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  #1  
Old 11 Jun 2010
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Mokthar Belmokthar! - Sand- and watergames from AQMI

Sand- and watergames from AQMI. Seen by YouTube













Aren't they criminal little children?

YouTube - Al Qaeda in the Maghreb

Ulrich

Last edited by Ulrich; 12 Jun 2010 at 10:05.
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Old 12 Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
Aren't they criminal little children?

Ulrich
Yes, a bunch of kids goofing around.
This guy, however, is not goofing:

Nor is this one:
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Old 12 Jun 2010
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Have seen the video from another source and heart the english speaker saying that this guy is



Mokthar Belmokthar!!!

Sensational! If it is true than this is the first actuel picture from MB for years.

YouTube - AL-QAEDA.flv

Ulrich

Last edited by Ulrich; 12 Jun 2010 at 10:32.
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Old 12 Jun 2010
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I was about to mention this but was waiting for an Arabic translation. It seems the English version provides it. Abou Zeid is there too.

3.00
Moktar ben Moktar (Laouar, MBM)

3.20
.... Moussa??

4.00 (and 3.40?)
Abdelhamid Abou Zeid

As Ulrich says, it could be the first recent shots in some time, assuming 2+2+2+2 = 8.

Seems odd they would allow themselves to be taped (ABZ? seems reluctant at 3.40), or even to be at the same place in the same time for too long, goofing about and having a bit of a bundle. Maybe €5m just turned up in a suitcase.

Ch
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Old 13 Jun 2010
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FRANCE 24 have exclusively obtained never seen before footage that gives a glimpse into the ordinary daily life of al Qaeda militants in North Africa. The raw footage reveals the surprisingly mundane existence of North Africa’s longstanding Islamist insurgency in the vast lawless Sahara territories.

The footage has already attracted the attention of counter-terrorism experts.

The images broadcasted by FRANCE 24 on Thursday were taken from an unedited 50-minute tape found on a young al Qaeda defector in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). FRANCE 24 senior producer Jean-Bernard Cadier said the tape was obtained from a correspondent “in the area”, but he declined to elaborate for security reasons.

“These images were shot by a young man who deserted al Qaeda some months ago. He was arrested by security forces at a regular road checkpoint. When he was arrested, he had with him a weapon, his personal belongings, and this 50-minute tape”, said Cadier.

Life behind the propoganda

The video is clearly not intended for general viewing as the footage depicts the infamous insurgents as an amateurish band of mostly teenagers. The video gives a fascinating insight into the reality of the insurgency behind the propaganda; it shows the feared militant Islamists playing games and sharing jokes. The undated video appears to have been shot by a militant who intended to document their daily lives in the remote southern Sahara desert.

Far from the usual ultimatum and threats delivered by jihadists with their faces covered, the tape shows fresh recruits playing in a riverbed, running races and wrestling in the sand in an almost summer camp type atmosphere. Men of various Arab origins are seen swapping news, socialising, and occasionally waving some old automatic riffles. However, of the 50 men on this film, only a few actually have weapons.

Spartan desert conditions

But counter-terrorism experts who watched the tape pointed to the insidious threats behind the young jihadists’ smiling faces. According to Dr Walid Phares, from the US National Defence University, the lack of sophisticated weaponry on these images is a sign of their professionalism.

“When you look at boot camps anywhere, you are not going to see more than AK47s.

That’s an indication of professionalism: they’re not going to put their RPGs and missiles in the hands of these fresh recruits. They’re proceeding like a regular guerrilla or army”, Dr Phares told FRANCE 24.

Despite its ragtag appearance, the group does not seem to be suffering from a shortage of fuel or water. Counter-terrorism experts also note that Spartan desert conditions are not enough to deter a younger generation of militants from joining AQIM.

According to Dr Phares, this fresh crop of militants is even more likely to turn deadly as two well-known, experienced jihadists (the identities of which are shown in the side boxes) can be seen discreetly overseeing the group.
The original Video by France 24 with interviews for counter-terrorism experts You can see here:

France24 - Exclusive footage gives rare insight into life in al Qaeda insurgency

Ulrich
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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Do you get the impression that these guys would be very hard to round up? To beat militarily?
Touareg sources say the kidnap camp is 60 kms east of Tessalit last I heard.
Really, how hard can it be.
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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How the jihadists of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have they adapted to survive in the Sahara? In what ways do they benefit? What collusion? What is their structure and what is done daily lives? Here are some answers ...
Jeune Afrique - Aqmi, la survie au quotidien

Gogoonisch - E

Ulrich
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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Really, how hard can it be.

You are right. Been saying that for years but I think this recent post by Ulrich must have something to do with it - and I doubt it's exclusive to Mali.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...6-4#post292495


btw, the Jeune Afrique article above dates that video to 2007. Excepting 2003 and a couple of grabs in Chad, as of 2007 there had been no AQIM Sahara tourist kidnappings yet - the current phase started in March 2008 with the 2 Austrians in Tunisia.


JA article even manages to identify Yahia Djouadi (the emir of the third group, along with MBM and ABZ) as the guy calling from the dune top on a sat phone. Looks like a sat phone to me but it reminded me of something Robert Fowler said about his abductors getting on a dune top to get a GSM (and so, internet) signal beaming out of nearby Algeria - it showed how close they were to probably Tin Zao (Alg), east of Tessalit.

It would have been interesting to see the whole 50-mins of reported footage. Maybe the rest was not so playful and these are just goofy out takes with propaganda value. Someone just pointed out that a famous video of Al Zarquawi looking incompetent in the Iraqi desert supposedly contributed to his demise.

Ch
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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Satellite phones have the disadvantage (in this case from AQIM perspective) of transmitting the GPS position. Mobile phones don't - they just show the phone as having been in a general area. I reckon they use mobile phones preferentially. Its worth driving to that dune. This is another reason that the NE Mali region has appeal - it is fairly close to such amenities. The deep desert would mean satellite phone coverage only.

There is some evidence that since 2007 the main leaders have been operating more separately - and of course the band has enlarged.

How difficult can it be to close these guys down? Two things occur to me:
1) some group actually has to get out there and have a go at them. If none does, then the prospect is zero. So far, this is where things stand.
2) the longer the group is out there, the more entwined they become with the local population. So when the counter-insurgency ops finally get there, it will be difficult to tell an insurgent apart from any one else. He'll be resting up under a tree watching goats like many other youngsters. The gear will be carefully buried.

To defeat insurgents who are well supported by local population is very difficult. In Angola, the government forces never did - directly at least - even with 30 000+ cubans and unlimited Soviet kit. The insurgents were finally defeated in this case when the entire peasantry was rounded up and brought into towns (Boer war concentration camp tactic). With their support base gone, the UNITA insurgency fizzled out. Its all well documented in the book "An Outbreak of Peace". It is not by chance that AQIM has embedded itself with locals.
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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Hell Richard,

I don't think that the video is from 2007. That what JA wrote is contrary to that what is written in the article from France24.

Quote:
“These images were shot by a young man who deserted al Qaeda some months ago. He was arrested by security forces at a regular road checkpoint. When he was arrested, he had with him a weapon, his personal belongings, and this 50-minute tape”, said Cadier.
By the way:

Quote:
I reckon they use mobile phones preferentially
I don't think so, I think they use Thurayas. A number for example:

008821621202192

If this number is still active don't I know. Try it. When You get an answer say greetings from "Ulrich".

Regards

Ulrich
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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Hi Ulrich,
The reasons I made the comment about the mobile phones were -
- on the video it looks like a small phone (see 1:07-1:12)
- I was also going on the transcipt from the Fowler interviews where they said that they drove a long way to get to the dune in order to have the range to get to the mobile network
- surely these guys know that satellite phones transmit GPS position?

I did try the number - but they have moved on!
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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meant to add - that youtube vid is really interesting.
I reckon the boss will be furious about it being released.

Also - glad that these guys do actually have fun. If we read the Fowler transcript, he was pretty emphatic that there is no fun in their lives. I suppose they behave differently when they are with the captives.

And finally - its been an awful long time for the Spanish.
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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I missed that regular mobile at 1:07-1:12. Maybe that's who they mean by Yahia Djouadi (pic below - so we now potentially have a full set).

Guy could just be playing pac man, but then again other guy on what looks like a sat phone (which I pictured earlier) could be using a Thuraya on a throw away GSM card not sat, so this could be Fowler's dune.
Probably near Tin Zao, the only town on that part of the Alg border that will have GSM signal apart from Bordj.

As for the date - well France24 doesnt actually give one but if the guy was caught recently you'd assume he'd not have a 3 year old tape in his bag. Who knows.

Ch

PS - found a tip on a secret 'American base' in Alg, while looking for Djouadi pix. Didnt bother to read it all.
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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"These images were shot by a young man who deserted al Qaeda some months ago" France24

If this is correct, then the earliest that the footage is likely to be is the last rainy season - so sometime between June and September 2009 when the West African Monsoon is able to reach the most northern latitudes of the southern Sahara/northern Sahel. The rivers hardly ever flow outside those months.
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Old 14 Jun 2010
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They had lots of rain in September iirc, flood devastated Agadez.
Rain makes desert people lighten up, even AQ fighters then.

Richard, AQMI are not the insurgents defending their homeland, the touaregs are.
If MBM and the others are attacked, they will defend their business interests more than the land.
None of the guys on the video look touareg to me.
I just wrote to Bahanga suggesting he makes a move on Aqmi. We'll see what comes out of it

I don't think the military base at Iherir is a secret? What goes on behind the walls may be.

Last edited by priffe; 14 Jun 2010 at 21:35.
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