Radical Islam in the Maghreb

The Maghreb (from the Arabic word for ‘‘West’’) region is made up fives states: Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. Their main common characteristics are the Arabic language, Islam, and historical ties with the Arab world, subsaharan Africa, and Mediterranean Europe. They are also all members of the Arab League and of the Islamic Conference Organization (OIC).

Radical Islam and terrorism have spread throughout the region and acquired a high level of militancy. All the states suffer from potential or real Islamist opposition. Radical Islamists believe that the Maghrebi regimes, which have traditionally collaborated with the Christians and the Jews, must be subverted. They gained strength from the bitterness engendered by the 1991 Gulf War; the Bosnian, Chechen, and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts beginning later in the decade; and, more recently, the U.S.-led coalition’s defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan and overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.

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