Friday, January 18, 2013

Mali & Algeria Emerge On Jihad Map

A London protest againt French involvement in Mali
Jihadists are attempting to give the West a message that direct intervention (as France did) will be punished

Hostages Still Held in Algeria after Assault -Lamine Chikhi

At least 22 foreign hostages remained unaccounted for after Algerian forces stormed a desert gas complex to free hundreds of captives taken by Islamist gunmen. 30 hostages, including several Westerners, were killed during the storming on Thursday, along with at least 11 of their captors, who said they had taken the site as retaliation for French intervention against Islamists in neighboring Mali. 

The Jihadist Eruption in Africa -Shiraz Maher

The story of the hostage crisis in Algeria actually begins in Libya, where unintended consequences of the Arab Spring are now roiling North and West Africa. Gaddafi had long drawn mercenaries from among the Tuareg, a nomadic group spread across five countries. When the Arab Spring spread to Libya two years ago, and as his own regular forces began to defect, Gaddafi enlisted support from thousands of Tuareg fighters to suppress the rebellion.

When Gaddafi was killed in October 2011, his armed and trained Tuareg forces retreated to redoubts in Mali, bringing with them caches of sophisticated arms, including heavy weaponry and antiaircraft missiles. The influx of disaffected fighters culminated in the creation of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which last spring overran several towns in northern Mali and declared independence, tacitly joining forces with jihadists who operate in the region.

The jihadists then unraveled their alliance with the MNLA and established a semiautonomous Islamic state. Jihadist forces last week were readying themselves to seize Mali's capital, Bamako, when the interim administration of President Dioncounda Traore called on the French to intervene.
(Wall Street Journal)


Al-Qaeda, Again -Editorial

The terrorists don't seem to agree that they've been defeated.

With the hostage mess at a remote gas plant in Algeria, it is impossible to blink from the reality that the post-bin Laden al-Qaeda is still with us and an active threat to U.S. interests. It's still a dangerous world, and the U.S., whether we like it or not, remains that world's lead power.
(Wall Street Journal)

As single-minded as the fanatics -Melanie Phillips

The immediate response to the Sahara atrocity must be revulsion, and deep sorrow for the families of those British and other hostages who were murdered in cold blood or killed in the rescue attempt.

[But c]ondemnation of the Algerian authorities for the loss of those hostages’ lives, in what has been termed a ‘bungled’ operation against the Islamist terrorists who stormed the Algerian gas complex, is nevertheless inappropriate.

For it is not just that the Algerians’ response in that hideously complex situation cannot be judged without understanding precisely what they thought the hostage-takers were about to do. It is also that the ruthless Algerian approach acknowledges a reality on the ground that the West seems incapable of grasping.

The Algerians refuse to negotiate because they know that the Islamists’ position is simply non-negotiable. Unlike other hostage-takers, they usually have no interest in getting out alive; they intend to die as ‘martyrs’, and of course have no compunction about killing their captives. Moreover, the purpose of taking hostages is either to kill ‘infidels’, or to extract ransom money for them — which will merely finance more kidnappings and terrorist atrocities. 

The most devastating consequence has been the West’s refusal to acknowledge that it is not fighting a series of brush fires based on local political grievances, but a war of religion being conducted against the free world in order to destroy it.
This fundamental misjudgment has meant not merely that Western governments failed to grasp the threat that would be posed by the dispersed Al-Qaeda franchise in the Sahel region of west and north-central Africa. It has also caused them to make a series of dreadful errors which have led Islamic extremists to conclude that victory is within their grasp.

Failing to deal firmly with terrorist regimes such as Syria, Iran or North Korea, which pose a mortal threat to peace and freedom, Western governments instead helped remove admitted tyrants in the Muslim world who were nevertheless allies (however fragile) of the West.

Blundering about with their asinine belief that elections are the antidote to holy war, they have merely produced chaos in which Islamic fanatics and terrorists have been the main beneficiaries.

In a bitter irony, advanced Libyan weaponry that fell into terrorist hands after Colonel Gaddafi was ousted — courtesy of the UK, France and the U.S. — has been used against the French in Mali.Worse still, those governments have themselves shown a lack of stomach for a fight. This has been demonstrated by the ignominious way they scuttled from Iraq, and fought a war in Afghanistan which — despite the unquestioned courage of the soldiers fighting it — often appeared so half-hearted it all but guaranteed what historians will surely regard as defeat.

By contrast, Islamist fanatics play the longest game in town. With their heads still stuck fast in the seventh century, they think nothing of fighting at least until the end of the 21st.
What inspires them to further violence is their perception that the West is wide open for the taking — because it simply doesn’t have the will to fight for what it believes in.

America may be committing a few drones to the fight in Mali or the badlands on the border of Pakistan. But with its strategic shift and planned defence reductions, the Obama administration is signalling that the U.S. is no longer willing to lead the defence of the West against its most deadly enemy. And that should terrify us, because without America we are lost.
[Daily Mail]


Obama's Wishful Thinking Abroad -Editorial

In his second inaugural address, President Obama suggested a barrelful of wishful thinking when he pronounced: "A decade of war is now ending."

That would come as news to the Afghan soldiers still dying at Taliban hands; to the families of more than 60,000 people killed in Syria in the past two years; to French soldiers who have taken on, in Mali, al-Qaeda affiliates who are as much enemies of the U.S. as of France; to the families of American hostages just slain in a terrorist attack in Algeria. America's adversaries are not in retreat; they will be watching Mr. Obama in his second term to see if the same can be said of the United States.
(Washington Post)

If Mali Is on France's Doorstep, Gaza Is in Our Living Room -Raphael Ahren

Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor told the UN Security Council: "France's foreign minister said this month that his country was fighting to prevent the creation of an Islamist terrorist enclave 'at the doorstep of France and Europe.' If Mali is on France's doorstep, Gaza is in Israel's living room."

"France's principled stand should be commended. We only ask that France and all the countries who are supporting its principled stand today, support Israel tomorrow when we fight Islamic terrorism on our borders."
(Times of Israel)

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