MEA-Risk’s Critical Incidents Tracker (CIncidents) for North Africa’s Maghreb region identified 69 incidents or events for the week starting May 19, 2014 and ending May 25, 2014 that have negative material impact on one or more Maghreb nations’ stability.

Compared to the previous week of May 12 to 18, the number of incidents has dropped markedly by about 23%. However, the intensity of the incidents, measured as the average severity rate for all the events combined increased by 15% to 1.8, maintaining the Maghreb region as an Intermediate Risk Zone. See figure 1 for summary county, figure 2 for intensity trends and figure 3 for Risk-to-Stability Rating.

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Crisis Analysis

Category Review:

While the number of recordable incidents dropped from 90 to 69 in two weeks, the intensity of the events was pulled up by an increase in the share of the “terrorism” category in our broad view of the risks. MEA-Risk Assessment Service tracks six categories of events that could have material impact on the stability of a nation. They are:

• Domestic & Regional Politics
• Economic & Business Events
• Human & Social Crises
• International Geopolitics
• Terrorism Activities
• Security & Defense-Related Activities

For the week of May 19 to May 25, terrorism activities accounted for 55.1% of all the 69 incidents tracked and analyzed in the region. That figure was 38.9% in the previous week. That percentage change is reflective of a decrease in critical events in other categories, and an increase of terrorism activities from 35 to 38 recorded acts.

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The increase in the terrorism-related category is primarily due to heightened insurgency activity in Libya, followed by Mali, and in Algeria where there has been an intensified anti-terrorism campaign. Libya and Mali are home of the bulk of terror related acts. Some recorded events include:

• Libya: Benghazi air base targeted by rocket attacks
• Mali: Tension heightens in Kidal after Army / MNLA confrontations
• Algeria: 10 arrested and charged with supporting terrorism in Bouira
• Libyan General National Congress attacked resulting in deaths
• Information on 2,000 Tunisian Salafists training in Libya
• Salafist activity in Morocco to pressure government to release prisoners
• Rocket attacks in Benghazi
• Ansar Al-Sharia warning of more Jihad to come in Libya
• Etc

In all, we were able to record 323 fatalities related from terrorism activities just for the week ending May 25, 2014.

Country Distribution:

The intensification of the anti-terror campaign under the “Security/Defense” category has led Algeria to get the same number of events than Libya for the week of May 12 to May 18, which each country sharing 24.4% each of the total incidents pool. In the case of Algeria that week, nearly 50% of the recorded events were of military and defense related, a figure that remained the same in the most recent week. Such events include troop reinforcements, anti-terror activity in Boumerdes aimed at removing rogue elements, Algerian operations to capture Belmokhtar, anti-terror campaigns in Tamanrasset, and other Saharan provinces, etc.

In the most recent week, some of these military campaigns have eased a bit, pushing the Algeria share of total incidents down from 24% to 17%. In this most recent tally, Libya gathered the highest percent of events of nearly 35%, followed by Mali with nearly 22% as a result of the multi-crises affected that Sahel nation. See chart 5 for comparisons.

 

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Crisis Intensity Levels:

 

Capture6The increase in the number of terror attacks amid a reduction in other types of incidents would inevitably lead to increase in the level of risk. For the two most recent weeks, the intensity of the risk for the stability of the the Maghreb region by by 15% as indicated in figure 2 above.

Two countries have had a permanent position above the region average line. Both Libya, the most severe country, and Mali, have had they intensity level at above the regional average over the most recent two weeks, with Libya remaining consistently a “High Risk Zone” at ratings above 2, and Mali fluctuating between “Intermediate” and “High” risk zone. In the past week, we saw Tunisia moving from “Intermediate” to “High” risk zone. Figures naturally swing from week to week, depending on events, while figures to stabilize better on the monthly or even quarterly basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Outlook on the Ongoing Week:

Events being recorded this week look pretty bleak. Already we recorded 66 death, mostly concentrated in Mali, as a result of confrontations between the MLNA (Touareg)-Mali army confrontations, on one hand, and the MLNA and MUJAO on the other. The first confrontation left 50 dead among the Mali military, an event that is likely to worsen the feud between the two parties. Other deaths this week include MLNA and MUJAO confrontation leaving 7 dead, two deaths in a capsized boat near Tangier in Morocco, and other events in other areas. We expect Mali to see the number of events and intensity to rise, driven by crisis in the north, but also due to the impact such events are having on the government and politics in Bamako. We also notice new events in Niger, as opposition parties face the government in advance of the 2016 elections.

Libya remains a depressing place. The head of a slaughtered student was found in Sabha mosque, while a former police officer was gunned down in Derna.

On the economic front, we noticed that a week after price increases of dairy products in Morocco, the majority of other food products will see progressive increases as from August 1st, adding more stress to many Moroccan households.

About Critical Incidents Tracker:

Critical Incidents Tracker is a database product owned and operated by MEA-Risk, a service that monitors the stability of specific countries in the Mid-East/Africa zone and issues stability ratings. MEA-Risk is a sister company to The North Africa Journal.

Analysts of Critical Incidents Tracker (CIncidents for short) identify events that have a material impact on the stability of a country. Once identified, the event or incident is categorized as one of more of the following types:

• Domestic & Regional Politics
• Economic & Business Events
• Human & Social Crises
• International Geopolitics
• Terrorism Activities
• Security & Defense-Related Activities

Each event is also rated based on its severity or intensity, using a 1 to 5 rating system.

CIncidents Analysts are on the ground and supported by a staff in the United States.

 

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