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Counter-Terrorism-Managing The Malignancy


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One reason French troops are staying longer in northern Mali has to do with what intelligence analysts found among all the captured documents and interviews with terrorists and civilians up there. The analysts discovered that al Qaeda (AQIM, or al Qaeda in the Maghreb, which is what Arabs call North Africa) and the two other Islamic terror groups (Ansar Dine and MUJWA) in the area had different goals and types of members. Ansar Dine is composed largely of Tuaregs while MUJWA (Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa) MUJWA is unique because its leadership is black African. There has long been a lot of tension between Arabs and black Africans. The Arabs disdain the blacks and that causes a lot of tension and resentment. MUJWA is an AQIM splinter group striving to show they can be more extreme and effective than the Arab dominated al Qaeda.


Before the French move north Ansar Dine offered to work with the Mali government to destroy al Qaeda control of the north in return for autonomy for the Tuareg tribes that predominate up there and the continued use of Sharia (Islamic) law. The southerners are willing to discuss the former but are hostile to the latter. Meanwhile Ansar Dine and their less religious Tuareg allies found that they lacked the firepower to prevent AQIM and MUJWA from calling all the shots in northern Mali.


When the French moved north in January there were about 3,000 armed Islamic terrorists in the north, but only a third of them were terrorist veterans. The rest were recent recruits. About half of these recruits were from northern Mali and were in it mainly for the money (although for some, religion was the main draw.) The other thousand were mostly Africans from countries like Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Mauritania and Niger. There were several hundred from North Africa (mainly Algeria and Libya) and other Middle Eastern nations, as well as Europe and North America. France was aware that al Qaeda was calling for new recruits from all over the world. France had informants inside their own Moslem community who reported that this was happening, and a growing number of young men were quietly leaving home for parts unknown. Now the French know where some of those terrorist recruits were headed. Some died in northern Mali, but others, more ominously, got away. French intelligence has collected names, but they realize that some of the French recruits were unidentified and if they go back to France they could form terrorist cells and do some damage. It’s the same with all the new recruits that got away and had no past record of being Islamic terrorists.




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This Was A Major Blow To Morale


March 18, 2013:

Documents captured by French troops in Mali have compromised al Qaeda’s normal, secret communications system, and it will take weeks or months to rebuild that, so the Internet and public messages are serving as a temporary substitute. Having suffered another unexpected and very damaging defeat in Mali, al Qaeda is trying to use the Internet to turn indignation among its supporters into some locally organized terror attacks in the West, while also striving to impose Islamic (Sharia) law imposed in Moslem communities and eventually throughout the West. Al Qaeda fans are warned to not try and come to North Africa, where hundreds of al Qaeda veterans are scrambling to avoid death or capture. Dozens of terrorism volunteers have been arrested for trying to get into the region and many more have been turned back.


Calling for attacks in the West is a bold move by al Qaeda, which could backfire if there are no attacks. While many young Moslems living in the West like to talk about how much they admire al Qaeda, the terrorist organization has had a difficult time turning those attitudes into action. Al Qaeda has also called for Islamic terrorist veterans and supporters in North Africa to help by attacking local targets or organizing support for terrorists fleeing Mali.




France is trying to organize a UN sponsored counter-terrorism force of up to 10,000 troops for northern Mali, one that has some Western troops. Many of the African peacekeeping contingents will take months to be complete and skilled troops are needed right now to hunt down al Qaeda in northern Mali. France has 4,000 troops in Mali and wants to withdraw these, if only because many have been in constant action for over two months. It is believed that France wants these experienced special operations troops available to go into any other African nation that gets hit with an al Qaeda invasion. Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mauritania have already expressed fears that they may be next. Chad, with a strong, experienced army (and years of experience fighting Islamic irregulars from Chad) is at less risk. All of Mali’s neighbors have increased border security and efforts to identify any Islamic radicals, especially new ones, among their people.



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