Research Note: Terrorism in Northwestern Africa: Mali, Mauretania, and Algeria:What START’s Quantitative Data (1970-2011) Can and Cannot Tell Us

Research Note: Terrorism in Northwestern Africa: Mali, Mauretania, and Algeria:What START’s Quantitative Data (1970-2011) Can and Cannot Tell Us


by Richard J. Chasdi

Introduction
The murder of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens and three American support personnel in Benghazi, Libya, happened on September 11, 2012, presumably to commemorate the looming calamity of September 11, 2001 events [1]. Plainly, that terrorist assault and the riots in Cairo, Egypt that followed, brings into sharp relief the underlying threat of Al-Qaeda and other Sunni Islamic revivalist extremists in Northern Africa - collectively referred to as Salafis. To be sure, recent threats by Al-Qaeda chieftain Ayman al-Zawahari to assault Western interests abroad against the backdrop of the “Arab Spring,” coupled with effective and sustained efforts by Al-Qaeda and its “affiliates” in parts of Africa to create new “safe-havens,” appears to signal a new phase of transition in the global jihad. [2] Empirical analysis might provide some insight into new “post-bin Laden era” terrorist assault trends.[3]
This Research Note serves to provide a longitudinal picture of broader terrorism threats in the sub-region over the past forty-one years in order to place contemporary threats into historical perspective. What seems significant here is that “contextual factors” that characterize regions and specific countries have an enormous capacity to influence terrorist assaults outcomes. This longitudinal presentation should illuminate research areas for further study.
The data used were compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. Supplementary data  are from Yonah Alexander’s, “Special Update Report: Terrorism in North, West, & Central Africa: From 9/11 to the Arab Spring” and  the “Country Reports on Terrorism 2011” published by the US Department of State. [4] These additional materials make it possible to capture certain more recent Al-Qaeda and affiliate terrorist trends to augment the time interval of 1970-2011 that is covered by START’s “Global Terrorism Database.” The framework for discussion involves a preliminary analysis of terrorist assault trends in three nation-states found in North-western Africa, namely Mali, Mauritania, and Algeria, with a comparison of similarities and differences in trends for those specific countries.

Mali
In the broader sense, the “Global Terrorism Database” produced by START, offers a set of baseline comparisons of broader terrorism trends that are, inter-alia, broken down by year of event, target-type, and weapons used to carry out terrorist assaults. From the start, it is clear that terrorist assault patterns conform to the “cyclical pattern” of “peaks” and “troughs” that scholars such as Eric Im, Jon Cauley, and Todd Sandler have written about to illustrate the dynamic nature of terrorism [5]. The discernible breaks in cycles with no terrorist assaults chronicled are likely to reflect incomplete data for those years or inchoate terrorist actions that went unrecorded. In ways that closely parallel findings for Algeria, there were no terrorist assaults chronicled by START for Mali from 1970-1990. 
For Mali, “peak” years are 1994 with 13 incidents, 1991 with 12 events, and 2008 with 9 terrorist assaults. In comparison, “trough” years include 1990 and 1995 with one terrorist event chronicled for each year, 1992 and 1997 with 3 acts each, and 2005 with one recorded terrorist assault.  There were also no chronicled terrorist assaults in the GTD database for Mali from 1998 until 2005. On the other hand, Yonah Alexander informs us that in a ten year period between September 11, 2001 events and 2011, Mali experienced a total of 49 terrorist assaults with 11 events in 2008, 2 attacks in 2009 and 8 incidents in 2011[6].

figure 1

“GTD Search Results” – “Incidents Over Time” Country: (Mali)”

For Mali, with n=59 events and in terms of frequency of terrorist assaults by year, the range spans from one incident to 13 incidents in 1994. When “peak” year acts are considered, it is found that that 75.0% of violent acts chronicled in the GTD database for 1991 were carried out by “Tuareg” activists, by contrast to three (3) acts that were non-attributable or anonymous events [7].  In a similar vein, some 61.5% of such assaults in Mali (8/13 acts) in 1994 were carried out by “Tuareg” activists, 15.3% (2/13 acts) acts were committed by the Islamic Arab Front of Azawad (FIAA), while the Black African Vigilante (1 act or 7.6%),  and the Association of Students and Pupils in Mali (AEEM) (1 act), and Ganda Koi (1 act or 7.6%) carried out one terrorist assault each [8].

The predominance of assaults carried out by “Tuareg” activists in Mali continued in 2008 with 5/9 acts (55.5%), by contrast to what GTD calls two “unknown” and two “other/suspected” attacks [9]. From 2010- 2011, GTD data chronicle five terrorist assaults that happened in Mali: three (3) events were attributed to, “Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM) (suspected),” one (1) event  attributed to “Al-Shabaab (suspected)” and one (1) event was coded as “Unknown”[10]. What seems significant is that the frequency of these events, when compared to the frequency of terrorist assaults and related activities carried out by other Al-Qaeda “affiliate” groups such as Al-Qaei’da in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for example, seems somewhat incongruent with the importance Republican nominee Governor Willard “Mitt” Romney placed on potential threats of terrorist assaults from Mali in the second presidential debate of 2012. At the same time, it is regrettable that GTD data for Mali do not code for “urban” and “rural” distinctions thereby in effect precluding some impressionistic conclusions about possible relationships between geographical locale and terrorist assault attributes.

figure 2

“GTD Search Results” “Attack Type” “Line Chart” “Country: (Mali)


When the START data are sorted out for the time interval under consideration by relative frequency of “attack type,” the data appear sketchy and incomplete. Terrorist assaults with unidentifiable attack methods comprise 18.6% of those data (11 /59 cases) with 1994 (9acts) as the “peak” year. For Mali, the frequencies of certain assault methods are clustered in specific time intervals. For example, the 27 “armed assault” events chronicled that constitute 45.7% of the total, have “peak”` years found towards the end of that time interval with some 10 terrorist incidents in 1991, by contrast to 4 events recorded for 2008. A much smaller “peak” year for “armed assault” incidents is 2005. It involves the only “armed assault” – and terrorist event attributed to the Salafi Group for the Call and Combat (GSPC), the Algerian terrorist group that evolved from GIA and mutated later into the core element of  Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM) [11]. In contrast, the “peak” year for “hostage taking (kidnappings)” is 2009 with 4 events, while 2008 is the “peak” year for “bombing/explosions” with 3 events. In comparison, “assassination” is found to be very rarely used in Mali’s political landscape with only one “unknown” terrorist incident that happened in 1991.

figure 3

“GTD Search Results” – “Target Type” “Bar Chart” “Country: (Mali)”


When the GTD data for Mali are parsed by “target-type,” the emergent reality is that one-third of all armed assaults in Mali from 1970-2011 revolved around “private citizens & property” targets (21/62 acts), while “military” targets accounted for 29% of the total (18/62 acts). [12] In comparison, assaults that involved “government (general)” targets comprised 9.7 % of the total with 6/62 acts. Seen from a different angle, only one assault chronicled by GTD involved a “food or water supply” target while one terrorist assault focused on a “government (diplomatic)” target such as an embassy, “mission” or consulate [13]. By contrast, terrorist assaults in Mali for that time period under consideration targeted non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in two cases while “tourists” were targeted in five instances. The two terrorist assaults that targeted NGO’s include attacks against the “U/I Swiss Project” by “Tuareg” activists in 1994 and an assault in 2009 by AQLIM (suspected) directed at the CEO of a “local NGO.”[14] It looks like Mali will become a battleground for American and West European counterterror agencies because Northern Mali, after a military coup and subsequent military retrenchments to Bamako, fell under the control of Salafist and Tuareg militants. Elements of the latter, now grouped in the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad  (MNLA), not only fought for the Qaddafi regime and returned with many weapons from Libya, but also work to maintain a powerful set of interconnections to the Ansar Dine, another Turaeg organization with more direct connections to AQLIM.[15]  Mali appears to become another front in the battle with  Al-Qaeda affiliated local and transnational groups which are now active in Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as other zones of conflict.

Mauritania
When the longitudinal data produced by START for Mauritania are considered, it is clear that with n=19, there was very little political terrorism chronicled. The range of terrorist events spans from one annual terrorist event to five per year. As in the case of Mali, cycles of terrorism appear characterized by “peaks” and “troughs” with distinct breaks in cyclical activity from around 1978-1987, for several years in the 1990’s, and in the early 2000’s.  It remains unclear if that finding reflects makeshift or incomplete data or a paucity of terrorist assaults - probably both. What stands out here is some indication of political instability and social unrest because of an increase in terrorist assault frequency from 2008 (2 acts) to 2009 (5 acts), an almost equally pronounced decrease in terrorist assault activity in 2010 (1 act), and finally, an increase in terrorist assault activity to three (3) events in 2011. In addition, the 2.5% increase in terrorist event frequency in Mauritania from 2008 (2 acts) to 2009 (5 acts), where almost all assaults were carried out by Islamic revivalist extremists, contrasts sharply with a one-third decrease in Mali’s terrorist assault frequency from 2008 (9 acts) to 2009 (6 acts). Based on another dataset than GTD, Yonah Alexander reports that in the ten year interval from September 11, 2001 events to 2011, a total of 27 terrorist assaults happened in Mauritania with 4 acts in 2008, 6 acts in 2009, 2 acts in 2010, and 7 acts in 2011[16].

figure 4

GTD Search Results”- Incidents Over Time” “Country: (Mauritania)”


In the case of terrorist “attack type,” the GTD analysis illuminates that “hostage taking (kidnapping”) is the most predominant method of terrorist assault for Mauritania with 8/19 cases or 42.1% of the total. The “peak” year for “hostage taking (kidnapping)” is 2009 with four  events, preceded by another “peak” year in 1977 with three events. In comparison, terrorist incidents that utilized “armed assault” comprise 31.5% of the total with 6 out of 19 cases, and “peak” years for such attacks were in 2008 and 2009 with two acts in each year. In turn, 10.5% (2/19 acts) of the total in 2010 and 2009 involved “bombing/explosion” methods while 10.5% (2/19 acts) of the total revolved around “assassination” in 2011 and 1988. There was one “Air Mauritania” aircraft commandeered by terrorists in 1996 [17].

figure 5

“GTD Search Results” – “Attack Type” “Line Chart” “Country: (Mauritania)


Turning to the matter of target preference over Mauritania’s terrorism landscape, it is found the majority of terrorist assaults were dispersed across “military” and “government (general)” targets with four events and three events respectively. For Mauritania, terrorist assaults that revolved around those types of targets comprised a full 36.8% of the total or 7 out of 19 events. Those seven incidents include three terrorist assaults that involved “government (general)” targets, two directed at “police” targets, and two aimed at “business” targets. By contrast, several different types of targets were outliers with one terrorist assault each: “airports, airlines,” (1act), an “educational institution,” (1 act) “governmental (diplomatic)” (1 act), a “non-governmental organization” (1 act), “private citizens/&property” (1 act), and “tourists” (1 act).

In turn, there were two terrorist assaults with “unknown” targets for that interval in Mauritania. In comparison to Mali, where the rate of armed assaults against “military” targets is 29.0% of the total (18/62 acts), the percentage rate of assaults against “military” targets in Mauritania is very comparable at 21.0% or 4/19 acts. At the same time, there is enormous distance between percentage rates of terrorist assaults that involved “private citizens & property” when those two contiguous countries are compared: the rate for Mauritania is 5.3% (1/19 acts), by contrast to a full one-third or 33.8% for Mali (21/62 acts).

figure 6

“GTD Search Results” – “Target Type” “Bar Chart” “Country: (Mauritania)”


Given the fact that there were so few incidents in the country, breaking them down the way it is done here provides only very limited insights. For a better picture, we would also need data on political violence other than terrorism as well as on acts of violent repression by the government. Furthermore, violent incident data ought to be juxtaposed also to violent crime data and socio-economic data such as those referring to youth unemployment, migration, government corruption, social inequality, population pressure, food prices and the like.

Algeria
When analysis of the GTD data turns to Algeria, it is clear from the start that with n = 2,630, the overall frequency of terrorist assaults for this forty one year interval is of an altogether different order of magnitude. As previously mentioned, data trends that parallel results for Mali, but contrast sharply with trends for Mauritania are found for Algeria prior to the 1990s: there are only five terrorist assaults for Algeria chronicled by START between 1970 and 1990, namely one  assault by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Algiers in 1972, three  attacks carried out by “unknown” activists, and one (1) terrorist event perpetrated by “Muslim fundamentalists” in Blida in 1990 [18]. The increase in Algerian terrorism traces an arc to the early 1990’s when the Islamic Salvation Front, otherwise known as the FIS, was on the verge of winning national elections after having won decisive political victories in local elections. Instead, that watershed event with its seemingly ineluctable conclusion, was overruled by the military backed government of President Chadli Benjadid  which in turn led to the rise of  the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) with its campaign of  large-scale massacres and the ruthless military counter-insurgency campaign.[19]
What seems significant here is the substantial increase in terrorist assaults that appears to begin in 1991 with 30 acts - plainly corresponding with the start of what both Michael Collins Dunn and Luis Martinez call the Algerian “civil war” in 1990 [20]. As mentioned above, the Algerian military had annulled an election outcome that favored a victory of Islamists. This, in turn, drove the rebels to the recourse of arms. Again the data trends are characterized by “cyclical activity” but by contrast to results found for Mali and Mauritania, those “cycles” of terrorist assaults are essentially unbroken (i.e., continuous) from 1994 - 2011. To be more specific, the “peak year” is 1997 with almost 360 incidents, followed by 1992 with some 227 events. In the ten year interval from September 11, 2001 events to 2011, Alexander reports data somewhat more intensive in frequency: a full 1,102 Algerian terrorist assaults occurred, with 185 terrorist assaults in 2009, 168 events in 2010, and 164 acts in 2011.[21]

figure 7

“GTD Search Results” – “Incidents Over Time” “Country (Algeria)”


When the analysis turns to “assault type,” it is clear that the Algerian terrorism experience from 1991 to 2011 is characterized by a variety of armed assault methods [22]. When those data are broken down by year, it is found the frequency of “armed assault” incidents is highest in 1997 with 150 events, while the second  highest rate of “armed assault” events  happened in 2000 with some 102 events. Across “assault type” categories, GTD analysis recorded “assassination”  around 1993 as the second highest “peak” of assault type method with some 120 events, followed by a sharp decline of“assassination” terrorist incidents into 2011, but then marked with a small increase to 35 events in 1997. In turn, the “peak” years for “bombing/explosion” events are 1998 with some 100 events and 2007 with some 90 events. Terrorist assaults that revolved around “hostage taking (kidnapping)” were comparatively rare events in the 1990’s and early 2000’s and terrorist events that involved “hijacking” aircraft  in the 1990’s were even less frequent occurrences.  In contrast, terrorist assaults against “facility/infrastructure” targets peaked in 1992 with 32 events.

figure 8

“GTD Search Results” – “Attack Type” “Line Chart” “Country (Algeria)”


When the GTD analysis turns to the types of targets involved in Algerian armed assaults, a difference between the number of chronicled targets (2,818) and the n set of “2,630 incidents” suggests that several terrorist attacks over the Algerian political landscape revolved around “multiple targets.” A breakdown of “target type” reveals the single most predominant target for the forty-one year interval under consideration is “private citizens & property” with 968/2,818 (34.3%) or about one-third of the total. Seen from  a slightly different angle, such attacks against Algerian “private citizens & property” is virtually the same as the 33.8% rate found for Mali but over six times the rate found for Mauritania.

In turn, Algerian  assaults focused attention on “police” targets in 565 out of 2,818 cases or some 20.0% of the time. Indeed, in the GTD data, “private citizens & property” and ”police” targets account for over one-half of all armed assaults chronicled over forty years for Algeria with 1,533/2,818 acts or 54.4% of the total. The Algerian “military”were targets of Algerian armed assaults 13.9% of the time (392/2,818 acts); by contrast to 181 “business” targets  and 161 “government (general)” targets. It should be noted that the frequency rate for “business” targets in Algeria (187) contrasts sharply with the total number of such acts recorded for Mali (4) and Mauritania (2). In contrast, there were several “target types” that constituted outliers: the number of assaults chronicled in the GTD against “food or water supply” (1 act), the number of assaults against “maritime” targets (3 acts), attacks against “violent political parties” presumably in Algeria (3 acts), terrorist actions against “non-govermental organizations” (3 acts), and terrorist assaults practiced against other “terrorists” (25 acts).

figure 9

“GTD Search Results”- “Target Type” “Bar Chart”  “Country: (Algeria)”


Since the START data only chronicle the terrorist part of political violence of one side and not the violent repression of the government and might also include false flag operations by the regime, their value in explaining the course of events since 1990s is very limited.The  confrontation between Islamist terrorists and the military  has sometimes been termed a civil war. However, civilians were most of the time only involved as victims of terrorist massacres and counter-terrorist blind government repression without the civilian population taking an active part on either side like taking up arms. The START data presented here probably also reflect mainly what happened in urban areas and less so what happened in the countryside (though some of the massacres there were publicised by the government for propaganda purposes). To get a dynamic picture of the course of the conflict between terorrists and government security forces, we would need annual data on how many terrorists were arrested, killed or wounded, how many civilians were victimised, how many security forces were killed and wounded and how many deserted on either side or went abroad.

Conclusion

In the broader sense, a comparison of these three contiguous countries in Northwestern Africa suggests that “contextual factors” specific to particular operational environments can have important effects on terrorist event outcomes. Even when the Northwest region of the African continnent is controlled for, there are pronounced differences in overall frequencies of terrorist events and other “attributes.” For example, results illuminate low levels of  terrorist assaults  in Mauritania, somewhat higher levels for  Mali, and much higher levels in Algeria.The late 1980’s and early 1990’s appear to signal a structural shift in terrorist assault patterns for  Mali and Algeria, while terrorism seems more evenly distributed over the years in the case of Mauritania with some increase in 2011 noted in Yonah Alexander’s data.

There are other underlying differences in trends linked to these three countries: for example, “cyclical patterns” of activity differ in shape and are sometimes marked by “continuity” as in the case of Algeria, and  sometimes by what appears to be breaks in patterns of terrorist activity as in the case of Mali and Mauritania. For example, the data results suggest that “multiple target” terrorist assaults are more frequent in Algeria than in Mali, and  more  likely in the Algerian context than in Mauritania. Across these three countries, there are also significant differences in terrorist action frequencies and percentage rates with respect to what START defines as “private citizens & property” targets. In the case of “business” targets, similar trends were also found .

A hallmark of  Algerian terrorist assaults is the underlying emphasis on “police targets”  and that contrasts vividly to terrorist assault patterns in Mali where there are no actions against “police” chronicled by GTD. Differences in trends across countries  held with respect to methods used to carry out terrorist assaults. Based on the GTD analysis, “armed assault” appears as a predominant method for terrorism in certain years for both Algeria and  Mali in the middle and early 1990’s respectively. At the same time, the percentage rates of terrorist assaults against the “military”are somewhat comparable (Mali:18/62 or 29.0%; Mauritania: 4/19= 21.0%; Algeria 392/2,818= 14% ). However, this raises the question  why assaults against the military should be  categorised under “terrorist” to begin  with. It stretches the term terrorism over and beyond attacks on civilians and similar war crimes which is problematic.

What the foregoing suggests  – albeit indirectly – is that counterterror approaches  that are “multifacted” in nature to account for the continuously evolving dynamics of terrorist group and “lone assailant” actions are preferable to “cookie-cutter” counterterror approaches that work to conflate or  ignore outright the crucial subtleties and intricacies in context  that are the hallmarks of various operational environments.[23] Such nuances can however, only be investigated by also applying qualitative methods of research. There is a limit of what can be known with a mere quantitative approach. This is especially true for Africa where the quality of quantitative data is worse than for any other region of the world – mainly due to underreporting (but partly also due to false flag operations).

What will the future bring? Algeria which in the 1990’s experienced both massive terrorism and massive state repression has managed to constrain and control most terrorism on its soil in recent years. It has not been touched by the “Arab Spring” – mainly due to its well known potential for effective repression if not state terror. Mali will be the battleground in the year to come when a combined African-Western force will assist the Mali government under an UNSecurity Council  mandate to regain control of the land that fell into the hands of the Tuareg separatists and – of greater concern – Salafi Jihadists in the wake of the collapse of the neighbouring Qaddafi  regime. Whether Mauritania will experience major spill over effects from this confrontation is, at the momment, anybody’s guess.

About the Author: Richard J. Chasdi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State University and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor.

Notes

[1]International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. 2012. “ICT Database Report: September 2012.” International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) (http://www.ict.org.il/ResearchPublications/DatabaseReports/tabid/380/Articlsid/1122cur ...). 6.

[2] Adam Nossiter. 2012. “The Whiff of Conflict in Mali.” The New York Times. 24 October, A-4, A-6.

[3] The Washington Post. 2012. “Middle East: Al-Qaeda leader urges kidnappings.” The Washington Post. 28 October, A-11; Robert F. Worth.2012. “Al-Qaeda Inspired Groups, Minus the Goal of Striking U.S.” The New York Times. 28 October, 6, 10.

[4] In the case of the Global Terrorism Database, data is acquired from the “National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) (2012) (http://www.start..umd.edu/gtd ) by means of searches for “country,” “incidents over time,” “attack-type,” and “target-type” criteria; Yonah  Alexander. 2012.”Special Update Report: Terrorism in North, West, & Central Africa: From 9/11 to the Arab Spring - January 2012.” Washington D.C., International Center for Terrorism Studies, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, January, pp. 1 - 52, (morocconthemove.files.wordpress.com/2012-specialupdate-report-full-report-terrorism-in-africa-from-9-11-to-arav-spring-icts-potomac-2Feb2002,pdf); United States Department of State 2012. “Country Reports on Terrorism 2011- July 2012” ( http:www.state.gov/documents/organization195768.pdf ), pp. 18-20.

[5] Eric Iksoon Im, Jon Cauley, and Todd Sandler. 1987. “Cycles and Substitutions in Terrorist Activities: A Spectral Approach.” Kyklos  40: pp. 238-255; Walter Enders, Gerald Parise, and Todd Sandler 1993. “A Time Series Analysis of Transnational Terrorism: Trends and Cycles.” Defense Economics , 3:;pp. 305-320; Richard J. Chasdi. 2002. Tapestry of Terror: A Portrait of Middle East Terrorism, 1994-1999. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, pp. 53 - 54.

[6] Y. Alexander (2012), p. 27.

[7] GTD Database “Search Results” -“Mali.” - (1) an “Unknown” event, # 199101110003, “Date: 1991-01-11; (2) an “Unknown” event, #199105120009, “Date: 1991-05-12,” (3) an “Unknown” event, # 199104060007, “Date: 1991-04-06.”

[8] A hand count of GTD “Search Results” -“Mali” for 1994 included: - (1) an “Association of Students and Pupils in Mali (AEEM)”event, # 199405060001, “Date: 1994-05-06”;  (2) a “Tuaregs” event, #19940612001, “Date: 1994-06-12”; (3) a “Tuaregs” event, # 199406120002, “Date: 1994-06-12”;  (4) an “Islamic Arab Front of Azawad (FIAA)” event, # 199407200001, “Date: 1994-07-20”; (5)  an “Islamic Arab Front of Azawad (FIAA)” event,”# 199407250001, “Date: 1994-07-25”; (6) a “Ganda Koi” event, # 199407300001, “Date: 1994-07-30”; (7) a “Tuaregs” event, # 199408300001, “Date: 1994-08-30”; (8) a “Tuaregs” event, #199410040001, “Date: 1994-10-04”; (9) a “Tuaregs” event, #199410200001, “Date: 1994-10-20”; (10) a “Tuaregs” event, #199410220001, “Date: 1994-10-22”; (11) a “Black African Vigilantes” event, # 19941024001, “Date: 1994-10-24”; (12) a “Tuaregs” event, # 199411170001, “Date: 1994-11-17”; (13) a “Tuaregs” event, # 199411200007, “Date: 1994-11-20.” It should be noted that for “target-type” event # 2, #3, #12 are coded by GTD researchers as “military” which would not qualify as terrorist assaults in most circumstances based on more narrow definitions of terrorism. In reality, in the Northwestern African context, terrorists often conduct assaults that would fall under “insurgency” or forms of political violence other than terrorism, and insurgents in turn, often also use attacks that are not only targeting security forces. Still other attacks of both guerrilla-type insurgents and terrorists come close to tactics of organized crime – kidnapping for ransom would be an example.

[9] A hand count of GTD “Search Results” – “Mali” for 2008 included: - (1) an “Other (suspected)” event, # 200803200006, “Date: 2008-03-20”; (2) an “Other (suspected)” event, #200803210002, “Date: 2008-03-21; (3) a “Tuaregs” event, # 200803220010, “Date: 2008-03-20”; (4) an “Unknown” event, #200805060008, “Date: 2008-05-06”; (5) a “Tuaregs” event, # 200805060016, “Date: 2008-05-06; (6) an “Unknown” event, #200805220008, “Date: 2008-05-22; (7) a “Tuaregs (suspected)” event, #200807190003, “Date: 2008-07-19”; (8) a “Tuaregs” event, #200812210008, “Date: 2008-12-21”; (9) a “Tuaregs (suspected)” event, #201004040016, “Date: 2008-04-03.” In this case, event # 1, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #9 are coded in the GTD database as “military” targets.

[10] GTD Database “Search Results – Mali” - (1) an “AQLIM (suspected)” event # 201111240026, “Date: 2011-11-24”; (2) an “AQLIM (suspected)”event, #  201101050006, “Date: 2011-01-05”; (3) an AQLIM (suspected)” event, #201008100009, “Date: 2010-08-10 (4) an “al-Shabaab (suspected)” event, #201111250020, “Date: 2011-11-25”; (5) an “Unknown” event, #201106280011, “Date: 2011-06-28.”

[11] Richard J. Chasdi (2002). Tapestry of Terror: A Portrait of Middle East Terrorism, 1994-1999. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, pp. 78 - 80, 83, 85, 110, 71; Ahmed S. Hashim, Gregoire Patte and Nathan Cohen (2012). “The Geography of Terror in the Sahel.” Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis 4(5) May: pp. 11 - 17 (http://www.pvtr.org/pdf/CTTA/2012/CTTA-May12.pdf).

[12] Presumably, certain terrorist assaults chronicled by START had multiple target-types for n=59 incidents where the total number of target-type= 62. For example, see event# 201008100009, “Date: 2010-08-10” with its “military, government (general)” targets.

[13] GTD “Codebook: Inclusion Criteria and Variables” (START, October 2012), pp. 27-28.

[14] GTD Database “Search Results” – “Mali.” a “Tuaregs” event  #199410040001, “Date:1994-10-04”; an “al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM) (suspected)” event # 200911250008, “Date: 2009-11-25.”

[15] Y. Alexander (2012), 21-22; Hashim, Patte, and Cohen (2012), 12-13; U.S. Department of State 2012, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2011” –“Mali”, pp. 18 - 19.

[16] Y. Alexander (2012), 27; U.S. Department of State 2012, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2011” – “Mauritania”, p. 20.

[17] GTD Database “Search Results” – “Mauritania.” (1) an “Unknown” event, event# 199608080002, “Date: 1996-08-08.”

[18] GTD Database “Search Results” – “Algeria.” (1) a “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)” event# 197210060001, “Date: 1972- 10-16;”(2)  a “Muslim fundamentalists” event # 199001160005, “Date: 1990-01-16.

[19] R.J. Chasdi (2002), pp. 68-73.

[20] Michael Collins Dunn (1994). “Algeria’s Agony: The Drama So Far, the Prospects of Peace.” Middle East Policy 3 (3): 147-156; Luis Martinez. (2000). The Algerian Civil War, 1990-1998 .Jonathan Derrick, Trans. New York: Columbia University Press; Y. Alexander 2012, 16; R.J. Chasdi, 2002, pp. 8, 107-118, 132, 135, 137, 139, 221, 233-235, 413-414. There are two (2) GTD chronicled terrorist events in 1990.

[21] Y. Alexander 2012, p. 27.

[22] GTD Database “Search Results” – “Algeria”- “Attack Type.”

[23] Richard J. Chasdi. 2012. Counterterror Offensives for the Ghost War World: The Rudiments of Counterterrorism Policy .Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.



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