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  #316  
Old 3 Dec 2011
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Last Frenchman in northern Mali refuses to leave Qaeda hotspot
http://www.eurasiareview.com/0312201...d-cooperation/
"Ould Dah told Magharebia that it was an important step “because – until recently – al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb used to benefit from Algeria insisting on spearheading the fight against terrorism over the rest of its neighbours, a position that adversely affected co-operation among Sahel countries”.

Relations between Mauritania and Algeria were strained after the Mauritanian army attacked an al-Qaeda encampment in the Wagadou Forest region of northern Mali last June, according to the analyst. Ould Dah said Algerian media inaccurately reported the Mauritanian army was defeated in the battle.

“Additionally, Algeria was reluctant to offer the Mauritanian army any intelligence information, or take part in the joint forces of the Sahel countries, leaving Mauritania alone in its confrontations with terrorists,” he said.

However, this latest step taken by Algeria marks a move toward more security co-operation among Sahel states. Political analyst Mokhtar Al-Salem said the visit was a “notable development” in terms of improving relations.

He added that the Mauritanian president has strong ties with Morocco, where Ould Abdel Aziz received his military training. “However, the fall of Kadhafi forced Algeria to shuffle the cards and search for new allies that may not include the Libyan interim council, after Algeria hosted Aisha Kadhafi,” al-Salem said.

“Algeria cannot afford to remain at odds with Morocco, Mauritania and Libya. Otherwise, it will be living in political isolation in the Arab Maghreb, which does not exactly serve its ends as a military power in the region,” the analyst noted."
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  #317  
Old 9 Dec 2011
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Aqim spreads from Maghreb to Sahel

Article suggests Aqim threat to not just Maghreb and Sahel regions, but also Europe.
Al-Qaida offshoot hopes to turn Africa's Sahel region into a 'new Somalia' l Simon Tisdall l guardian.co.uk

The amount of arms they are believed to have at their disposal is alarming.
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  #318  
Old 9 Dec 2011
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Originally Posted by steview View Post
Article suggests Aqim threat to not just Maghreb and Sahel regions, but also Europe.
Al-Qaida offshoot hopes to turn Africa's Sahel region into a 'new Somalia' l Simon Tisdall l guardian.co.uk

The amount of arms they are believed to have at their disposal is alarming.
This quote from Fowler tells us the time to act is now. They're dedicated, but they are few.

"Robert Fowler, a former UN special envoy to Niger and Canadian diplomat who was kidnapped and held hostage for four months in 2008-9 by al-Qaida in the Maghreb (AQIM), said the 31-strong group of captors was well-disciplined and wholly concentrated on its aim of creating an Islamic caliphate embracing the Muslim lands of Africa and the Middle East.

"These men are highly motivated and totally ascetic," Fowler said. "These guys have no needs. They are dressed in rags. They have a bag of rice and a belt of ammunition and that's it. I was held in 23 different locations in about 70 days. They are organised. They can break camp in under four minutes."

Fowler continued: "This was the most focused group of young men I have ever encountered in my life. They are totally committed to jihad. They said to me, 'We fight to die, you fight to go home to your wife and kids. Guess who will win?' Even if it takes 200 years … They want to turn the Sahel into a new Somalia.""
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  #319  
Old 10 Dec 2011
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Unhappy al Qaida want to terrorise the whole of the sub Sahel region.

More worrying news for the region.

Al-Qaida offshoot hopes to turn Africa's Sahel region into a 'new Somalia' | World news | The Guardian
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  #320  
Old 12 Dec 2011
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With the new AQ franchise opening in WA run by sahrawi, algerians and west africans, problems are spreading.
Next year they have presidential elections in France. Sarko would really like to enjoy some measure of success before then by liberating the hostages in Africa, like he succeeded with the three who were kidnapped in Jemen.
So he sent minister Gueant to Algeria to talk with Bouteflika. Who didn't personally receive him.
France is putting pressure on Algeria by planning to set up a base south of the algerian border. Boutef doesn't respond well to threats and want the french to ask nicely (like Spain did, and that manhunt seems to ge going full blast).
War of nerves by Franco-Algerian AQIM proxy | Latest News

EU to invest €150M in Mauri, Mali, Niger security. Niger sends elite forces to the north. Mali sends their 'elite' (sic) forces to Kidal. http://af.reuters.com/article/maliNe...111209?sp=true

If it turns out Nato can't use ground forces in the Sahel, for political reasons, then what?
-train malian peasants forever
-arm and set up tuareg units (possibly in the works, but how and with consent by whom?)
-make a deal with Boutef
-use drones
-other?

Meanwhile, 25% of missing SAM robots found and destroyed in Libya.
AFP: 5,000 surface-to-air missiles secured in Libya: US

Last edited by priffe; 12 Dec 2011 at 06:01.
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  #321  
Old 12 Dec 2011
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drone base in El Gatrun?

Secret US-French drone base in Libya?

Passed on - I dont know this website

Ch
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  #322  
Old 12 Dec 2011
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It's not going to get better soon

I was just at another FCO meeting today on Sahel security for tour ops and interested parties.

To cut a long story short:
• They see no imminent prospect of final showdown with AQIM from Mali or adjacent countries/EU.
• Mali is more concerned about a new Tuareg uprising than the activities of AQIM. (And so, as had been mentioned, no prospect of a Tuareg militia to kick out AQIM from north Mali).
• There is still a US training base is Gao - but their efforts over the years appear to have been unproductive.
• The Brit govt guy from Bamako said the Malians were genuinely shocked by the Timbuktu events. The breaking of a 'non aggression' pact was spoken of, as well as a 'declaration of war'.[added] Also, a fairly plausible explanation for the slow reaction of the police/army to chase the 3 kidnapped from T'too: no fuel; no permission; too scared of ending up like the German guy. After all, it's not like T'too has been an effective outpost, poised to chase AQ into the desert. A few weeks before, security there had been reported as pretty slack during an official Mali Tourisme promo tour.

Rather tellingly 'Hombori' was never mentioned - until some of us referred to it later.

Ch

Last edited by Chris Scott; 13 Dec 2011 at 11:59.
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  #324  
Old 13 Dec 2011
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post

Also spotted this 6-month old news on El K which I don't recall reading before. Ties Alg in closer with AQIM and ABZ - not something you read so often and makes you think the tourism there may have been skating on thin ice. Of course, who knows if it's all as it reads...
Perhaps the clearest substantial evidence yet post 2003 that ransoms get paid. Until now, always just assumed to be true and generally denied by any authorities.
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  #325  
Old 13 Dec 2011
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It could also be interpreted as one arm of the state mafia robbing the other. By classifying it as 'ransom money destined for bad guy ABZ', it gets legitimised.

It did state "... that could be part of the ransom paid for release of French hostages..."

You could ask, why would ransom money for the Areva French rumble down the TSH in Alg of all places? As likely to be 'laundry' or a payroll to southerners for services rendered.

I think that ransoms have been paid from the very beginning is in little doubt.

Ch
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  #326  
Old 13 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post

You could ask, why would ransom money for the Areva French rumble down the TSH in Alg of all places? As likely to be 'laundry' or a payroll to southerners for services rendered.

I think that ransoms have been paid from the very beginning is in little doubt.

Ch
I think I would prefer the TSH in Algeria than a piste somewhere Mali or Niger with that kind of loot!

And yes, ransoms have obviously been paid in the past - but there is nothing like a bag of cash to set against the persistent denial of payment by the authorities. Maybe its just the scientist in me!
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  #327  
Old 13 Dec 2011
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€1.7M would have been a substantial loss. But I thought the money was meant for the beards in the north?

In the past Moammar Khadafi paid the ransom money on several occasions, in turn getting favours from the west and allowing the European nations involved to pretend no money changed hands.
Now that route is closed and negotiations harder.

Another couple 4x4s from Libya loaded with rockets and what not were apprehended near Djanet a couple days ago. Why don't they play it safe and go south into Niger? Or is the Nigerian army as tough as the Algies now?
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  #328  
Old 13 Dec 2011
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[QUOTE=priffe;359316
Another couple 4x4s from Libya loaded with rockets and what not were apprehended near Djanet a couple days ago. Why don't they play it safe and go south into Niger? Or is the Nigerian army as tough as the Algies now?[/QUOTE]

I don't understand this either. No way is the Niger military as capable/equipped/numerous in that part of the Sahara. Niger has bases in Dirkou, possibly Madama but nothing to speak of in Chirfa. I'd cut across the Djado plateau in Niger and head across the N.Tenere into the Air. Unless its Algeria they want to infiltrate, not NE Mali.
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  #329  
Old 13 Dec 2011
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Could be fake news to validate the tourist closure.

Assuming it was between In Amenas and Tarat (Tassili N'Ajjer to the south not being passable except along A3, AFAIK), it's hard to think they'd get far in Algeria without being challenged.

Ch
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  #330  
Old 20 Dec 2011
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Algerian troops have landed in kidal

This is big news for the region.
C130s were received by a delegation; not much details yet
Algerian military in northern Mali
mnlamov.net| Facebook

Last edited by priffe; 20 Dec 2011 at 20:56.
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