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As it now appears, the recent terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was not an anomaly but rather the tip of a growing iceberg.
President Obama can continue to tout his elimination of Osama bin Laden, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and the scheduled pullout from Afghanistan while downplaying the significance of the Benghazi attack. But events in Mali and Algeria are drawing increasing attention to a growing and more elusive al Qaeda on the rise in certain parts of the world. The fight against al Qaeda is not even close to being over.
Those following the Mali/Algeria events were doubtless surprised to learn that early last year an al Qaeda offshoot had taken effective control of Northern Mali, known as the Maghreb, an area twice the size of Germany, and that last week’s events grew out of France’s efforts to stop the group from extending its control to other parts of the country.
When France, which controlled Mali during the colonial period, sent in military forces, the al Qaeda group engineered the kidnapping of nationals from ten countries – including the U.S., Britain, France, Austria, Japan and Malaysia – working at a natural gas plant in the Algerian desert.
The terrorist group, known as Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) warned of more attacks of this kind if its attempt to take over Mali is further challenged.
Since the beginning of the Algerian hostage situation Islamists from across North Africa and the Middle East have rallied in support of AQIM. A Facebook message posted by an Egyptian Muslim organization calling the Western challenge to AQIM in Mali a “religious war against the Muslims…. We call upon all Muslims in Egypt and the world to stand on the side of their mujahideen brothers in northern Mali and support them with all they can….”
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had this to say about the French intervention in Mali to rout AQIM: “I would like to confirm that we do not agree, ever, to military intervention in Mali because this would inflame the conflict in this region. The intervention must be spent on development….”
Jaret Brachman, a government consultant on terrorism and director of a security-studies program at North Dakota State University, said the violence in Mali and Algeria has energized key figures in the Islamic community that see Mali as a primary battlefield, with AQIM in the lead. Mr. Brachman said that “Internet jihadists are demanding blood, urging one another to attack French embassies and companies, kidnap and kill French soldiers, and launch a wave of lone-wolf terror attacks inside of France.”
Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN that events in Mali and Algeria show that the West faces the threat of virulent new al Qaeda efforts. In an interview with the Washington Post, Rep. Rogers characterized the attack on the energy plant in Algeria as a strategic victory for AQIM and likened it to the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which the American ambassador and three other Americans were killed. “It shows that they can strike Western targets and gives them a confidence level.”
The so-called Arab Spring has contributed to the problem. As Robert Malley, the Middle East and North Africa director at the International Crisis Group, told The New York Times:
It’s one of the darker sides of the Arab uprisings. Their peaceful nature may have damaged Al Qaeda and its allies ideologically, but logistically, in terms of the new porousness of borders, the expansion of ungoverned areas, the proliferation of weapons, the disorganization of police and security services in all these countries – it’s been a real boon to jihadists.
Ironically, the late Moammar Khaddafi made a similar point when his overthrow was imminent, warning that if he fell, chaos and holy war would overtake North Africa. “Bin Laden’s people would come to impose ransoms by land and sea,” he said. “We will go back to the time of Redbeard, of pirates, of Ottomans imposing ransoms on boats.”
Sensing the brewing threat, British Prime Minister David Cameron, commenting on the events in Mali and Algeria, said that an extended and international response to terrorism was required: “This is a global threat, and it will require a global response. It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months.”
President Obama, unfortunately, still seems to believe his administration has essentially routed the international terror enterprise. The blinders need to come off, and quickly.
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There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.
And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.
Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel
In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-storm-brewing-in-northern-africa/2013/01/23/
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