Friday, July 09, 2004

Map Of Northern Africa

I thought It might be useful to publish a map. I found a nice one over at the University of Texas, who host the excellent Perry-Castañeda map collection. I've highlighted what I consider our main focus, which consists of Spain, the Maghreb (Arabic for 'West', and originally only used to refer to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and then only the part between the Atlas mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Although some also include 'Al-Andalus', Arabic for Spain, in its description..), Libya, Mauretania, Mali, Niger and Chad.

Southern Watch Area of Operations - click for full view (480k)
The Salafist Group for Call and Combat, GSPC, is active in Mali (although that country recently claimed to have ousted the GSPC from its territory), Niger, Chad (where rebels are holding the organization's number two captive, see posts below), Southern Libya where they discovered an operational base recently and Algeria, where the GSPC was formed in the mid-90's. After the 9/11 attacks, the GSPC pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda.

The United States are active in the area, calling it a new front on the War on Terror, through its Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative, which aims to prevent Al Qaeda from gaining a foothold, backed up by a budget of US$ 125 million for the coming five years.