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by CTuttle

Return to Azawad or Zero Dark Mali

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

“Goddamn it, we told you so.” Or so, the Grey Lady had recently reported…

Jihadists’ Surge in North Africa Reveals Grim Side of Arab Spring

As the uprising closed in around him, the Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi warned 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 told reporters. “We will go back to the time of Redbeard, of pirates, of Ottomans imposing ransoms on boats.”

In recent days, that unhinged prophecy has acquired a grim new currency. In Mali, French paratroopers arrived this month to battle an advancing force of jihadi fighters who already control an area twice the size of Germany. In Algeria, a one-eyed Islamist bandit organized the brazen takeover of an international gas facility, taking hostages that included more than 40 Americans and Europeans…

…The mayhem in this vast desert region has many roots, but it is also a sobering reminder that the euphoric toppling of dictators in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt has come at a price.

“It’s one of the darker sides of the Arab uprisings,” said Robert Malley. “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.”

… Yet Colonel Qaddafi’s fall was only the tipping point, some analysts say, in a region where chaos has been on the rise for years, and men who fight under the banner of jihad have built up enormous reserves of cash through smuggling and other criminal activities. If the rhetoric of the Islamic militants now fighting across North Africa is about holy war, the reality is often closer to a battle among competing gangsters in a region where government authority has long been paper-thin…

The Grey Lady goes on to name Mokhtar Belmokhtar, as the main purveyor of strife in the Sahel…!

But, Pepe Escobar, quickly shredded that nonsense…

Zero Dark Mali

…Timing – as in the expansion of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) – is everything. Carefully choreographed Libyan blowback in the Sahel could not be a better replacement for NATO raising a monster white flag in Afghanistan. There’s no Goooooood morning, Kabul! anymore; there’s just the sorry countdown to see the last NATO helicopter leaving Bagram – Saigon 1975-style…

I’m your bogeyman, turn me on

Inevitably, that most convenient of bogeymen – al-Qaeda – is once again back in fashion, the whole nebula of Salafi-jihadi groups and sub-groups promoted by the French-Anglo-American triad as the root of all evil in Northern Africa (but not in Libya, where they were exalted as “freedom fighters”).

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, one of the founding members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is for all practical purposes an easily digestible Osama bin Laden remix. Belmokhtar was a classic “Arab Afghan” – part of that multinational legion trained by the ISI/CIA axis to fight the Soviets in 1980s Afghanistan. When he was back in Algeria in 1993 he joined the local jihad, as part of the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).

AQIM since 2007 was very close to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), whose fighters were also trained in Afghanistan by ISI/CIA. And all the time LIFG was always conveniently manipulated by the CIA and MI6 against Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

After the targeted assassination of Gaddafi, AQIM was duly weaponized by LIFG, and even presented with scores of jihadis. Thus, unsurprisingly, there were plenty of LIFG fighters involved in the In Amenas raid. On top of it AQIM is also very close to the al-Nusra Front in Syria, which Washington branded as a terrorist organization (but not the eternally bickering “coalition” which wants to topple Bashar al-Assad).

The key point is that Qatar is financing all these people – AQIM, the splinter MUJAO, Belmokhtar’s brigades and the Salafist Ansar Ed-Dine, a bunch of Wahhabi takfiris who have absolutely nothing to do with tolerant Mali culture…

To be sure… Mali, France, and chickens – As in: come home to roost…!

Let’s delve ever further…

How Washington helped foster the Islamist uprising in Mali

…While the media have provided abundant descriptive coverage of the course of events and atrocities committed in Azawad since the outbreak in January of what was ostensibly just another Tuareg rebellion, some pretty basic questions have not been addressed. No journalist has asked, or at least answered satisfactorily, how this latest Tuareg rebellion was hijacked, almost as soon as it started, by a few hundred Islamist extremists.

In short, the world’s media have failed to explain the situation in Azawad. That is because the real story of what has been going on there borders on the incredible, taking us deep into the murky reaches of Western intelligence and its hook-up with Algeria’s secret service.

Azawad’s current nightmare is generally explained as the unintended outcome of the overthrow of Libya’s Muammar al-Qadafi. That is true in so far as his downfall precipitated the return to the Sahel (Niger and Mali) of thousands of angry, disillusioned and well-armed Tuareg fighters who had gone to seek their metaphorical fortunes by serving the Qadafi regime. But this was merely the last straw in a decade of increasing exploitation, repression and marginalization that has underpinned an ongoing cycle of Tuareg protest, unrest and rebellion. In that respect, Libya was the catalyst for the Azawad rebellion, not its underlying cause. Rather, the catastrophe now being played out in Mali is the inevitable outcome of the way in which the Global War On Terror has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since 2002…

It’s funny how our current AFRICOM CinC, Gen. Ham, bemoans the civilian carnage, however belatedly…

Gen. Ham: US Failed to Train Mali Troops in Ethics – US Never Taught Troops Not to Execute Civilians

…Gen. Ham says that the US provided considerable training but focused “almost exclusively” on tactics and technical matters, without spending enough time teaching troops that they shouldn’t massacre civilians.

Rights groups have repeatedly reported that Malian troops have captured and summarily executed civilians in frontier cities, targeting ethnicities which are accused of being pro-rebel and capturing anyone without ID cards as “infiltrators.”

Mali’s Justice Minister had cited the US military’s own tortures and executions when presented with evidence last week, saying “no army in the world is perfect.“

The French are certainly not perfect:
Revealed: how French raid killed 12 Malian villagers…

Now, if you’re still not convinced, Andy Morgan wrote a book on the AQIM… Guns, cigarettes & Salafi dreams: the roots of AQIM…!

Folks, let’s look at some more real facts…

Africa pushed aside in Mali peace effort

…If only the French had backed an African-led resolution to the conflict, their soldiers wouldn’t be waging war on the ground today.

French jets are zipping past northern Mali, bombing the region and with it, a participatory framework that had thus far allowed African states to troubleshoot what is first and foremost a regional political crisis. France’s aerial assault and imminent deployment of ground troops is a volte face from its original plan to offer “logistical aid” to African peacekeepers in Mali. For all of French President François Hollande’s promises to treat Africa as a partner and friend, his government’s military intervention in the Sahel is proof that Françafrique is alive and well…

…The military intervention in Mali is France’s desperate attempt to rejuvenate its waning clout in the Sahel, an area that Paris considers to be within its “sphere of influence.” Mr. Hollande could have harvested the many chances that came his way to not only engage this crisis, but also promote African-led conflict resolution. France now bombs Mali knowing that its actions will be met with no resistance — and maybe even support — among other permanent members of the UN Security Council. African states, playing catch-up, need to support the intervention or struggle to stay relevant in this conflict. The collateral damage from all this remains the same: local or regional armed forces stay ill-equipped to tackle such crises without training or financial support; UN peacekeepers continue to play second fiddle as they are delegated to clean up the trail of destruction left in the wake of this assault; militarised alliances like NATO strengthen their grip as the world’s policemen. As in the past, the cure to Africa’s ungovernable malaises will come from foreign shores. Which is another way of saying that there will actually be no cure?

My, my, what a Wicked Web we’ve woven…!


by CTuttle

‘Intervention – Disaster For Libyans’

5:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Libya on verge of grave humanitarian crisis…

Libya might be on the verge of witnessing a grave humanitarian crisis as western nations have stepped up their military operations ostensibly to wipe out Colonel Gaddafi’s forces at a time when several global humanitarian organisations are unable to sustain their operations because of lack of funds from rich countries.

The Libyan crisis appears to be a repeat of what happened in Iraq, when the coalition forces made swift military advances while humanitarian relief operations lagged far behind resulting in endless chaos and insecurity, analysts said.

The United Nations Humanitarian Agency on Friday issued a flash appeal for the $160 million while International Migration Organisation made a separate appeal for almost the same amount to evacuate and address the humanitarian needs of people fleeing Libya because of the fighting.

“IOM is issuing this third appeal for $160 million on Friday to provide critical humanitarian and evacuation assistance,” said Jemini Pandya, IOM’s spokesperson, maintaining that it is not able to deliver adequate assistance due to severe shortage of funds.

Consequently, it is unable to evacuate an additional 75,000 people who manage to escape the violence, she said. “The continued provision of humanitarian assistance such as food and medical attention at the border areas, travel health checks for all those being evacuated and health referrals for particularly vulnerable people in addition to providing reintegration assistance to some of the returning Tunisian and Egyptian migrants,” she said.

So far, IOM received pledges for about $44 million but no immediate delivery of funds. At this rate where bilateral and multilateral donors are not forthcoming funds, IOM will drastically scale down its operations, she cautioned. However, the UN Humanitarian Agency which also issued a flash appeal for the $160 million managed to secure 70 per cent of its appeal.

US President Barak Obama reportedly signed an order authorising covert support for anti-Gaddafi rebels.

Isn’t it sad that the US/Nato/UN/Arab League, ad nauseum, are quick to provide the military $, but, hesitant on real humanitarian $…?

Didn’t we just expend more than the $160 million that they’re requesting, on our opening salvo alone? Interestingly, US pulling Tomahawk missiles out of Libya combat…

Not being a ‘cruise missile liberal’, I’ve been extremely pessimistic over the ‘humanitarian crusade mission’ to stop Ghadaffi’s brutal suppression. Many knowledgeable individuals have since stepped forward and stated our real intentions…

Libya’s Blood for Oil: The Vampire War

By Susan Lindauer, former U.S. Asset who covered Libya at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003

Who are we kidding? The United States, Britain and NATO don’t care about bombing civilians to contain rebellion. Their militaries bomb civilians every day without mercy. They have destroyed most of the community infrastructure of Iraq and Afghanistan before turning their sights on Libya. So what’s really going on here?

Hmmm… Great question! The ever-intrepid Pepe Escobar exposed ever more of the Oily linkage behind Libya…

Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal

You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya – the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973. [...]

As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to “seduce” three other members to get the vote.

Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.

Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution.

Profiteers rejoice

Humanitarian imperialists will spin en masse this is a “conspiracy”, as they have been spinning the bombing of Libya prevented a hypothetical massacre in Benghazi. They will be defending the House of Saud – saying it acted to squash Iranian subversion in the Gulf; obviously R2P – “responsibility to protect” does not apply to people in Bahrain. They will be heavily promoting post-Gaddafi Libya as a new – oily – human rights Mecca, complete with US intelligence assets, black ops, special forces and dodgy contractors.

It’s interesting to note that the CIA did and does know that many of the Libyan ‘rebels’ are AQIM members: The CIA’s Libya Rebels: 2007 West Point Study Shows Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk Area was a World Leader in Al Qaeda Suicide Bomber Recruitment

Some more excellent background…. The CIA, the Libyan Rebellion, and the President…

Now, as Jeff Steinberg, editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, notes…

‘Al-Qaeda bogeyman of choice for West’

Press TV: There’s always talk of al-Qaeda bogeyman whenever there is any report on Yemen in the Western media. Yet this al-Qaeda affiliate was very quiet since the start of the revolution in Yemen. What does that show?

Steinberg: Al-Qaeda is the buzzword to justify any kind of criminal activity imaginable from military intervention to brutal suppression of a genuinely popular and peaceful revolt against a corrupt and completely bankrupt regime and of course the Saudis in particular have carried out a whole series of brutal campaigns violating the borders of Yemen over a long period of time using this al-Qaeda pretext.

It is noteworthy that according to Colonel Gaddafi in Libya the two main sources of the uprising there are the CIA and Osama Bin Laden so it is almost getting to be comical that this bogeyman is used to justify all kinds of illegal behavior. We are going to find out at some point in the very near future the Saudis are engaged in massive “rendition operations” going into certain neighborhood in Bahrain and picking people off the streets and this is a desperate effort on the part of [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council countries to basically hold onto these Sunni regimes. It is not going to hold. Either there are going to be some very genuine and legitimate and verifiable concessions or one after the other these regimes are going to go under. The Libya situation has become more complicated by the fact that it is about the American and European interest in Libyan oil.

So that situation is somewhat different when you have a much larger criminal violation going on right now. The whole terms under which the UN Security Council resolution, which was halved with abstention rather than vetoes from Russian and china, has been proven to be a complete sham. The discussion among American and European leaders from day one was not about the humanitarian aid to the people in Benghazi but it was regime change, plain and simple. President Obama went on national television on Monday night and knowingly and systematically lied through his teeth about the nature of the operation was there. So al-Qaeda is the bogeyman of choice for justifying violation international law, and human rights and everything else.

To sum it up, Jeremy Scahill is right…

The Obama Doctrine Is No Different Than Bush’s

According to The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill, the US is worried that if President Ali Abdullah Saleh falls “the vacuum that would exist” in Yemen could be terrible for US counterterrorism operations. Scahill joined Martin Bashir on MSNBC to discuss why the US is intervening in Libya but refusing to take action in Yemen.

Saleh is a “thug,” says Scahill, someone whose snipers shoot protesters in the head. Yet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants a “political solution” to the growing instability in Yemen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claims it is not the US’s business to meddle in the internal affairs of Yemen.

Scahill says that “the Bush Administration created this theory that the world is a battlefield” and it therefore follows that the US can strike anywhere it sees a threat. The Obama Administration has not challenged this “theory” and has authorized a fair amount of covert violent actions.

We need another ‘Church Committee’ at the very least…