CIA activities in the Near East, North Africa, South and Southwest Asia
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency conducts activities in the areas commonly called the "Middle East," or more precisely North Africa, the Near Middle East, and South and Southwest Asia.
1966 National Intelligence Estimate on the Maghreb
The 1966 National Intelligence Estimate on the Maghreb states as its goal, "To examine and assess trends and problems of the individual Maghreb states and of the area as a whole over the next two or three years." It continues "The three Maghreb states share a certain sense of identity, but this tends to be overshadowed by the differences between them. Some modest forms of economic cooperation are developing, but over the next few years nothing approaching economic integration or political unity is in sight." See the individual countries for details on the estimates pertaining directly to them.
"France will continue to be the single most important foreign influence in the Maghreb. The cultural link is likely to persist for some time, and France is the principal trading partner of each of the three countries. Algeria will continue to be the most favored by French subsidies and other economic aid, though throughout the area these will decrease over the longer term. None of the Maghreb countries is likely to become closely involved in the affairs of the Eastern Arab or sub-Saharan African states."
"Both Morocco and Tunisia have border disputes with Algeria, and both fear that Algeria may try to dominate North Africa. Algeria, on the other hand, fears that Morocco and Tunisia, backed by Western powers, might attempt to encircle it. These attitudes have contributed to a North African arms race, with Algeria receiving large amounts of Soviet arms, and Morocco and Tunisia pressing for extensive military aid from Western powers, particularly the US. Algeria's military capabilities are now greater than those of Morocco and Tunisia combined, and we believe Algeria would seek additional Soviet arms if a major build-up of Moroccan or Tunisian forces occurred.
"Despite the tensions among the Maghreb states, none is likely to mount a deliberate major armed attack against a neighbor during the period of this estimate. Limited border conflicts may occur, but they would probably be localized and of short duration."
1972 FRUS summary
"Early in President Richard Nixon's first term, officials monitoring U.S.-North African relations had grounds for some satisfaction. U.S. ties with Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya were firm. Although Algeria had not yet resumed diplomatic relations broken during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, its economic links with the United States were expanding. Yet for all North African governments, friendly or otherwise, the Arab-Israeli issue complicated relations with Washington. The conflict was a major factor in continuing Algerian resistance to reestablishing formal ties with Washington. In Libya, a military junta, pledging internal reform and espousing Arab nationalism and the Palestinian cause, overthrew the unpopular pro-western monarchy in September 1969. Thereafter, the administration’s concern over Israeli sensibilities influenced its decision not to fulfill its aircraft contract with the Libyan government, to the detriment of U.S.-Libyan relations. In Morocco, Washington was allied with King Hassan, partly for his "moderate" stand on issues like the Arab-Israeli question. Yet as Hassan moved Morocco towards more representative government, he warned that Morocco’s firm support for the United States could change. Even Tunisia, a staunch U.S. ally, pushed Washington for a more energetic pursuit of Middle East peace, but was disappointed.
"The challenge for the North African states was to forge beneficial relations with the United States, the USSR, and France, while still maintaining their independence. Washington's support of Israel, however, strained North African-U.S. relations. Regional governments pressed the United States to resolve the Middle East crisis and attempted to defuse the issue themselves. In 1969, Morocco hosted two conferences, one Islamic and one Arab, in an attempt to seize the initiative on the Middle East from Arab "radicals" and bolster its fellow "moderates." Arab nationalists took heart from the Libyan coup in September 1969, and it prompted U.S. officials to reexamine trends and options in North Africa in January 1970.
"U.S. analysts concluded that Algeria and Morocco were likely to remain politically stable in the near future, in the latter case due to King Hassan’s tight grip on power. However, in Tunisia, where the ailing President Bourguiba was likely to step down, and Libya, where an inexperienced military junta ruled, the reports predicted political turmoil. Still, without a major Arab-Israel war or western disengagement, analysts saw no significant likelihood of Soviet dominance of the area. The National Security Council (NSC) Interdepartmental Group agreed in 1970 that, to maintain its regional interests, the United States should continue an active relationship with all North African governments, but also welcome a Western European presence. Since U.S. influence was limited by Washington’s close identification with Israel, Western Europe, particularly France, could provide the counterpoise to the Soviets in North Africa.
On November 5, 2002, Al-Qaeda operatives Abu Ali al-Harithi, Kamal Derwish and others in a car traveling through Yemen were killed in a targeted killing by a missile launched from a CIA-controlled Predator drone. On September 30, 2011 Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American U.S. citizen and al-Qaeda member, was killed by an air attack carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command. After several days of surveillance of al-Awlaki by the Central Intelligence Agency, armed drones took off from a new, secret American base in the Arabian Peninsula, crossed into northern Yemen, and unleashed a barrage of Hellfire missiles at al-Awlaki's vehicle. Samir Khan, a Pakistani-American al-Qaeda member and editor of the jihadist Inspire magazine, also reportedly died in the attack. The combined CIA/JSOC drone strike was the first in Yemen since 2002 — there have been others by the military’s Special Operations forces — and was part of an effort by the spy agency to duplicate in Yemen the covert war which has been running in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
South and Southwest Asia
- National Intelligence Estimate 60-66: The Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Volume XXIV, Africa, 5 May 1966, FRUS-XXIV-1
- "Summary", Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume E-5, Part 2, Documents on Africa, 1969-1972, United States Department of State
- Jeffrey Addicott (November 7, 2002). "The Yemen attack: illegal assassination or lawful killing?". Jurist. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
- "Same US military unit that got Osama bin laden [sic] killed Anwar al-Awlaki", The Telegraph, UK (September 30, 2011)
- http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/world/middleeast/anwar-al-awlaki-is-killed-in-yemen.html Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt and Robert F. Worth, "Two-Year Manhunt Led to Killing of Awlaki in Yemen", New York Times (September 30, 2011)