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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Maghreb




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CURRENT HISTORY: 2012: Libya dominates the news for much of the year, beginning with strain between the eastern Bengazi region and the government in Tripoli; Bengazi rebels remain dissatisfied with the pace of change and style of reform carried out by the interim government, the National Transitional Council. Matters are not helped for the NTC with the rise of a movement to gain autonomy for Bengazi in March. Later in the spring, marchers in Morocco protest the government's failure to carry out promised reforms while Algeria's ruling party falls short of a majority in parliamentary elections though few seats are won by Islamists.
         Tunisia  is prominent in the headlines in late spring and sumer 2012 with osuted president Ben Ali sentenced in absentia to life in prison while living as a guest of Saudi Arabia. Ultra-Islamist Salafists, meanwhile, attack movie houses and sellers of liquor in Tripoli while women protest at loss of rights under the Islamist if moderate Ennahada party. In Libya, Lockerbie bomber Al Meghari dies unpunished- according to Lockerbie victims. Meanwhile the government wrestles with rebellious militias in the western mountains; many Libyan miltiias do not feel justly rewarded for their role in the overthrow of Ghaddafi; many are dissatisfied with what appears to be a liberal secular government. Autonomy riots continue in Bengazi.
        In August, 2012, Libya's democratically elected General National Congress is finally up and running. But in the following month, the US consulate in Bengazi is attacked during a riot sparked by an anti-Islamist movie gone viral on the internet. Under cover of the riot, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans are murdered by a local Islamist group, Ansar al Sharia.

 The following month the congress elects liberal Ali Zidan as Prime Minister. The government, meanwhile, is still fighting Ghaddafi holdouts in the west.   
        Fall 2012 sees Algerian operations against Islamists in which a local Al Qaeda leader is killed before government forces go on alert pending international action against Islamists groups infiltrating Mali to the south. Malian Islamists seize hostages at an Algerian gas plant in January 2013 in reprisal for Algerian's role on the international offensive against the rebels in Mali. The Algerian army intervenes at high cost to hostages and Islamists alike.
        Libya, increasingly unstable as militias and Islamist groups vie for power, looks on as westeen countries remove diplomatic staff from Libyan embassies. Morocco, meanwhile, follows its path of relative moderation and removes a law that forced female victims of rape to marry the man who had raped them.
        In February, 2013, Tunisian liberal opposition leader, Chokra Bellaid is assassinated. Protestors accuse ruling moderate Islamist Ennahada Party of complicity. A proposal from within Ennahada to compromise by setting up a government of technocrats, is rejected by the party. Suspicion increases among protesting opposition groups, demonstrations become violent and  country which gave birth to the Arab spring threatens to split between liberal secularists and Islamists.


        In Tunis, Tunisia, in December, 2010, the self-immolation of fruit vendor Mohammed Bouazizi, after being humiliated and having his license revoked by an inspector, sets off the conflagration that will be known as the Arab Spring, a series of revolts and revolutions which will change the Middle East.  Tunisia, racked by unemployment and corruption, is tinder for rebellion as Bouazizi's protest ignites rioting throughout the country. Protestors are killed by police. After desultory attempts to defuse the crisis with promises to investigate, the hugely corrupt and autocratic President Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghanoucchi briefly becomes interim leader as instability deepens.
       The spirit of revolt against a pervasive hell of unemployment, high food prices and corruption throughout the Maghreb speads quickly to Algeria where security forces shoot and kill protestors before the government quickly cuts food prices.  In February, Alergia, in a show of wisdom, lifts a 19 year old state of emergency. In Morocco, January witneses more of the universal expression of despair when a man sets himself on fire, the fourth one in that country to do so in recent weeks.

       In February, the arrest of a human rights activist ingites protests in Bengazi, the region of eastern Libya that would form the heart of Libya's own revolution. The security forces of autocratic Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi shoot and kill protestors. When the deomstrations spread to Libya's captial, Tripoli, he quickly brings in tanks and planes.
      Developments move rapidly from winter into spring with mass demonstrations in Morocco's largest cities. The situation in Libya militarizes with speed, rebels capturing and losing territory while winning military backing by NATO. Algerian president Bouteflika, drawing on lessons from  Algeria's civil war in the 1990s, moves quivkly to enact constitutional reform.
      From spring into summer movements develop apace as Tunisia's Ben Ali is tried in absentia for massive corruption and given a 30 year sentence. King Mohammed of Morocco finesses the impending chaos in his own country with a package of reforms. Rebels in Libya capture territory inside the capital, Tripoli. The Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council gets increasing international recognition. Algeria's Bouteflika once again shows wisdom: despite an Al Qaeda suicide attack on a military installation, he ends the state monopoly on radio and TV.
        In the fall, Gaddafi is captured and killed by rebel forces; later, his son Saif al Islam is captured as well.  Tunisia's moderate Islamist party Ennahada, wins the post-revolution elections. Morocco's moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party wins in parliamentary elections. Altogether, Morocco and Algeria seem to have managed spreading discontent with serious reform while rigid autocrats in Libya and Tunisia have met their natural end.


 In 2008, Libya, in a search for respectability, takes one month in the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council. Otherwise the year begins with more regional instability, some of which continues to affect the Sahel with an Islamist attack on the Israeli Embassy in Mauretania. But most Al Qaeda attacks concentrate on Algeria, with Islamists and government troops fighting pitched battles.
           In summer, Tunisian officials are convicted of attempting to overthrow the government, an expression of the long-running discontent which will lead to the Arab Spring. Tunisia, counting a always on Western support, jails Islamist militants for terror attacks and for training for the war in Iraq.  Libya and the United States compensate one another for bombing and terror attacks- what will turn out to be a false dawn in US-Libyan relations. Algeria, meanwhile suffers Al Qaeda suicide bombings. 2009 witnesses the appointment of Libya's Gaddafi as head of the African Union. Tunisia convicts Islamists for attacking locally based US soldiers, earning its usual western support. Libya's Lockerbie bomber Al Magarhi is released by Scotland on compassionate grounds, continuing a rapprochement  between Libya and the West.

            In the fall, in a presage of things to come, Tunisia's Ben Ali threatens anyone who would question the vote count in his recent election victory.  In 2010, a jailed Tunisian journalist loses an appeal of his conviction for covering violent protests. In what is doubtless another political move, Ben Ali charges a journalist critical of his rule with assault. Despite Libya's rapprochement with the West, Gaddafi buys arms from Russia. The arrest and release of a group of journalists hints at divisions among Libya's ruling elite.   


In 2001-2002, the West gradually engages in rapprochement with Libya over the Lockerbie bombing but the the Al Qaeda 9/11 attacks in New York will change everything. In Morocco, in presages of things to come, Islmaists protest reforms by Mohammed IV concerning rights for women. In spring and summer 2003,just as full reconciliation takes place between the US and Libya, Islamists launch suicide bomb blasts in Morocco against Jewish and Spanish targets. In 2003, the seminal Maghreb Islamist group, the GSPC, captures and holds hostages 32 European tourists .

 The following year, trains are bombed in Madrid by a Moroccan Islamist group, killing close to 200. In June of that year, remnants of the Algerian civil war of the 1990s, which make up the GSPC, set off a truck bomb in Alegeria. The GSPC is now lobbying for a merger with Al Qaeda. In early indications of the spread of organized Islamism into the Sahel in 2005, the GSPC launches attacks in Mauretania with fighting spreading into Mali. There follows the general merger of the GSPC and other Maghreb Isamists groups into Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM promises to launch attacks on a any country in the region that supports the United States. In 2006, Al Qaeda second in command, Ayman Al Zawairi, places his imprimatur on AQIM. Algeria, however declares amnesty for any Islamists who return peacefully, the plan showing some success. Into the new year, however Algerian Islamists carry out attacks in Tunisia.
            It becomes clear that AQIM wants to work as a single force of coordinated terror throughout the Maghreb with the eventual goal, it is said, of attacking Europe. 2007 begins with reports of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb training camps across the Sahel from Senegal to Ethiopia.The GSPC branch of AQIM launches attacks in the Berber region of eastern Algeria before fighters are killed by Algerian police. In the spring, Moroccan police hunt local AQIM members before the group carries out bombings in Casablanca and more in Algeria. Algeria seems for the moment to bear the brunt with 67 killed in a December attack on the Constitutional court and UN offices in Algiers. France's attention is drawn to her former colony Mauretania with the kidnapping of French tourists by AQIM.


           In 1987, Prime Minister Ben Ali of Tunisia overthrows President Bourguiba on grounds that Bourguiba is senile. Ben Ali makes token steps toward pluralism and a multiparty democracy. But his moves to liberalize the economy are blocked by Tunisian Islamists. Libya is found to be responsible for the 1988 terrorist bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland which killed everyone on board. In the Western Sahara, the UN, in an attempt to end the Polisario War, proposes a referendum by the Sarawhi people to decide whether they want to be part of Morocco or part of the Polisario in the disputed desert region.
          The following year, President Chadhi of Algeria is thwarted in his attempts to nationalize politics and culture and liberalize the economy when his austerity measures are blocked by Islamists. He opens Algeria to a multi-party system which will include the Islamic Salvation Front, even though the latter remains determined to destroy the system. The US meanwhile, shoots down two Libyan fighter jets which had strayed out of Libyan air space.  Libya nevertheless attempts to increase its rapprochement with the West. Gaddafi, meanwhile is forced to withdraw Libyan troops from Chad.
        The 1990s begin with the founding in Morocco of a Maghreb economic union to include Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya. Libya's Gaddafi takes measures against Islamists while the West imposes severe sanctions due to his refusal to turn over evidence in the Lockerbie bombing. In 1991,with Islamists poised to win the Algerian elections, President Chadhi cancels the poll, inciting an Islamist rebellion and the bloody civil war which the government will fight against the Islamic Salvation Front for most of the 1990s.

 Tunisa;s Ben Ali is re-elected in 1994. He enacts constitutional reforms while imprisoning Islamists.
       Its in 1998 that we get a foreshadowing of Al Qaeda when the Algeria's Armed Islamic Group merges with other Islamists to form the GSPC which, in another decade, will become Al Qaeda in the Maghreb. (AQIM). Gaddafi finally hands over suspects to Scotland in the Lockerbie in 1999, while in Algeria the civil war ends with the elections President Bouteflika who immediately launches an amnesty and reconciliation with the defeated Islamists. Nevertheless occasiomnal attacks by Islamists continue.
      In 1999, Mohammed VI of Morocco succeeds Hassan II and embarks of a program of reform.  Improvements to the status of women provoke an Islamist backlash in 2000. In Scotland, the trial of Libyans in the Lockerbie bombing results in a single conviction in 2001 while the US and other countries begin to do business with Libya.


By 1966, King Idriss of Libya is sitting on immense oil revenues which benefit the rich, leaving dire poverty in many parts of the country while well to do Libyans are educated abroad, in Egypt and elsewhere. That year, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi overthrows Idriss in a bloodless coup, bans alcholol and expels Jews. Gadaffi and his Revolutionary Command Council embark on an eccentric rule with a homespun ideology cobbled together from any cause that opposes the West: Communism, Ilsamist radicalism and Arab Nationalism while backing or fomenting terrorist operations in Egypt, Chad and Lebanon.

Nationalizing the oil industry and all other foreign owned enterprises, the Libyan dictator provides free health care and education and institutes as grass roots populism to give a democratic sheen to a pervasive and permanent dictatorship. His foreign policy ignores Africa in favour of Arab liberation in the Middle East.               
            In the early 1970s, the repressive rule of Morocco's King Hassan II provokes a series of failed coups and terrorist attacks against the regime. Libya's Gaddafi, meanwhile, establishes his rule according to  his own personalized Bedouin-Socialist ideology, emphasizing Islam, common ownership, indigenous traditions and the banning of Communist, Ba'athist and other political parties, all of it reinforced by neighborhood Rvoutionary Committees. This ideology of popular self-rule is belied by the absolute dictatorship of Gaddafi's Revolutionary Command Council.Tunisian president Bourguiba, meanwhile, has himself made president for life. While stabilizign the country with one party rule and a state run economy, he manages also to increase rights for women.
            The mid to late seventies witness the joint administration of the former Spanish Sahara, now known as the Western Sahara, by Mauretania, Spain and Morocco. But a Western Sahara independence movement known as the Polisario Liberation Front sets up in Algeria. It forces Mauretania out of the region, only to be faced with Morocco's rapid militarization in defense of of its share of the Western Sahara. In Tunisia, groups begin to protest Bourguiba's ban on political parties. Libya's Gaddaffi hits western Europe with terrorist attacks, causing the US to ban imports of Libyan oil.
             By the early 1980s, Morocco is racked by urban unrest and in Tunisia, Islamists launch protests against the Bourguiba government. In Libya, Gaddaffi invades Chad for its uranium reserves and continues to launch terror operations against Europe. When a Berlin nightclub is bombed in 1986, US president Reagan retaliates with the bombing of Libyan cities.      


 After World War Two and the liberation of the Maghreb by the allies, France attempts to reassert control in Tunisia, while Algeria is split between between groups wanting independence from France and a military upper class that prefers colonial status. Italy grants Libya full independence. Libyan King Idriss from the old Sanusi monarchy of Cyrencia, or eastern Libya, provides stable rule. In Morocco, Isliqlas, a monarchist nationalist party pushes for independence from France. France arrests the the sultan for Isliqlas membership.
         From 1954 to 1962, Algeria is plunged into civil war as the Algerian FLN fights for independence.

In the mid-1950s, independence movements rise in Morocco and Tunisia. Tunisia obtains autonomy. The Moroccan Istiqlas resorts to guerrilla war, winning independence in 1956. Morocco occupies the Western Sahara. In the same year France grants independence to Tunisia where Habib Bourguiba is elected president. Libya starts to deelope its oil in 1959.   
        After  eight years of war, Algeria wins independence from France in 1962. President Ben Bella nationalizes the lands of former colonists who have returned to France and embarks of a nationalist form or peasant agrarianism . King Idris, after unifying the three historical regions of Libya into a modern state, institutes western style reforms including rights for women, angering the lower classes who sense too much western influence. With is unpopularity growing, he rigs elections in 1965. In the same year Algeria's Ben Bella is overthrown by Boumedienne who abandon's the peasant-based economy for nationalization and industry. And also in 1965, Morocco's Hassan II resorts to dictatorship in response to political unrest.


In 1830, the French begin to colonize Algeria while the region of Libya remains under the control of the Karamanli rulers who had, until recently, drawn their power from tribute paid to thems by European fleets for protection from pirates. French and British competition over the Mediterranean leads the French to establish a consulate in Tripolitana (Libya). Both nations work to compromise the Yusuf Pasha Karamanli, while Suleiman, pasha of central Libya appeals for British help and the British respond by backing  Yusuf's successor Ali and manipulating the local dynasties.The French too gain a foothold by backing Ali. But in 1835, the Ottomans take advantage of the squabbling Europeans, send in a fleet and take control of Libya.


     However, by 1848, France has gained political  control of all Algeria, completing conquest by 1870. By 1881, Morocco is a French protectorate and 1883 Tunisia follows giving France dominance in the central Mediterranean while Algeria has been annexed to France. The Western Sahara is claimed by Spain.  In 1911, Italy, at war with Turkey begins the occupation of Libya. After 1919, with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Italy proceeds in Libya with exceptionally brutal colonization. Algeria remains without civil rights save for a small elite who have agreed to renounce Islam.
     While Moroccans mount resistance against their monarchy, a Libyan of the Sanusi dynasty is make Emir while Italy unites all of Libya under him. Througout the 1930s resistance germinates in Algeria and mounts in Morocco while Italy sends out colonists out Libya.
     With World War Two, the Axis Powers occupy Libya and Tunisia. France's pro-German Vichy government rules Algeria. The French and English push the Italians out of Libya and share occupation. Together with the American, the French and English push the Germans out of Tunisia. France's DeGaulle prepares the liberation of Algeria. As the war grows to a close, the Istiqlas resistance movement in Morocco becomes official and Italy withdraws entirely from Libya. France promises full rights to Algerians but the move is resisted by the class of French colonists and their elite.  


       During the second half of the 1500s, the Ottoman Empire occupies most of Libya while Europe's Hapbsurg dynasty controls Algiers and Tunis- the Babary Coast or the central North African coastline (later named for the Barbary Pirates). But in 1574, the Ottomans under Suleiman the Magnificent take Tunis from the Hapsburgs, and rule the area as Tripolitania along with Algeria and Tunis.

 By 1600 the pirates of the Barbary Coast are preying on Christian shipping. The Ottoman military elite of the Janiissaries installs its own Dey in Tripolitania (Libya) in an attempt to usurp the region from the Ottoman Sultan. Still, by 1650 the Ottomans control the entire eastern and  southern Mediterranean coastline, leaving only the coasts of Morroco, Spain, France and Italy. In the early 1700s, the Janissary dynasty of the Karamnli Deys succeeds in wresting Tripoltania from the Ottoman Empire, allowing the Sultan only indirect rule. The Karamanlis, meanwhile, extract tribute from international shipping for protection from the barbabry pirates. Late in the 18th century, Yusuf, the Karamanli Dey, faced with contending with European and American shipping in the Meditarranean, draws close to Britain. Meanwhile. Tripoli's continued extraction of heavy tribute provokes war with the United States which invades Tripoli. The conflict lasts from 1801 to 1805 by which time the British have primacy in the Mediterranean with a large naval base in Malta. British officials, negotiating with the Dey, establish a fleet in Tripoli and extend their trading power to the Libyan hinterland.
         Between 1830 and 1835, Britain, France and Sicily annihilate the Babrbary pirates. Deprived of tribute for protection, the Dey of Karamanli increases trade wth Britain and France while Britain blocks his efforts to further compensate his losses by expanding Tripoli's influence into the Sahara.


       From 647 to 698, Muslim invasions led by the Umayyad dyansty in Damascus, displace Byzantine rule from the area of modern of Libya comprising Cyrenecia in the east and Trpolitania and Deccan in the west. By the early 700s, Algeria, Tunis and Morocco are under Muslim rule but the area undergoes a series of revolts against taxation by the Umayyads. After Sunni persecution, Shiites in the region flee to Morocco where Idris I, a Shiite, founds the Idirisid dynasty. In Morocco, Idris II founds the city of Fez, an important economic, cultural and relgious centre.

          In the early 800s, Berber Muslims from Morocco occupy Spain. Mean while the Aghlabids of Trpolitania (Libya) break from the ruling Abbasids of Baghdad. founding their own dynasty. Algeria is ruled by the Rustamids. In 909 the Shiite Fatamid dynasty takes control of Tunis and goes on to conquer Egypt and all of the Maghreb. From 1046 to 1147, the Berber Almoravids of Morocco control much of West Africa. They are followed by the Almohads who invaded Spain to forestall the the Christian "reconquista" or reconquest and bring Islam to Saharan Africa.1434 witnesses the first European presence in Africa with the discovery of the Western Sahara by Portugal.
            A new epoch for the Maghreb begins with conquest of the Libyan regions of Cyrencia and Tripolitana in 1551.


         From 1150 BC, the Phoenecians rule the Moroccan coast in the west  and Libya in the eastern Maghreb.As Libyans they occupy and rule Egypt between 975 and 715 BC. By 560 BC, Carthage rules present-day Tunisia and in 375 BC the Greeks rule coastal Libya. At the end of the millennium, in 192 BC- Libya and Algeria are ruled by the Kingdom of Numidia and Carthage has been beaten back to Tunisia.
Morocco is ruled by the Kingdom of Mauretania.

        After 145 BC, Rome rules Carthage and Numidia and is facing resistance from Mauretania. By 67 BC Rome rules the entire Maghreb coast to the Atlantic. She faces resistance only from the Berbers of the Province of Algeria whom she pushes into the African interior.
        The Barbarian invasions bring Vandal rule to the entire Maghreb in 400 AD with a ingdom centred in Algeria and Libya. In 500 AD, the Eastern Roman Emperor retakes the Maghreb- Libya, Algeria and Tunis- for the empire. 



Thanks to BBC for items after 2000.

The Phoenicians

1150 BC- north Coast of Morocco is inhabited by Phoenicians.

-Phoenicians rule Libya,

975-715 BC- the Libyans invade and conquer Egypt.

Greeks, Carthaginians

375 BC -Greeks rule coastal Libya

560 BC- Carthage in present-day Tunisia.

192 BC- Libya and Algeria ruled by the Kingdom of Numidia. Carthage reduced to Tunisia.
Morocco ruled by the Kingdom of Mauretania.


145 BC- Rome rules Carthage in present day Tunisia.

74 BC- Rome rules most of Numidia (Libya)

44 BC-14 AD- resistance against Rome in Mauretania.

67- Rome controls the entire coastal Maghreb from Egypt to the Atlantic.

-Rome rules Algeria as a province of the empire- Berbers pushed back into interior.

Vandals and Byzantines.

400-Vandals rule coastal Maghreb from Libya up to Roman Morocco.

-Vandals rule Algeria

500- Kingdom of the Vandals in Libya, Algeria.

525-565- Justinian takes coastal Libya, Algeria and Tunia for the Byzantine Empire.

-Byzantines rule Libya.

Arabs- The Muslim Invasions.

-647-698- Arabs conquer Libyan Tripolitania, Cyrencia and Dezzan for Islam.

-700s- Muslim conquest of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco.

-740- revolts in the Maghreb against Umayyad taxation.


-788-964- Idris launches a failed Shia rebellion in Arabia, flees to Morocco. Arab Shia Idrisids founded by Idris I (a descendant of Ali) rule Morocco.

-Idris II of Morocco founds Fez.

-808- Fez, Morocco, an important political and cultural center.


-800-909- the Aghlabids in Tunisia gain idependence from the Abbasids. The Aghlabid Emirate in Tripolitania (Libya)

-the Rustamid Imamate in coastal Algeria.

-909- after a coup d’etat, the Shia Fatamids (who claimed descent from Mohammed daughter, Fatima) establish a dynasty in Tunisia.

-the Fatamids go on to conquer all of North Africa.

-1046-1147- The Almoravids

The Almohads of Morocco.

1130-1269- the Almohads of Morocco launch invasions in Spain to stop the Christian resurgence.

-Almohads spread Islam into sub-Saharan Africa.

Europe and the Ottoman Empire.

1434- Western Sahara discovered by Portugal.

1551- Ottomans conquer Libyan provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrencia .

1566- Algiers on Barbary Coast and Tunis controlled by the Habsburgs.

1574- Ottomans conquer Tunisia.

-Ottomans divide Libya into the regencies of Tripolitania, Tunisia and Algeria.

Tripolitania, piracy and war with Europe.

-pirates based in Tripoli prey on Christian shipping.

1620- (circa) Janissary military caste of slave soldiers sends out their own appointed Dey who often had more power than the provincial governors appointed by the Sultan.

1650- the entire Mediterranean and its coasts are controlled by the Ottomans, save for Morocco, Spain, France and Italy.

Britain draws closer to Libya.

1711- the Janissary Ahmad Karamanli becomes Dey, kills the Ottoman governor of Tripolitania and and persuades the Ottomans to name him governor.  Thenceforward, Ottoman rule is only indirect and the post of governor remains in the Karamanli family until 1835.

-the Karamanli Deys of Tripolitania extract heavy tribute from the Tripoli pirates and extend Ottoman rule into the interior.

1795- Yusuf Karamanli becomes Day of Tripoli, draws close to Britain.

1801-1805- war between the US and Tripoli about the amount of tribute US shipping should pay to the Dey for protection from pirates. By 1805 Britain has extablished naval supremacy in the Mediterranean.

-the Karamanli dynasty establishes stable rule having emerged in one piece from the American intervention in Tripoli.

-British Consul in Tripoli, Richard Warrington decides that the presence of the British fleet in Malta
 justifies the extension of British fleet over Ysuf Pasha. He arranges for a large British trading fleet to be established in Tripoli. Warrington then forms cllose relations with tribal leaders and places vice-consuls in all the towns of Libya.

1815-1835 England, France, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies successfully extirpate piracy, vastly reducing the tribute paid to the Dey of Tripolitania. As a result, Yusuf became more dependent on foreign consuls and trading missions.

-to make up for lost revenue, Yusuf Pasha also attempted to seize control of the trans Sahara trade by conquest of the Bornu Emirate. But the British Conusl, Warrington prevents him from doing so by sending British officers to secure control over the Sahara and Sudan under the cover of scholarly exploration.

French Conflict with Britain in Libya.

-France appoints its own consul in Tripoli, Charles Rousseau, to keep an eye on the British and soon Rousseau and Wa\rrington are competeing for control of Yusuf Pasha.

1830- the French fleet forces Yusuf Pasha of Tripolitana to limit the size of his fleet and to sign a non-aggression pact with France. As a way of seizing control, British Conusl Warrngton calls in Yusus's foreign debts- far beyiond his ability to pay. As he tries to exact tribute from the tribes, revolts break out, among them one led by Ouled Suleiman, a close aly of Warrington.

1830- France sends colonists into Algeria.

1831- British-backed Ouled Suleiman controls central Libya and asks for British protection.

1832- Suleiman asks the British to take control of Libya and establish law and order. Britain, with a fleet anchored off Tripoli, gives Yusuf 48 hours to pay his debt. Refused any help by the tribes, he abdicates in favour of his son Ali. Warrington rejects the move and, with tribal backing, brings in another branch of the Karamanlis backing Yusuf's grandson Mohammed-  leaving Ali with Tripoli and the surrounding country with Mohammed.

1834- a stalemat develops as a new Liberal government in England declines an expensive colonization project in Libya. The French, taking advantage of  Britain relaxing her grip, back the supremacy of Ali.

Ottoman Rule is re-established in Libya.

1835- hereditary dynasty of the Karamanli Deys of Tripoli has ended, ultimately due to Europe'sextirpation of piracy which diminished tribute to the Karamanlis. The British consul having staged a coup e'tat with Mohammed suddenly faces a change of policy at home. In May, the Ottoman Empire, loathe to lose Tipolitana to European Christians, seizes the opportunity and sends a fleet into Tripoli on grounds of a plea for help by Ali. Ali is arrested and Mohammed flees and commits suicide May intervenes quickly to take control.

1835-1911 -direct Ottoman rule is re-established.

1842- Ottomans conquer Libyan province of Fazzan.

-Tripolitania and Cyrencia are stable but politically and economically autonomous from Constantinople.

-the Sanusi brotherhood gains recruits from Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fazzan.

French rule of Northwest Africa.

1848- Algeria is annexed to France and given a French administrative structure, with departments- in Oran, Constantine and Algiers.

1870- most of Algeria is under French military control.

1881- Morocco becomes a French protectorate.

1881- Algeria formally becomes part of France.

1883- Tunisia, due to its strategic location at the center of the Mediterranean, becomes a French protectorate.

1884- the Western Sahara claimed as a protectorate by Spain.

The Entente Cordiale

1904- Entente Cordiale- Morocco falls under French influence.

1902- France fully controls Algeria.

Italian Invasion of Tripoli

1911-1943- Italy declares war on Turkey and occupies Tripoli. End of Ottoman rule. Due to Italian abuses, the populaton of Libya drops from 750,000 to 500,000.

1912- treaty of Ouchy- Italy gives autonomy to Tripoli and northern Libya. However fighting continues.

European Competition for Morocco.

-France intervenes in Morocco to put down a rebellion. Germany competes with France for influence in Morocco.

1912- most of Morocco is a French protectorate. The Treaty of Fez establishes French Morocco with a capital at Rabat and Spanish Morocco in the northern Rif area with a capital at Tetouan.

1914- Italy occupies most of Libya but becomes locked in a long war against the Sanusi and their allies.

1919- Algerians are without civil rights, save for a small elite given rights in return for renouncing their Islamic faith and customs. The French take the best land for agriculture, with Algerian peasants working the land for low wages.

-the French-educated Tunisian elite demand more political participation in their own affairs.

Resistance in Morocco.

1920-34 –rebel Abd al Krim leads resistance against Spanish, then French Morocco.

1921- Libya: Idris, the young Senussi sheikh of Cyrenecia accepts the Emirate of Tripolitana and unifies Libya.

1923- International Zone created in Tangiers, Morocco.

Italy Creates Libya.

1934- Italy combines Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, naming the region Libya. Fazzan is part of Tripolitania.

-Italian governor of Libya, Italo Balbo builds schools, hospitals and government buildings in Libya.

Resistance in Tunisia.

1934- the Tunisian socialist Neo-Destour party led by Habib Bourguiba becomes the focus of opposition to French colonial rule, demanding an incremental process of liberation.

1930s- -the nationalist Istiqlas movement rises in Moroccan cities. But French administrator Marshal Lyautey keeps the rebel movement in check.

-Italy sends 40,000 colonists to the plateau region of Libya.

World War II- German-Allied struggle for Libya.

1939- Libya becomes an Italian province.

1940-45- British and French fight Germans for control of Libya. Alergia is ruled by the Vichy government.

1940- Moroccan rebels encouraged by France’s defeat by Nazi Germany

-1942- birth of Muammar Ghaddafi to a tribe in the central Sirtic Desert.

1943- Libya placed under British-French military rule.

June 3- DeGaulle sets up the Committee of National Liberation on Algiers

1943 -French and Anglo-American forces liberate Tunisia from German occupation.

Colonialism Reasserts Itself.

-French colonists in Tunisia insist on reasserting control.

1944- in Morocco the Istiqlas movement is made official.

1947- Italy concedes all claims to Libya. Algerian nationalists are promised full political rights. But France’s fourth republic is too weak to force conservative Algerian colonists to live up to the commitment. Moreover, the military commanders also side with the colonists.

Libyan Indepedence

1951- Libya becomes an independent kingdom with a constitution. The Emir of Cyrencia (east, coastal Libya) Muhammad Idris al Sanusi (the Sunusi brotherhood) is proclaimed King Idris I but he is not popular in Tripolitana. Poor in natural resources, Libya is dependent on the US and Britian for economic aid.

1952- in elections, Libya's government candidates win 44 out of 55 seats because of strength in rural areas, or 80 per cent of the country because tribal leaders advise their people to vote for their traditionalist Sanusi king. The pan-Arab National Congress Party cries foul. The NCP, backed by Nasser, launches protests but King Idris exiles their leadership.

1952-1962- King Idris provides Libya with stable rule through consultation with tribes. However, nearly bereft of natural resources, Libya relies on foreign aid from Brtiain and the US.

Renewed Anti-Colonial Resistance

1953- the Moroccan Sultan Ibn Yusuf is deported by France to Madagascar because of his alleged support of the Isliqlas nationalism movement.

1953-54- Libya allows the US and Britain to establish bases provided they pay an annual subsidy and train the Libyan military.

The Franco-Algerian War.

1954-62- in response to brutal repression, the guerilla forces of the Algerian FLN wage war against French occupation. The country is destroyed; the colonists take most of their wealth with them to France.

-Boumerdas and Tizi Ouzou, in the Berber region of Kabylia in eastern Algeria is a center of resistance.

-under Ben Bella- the farms of emigrated Algerian colonists are nationalized and ruled through peasant autonomy.

Tunisian Autonomy.

1954- after growing unrest, France grants autonomy to Tunisia.

1955- Istiqlas nationalists start a guerrilla war in Morocco.

Moroccan Independence.

1956- Feb 18- France grants Morocco independence. Sultan Ibn Yusuf returns and is made King Muhammad V. Muhammad gets broad popular backing in wielding absolute power to develop industry and exploit mineral resources.

-after imprisoning Tunsian Habib Bourguiba, the French government under Mendes France decides he is a moderate compared to other Arab leaders and allows him to run for president.

1956- an American prospecter makes the first discovery of oil in Libya.

Tunisian Independence.

1956- Tunisia becomes independent from France. The monarchy is abolished. Habib Bourguiba becomes Prime Minister.

1956- Morocco becomes independent from French and Spanish protectorates.

1957- Morocco occupies the Western Sahara.

1957- Tunisia becomes a republic as Habib Bourguiba is elected president.

1959- oil wells developed in Libya.

1961- Hassan II succeeds to the throne of Morocco. He is also prime minister.

Algerian Independence.

1962- Algeria gains independence from France. Ahmed Ben Bella is the first president of the republic.

-in Libya, rapid modernization, centralization of the formerly decentralized state and the vote for women alienates many Muslims.

1962- Bouguiba succeeds in getting the French to withdraw their military bases from Tunisia.

1963- after a history of conflict between its three regions, Libya changes from a federal state to a unitary state.

-Libyans turn against King Idris for being to biased toward the West. 

1964- -King Idris dissolves Libyan parliament

1964-66- Anglo-Libyan treaty ends and British troops are withdrawn from Libya.

1965- King Idris rigs May elections.

Algeria's Boumedienne

1965- the Algerian government of Ben Bella is overthrown in a coup d’etat by Houari Boumedienne who maintains a dictatorship until 1974.

-under Boumedienne, Algerian peasant self-government is abandoned because of low productivity. Boumedienne shifts his socialist economic policy to nationalization and industrialization. Islamic and Arabic religious and cultural identity is promoted. Nevertheless Algeria remains economically dependent on France, where many Algerians are working.

Moroccan Dictatorship

1965- after riots in Casablanca, Hassan II of Morocco, declares a royal dictatorship.

Libya and Ghaddafi.

1966-  under the rule of king Idriss, Libya is making $500 million annually, while the oil revenue increases popular expectations yet fails to provide jobs or an improved standard of living for any but the wealthiest.

Young Libyans, alienated from traditional society, are educated in Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi Pan Arab Socialism by teachers imported from the Middle East. However the older generation associates socialism, democracy and any sort of modernism with the destructive Italian occupation of 1911-1943 which all but destroyed the country.
 -1969- at least four coups plotted against Libya's King Idriss.
1969- Spet 1, 1969- Colonel Ghaddafi and the Free Unionist Officers take power in a bloodless coup and rule with the Revolutionary Command Council. The 1951 constitution is ended. Gaddafi appeals sucessfully to anti-Communist, anti-capitalist, pro-Islam Arab nationalism. He embraces international, Islamist causes and supports terror operations in Lebanon, Egypt and Chad.

-Ghaddafi concentrates power in the Revolitionary Command Council (RCC) composed of the 12 Free Unionist Officers closest to Ghaddafi- all are under 30. Alcohol is banned, night clubs closed and alll Roman script in public places replaced with Arabic.  All Jews and the remaining 30,000 Italians are expelled from the country.

-after oil companies refuse to give Libya a controlling 51% share but fail to bribe Libyan negotiators or agree on a united front, Ghaddafi nationalizes foreign-owned industries; provides free health care, minimum wage, the right to work and an education system. Grass roots local committees provide an illusion of populist democracy. He is socialist but anti-communist.

-Ghadaffi is oriented toward the Middle East rather than North Africa and forms close ties with Egypt and Syria.

1969-1970- Ghaddafi resists military coups launched against him.

-British and US bases are closed and Britain and the US withdraw all personnel and material.
-Libya and Algeria join forces to confront the big oil companies.

1970-72- Ghaddafi is prime minister of Libya.

Hassan II's Authoritarianism in Morocco.

1970- Hassan II of Morocco reforms the constitution but still hangs on to his supreme religious and political authority.

1971-1972- continued poverty and royal absolutism lead to unsuccessful attempted coups against Morocco’s Hassan II.

1970s- foreign military stations closed down in Libya. Ghaddafi promotes Islam andArab unity.

-Ghadaffi supports dictator Idi Amin of Uganda as a fellow Muslim.

1973- terrorist attacks against Moroccan government.

Ghaddafi's Arab Nationalism.

1973- 15 August- Ghadaffi, disgusted with corruption and luxury arising from Libyan oil wealth, launches the Libyan Zwara “cultural revolution” to entrench socialist and Muslim values. Islamic law is imposed. Ba'ath, Communist and all foreign parties are banned. Populace is armed to protect the Revolution. A purge is carried out of the old ruling elite while the bureaucracy is "returned to the people."

Oct- Libya contributes troops and supplies to the Arab cause in the Yom Kippur war against Israel.

1974- with all opposition having been outlawed, Tunsian President Habib Bourguiba declared president for life. However, state control over education and the economy brings stability and increased rights for women.

- May 7- Libya's Gadaffi calls for the creation of Popular Committes to foment the revolution in every community.

-May 14-  Gadaffi announces his Third Universal Theory- a traditional Islamic, Libyan Bedouin middle way between Capitalism and Communism advocating communal values for a government modelled on the age-old autonomous Bedouin council. He is the first and only leader in the Maghreb to appeal to indigenous traditions.

1974- Algerian President Boumedienne holds elections. He is declared president by a new constitution.

1975- the former Spanish Sahara comes under joint control of Morocco, Mauritania and Spain. The southern area, Tiris al Gharbia, is shared by Mauritania and Morocco.

-the Algerian economy is increasingly dependent on oil.

-Ghadaffi survives another attempted coup.

1976- January- 187 Popular Committees established in Libya. Each sends three members to attend the First General Congress of the Socialist ppular Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ("rule by the masses"). Property sharing is promoted, multiple ownership of property is ooutlawed. Profit-sharing replaces wages.Major dealerships, retail and grocery operations are all nationalized. The only weakness is the RCC's control of alll vital institutions from oil to security and the military- contrary to popular soverignty. The RCC meanwhile has shrunk to Ghaddafi, Colonel Jalloud, Colonel Mustafa Kharroubi, Colonel Khweldi Homei, and military chi8ef, Colonel Abu Bakr Younis.

Polisario Conflict with Morocco over Western Sahara.

1976- the Spanish Sahara is re-named the Western Sahara. The Algeria-based Polisario Front sets up a government in exile. The Polisario calls the disputed region The Saharan Arab Democratic Republic.

-Tunisian government’s refusal to legalize opposition parties causes political unrest and provokes the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the 1970s and 1980s.

1976-80- Hassan II deploys a large army to block Polisaro forces from infiltrating Morocco’s western border. Despite military backing from the U.S., he is unable to contol the Western Sahara.

1979- The Polisario, an Algerian-backed liberation front in the Western Sahara forces Mauretania to withdraw. Morocco becomes responsible for the Spanish Sahara despite an independence movement there which is not recognized by Morocco.

1979- Algerian President Chadi Benjedid succeeds Boumedienne.

1980- Ghaddafi launches a campaign of assassination against Libyan dissidents in Europe.

1981- a drop in the price of oil increases the burden of Algeria’s foreign debt. Boumedienne’s successor Chadli is forced to adopt market-oriented economic reforms and austerity measures.

1982- in response to Libyan support for international terrorism, the US bans Libyan oil imports.

Fundamentalism Emerges in Tunisia.

1983-84- Islamic Fundamentalists riot against Tunisian president Bourguiba. His influence is reduced.

1984- urban unrest prompts Hassan II of Morocco to appoint a coalition government of national unity under a civilian prime minister.

-the war in the Western Sahara puts increasing strain on the Moroccan economy throughout the 1980s.

1984- UK accuses Libya of the murder of a police officer in London and severs relations.

-Ghaddafi invades northern Chad for its alleged uranium reserves. But his offensive fails.

1986- Libyan terrorists accused in the bombing of a US forces night club in Germany. President Reagan orders the bombing of Benghazi and Tripoli in an attempt to kill Gaddafi.

Fundamentalism in Tunisia.

1987- due to political unrest, Tunisian president Bourguiba, on grounds of senility, is deposed by his prime minister, Ben Ali. Ben Ali attempts to bring in multi-party politics. But political liberalization is slowed down by resistance from Islamic fundamentalists.

1988- reforms made in the Tunisian constitution to allow opposition parties some minimal representation in the legislature.

1988- The UN decides that the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara should hold a referendum on independence under the Polisario or rule by Morocco.

1988- a Pan Am jet, later found to be rigged with explosives by Libyan agents, explodes and comes down over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all aboard.

Fundamentalism in Algeria.

-in Algeria the official policy of economic and cultural nationalism fails as Chadli’s austerity measures provoke an Islamic fundamentalist backlash.

1989- in Algeria, Chadli changes the constitution to allow for political parties including the Islamist Islamic Salvation Front- despite their vow to destroy the existing order.

1989- two Libyan fighter jets shot down by warplanes from US aircraft carrier off the North African coast.

-internal and external pressures cause Ghaddafi to withdraw from Chad, allow private enterprise, withdraw support from terror groups and hand over evidence to Britain that he gave support to the IRA.

-Ghaddafi continues building chemical weapons.

The Maghreb Union

1989- the Maghreb Union is founded in Marrakesh, Morocco- with Hassan II, Chadli of Ageria, Zine of Tunisia, Gaddafi of Libya and Sidi Ahmed of Mauritania.

1990- first Maghreb Union summit in Tunis.

-second Maghredb Union Summit in Algiers calls for the princiuple of a customs union.

1990- December- a general strike in Morocco.

-Ghaddafi condemns Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

Crackdown on Islamists in Libya.

- Ghaddafi’s increasing moderation causes him to imprison 2,000 Islamist radicals.

1991- UN-brokered ceasefire between the Polisario and Morocco.

Islamists Garner Most Votes in Algerian Eelections.

1991- in Algerian elections, the Islamic Salvation front wins almost half the seats in parliament desppite only 25% of the popular vote and Chadli resigns, giving way to a 5-member transitional state council.

Islamic Insurgency in Algeria.

-an Algerian Islamic insurgency started in 1992 after authorities cancelled elections an Islamist party was poised to win.

1992- February-9- Algeria’s State Council bans the Islamic Salvation Front.

-1992-1999- Algerian civil war between Islamists and the government takes 100,000 lives.

1992- UN imposes sanctions against Libya after it refuses to extradite two Libyans accused in the bombing which brought down a Pan AM passenger plane over Lockerbie, Scotland.

1992- clashes in Algeria between government forces and guerillas of the Islamic Salvation Front. The civil war will last throughout most of the 1990s.

-Libya suffers from UN sanctions, despite its oil wealth.

1994- Tunisian president Ben Ali is re-elected; further constitutional reforms are brought in. However the threat from Islamic fundamentalists is handled by imprisoning them.
Ben Ali promotes Tunisian cultural nationalism against continued French influence.

1995- Morocco- a referendum brings about the formation of a bicameral legislature.

Founding of the Islamist GSPC.

1998- the G.S.P.C. is created as an offshoot of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which along with other Islamist guerrilla forces fought a brutal decade-long civil war after the Algerian military canceled elections in early 1992 because an Islamist party was poised to win. The group is founded by Hassan Hattab, a former Armed Islamic Group (GIA) regional commander after breaking with the GIA in in protest over the GIA's slaughter of civilians.

1999- April 5- in a compromise with Ghaddafi, the Lockerbie suspects are handed over under Scottish law for trial at the international criminal tribunal at the Hague. UN sanctions against Libya are lifted.

End of Civil War in Algeria.

1999- Abdul Aziz Bouteflika is elected president despite withdrawal of all other candidates in protest of unfair elections; with approval by referendum, he declares an amnesty with the Islamic Salvation Front and promotes reconciliation, bringing an end to the civil conflict in Algeria.

-many former Algerian GIA fighters lay down their arms, but a few remain active, including members of the GSPC.

1999- Hassan II of Morocco dies and is succeeded by Mohammed VI.

-Mohammed VI brings about reform and reconciliation and allows opposition leaders to return to Morocco. He dismisses Driss Basri, Hassan’s Minister for Domestic Affairs.

2000- Islamist attacks continue in Algeria, despite amnesty.

2000- African immigrant workers killed by Libyan mobs

2001- Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands results in one conviction.

-various countries including the US begin to do business with Libya again. Thus Libya avoided being a target in the War on Terror.

-Morocco: Mohammed IV’s reforms in such matters as women’s rights, prompt a backlash from Islamic fundamentalists.

2001-May- Algerian Berbers in Kabylie are killed by police while protesting police brutality. Later in the year the government gives official status to the Berber language.
The main Berber party withdraws from the government in protest.

2002- US and Libya hold reconciliation talks.

Beginning of post- 9-11 Sucide Attacks

2003- May 16- 5 suicide blasts in Casablanca hitting Jewish and Spanish targets.

June- Abassi, Madani leader of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front freed from prison.

-Libya elected to chair the UN Human Rights Commission.

August- Libya takes responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and compensates families of the victims, promises to halt programs for weapons of mass destruction.

GSPC mass kidnapping in Algeria.

2003- a G.S.P.C. leader in southern Algeria kidnaps 32 European tourists, some of whom are released for a ransom of 5 million euros (about $6.5 million at current exchange rates), paid by Germany. Officials say the leader, Amari Saifi, bought weapons and recruited fighters before the United States military helped corner and catch him in 2004. He is now serving a life sentence in Algeria.

Moroccan Connection to Madrid Train Bombing.

2004- March 11- suicide bombing of train in Madrid kills 191, injures over 1,000. Lengthy investigation concludes that cells did not come from any well known Islamist group but from Morrocaan hash-smuggling rings previously connected with an Al Qaeda group which became defunct.

-April- Algerian President Boutelika re-elected in a landslide.

June- Abdelmalik Droukdel announces his arrival with a truck bomb at the Algeria’s most important electrical production facility and focuses on associating the GSPC with Al Qaeda. . “The Algerian military says he cut his teeth in the 1990s as a member of the Armed Islamic Group’s feared Ahoual or “horror” company, blamed for some of the most gruesome massacres of Algeria’s civil war.” NYT

-GSPC (al-Qaeda-linked Salafist Group for Call and Combat) declares war on all foreign nationals and interests in Algeria.

- British P.M. Tony Blair visits Libya.

-5 Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in Libya for infecting chidren with HIV.

GSPCmounts attacks in Mauretania.

2005- June – an “attack against a military barrack in Mauritania, executed by Khaled Abul Abbas, chief of the GSPC in the Sahara came as part of this tendency, according to well informed sources. Al-Qaeda was interminably giving guidelines to the Salafist Group since 9/11 attacks.” (ALGERIA EVENTS)

-June-- “Indications that a cross-border alliance was under way came…when the G.S.P.C. attacked a military outpost in Mauritania, killing 15 soldiers. The attackers fled into Mali, according to the United States military.” NYT

End of Islamist GIA.

-Nourredine Boudiafi, head of Algeria’s Armed Islamc Group, is arrested, ending the groups effective existence.

September 2005- “the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated that 600 Algerians were fighting as foreign jihadists in Iraq. At the time, this was believed to be 20 percent of the total strength of the foreign insurgents in Iraq -- the largest of any single group.” -STRATFOR

-Algerian government promises Berbers language rights and capital invesment.

2005- Libya opened to international oil exploration and investment.

GSPC links up, merges with Al Qaeda.

Dec 8- the extremist Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) plans to set up an Al-Qaeda branch in the Maghreb countries as a base for attacks to be launched on the countries that support US administration.

2006- January- Al Qaeda in the Maghreb is officially formed from the Algerian GSPC, the Moroccan GICM (responsible for the Casablanca and Madrid bombings in 2003 and 2004 respectively), and other Tunisian elements.

2006- February- Libyans riot against Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

Sept 11- Ayman Zawahiri of Al Qaeda announces the formation of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

2006- 6 month Algerian amnesty for Islamists.

2006- May- US begins restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya.

-Algeria, recovering economically, commits itself to paying back its $8 billion national debt.

-September, Rabah Kebir, leader of the Islamic Salvation front, returns to Algeria and urges Islamist militants to disarm.

Dec 10- Algeria- bus bombed carrying foreign oil workers.

2006-2007- Libya’s Gaddafi joins Egypt and Sudan in several attempts at a peace settlement in Darfur.

December- 5 Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor accused of inflecting children with HIV sentenced to life imprisonment.

Dec 2006 to January 2007- (Dec. 23, Jan 3) Algerian Salafist groups engage Tunisian police and army units with 14 terrorists and some police killed.

-Libya cuts the government labour force and moves to stimulate private enterprise.

2007: Al Qaeda in the Sahel.

February- news reports point to Al Qaeda training camps in the Sahel from Senegal to Ethiopia with plans to attack targets in Europe.

Feb 13- GSPC claims responsibility for car bombings in Boumerdas and Tizi Ouzou, on the Berber region of Kabylia in eastern Algeria. (This was a center of resistance during the Algerian war).

-Feb 16 - in the mountain retion of Qashra near the town of Skikda, Alergian police kill 26 and arrest 35 militants in response to the Feb 13 car bombings.

Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (GSPC) : terror operations in Algeria and Morocco.

Feb 20- Moroccan police search for Hmam Bilal et Bel Hachmi and Mohamed Rida who are accused of having ties with groups including the Algeria-based al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb,

March 4- Algeria- bus carrying Algerian and Russian gas-line workers bombed- killing 3 Algerians and a Russian.

March 11- suicide bombing in Casablanca internet cafe.

April 10- three suicide blasts kill and wound police in raid on Casablanca safe house.

April 11- Algiers- bombings of the police station and prime minister’s office claim 17 lives. Claimed by Al Qaeda.

April 14- two suicide bombings on US diplomatic offices in Casablanca.

June 11- suicide truck bomb kills soldiers at military barracks near Algiers. GSPC claims responsibility.

July- the Bulgarian nurses and the doctor have death sentences in Libya commuted to life. Under a deal with the European Union, they are all repatriated.

Sept 6- suicide blast kills twenty prior to vistit of President Boutefilka near Algiers.

Sept 8- GSPC claims responsibility for bombing of military barracks, killing 37 at Dellys, Algeria.

Oct 7- Zareg Zoheir, mastermind of GSPC suicide bombings killed by Algerian police.

Dec 11- 67 killed in suicide blasts at Constitutional Court and UN offices in Algiers.

Dec 25- French tourists killed by gunman in Mauretania.

2008- Jan 2- suicide attack near police station in Algiers.

January - Libya takes one-month of the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in a  move toward respectability after years as a pariah of the West.

Feb 1- gun attack on Israeli embassy in Nouakshott, Mauretania.

March- heavy fighting in eastern Algeria between GSPC and Algerian army.

April- Spanish police arrest 2 Moroccans in 2003 Casablanca bombings.

June 6- roadside bomb kills 6 soldiers in Algeria.

June 8- double suicide blast in Algerian train station.

July 14- leader of GCPC in Algeria killed in police raid.

Tunisia, 2008- Officials convicted of attempt to overthrow government.

2008 July 18, Tunisia- 2 officials and three others were convicted of terrorist activities conspiring to overthrow the government.

Aug 19- Les Issers, Algeria- 43 killed in suicide bombing at police academy.

August - Libya and US sign agreement committing both to compensation of victims in bomb attacks on the other's citizens.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi apologises to Libya for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signs a five billion dollar investment deal by way of compensation.

Aug 20- double car-bomb attack on Bouira, Algeria, kills workers from a Canadian water treatment project.

Tunisia, 2008- Islamists Convicted of planned attacks and training militants for Iraq.

2008  Aug 23, A Tunisian court convicts 13 Islamic militants for planning to carry out attacks in Tunisia. 6 more are convicted on Aug 26 for setting up a guerilla training base in Tunisia's  Kef region  for sending fighters to Iraq.

September, 2008 - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes the highest-level American visit to Libya since 1953. Ms Rice annojunce a new phase of relations between the US and Libya.

US Lockerbie victims' group compensated by Libya.

November - US Lockerbie victims' group announce full payment of compensation from Libya. Restoration of diplomatic relations posisble with United States.

Nov- three Tunisians prosecuted in Milan for their part in an Italy-based European terror network.

2009- Feburary- Tuinisia- a German who attacked Djerba synagogue in 2002 is sentenced by a French court to 18 yerars.

Gaddafi elected to head African Union; speaks of United States of Africa.

February - Gaddafi elected chairman of the African Union at meetiung of leaders in Ethiopia. He speaks of a "United States of Africa" even embracing the Caribbean.

June - Gaddafi pays his first state visit to Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler and now its main trading partner.

July- Tunisia- nine men, including two airforce officers, charged with plotting to kill US troops during joint mmilitary exercise.

August -  Scotland frees jailed Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds and returns him to Libya. His release and return to a hero's welcome sturs up controversy.

September - Libyan celebrations mark 40 years since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seizure of power.

Tunisia's Ben Ali threatens any opposition to his electoral victory

Oct- Tunisia- President Ben Ali elected to a fifth term in office. Warns of legal consequences if the vote is questioned.

Nov- Tunisia- a journalist is jailed for assualt. Taoufik Ben Brik  had written critically of the president. Human rights groups say the charge is politically motivated..

December - Diplomatic row between Switzerland and European Union after Gaddafi's son is held in Switzerland on charges of mistreating domestic workers.

2010- January - Russia agrees to sell weapons to Libya in a deal worth $1.8bn in fighter jets, tanks and air defence systems.

June - UN refugee agency UNHCR expelled from Libya.

July - US senators demand inquiry into suspicions that oil giant BP lobbied for release of Libya's Lockerbie bomber.

-BP confirms plans to drill soon off Libyan coast.

- July- Tunisia- Fahem Boukadous's appeal upholds his jail sentence for coverage of violent protests.

October - European Union signs an agreement with Libya to slow illegal migration.

November - Group of journalists arrested in apparent power struggle within ruling elite. Gaddafi later orders them freed. 

December -  WikiLeaks releases US diplmatic cable suggesting that Gaddafi was prepared to cut trade with Britain if Lockerbie bomber died in jail. 


Tunisia: Mass Protests against Political Repression and Uemployment.

December 17: Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old man trying to support his family by selling fruits and vegetables in the central town of Sidi Bouzid, douses himself in paint thinner and sets himself on fire in front of a local municipal office.

Dec- Tunisia- protests against lack of political freedom and against unemployment become nation wide.

Jan- 2011- Tunisia- demonstrators say police killed at least 50 protesters as demonstrations continue. Government llays the blame on Islamist and left-wing "extremists,"  reducing the number to 21 killed. Authorities close educational institutions and bring out troop in Tunis to contain  demonstrations while promising economic and social reforms. President Ben Ali fires interior minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem, has most of the protestors released and sets up a special committee to investigate corruption.

Ben Ali Flees Tunisia.

-Ben Ali flees country ahead of massive protrests.

-Pime Minister Mohammed Ghanoucchi announces a national unity government, not fully satisfying protestors.

-Ghanouchhi briefly occupies the presidency before a constitutional deciomn kis made for lower house leader Fouad Mebazza to become interim president.

Tunisia Inspires Demonstations in Algeria and Morocco.

Jan 22- Algeria- sparked by the revolt on Tunisia along with rising prices and unemployment, demonstrators marching on Algiers where met police who opened fire, killing over a dozen.

Jan 26- Morocco- a fourth  Moroccan sets himself on fire, in a series of suicide attempts inspired by the self-immolation that set Tunisia's revolution in motion.

Algeria- 2011 January - Major protests over food prices and unemployment, with two people being killed in clashes with security forces. The government orders cuts to the price of basic foodstuffs. Inconclusive protests continue into 2012.

Algeria Lifts State of Emergency.

Algeria- 2011 February - President Abdelaziz Bouteflika lifts 19-year-old state of emergency - a key demand of anti-government protesters.

Tunisia- 2011 February - Prime Minister Ghannouchi resigns, responding to demands by demonstrators calling for a clean break with the past.

A Single Arrest brings Mass Demontrations to Libya; Bengazi a Hub of Protest.

Libya- 2011 February - Arrest of human rights campaigner sparks violent protests in eastern city of Benghazi that rapidly spread to other cities. Authorities use aircraft to attack protestors. Gaddafi insists that he will not quit, and remains in control of the capital, Tripoli.

-the east Libya city of Bengazi resists government violence and falls to the protesters. 

-Libya's Bengazi protest spreads to Tripoli as part of the military turns against Ghadaffi and Ghadaffi uses tanks, planes and mercenaries against protesters.

Demands for Reform in Morocco.

2011 February - Thousands of people rally in Rabat and other cities calling for political reform and a new constitution curbing the powers of the king.

Libya- 2011 March - UN Security Council authorises a no-fly zone over Libya and air strikes to protect civilians, over which NATO assumes command.

Libyan Uprising Backed by NATO.

Libya- Backed by extensive NATO air raids, Libyan rebels initially capture territory but are then forced back by better-armed pro-Gaddafi forces. Rebels ask West for arms.

Tunisia 2011 March - Date for election of a constitutional council set for 24 July.
Rally for Constitutional Democracy (RCD), the party of ousted President Ben Ali, is dissolved by court order.

Algeria Moves Toward Reform.

Algeria- 2011 April - President Bouteflika sets up a committee tasked with suggesting constitutional changes aimed at "reinforcing democracy"

2011 April - Libyan troops cross border into Tunisia during clashes with rebels.
Thousands of Tunisians flee by boat to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

 2011 April - 17 people - mainly foreigners - are killed in a bomb attack on a Marrakech cafe. It is Morocco's deadliest blast in eight years. The Maghreb arm of al-Qaeda denies involvement.

Tunisia- 2011 May - Curfew imposed amid fresh street protests. 

Tunisia 2011 June - Ex-president Ben Ali is tried in absentia for theft. He is sentenced to 35 years in prison.

King of Morocco Chooses Reform.

Morocco- 2011 July - King Mohammed scores a landslide victory in a referendum on a reformed constitution he proposed to placate "Arab Spring" protests. Demonstrators continue to call for deeper reforms.

Libyan Rebels Enter Tripoli; Libyan Interim Government Government recongized by West.

Libya- 2011 July - The international Contact Group on Libya formally recognises the main opposition group, the National Transitional Council (NTC), as the legitimate government of Libya.

Libya- 2011August - Rebels swarm into Col Gaddafi's fortress compound in Tripoli, six months after the uprising began. With only a few remaining strongholds under his control, Col Gaddafi goes into hiding. His wife and three of his children flee to neighbouring Algeria.

Libya-2011 August-September - African Union joins 60 countries which have recognised the NTC as the new Libyan authority.

Algeria- 2011 August - Suicide attack on a military academy kills 18. A local al-Qaeda group claims responsibility.

Algeria- 2011 September - President Bouteflika ends state monopoly over radio and TV.

Libya's Gaddafi Captured and Killed by Rebels.

Libya- 2011 20 October - Col Gaddafi is captured and killed.Three days later, the NTC declares Libya to be officially "liberated" and announces plans to hold elections within eight months.

Tunisia Votes Ennahada Party into Minority Government.

Tunisia- 2011 October - Parliamentary elections. Ennahda Islamist party wins, but falls short of an outright majority.

Algeria- 2011 October - Africa's second metro opens in Algiers.

Morocco 2011 October - Court sentences man to death for bombing of tourist cafe in Marrakech in April.

Moderate Islamists win Parliament in Morocco.

Morocco 2011 November - Parliamentary elections won by moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD).

Libya- 2011 November - Saif al-Islam, the fugitive son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, is captured, becoming the last key Gaddafi family member to be seized or killed.

Tunisia 2011 November - National assembly which will draft a new constitution meets for first time. 

Tunisia- 2011 December - Human rights activist Moncef Marzouki is elected president by the constituent assembly, Ennahda leader Hamadi Jebali is sworn in as prime minister.

Tunisia: Bengazi Rebels fight over Interim Government and Pace of Change

Libya- 2012 January - Clashes erupt between former rebel forces in Benghazi in sign of discontent with the pace and nature of change under the governing NTC. The deputy head of the NTC, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, resigns.

Morocco 2012 January - New coalition headed by PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane is installed.

Libya- 2012 February - Scores killed in clashes between Arab Zawi and African Tebu groups in Al-Kufra in the remote south-east.

Libya: Movement for Autonomy in Bengazi Region.

Libya- 2012 March - NTC officials in the oil-rich east, centred on Benghazi, launch a campaign to re-establish autonomy for the region, further increasing tension with the central NTC in Tripoli.
Mauritania arrests Gaddafi-era intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi at Nouakchott Airport, and insists it will investigate him before considering an extradition request from Libya. The International Criminal Court and France also seek his extradition.
Morocco 2012 May - Tens of thousands take part in Casablanca trade union rally, the largest since the new government took office in January. Participants accuse Prime Minister Benkirane of failing to deliver on reforms.

Algeria- 2012 May - Parliamentary poll: Ruling FLN wins 220 out of 463 seats, followed by its ally the National Democratic Rally with 68 seats. Islamist alliance comes third with 48 seats. Some opposition MPs allege FLN fraud.

Tunisia: Upsurge of Salafi Extremists.

Tunisia 2012 May - Hundreds of Salafi Islamic extremists clash with security forces and attack a police station in Jendouba in a dispute over Salafi attacks on alcohol sellers.

Libya- 2012 May - Gunmen burst into government headquarters in Tripoli during a protest against the suspensions of bounty payments to groups that had fought against the Gaddafi government. Security forces restore order.

Libya- Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi dies in Tripoli. A private funeral is held.

Tunisia- 2012 June - Former president Ben Ali is sentenced to life in prison over the killing of protesters in the 2011 revolution. He is living in Saudi Arabia, which refuses to extradite him.
The government imposes an overnight curfew in eight areas following riots by Islamists against an art exhibition. One man died after being shot in the head.

Libya- 2012 June - Government struggles to control local militias, especially in Zintan in the West. The Al-Awfea Brigade briefly takes over Tripoli International Airport, and a pro-autonomy mob ransacks the election commission building in Benghazi.

-Tunisia extradites former prime minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoud

Tunisia: Protest against Government over Reduction in women's Rights/

Tunisia- 2012 August - Thousands protest in Tunis against moves by Islamist-led government to reduce women's rights. Draft constitution refers to women as "complementary to men", whereas 1956 constitution granted women full equality with men.

Libya: Democratically Elected Congress Takes Power.

Libya- 2012 August - Transitional government hands power to the General National Congress, which was elected in July. The Congress elects Mohammed Magarief of the liberal National Front Party as its chairman, thereby making him interim head of state

Algeria- 2012 September - President Bouteflika appoints water minister and key ally Abdelmalek Sellal as prime minister, ending post-election uncertainty.

Libya- US Ambassador and three other Americans killed in Benghazi attack
2012 September - US ambassador and three other Americans are killed when armed men storm the consulate in Benghazi. The US believes armed Islamist groups used protests against a film produced in the US that mocks the Muslim prophet Muhammad as cover for the attack. Crowds in Benghazi drive out the Ansar al-Sharia and other militias from the city and nearby Derna, prompting head of state Mohammed Magarief to vow to disband all illegal militias.

Libya- Mauritania extradites former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi to Libya to stand trial over crimes allegedly committed under Col Gaddafi's rule.

Libya- Congress elects Ali Zidan as Prime Minister.

Libya- 2012 October - Mustafa Abu Shagur, prime-minister-elect, fails in two attempts to gain parliamentary approval for his government. The National Congress elects Ali Zidan, a liberal and leading opposition envoy during the civil war, to succeed him.

Libya- Pro-government forces put down armed uprising in western town of Bani Walid. The Libyan authorities allege that Gaddafi loyalists are still present in the town - a claim rejected by local militiamen.

Algeria: Alert Over Mali Offensive Against Islamists.

Algeria- 2012 October - The army kills al-Qaeda's deputy leader in Algeria, Boualem Bekai, alias Khaled al-Mig, in an ambush near Tizi Ouzou in the mountainous Kabylie region.

Algeria- 2012 November - Security alert levels raised over planned foreign intervention against Islamists in neighbouring Mali.

Libya- 2012 November - New government led by Ali Zidan is sworn in.

Libya- Benghazi police chief is assassinated by unknown gunmen.

Libya 2012 December - Former Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi goes on trial in Tripoli on charges of "acts that led to the unjust killing of Libyans" and of funnelling about $25m of public money through Tunisia to help forces loyal to Col Gaddafi.

Algeria- 2012 December - French President Francois Hollande acknowledges suffering caused by France's colonisation of Algeria but stops short of an apology.

Algeria: Army intervenes against Mali Islamists holding Hostages at Gas Plant.

Algeria- 2013 January - Dozens of foreign hostages are killed by Islamist militants during a four-day siege at a remote gas complex. Algerian special forces storm the site. PM Abdelmalek Sellal says the attackers entered Algeria from northern Mali

International Security Concerns over Libya.

Libya 2013 January - Libya dismisses security concerns that prompt Britain, Germany and the Netherlands to urge their citizens to leave the country's second city, Benghazi.

Morocco 2013 January - Government backs changing penal code article that allows rapists of underage girls to avoid prosecution by marrying their victims. Follows suicide of 16-year-old girl forced to marry her rapist.

Tunisia threatens to Split between Islamists and Secularists over Killing of Opposition Leader.

Tunisia- February- Oppostion leader Cokra Belaid assassinated. Mass protests accuse Ennahada party. 

Tunisia- 2013 February - Tunisia's ruling Islamist Ennahda party rejects moves to form a government of technocrats after the killing of an opposition anti-Islamist leader. Ennahda Vice-President Abdelhamid Jelassi says Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali failed to consult his own party over the proposal. The party also rejects opposition allegations that it was behind the killing of Chokri Belaid, whose death prompted violent protests
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