Today’s featured article from the sidebar of the What Others are Writing Section on the Homepage comes from DW (Deutsche Welle) one of my favorite sources for a wide variety of news that is not stained with the political discourse of U.S. news. I visit it daily and you should too! Like always, there were several candidates for today’s feature with a special shout out to Russia deploys troops to Nagorno-Karabakh after ceasefire deal announced – Reuters and The Thermal Nuclear Engine That Could Get Us to Mars in Just 3 Months – Popular Mechanics, because I am a huge space nerd. If only the Space Force was around 20 years ago… If you haven’t already done so, head over to the front page and check out some of the other candidates for today’s Featured Article!
Why This is Important
I know our last feature also involved Africa but I cannot overstate the importance of the region in regards to the continuing fight against terrorism, Special Operations and our current and future missions there. Withdrawing from Forever Wars does not end them.
Today’s Featured Article: Mozambique police: Islamists behead 50 people in troubled province was chosen to highlight to continuing struggle in Africa and the instability this region will continue to face even though our attention will continue to shift to China and Asia. To demonstrate the instability there, here are just a few headlines from the last couple days:
How Ethiopia Reached the Brink of Civil War – Foreign Policy
Increasing tensions around Western Sahara – Africa News
Back to the article:
Militant Islamists have reportedly decapitated more than 50 people in Cabo Delgado province in the north of Mozambique, police say. The militants have been carrying out brutal attacks in the province since 2017.
This just underscores the Islamists’ brutality and the continued insurgency that is being waged there. The article continues:
“They set the houses on fire and then hunted down people who had fled into the woods and began their macabre action,” a police officer told a press conference. Witnesses told local media that the militants had driven residents of one village onto a football pitch before murdering them there.
The militants also reportedly abducted women and children.
This article is relatively short in comparison to what I normally select but if you follow the link on DW you can click on related articles and watch a short video of the turmoil there. The following provides more details on the attack and the region in which it occurred:
Cabo Delgado province has been in the grips of a rebellion for around three years, fueled by perceived neglect of the region by the national government. Islamist rebels linked to the “Islamic State” group have been exploiting the unrest, carrying out brutal attacks and recruiting disillusioned youth as they try to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region.
In April, the militants shot dead and beheaded more than 50 youths when they allegedly refused to join them.
For a deeper dive on the insurgency there, I recommend that you go to the Georgetown Security Studies Review: Understanding the Insurgency in Mozambique (another new source for information!). Here is just a small portion:
Over the last year, the Mozambican Salafi-jihadist group Ahl al-Sunna wa Jama’ah (ASWJ)[i] has grown in scope, committing twice as many attacks as in 2019.[ii] Although there has been low-level violence in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique for years, the extent of the conflict increased in 2020, culminating in ASWJ’s extended takeover of the port city of Mocímboa da Praia. Given the inability of the Mozambican government to contain the insurgency and the threat to neighboring countries, the conflict is deserving of greater international attention and countermeasures.
The article continues with why / how this insurgency is unique in that All Insurgencies are Local:
Although ASWJ maintains transnational linkages, the group is the result of domestic pressures and conditions in Mozambique. At first glance, ASWJ seems like an Islamist terrorist group emboldened through affiliation with the Islamic State. Both Mozambican government officials and Islamic State – Central Africa Province (IS-CAP) statements assert that recent attacks are by the Islamic State.[iii] However, not only are those ties murky, focusing solely on the threat that the Islamic State poses in the region ignores domestic insurgencies like ASWJ.
I cannot more highly recommend these two articles for today’s daily reading. They both underscore the brutality of the fight and the instability that will continue in Africa whether our focus remains there or not. The Georgetown Security Studies article concludes:
The insurgency in Cabo Delgado is driven by domestic factors more than the potential benefits of transnational terrorism. The inability of security forces to combat the insurgency has led to insurgent control over the port city of Mocímboa da Praia and an increased reliance on private military contractors. As the conflict threatens domestic gas projects and gains momentum outside of Mozambique, it is crucial for international partners to assist Mozambique in combatting the insurgency.