Al Qaeda planning to politically hijack rebel Islamist groups in N Africa
London: Terrorist group al Qaeda is desperately trying to politically hijack various rebel Islamist groups in North Africa, according to the analyses of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb document.
This document casts an important light on the latest manifestation of the al-Qaeda threat, the Telegraph reports. The main meeting to which it refers took place on 18 March last year in the middle of the Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali.
Al Qaeda leaders are congratulating Ansar al-Dine, a Malian extremist group, on their successful guerrilla tactics, it reported.
Less than a week after this meeting, the army for his ineffectual handling of the crisis deposed President Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali.
The Tuareg guerrillas and Ansar al-Dine continued to fight together, capturing northern Mali and declaring independence for a new state of ‘Azawad’ in April. But Ansar al Dine, apparently under instruction from al Qaeda, then hijacked the victory and won control over all the cities of northern Mali, the paper said.
This was a classic, disciplined hijack of a political movement that harks back to the al Qaeda that Osama bin Laden had created, the paper added.
The international terrorist threat has migrated from South Asia and into Yemen, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and now across the Sahara.
A newly invigorated al Qaeda is trying to exploit this in a strategy that brings it full circle. Osama bin Laden's early supporters were North Africans, often Egyptians or Sudanese and very few at that time came from elsewhere, the paper further said.
In the early 1990s, when al Qaeda was a shadowy presence, the original jihadist target was Algeria, where they fought a vicious civil war against an autocratic military regime, it added.