January 28, 2013

Trans-Saharan Challenges: Smuggling, Terrorism, and the Struggle for a State (Part 2)

By the 1600′s it is known that caravans crossed the Sahara to Tripoli to Timbuktu. Annual caravans across the desert could be protected by thousands of armed men and carried with them paper, glass beads, textiles, and pewter. To the South, in Senegal, Nasir al-Din was launching a jihad which helped united large tracts of the Sahara to speak the Arabic derived Hasaniya language. While early European intervention set up the port town of St. Louise in Senegal and began the maritime time based gum arabic trade, these maritime concerns left the trans-Saharan routes largely unaffected at this time5.

In Morocco, the Sufi sect of Islam was creating another type of civil society that led to an increase in commerce and other trade relationships. Regarding the difficulties that traders faced, “In North Africa, individuals tried to overcome these challenges through social networks based on a common identity, such as trade diasporas, native-place organizations, kinship associations and, from the fifteenth century, sufi orders.6” These Sufi orders allowed for the dissemination of information, storage of goods, a system of credit, conflict resolution, and mutual security. Although these Sufis did not practice the Sunni based Maliki Doctrine, their own Nasiri particularisms filled largely the same role. One of the trade routes utilized by the Sufis of Morocco ran from Tamgrut to Timbuktu.


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About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, the PROMIS series, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

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  • dickftr

    Thanks for the lesson Jack.  Also , are  Nick's, Precision rifle book's found at Amazon?

  • Surf375

    Good stuff, Jack. It's too bad we didn't have the luxury of history when diving right into Af-Pak region post 9-11. This is like Dalrymple's latest book "Return of a King", 'cept this book is 11 yrs late, your articles are on time, keep 'em coming.   http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/return-of-a-king-9781408818305/ In the spring of 1839, the British invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.   On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion. The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in Britain's greatest military humiliation of the nineteenth century: an entire army of the then most powerful nation in the world ambushed in retreat and utterly routed by poorly equipped tribesmen.   Return of a King is the definitive analysis of the First Afghan War, told through the lives of unforgettable characters on all sides and using for the first time contemporary Afghan accounts of the conflict. Prize-winning and bestselling historian William Dalrymple's masterful retelling of Britain's greatest imperial disaster is a powerful and important parable of colonial ambition and cultural collision, folly and hubris, for our times.

  • Surf375

    Good stuff, Jack. It's too bad we didn't have the luxury of history when diving right into Af-Pak region post 9-11. This is like Dalrymple's latest book "Return of a King", 'cept this book is 11 yrs late, your articles are on time, keep 'em coming.   http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/return-of-a-king-9781408818305/ In the spring of 1839, the British invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.   On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion. The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in Britain's greatest military humiliation of the nineteenth century: an entire army of the then most powerful nation in the world ambushed in retreat and utterly routed by poorly equipped tribesmen.   Return of a King is the definitive analysis of the First Afghan War, told through the lives of unforgettable characters on all sides and using for the first time contemporary Afghan accounts of the conflict. Prize-winning and bestselling historian William Dalrymple's masterful retelling of Britain's greatest imperial disaster is a powerful and important parable of colonial ambition and cultural collision, folly and hubris, for our times.

  • momengineer

    "right now this penetration is via economic venues"....this is why I pay close attention to the US dollar.  We have enjoyed enormous advantages of having the world's reserve currency....which may (or may not) be declining....I hope we step carefully..  (Great job Jack...please keep it coming!!)

  • JohnAd

    @Old PH2 Yes it is interesting...some of you might remember from history that Liberia was actually set up by the US as a colony for former African slaves.  It did not take long for those slaves from mixed descent (mulatto, sometimes rejected by both) to take control over those who were darker skinned.  Of course some of them had monies given to them by their fathers (slave owners).