The September 2012 attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi that claimed the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dramatically illustrated the threat of jihadist violent non-state actors in Libya. Unfortunately, the situation has not subsequently improved. Security in Libya has continued to worsen, and salafi jihadist groups like the one that spearheaded the Benghazi attack are in the midst of executing a regional strategy.
North Africa and its surroundings can be understood as encompassing countries that for the jihadist movement are lands of dawa, where they focus on missionary preaching, and also lands of jihad, where violence is more prominent. Currently, the lands of jihad are being exploited by militants residing in lands of dawa to arm themselves and train for violence. We would be well advised to understand the symbiotic relationship between lands of dawa and jihad for the movement.
This piece, published by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT), can be read in its entirety here.
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is the author or volume editor of twelve books and monographs, including Bin Laden’s Legacy.
Photo Credit: Theirry Ehrmann