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The Edge of Terrorism

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The Demise of North African Dictators and the Rise of al-Qaeda

January 19th 2013

Tourag at Timbuktu

Muammar Qaddafi's warning that his removal will open the door to al-Qaeda's takeover of the region, dragging it into chaos, didn't take too long to materialize. The links between the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been known at the  time France intervened on behalf of the LIFG during NATO's attack on Libya,"providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya's government."  Now France, and soon other countries will be mired in Mali. And if the recent past is of any indication, Algeria and West African countries could be AQIM'S and other jihadist groups next target.

Analyzing the situation in globalresearch.ca, Tony Cartalucci, points out that NATO has turned Libya into a Western-sponsored sanctuary for al Qaeda, and was right saying that "AQIM's headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria."

LIFG, with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria "on behalf of NATO's attempted regime change there." According to the U.S. Army's West Point Combating Terrorism Center, LIFG "officially" merged with al Qaeda in 2007, and the weapons supplied to LIFG, "most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali."

Was the U.S. involved in the weapons supply? What has it done to combat AQIM in Libya and the region? It is no secret that the U.S. did not manage to take control of all Qaddafi's "surplus" munitions. While the U.S. did attempt to train the Malian military in counter-terrorism tactics, it did nothing on to stop the Tuareg-Islamist invasion of northern Mali.

Roger Kaplan in the American Spectator notes, the U.S. now dither about assisting the French, using the argument that the Malian government is no longer legitimate thanks to last year's military coup. The ease in which the U.S. have lately acknowledged the legitimacy of Islamist rebel or contending groups (Libya, Egypt, Syria and Mali) is troubling.
U.S. conduct in this region since 2009, continues to harm it's longstanding economic interests and influence in the region.

Could the consistency of this behavior indicate a failure to grasp the changes in the region? Or has the dropping the ball done deliberately? To better understand this turn of events, we should reexamine the President's and U.S. government's officials' public statements regarding U.S. foreign policy and interests in the region. Clearly, "leading from behind" in Libya has created consequences the U.S. have not anticipated, then ignored or cared not very much about.


The rational behind the latest attacks is provided by Will McCants. in"attacking Oil Installations," he analyzes two jihadi documents on the permissibility and advisability of attacking energy installations. The Saudi Nasser al-Rashid, on the Saudi most wanted terrorist list, spoke for it, arguing that "it harms the infidels' economy by raising oil prices," thus hearing their economies. Abu Bakr Naji, a regular contributor to al Qaeda's online magazine Sawt al-Jihad, advocates such attacks because they cause governments toprotect infrastructure and create "undergoverned" space elsewhere that may be attacked. The little opposition of such attacks has been worried about harming local employment. Evidently, the attackers have been more concerned with advancing the jihad against the infidels.

The Obama administration has said next to nothing regarding the attack and hostage-taking (and involvement of Americans in the latter, at least one of whom died) regarding the Algerian gas facility attack. Reuters reported today that President Obama as seeking a "fuller understanding" of what happened in the attack. What doesn't he understand, one wonders? If it's the Algerian government's action to release the hostages he can't understand, stay tune to further escalations.

The BROTHERHOOD

There are a couple of events regarding the Muslim Brotherhood that ought to be attended to immediately. The first is a report of an Egyptian-Iranian connection and the second an analysis of the Brotherhood's efforts to overthrow the monarchy in Jordan.

Joseph Fitsanakis, writing in intelnews.org reports that Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force, paid a secret visit to Egypt earlier in January to discuss the establishment of a new intelligence service controlled by the Brotherhood and not the Egyptian military. The Quds Force, in case you've forgotten, is the unit inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guards specifically tasked with exporting the Iran revolution abroad.

Fitsanakis reports that Suleimani came at the personal invitation of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.He also says that, officially, the Brotherhood denies that Suleimani's visit ever took place.

The article's evidence is too extensive to dismiss as misinformation. So, what's going on? Writer after writer sees no common ground between the Brotherhood and the Mullahs in Tehran, as well as a never-ending battle between Sunni and Shia. The Brotherhood surely needs no advice on proprietary intelligence-gathering. Could Suleimani's visit have been about intelligence sharing?

David Schenker wonders, Will Jordan Be the First Arab Monarchy to Fall? Schenker, like many others is concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood will succeed in unseating King Abdullah and depriving the U.S. of its best remaining Arab ally, and Israel of its last reliable peace partner.

While he acknowledging that the Brotherhood will not give up, Schenker naively hopes that there's a way out for Abdullah, to wit: a real anti-corruption campaign. Earlier this month, Jordan did issue an arrest warrant for Abdullah's fugitive uncle, Walid al Kurdi, who has been accused of embezzling hundreds of millions from Jordan's phosphate industry. Schenker says "a public trial of the royal could go a long way toward reassuring the public -- and particularly the monarchy's East Banker constituency -- of the king's commitment to fighting corruption." Clearly, that's what the King is hopping for, but he surely knows better and fears worst.

AFGHAN RETREAT

In Zero Dark Afghanistan. Karzai's dysfunction meets Obama's detachment, the Wall Street Journal editorial staff neatly summarized who was meeting with whom on U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan this past week: "Karzai's dysfunction meets Obama's detachment." While it may turn out that U.S. forces stay longer than 2014, it's clear that the administration cares very little about the ultimate disposition of the country. We're seemingly as prepared to lose Afghanistan (to the Taliban, the Iranians, the Pakistanis, the Russians even) as we've lost Iraq.

Interesting to note that immediately upon defeating Nazi Germany, the U.S. and allied forces' critical task was the de-Nazification of the country and the banning of all Nazi symbols. In Afghanistan, however, the U.S. refrained from banning Islamic symbols and in 2004 approved of Shari'a based constitution. The very same Shari'a that the Taliban enforced before the U.S. "liberated" Afghanistan from the tyranny that also supported al Qaeda. As if this wasn't enough, Obama 'recommit[ted] our nation[s] to a reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban,' and to the opening of a Taliban office in Dubai.

Every family that lost love ones in Afghanistan, every soldier who was wounded physically and psychologically by Taliban insurgencies, as well as their family members, and every taxpayer in the U.S. should protest against Obama's legitimization of the Taliban.

One wonders what would have been the American peoples' reaction had Harry S Truman and Konrad Adenauer announced in 1949 that the U.S. had agreed to the establishment of a Nazi office in the neutral European country Switzerland to negotiate the reconciliation between the Nazi party and the government of West Germany.


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