcom), which had responsibility for Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya.
  • European Command (Eucom), which was responsible for the rest of the countries in the African continent.
  • Pacific Command (Pacom), which covered Madagascar, the Seychelles and other Islands in the Indian Ocean.

The territory of the new command was due to cover all the African continent except Egypt. It was to include also the islands of Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe, the islands belonging to Equatorial Guinea, as well as the Indian Ocean islands of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Egypt would remain under the direct responsibility of U.S. Central Command as it closely relates to the Middle East.
The Pentagon’s creation of a new unified U.S. military command for Africa reflected the growing importance of Africa to U.S. security and economic interests.

Two strategic objectives were uppermost in the mind of the U.S. decision-makers to establish a unified command for Africa: the first was to tackle the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and prevent its affiliates from using parts of the African continent as safe havens or platforms for their criminal activities; the second priority was to secure oil supplies. The U.S. was already getting about 20% of its oil supplies from West Africa and was committed to increase its supply of oil from the continent to 25% by 2015. Much of that crude oil comes from or through the Gulf of Guinea.

In June 2007, a round of consultations with defence and foreign ministry officials in Algeria and Libya on providing facilities and local back-up for the new command showed a strong opposition to a U.S. military presence on their soil. Even Morocco was careful not to embrace the American plan too warmly. Earlier consultations with sub-Saharan African countries had proved similarly unsuccessful. In spite of American assurances that Africom would not entail any permanent stationing of U.S. troops in Africa, even Washington’s closest allies were uneasy about American plans to establish a new military command for the continent. Nigeria, a key oil supplier to the U.S. made it known that it would not allow its country to be used as a base for the U.S. African military command and that it would prefer to work towards the establishment of an African standby force under regional direction. Nigeria was not alone in its opposition. South Africa and the countries that make up the South African Development Community, known as SADC, did also position themselves against any heightened U.S. military presence in Africa.

Senior Pentagon officials crisscrossed the continent for nearly two years, explaining that they had no plan to build new military bases in Africa and that the only purpose of Africom was to prevent crises on the continent by consolidating regional capabilities, thereby reducing the need for U.S. or multilateral military intervention. Except Liberia -- for obvious historical reasons -- which offered to host a U.S.-African military command base on its territory, most African countries and a number of regional bodies have declared that they did not want a bigger American military presence in the region. Resistance among African governments was so strong that U.S. commanders abandoned their idea to establish Africom headquarters on the continent.

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As for now, they have chosen to base it in Stuttgart, Germany instead, with about two dozen Africom liaison officers posted at U.S. embassies across Africa.

There already exists a more or less developed strategic network of U.S. flexible bases in Africa. An American base in Entebbe airport, Uganda is covering East Africa and the Great Lakes region. Djibouti, where about 1,800 U.S. troops are stationed at Camp Lemonier has already turned into one of the most important U.S. military bases in the continent. From Djibouti, U.S. forces monitor terrorist activism in the Horn of Africa and in East Africa. Located at the narrow Bab el Mandeb Strait at the entrance of the Red Sea, Djibouti is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and close to the Arabian oil fields. The U.S. holds an important concession at Dakar airfield in Senegal, which has already been used as a jumping off point for several operations in West Africa, notably large-scale operations in Liberia, but also smaller missions in neighbouring Mauritania. Sao Tome and Principe is also likely to become a major U.S. military base. The small archipelago – an upcoming oil producer – is strategically placed in the Gulf of Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa’s major oil production area. Here the U.S. military could control this vital waterway, monitor the movement of oil tankers and protect offshore oil platforms.

In North Africa, often considered as “the backyard” of the European Union, the U.S. military presence is more limited but it is in many ways covered by NATO cooperation. NATO has always had a significant maritime presence in the Mediterranean, including the U.S. Sixth Fleet. In addition to this standing naval force in the Mediterranean, NATO has a specific maritime operation, “Active Endeavour” that was launched in the Mediterranean as part of the Global War on Terrorism. The deployment of the operation was one of the measures taken by NATO to support the United States in the wake of 9/11, following the invocation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, NATO’s collective-defence clause, for the first time in the Alliance’s history. The operation’s mission was to conduct naval operations, initially in the Eastern Mediterranean, as a demonstration of NATO’s commitment to the international campaign against terrorism in the Mediterranean .The operation’s area was extended in 2004 and it now covers the whole of the Mediterranean Sea including the Straits of Gibraltar

NATO has further strengthened its relationships with countries across the region, particularly with members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue. The Dialogue reflects the Alliance’s view that security in Europe was closely linked to security and stability in the Mediterranean. Initiated in 1994 by the North Atlantic Council, the Dialogue involved six non-NATO countries of the Mediterranean region: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. Algeria joined the Dialogue in March 2000.
The June 2004 NATO Summit in Istanbul invited non-NATO countries, among them the Mediterranean Dialogue countries, to participate in Operation Active Endeavour. Since then, the three North African states of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia have expressed interest in joining the operation. Levels of participation include political discussions and intelligence sharing as well as providing forces. Morocco was the first Arab country to host a NATO meeting in April 2006 where Morocco and Algeria agreed to join in naval counterterrorism patrols. Tunisia has established information sharing on a regular basis between its maritime operation centre and Allied Maritime Component Command Naples (CC-MAR Naples). It also hosted the June 2007 meeting on NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue in which the Tunisian Defence Minister pledged his country’s commitment to regional co-operation, calling for even stronger partnership with NATO in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration.

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On the other hand, the United States and NATO countries were taking steps to upgrade their assistance to Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, through security programmes aimed at improving their coastal navies and coastguards for a better maritime surveillance of their sea-waters. The U.S. Sixth Fleet is a fundamental element of NATO’s deployment in the Mediterranean. It provides a U.S. Navy presence in the Mediterranean area and carries out training operations to maintain fleet readiness to respond to wartime contingency and peacetime responsibilities. The Sixth Fleet therefore has both U.S. national and NATO responsibilities, hence the perception of NATO in the region as an essentially U.S.-dominated military organization designed primarily to ensure American presence in the Mediterranean and control a vital waterway for the passage of both U.S. warships and oil tankers.

The after-effects of the U.S. War on Terror

The War on Terror has come as a terrible price to the United States not only in terms of costs but it has also greatly affected America’s standing in the Maghreb as well as in the larger Arab-Muslim world.

Less than a week after the attacks of 11 September 2001, President George W. Bush announced his plans for a U.S. “war on global terrorism”. In a speech in which he outlined his doctrine of preventive war against rogues, the President declared that the United States would unilaterally take decisions to meet first and foremost U.S. national interests only, without any concession to other countries’ complaints or to win their support.

A “coalition of the willing” was set up with the U.K. government then led by Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, who in turn, went public to declare that it was entirely legitimate for the United States to wage war against those who were behind the terrorist attacks. Bush’s” War on Terror” began on 8 October 2001 with an air bombardment of Afghanistan by U.S. and U.K forces to rout the Taliban. The U.S. investigations had quickly identified the hijackers behind the attacks of 9/11, and they were linked to al Qaeda, the Islamist radical group set up by Saudi-born Osama Bin Laden and based in Afghanistan. With the help of the Afghan Northern Alliance opposition group, the Taliban regime was quickly toppled. Many alleged members of al Qaeda were captured and flown to the U.S. base of Guantanamo, in Cuba, but most of al Qaeda leadership including Bin Laden managed to escape by slipping behind Pakistan’s North-western frontiers.

As soon as they had routed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan the U.S. forces turned on Iraq, even though it was well-established that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 event. But Iraq, unlike the majority of the other Arab countries, had not condemned the terrorist attacks saying that they were a “lesson for all tyrants and oppressors”, and the results of “American crimes”.

Early in 2002, in his State of the Union address, George W. Bush explained the rationale of the war on terror and started to make his case for a war on Iraq. Later, in September 2002, the U.S. president addressed the U.N. General Assembly, and called on the world leaders to confront the “grave and gathering danger” of Iraq or stand aside as the U.S. acts. On 19 March 2003, the United States invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein and establish democracy there. Although the regime of Saddam Hussein was toppled after three weeks of combat operations, the U.S. occupation marked the beginning of a violent civil war with different factions competing for power. No stockpiles of WMD were discovered in Iraq, which caused considerable damage to the

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credibility of the U.S., tarnished the reputation of American leaders, and seriously undermined their rationale of the “war on terror”. The way war was conducted also raised serious concerns about human rights and civil liberties abuses. The way detainees, officially labelled “unlawful” enemy combatants” were handled at Guantanamo became a constant source of embarrassment for the U.S. government as non governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch protested the legal status and physical condition of prisoners in the detention camp. In a report posted in May 2003, Amnesty International warned that “The ‘war on terror’, far from making the world a safer place, has made it more dangerous by curtailing human rights, undermining the rule of international law and shielding governments from scrutiny. It has deepened divisions among people of different faiths and origins, sowing the seeds for more conflict.” (15).

A year later, a report uncovered numerous incidents of sadistic and criminal abuses of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. The first photographs of detainees abuse that appeared in the media caused revulsion and condemnation throughout the world (16). The fallout from the revelations was devastating, damaging U.S. reputation and dealing a crippling blow to the Bush administration’s “war on terror”. The continuation of the U.S. operations, while they destabilized al-Qaeda, favoured at the same time the formation of new groups and cells inspired by al-Qaeda, but not under its direct control. The Madrid train bombings on 11 March 2004 and the 7 July 2005 London terrorist attacks, both carried out by home-grown terrorists of North-African or Pakistani origin, were their response to Spain and Britain’s involvement in America’s war on global terror.

George W. Bush’s wars on terror also came at an enormous cost that profoundly affected the U.S. economy. According to a non-partisan Congressional Report, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other global war on terror operations cost the nation more than $ 1.283 trillion (17). Other economists argue that the indirect costs of the operations are even greater. Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University and Harvard University professor and expert on U.S. budgeting and public finance, Linda J. Bilmes estimated the total cost of the Iraq intervention at a conservative three trillion dollars (18). It has been established that the conditions that led to the financial crisis in 2008 were shaped in part by the “war on terror”. The invasion of Iraq and its repercussions in the Persian Gulf, contributed to push oil prices up from about $ 30 a barrel in 2003 to peaks of $ 140 a barrel in 2008. This, in turn, threatened to depress U.S. economic activity, which brought the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates. These policies have proved to be, on hindsight, amongst the major causes of the housing bubble and financial crisis that followed.

While the U.S. military forces still remained by far the strongest in the world, the deadliest terrorist attacks ever on American soil marked a major turning point. No event since the attack on Pearl Harbour six decades before has had such an effect in the history of the nation. Overnight, the myth of the invulnerability of the United States protected by two oceans, ingrained in the nation’s collective psyche was shattered on 9/11, both at home and abroad. More politically damaging, the myth of the U.S. as the leading superpower, occupying a position of pre-eminence in world affairs was undermined, dramatically marking the end of U.S. supremacy over the rest of the world.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, virtually all the Arab-Muslim states including the four Maghreb states had expressed their sympathy with the U.S. and supported the Bush administration in its response to the terrorist threat. By 2002 however, this mood started to change. The main irritant

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was U.S. policy towards Iraq and the words in which it was formulated that greatly contributed to a rising tide of anti-Americanism sentiment in the Arab-Muslim world. The decision to invade Iraq in 2003, the Al-Jazeerah television images of the bombing of Baghdad, the civilian Iraqi casualties, and the high levels of violence and scandals which marked the occupation of the country, all fuelled anti-American sentiment in the region and reinforced the ranks of radical Islamism. In this regard, there was a strong opposition between popular and official attitudes in the Arab-Muslim world. While most Arab-Muslim countries including the Maghreb states were anxious to preserve their relations with Washington, their societies strongly disapproved and condemned the U.S. military intervention in Iraq.

In addition to the controversial war against Iraq, the perceived U.S. bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the other aggravating factor that added fuel for more anti-American sentiment in the larger Middle East and North African region.

American writings in response to 9/11

The 9/11 terrorist attacks against America have generated more books than any other single news event in modern history. Soon after Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network claimed responsibility for the attacks, the issue of Islamist terrorism became central to the U.S. public debate. In retrospect, the immediate effect of 9/11 was to give a new edge to the old representation of Islam as a violent and fanatical religion threatening civilization which had been an enduring image in the West since the Crusades. The attacks against America were perceived, in quarters hostile to Islam and Muslims, as confirmation of Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations theory (19) in which war with Islam was presented as an inevitable confrontation that the West had to face. Representative examples of that theoretical framework included such works as veteran historian of the Middle East Bernard Lewis’ The Crisis of Islam (20), journalist Steven Emerson’s American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (21), Middle East analyst Daniel Pipes’ Militant Islam Reaches America (22), or Islamic scholar and columnist Robert Spencer’s Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs (23). Such books and their echoes in the American media contributed greatly to the demonizing of Islam in the U.S. post 9/11 public sphere. The ancient “Orientalist” stereotypes of Muslim fanaticism were back in force as Islam became target of the most damaging representations in the history of its civilization. As it appears from the title of all these books, the distinction between Islam as a faith, and Islamism as the use made of religion by ideologues who posit a political role for Islam is deliberately blurred. Similarly the term “Islamic” is regularly used as a synonym for “Islamist” even by authorities on Islam to qualify what pertains to the religion itself, and what relates to the political use of Islam by radical movements which endeavoured to use Islam as a theocratic ideology.

The decade which followed the terrorist attacks against America also saw the publication of the first fictional writing in which 9/11 was used as a background or contextual element of the narrative. The bulk of these early 9/11 stories were tales of individual experiences, focussing on how the characters’ lives were affected by the public tragedy, and how they reacted to its traumatic aftershocks (24). Few of these works tackled the larger perspective of global terror and its historical and political or cultural aspects. Even those which attempted to do so often ended reproducing the same old stereotypes.

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The issue of Islamist terrorism is at the core of John Updike’s Terrorist (25), the only 9/11 novel that sought to provide insight of the mind of a would-be American home-grown terrorist. The novel tells the story of Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, the son of an Irish-American woman and an Egyptian immigrant who left home, leaving both of them behind. The boy grows up in Northern New Jersey decaying belt, resenting the promiscuity of his mother’s lovers and her “whorish” demeanour. He rejects his Irish-American background and turns to Islam at the age of eleven, because he believes his American peers to be morally impure and godless. Ahmad’s mentor at the local mosque is Shaikh Rashid, a rather sly Yemeni “imam” - or cleric -, who gets him into an Islamist cell. Despite his high school counsellor who encourages him to go to college, Ahmad trains as a truck driver, and eventually ends up in a terrorist plot to blow up the Lincoln Tunnel under the Hudson River.

For all the recognizable stylistic skills of its author, the novel works off stereotypes, with the Islamist “Straight Path” of the young terrorist being opposed to American decay and corruption in a simplistic “ us versus them” mentality, so reminiscent of the Bush doctrine on global terror which made no room for neutral ground.

Most of 9/11 novels written in the wake of the attacks addressed issues of emotional and psychological effects of the event on survivors and their families, and how it impacted their domestic lives rather than confronting the larger historical and political ramifications of global insecurity in a growingly closer and interdependent world.

Don DeLillo’s Falling Man opens, as its back cover describes it, “in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor…” There is an attempt at achieving a larger perspective in Falling Man particularly in dialogues that touch upon the issue of terrorism and upon the perception by those who resent the role of the United States with the rest of the world. At one point in the novel, a former member of a West German terrorist group, now a settled businessman in America is made to take the part of the Devil’s Advocate for the terrorists’ grudges against America’s hegemony.

We’re all sick of America and Americans. The subject nauseates us… Let me say this, for all the danger it makes in the world, America is going to become irrelevant. Soon the day is coming when nobody has to think about America except for the danger it brings, it is losing the center. (25)

The novelist devotes a few rapid snapshots where he tries to probe the thoughts and motivations of the two terrorists on board American Airlines Flight 11, but they remain superficial and fail to come to life. Like most of the other works of fiction on 9/11, Falling Man tends to reproduce some widely circulated clichés about Islam as well as Muslims’ appeal for political violence. With regards to the global ramifications of the cataclysmic event, and considering Don Delillo’s interest in Mao II and Underworld, two of his previous novels set in key moments of recent history namely, the end of the Cold War and the turn of the new millennium, a more serious attempt at addressing the complex causes of the event and more particularly its origins and links would have been expected from the novelist. In retrospect, 9/11 did not come like a bolt out of the blue in the New York sky. Its seeds were sown more than twenty years earlier, when in late December 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan in support of a Marxist-Communist leaning Afghan government which was trying to combat tribal and Muslim traditions within the country. Thousands of Afghan

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Muslims then joined the mujahideen, a guerrilla force that declared “jihad”, or holy war on the Afghan government, and extended it to the Russians who supported it. In the context of the Cold War, fighting communism was then first on the agenda of the U.S. policymakers in the Reagan administration who seized the opportunity to turn Afghanistan into the Soviets’ own Vietnam. The mujahideen received covert U.S. financial and military support, essentially through the CIA. The American services did not ignore that the mujahideen were not in any way in favour of American capitalism and the West than they were of Russian communism, but compared with the risks of Soviet threat, the threat of Islamist fundamentalism appeared far less dangerous to the U.S. strategists. In 1980, resistance intensified with various mujahideen groups fighting Soviet forces and their government allies. The U.S. spent billions of dollars to aid the Islamist groups, including non-Afghan groups like the Bin Laden Arab group. The American military assistance and, most importantly, the supply of the Islamist guerrilla in 1986 with Stinger missiles that were capable to shoot down Soviet helicopter gun-ships, proved eventually crucial in forcing the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s. It was the “Arab-Afghan” veterans of that war -- called “freedom fighters” by U.S. President Ronald Reagan back in 1985 – who returned home with their experience, ideology, and weapons to set up the most radical Islamist groups in their respective countries.

Early in August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, and so began the first Gulf War when American and coalition forces rushed to defend Kuwait and its oil fields. Operation “Desert Storm” (16 January--28 February 1991) was now underway and involved 500,000 U.S. troops deployed in Saudi territory to oust Iraqi forces. About 6,000 U.S. forces mainly Air Force, remained based in the kingdom through to 2003 to conduct operations to contain Iraq and defend Saudi Arabia. That invasion by non-Muslim soldiers of sacred Islamic grounds was seen as offensive, and was one of the driving reasons that turned Bin Laden from a U.S proxy against the Soviet Union into one of its most determined adversaries.

Following “Desert Storm” and his rift with the Saudi leadership, Bin Laden moved to Sudan where he set up his new base of operations for al-Qaeda. From his new sanctuary in Sudan, he then began to link up with groups from all over the Middle East and northern Africa, and put in place his network for his “jihad” against the West and its Arab-Muslim allies. The first actions of al-Qaeda against American interests were the attacks in October 1993 against U.S. special operation forces in Somalia where al-Qaeda fighters are thought to have aided those who shot down the Black Hawk helicopters, killing 18 U.S. servicemen. Bin Laden and al-Qaeda also took credit for the World Trade Center bombing in New York in 1993 which killed six and injured more than one thousand people, raising serious questions about the intelligence faults that failed to prevent the attack. Bin Laden remained in Sudan until the Sudanese government, under U.S. and Egyptian pressure, expelled him in May 1996; he then returned to Afghanistan and helped the Taliban gain control of the country. In August 1996, Bin Laden issued a “Declaration of War against the U.S.” from his hideout in Afghanistan (26). That same year was marked by the killing of 19 U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia.

In February 1998, Bin Laden issued a “fatwa” (27) declaring all American citizens legitimate targets of al-Qaeda. Six months later, it was the bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Dar Es-Salaam and Nairobi that left 258 people dead and many hundreds of others wounded as a result of these two terrorist attacks which made Osama Bin Laden a household name in the West. Al-Qaeda would also be responsible for the October 2000 suicide bombing attack on USS Cole in Aden

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harbour, Yemen, killing 17 U.S. service personnel and injuring 38 others. These terrorist actions culminated on 11 September 2001 when four American airliners were hijacked by members of Bin Laden’s terrorist group to carry four simultaneous suicide attacks that bore the hallmarks of al-Qaeda and left all America in terrible shock. In his Pulitzer Prize winning book (2007), The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Lawrence Wright explained in an astonishing wealth of details the growth of Islamist fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence failures that led up to 9/11.

It remains to be seen whether an American fiction writer will attempt to address the deep historical perspective of the long road to 11 September 2001. So far those American novelists who wrote about 9/11 have generally retreated to the domestic sphere and have mostly focussed on the emotional and existential impact of the tragic event on their own lives. But instead of being an examination of the individual life of a few American citizens seized at a particular moment in American history, the subject of the 9/11 novel, yet to be written, should span in scope and narrative modes America itself in its relation with the rest of the world, a work of literature that would do for America of the turn of the new millennium what John Dos Passos’s USA trilogy did for America of the interwar years.

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Notes

(1) Source: Centre of Defence Information, Algeria, 2007.
http://www.cdi.org/pdf/Algeria.pdf.

(2) Algeria was the recipient of several arms transfers between 1990 and 2001, importing just over $16.5 million in Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) and $2.72 million in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) during this period. However, FMS stopped in the mid-1990s. Algeria had stopped receiving articles through the Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme between FY 1990 and FY 2001.
Source: Centre of Defence Information, Algeria, 2007.
http://www.cdi.org/pdf/Algeria.pdf

(3) Source: CDI, op.cit.

(4) Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics, U.S. Trade Balance with Algeria, pp. 2-3.
http://www.census.gov/foreign -trade/balance/c7210.html

(5) U.S. State Department’s 2006 Country Report on Human Right Practices, on Algeria, issued on 6 March, 2007.
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78849.htm

(6) Source: CRS Report for Congress, RL 32260, “U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East: Historical Background, Recent Trends, and the FY 2007 Request”, Updated December 21, 2006, by Jeremy M. Sharp, p. 18.

(7) Source: CRS Report for Congress, RS21579, “Morocco: Current Issues”, by Carol Migdalovitz, 4 December, 2008, p. 6.
http://www.crs.gov/html

(8) Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics, U.S. Trade Balance with Morocco, pp. 2-3.
http://www.census.go/foreign-trade/balance/c 7140.html

(9) George W. Bush, “2004 State of the Union Address”, delivered 20 January 2004.

(10) Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics, U.S. Trade Balance with Tunisia, pp. 2-3.
http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c7230.html

(11) The twelve E.U. regional partners are Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus and Malta.

(12) The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) was founded in 1998 as an offshoot of the GIA. Both were on the U.S. State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The GSPC had split from the GIA, claiming to disagree with GIA indiscriminate attacks of civilians and preferring to target the military forces, the Algerian regime, and the foreign companies which worked with it.
“Salafist” means fundamentalist in Arabic, in the sense of going back to the Islam of the beginning. The terms “salafist” or “jihadist” are presently used to refer to those islamist radicals who hold extremist views, and advocate the use of violence and terrorism to achieve their political objectives.

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13. TSCTP, Foreign Assistance Performance Publication, FY2009 Foreign Assistance Goals, United States Department of State.
http://www.africom.mil/tsctp.asp

14. Colin Thomas-Jensen and Maggie Fick, “Foreign Assistance Follies in Niger”, published on Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
http://csis.org/print/18384

15. “Amnesty International: No Shortcut to Genuine Security”, 31 May, 2003.
http://www.globalissues.org/article/427/amnesty-international-no-shortcut-to-genuine-security.

16. Actually, U.N. envoy and former Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi had warned a couple of weeks before that addressing Iraqi concerns over the conditions under which prisoners were being held in Iraq was an urgent priority for the U.S, occupation authorities.

17. Congressional Research Service: “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Since 9/11”, by Amy Belasco, Specialist in U.S. Defense Policy and Budget, March 2011.
http://www./crs/org/RL33110.

18. Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, New York: W.W. Norton, 2008.

19. Samuel T. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.
The theory on the “Clash of Civilizations” was presented earlier by Samuel Huntington in an article in the summer 1993 issue of the “Foreign Affairs” review.
The phrase “The Clash of Civilizations” had been used earlier by Bernard Lewis in an article published in the September 1990 issue of “The Atlantic Monthly” under the title “The Roots of the Muslim Rage”.

20. Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholly Terror, New York: Random House Books, 2003.

21. Steven Emerson, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us, New York: The Free Press, 2002.

22. Daniel Pipes, Militant Islam Reaches America, New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.

23. Robert Spencer, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2008.

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24. A non-exhaustive list of American novels falling into that category might include such works as:

Shirley Abbott, The Future of Love, Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2008.

Don DeLillo, Falling Man, New York: Scribner. 2007.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Inevitably Close, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Jay MacInerney, The Good Life, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.

Ken Kalfus, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, New York: Ecco, 2006.

Claire Messud, The Emperor’s Children, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.

Francine Prose, Bullyville, New York: Harper Teen, 2007.

John Updike, The Terrorist, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.

Jess Walter, Zero, New York: Regan, 2006.

25. Don DeLillo, Falling Man, New York: Scribner, p.191.

26. First published in “Al Quds Al Arabi”, a London-based newspaper, Ben Laden’s fatwa is entitled “Declaration of War against the American Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places”.

27. Fatwa/ Fetwa or Fetwah: a religious ruling or decree issued by a Muslim recognized authority or scholar.
The person or people who pronounce these rulings are supposed to have the authority, scholarly knowledge and wisdom to do so and need to supply the evidence from Islamic sources for their opinion on the issue

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References:

Amy Belasco, “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations since 9/11”, Congressional Research Service, 7-5700, March 29, 2011.
Source: ”http://www/crs/org/RL33110.htm.”

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, New York: Random House, 2003.

Vince Crawley, “New U.S. Military Command Reflects Africa’s Growing Importance” , 12 February 2007.
Source: “http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.htm.”

Croisier, Catherine, “La Doctrine Bush de remodelage du Grand Moyen-Orient: entre idéalisme et pragmatisme”.
Source: “http://www.diloweb.com/forum/croisier 1.htm.”

Jeremy Keenan, “Waging war on terror: The implications of America’s ‘New Imperialism’ for Saharan peoples”, The Journal of North African Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3 & 4 September 2005, pp. 619-647.

Carol Migdalovitz, Morocco: Current Issues, CRS Report RS21579, Congressional Research Service, 4 December 2008.

Ottaway, Marina and Carothers, Thomas, “The Greater Middle East Initiative: Off to a False Start, Policy Brief, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 29, pp. 1-7.

Lauren Ploch, Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa, Congressional Research Service, Report RL 34003, 16 May 2007.

Jeremy M. Sharp, CRS Report RS22053, The Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative: An overview, Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, 15 February 2005.

_____________, CRS Report RS21457, The Middle East Partnership Initiative: An overview, Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, updated July 20, 2005.

Ann Scott Tyson, “U.S. pushes anti-terrorism in Africa,” Washington Post, 26 July, 2005.

Craig Whitlock, “Taking terror fight to North Africa leads U.S. to unlikely alliances,” Washington Post, 28 October 2006.

Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Alfred A Knopf, 2006.

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Yahia H. Zoubir and Benabdallah-Gambier, Karima, “The United States and the North African imbroglio: balancing interests in Algeria, Morocco, and the Western Sahara”, Mediterranean Politics 9: July 2005, pp.181-202.

Yahia H. Zoubir and Dris-Ait-Hamadouche, Louisa, “The United States and the Maghreb: Islamism, democratization, and strategic interests”, Maghreb Review, 2006, pp. 259-92.

U.S. Department of State, “An Overview of President Bush African Policy”, 11 July 2003.
Source: “ http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/22364.htm.”

U.S. Department of State, “Algeria,” Background Notes, February 2007.
Source: “ http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/8005.htm.”

U.S. Department of State, “Algeria,” 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 6 March 2007. Source: “http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78849.htm.”

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