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Old 02-22-2013   #41
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Default The Granddaddy,

The Ontos ...



Alas, there has been an Ontos Gap since 1969.

Regards

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Old 02-26-2013   #42
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Default Islamism in the Saharan Sahel: The Algerian Dimension

Michael Wills gives some context in a short blog:http://www.hurstpublishers.com/islam...saharan-sahel/

Quote:
The surge in international interest in the Saharan Sahel region of Africa following the French-led intervention in Mali and especially the attack on the In Amenas gas facility in southern Algeria by armed Islamists has drawn attention to the links between these incidents and the conflict in Algeria in the 1990s.
As for AQIM, before Al Amenas:
Quote:
nothing could disguise the fact that AQIM was a shadow of its Algerian forebears.
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Old 02-27-2013   #43
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Default On Terror's New Front Line, Mistrust Blunts U.S. Strategy

Interesting read from the WSJ.

As a Nigerian, I can tell you upfront that the Nigerian Army bristles at "being told what to do" by the US Army (or any Western Army). This article validates that.

Secondly, nobody in the Nigerian government wants wide swathes of the Nigerian Military to be trained by a foreign power - especially when US trained officers have a reputation for going back home and executing successful coups.

Quote:
KUMBOTSO, Nigeria—The shooting clattered on for 30 minutes, residents of this dusty town say, and when it ended, four militants holding a German engineer hostage were dead.

So were the engineer, and four innocent bystanders.

In vast West Africa, a new front-line region in the battle against al Qaeda, Nigeria is America's strategic linchpin, its military one the U.S. counts on to help contain the spread of Islamic militancy. Yet Nigeria has rebuffed American attempts to train that military, whose history of shooting freely has U.S. officials concerned that soldiers here fuel the very militancy they are supposed to counter.

It is just one example of the limits to what is now American policy for policing troubled parts of the world: to rely as much as possible on local partners.

The U.S. and Nigerian authorities don't fully trust each other, limiting cooperation against the threat. And U.S. officials say they are wary of sharing highly sensitive intelligence with the Nigerian government and security services for fear it can't be safeguarded. Nigerian officials concede militants have informants within the government and security forces.

For the U.S., though, cooperation with Nigeria is unavoidable. The country is America's largest African trading partner and fifth-largest oil supplier. Some 30,000 Americans work here. Nigeria has by far the biggest army in a region where al Qaeda has kidnapped scores of Westerners, trained local militants to rig car bombs and waged war across an expanse of Mali the size of Texas. Last month, al Qaeda-linked extremists' attack on a natural-gas plant in faraway Algeria left at least 37 foreigners dead
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...155502840.html
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Old 03-03-2013   #44
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Default What news from Mali?

First of all, I would like to draw your attention to the 2 videos the French army released about the Malian conflict. This is interesting because it is the first images of the conflict from the French Army which has ordered a full black out on that conflict.
http://www.liberation.fr/monde/2013/...combats_885922

Now some news. Part from the death of a 3rd French soldier, French government is very cautious about the death of 2 high targets from AQMI.
Quote:
Dead Abu Zeid and Elmokhtar: Chad maintains the Drian urges cautionBelmokhtar death, which had claimed the attack site in January Algerian gas Amenas, followed by a hostage repressed by the army in Algeria, where 37 foreign and Algerian died, like Abu Zeid, was not confirmed by the French authorities, who are very discreet, or in Bamako and Algiers. "No comment" , it was said laconically Saturday at the French presidency. "We want it can be verified, it is a matter of time. were not able to confirm " , a source explained Sunday at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs .
Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister of Defence himself Sunday called the"prudence" in an interview with the Depeche du Midi made public by his ministry, Mr. Le Drian, questioned these proclamations Chadian replies "A rumor repeated the environment is no information, and the Minister of Defence should not speak in the conditional. I call for caution and a sense of responsibility with respect to information that we are not able to confirm material at this stage " .
I also call for caution with the google translation...
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Old 03-04-2013   #45
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Default English versions now available

Not that these translations are much better

French news black out

Islamist commander Abou Zeid's death in Mali 'probable'

Chadian officials claim their troops have killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar

Quote:
Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
I also call for caution with the google translation...
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Last edited by Stan; 03-04-2013 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013   #46
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Default African Armies are better than you think

A title that may jar with many here, by Patrick Smith in The Africa Report, a Paris-based monthly journal:http://www.theafricareport.com/North...you-think.html

Citing an AU official:
Quote:
What are we doing 50 years after independence calling on former colonial powers to resolve our security disputes?
Earlier articles include 'Who are the exemplary armies in Africa?' and 'Why are African armies so bad?'.The later ends with:
Quote:
..what most of these armed forces lack are motivation and allegiance to the mission they are entrusted with.#
.....Fighting without knowing why... 

These armies are wary of the State and the State is suspicious of them... lest they turn against them.


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Old 05-27-2013   #47
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Default Two strikes with impact in Niger

I do know where Niger is, but had forgotten there is a French-owned and run uranium mine. The attacks had little reporting here, as Woolwich happened.

Quote:
Islamist militants staged brazen twin car bomb attacks on an army base and a French-run uranium mine in Niger, killing at least 20 people and taking several trainee army officers hostage...The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO)....claimed the near simultaneous bombings
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-hostages.html

Two French reports need to be read; one suggests the location at the mine was very carefully chosen and production will be hindered for two months:http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20130526-n...-le-site-areva

The second strike on a military base appears to have targeted the army officers training academy:http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20130527-i...ar-belmokhtar-
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Old 05-29-2013   #48
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Default Niger attacks and the Sahel’s shifting jihad

Analysis of recent events by Andrew Lebovich on al-Wasat:
Quote:
While news is still emerging, this post is an attempt to provide context and a preliminary assessment of what we know so far about these attacks. I will also look at what the attacks signify regarding the evolution and current state of jihadist militancy in the Sahel, before briefly looking at the overall security environment in Niger.
He ends:
Quote:
Many questions remain about the attacks last Thursday and their effect on the region. We will get answers to some of those questions, but not all. But the attacks in northern Niger have once more shown the determination of militants to stage significant attacks, cast a light on the changing nature of militancy in the Maghreb and Sahel, and shown the persistent security challenges facing the region’s fragile states.
Link:http://thewasat.wordpress.com/2013/0...hifting-jihad/
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Old 08-20-2013   #49
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Default Challenging the Myth of the Drug-Terror Nexus in the Sahel

A short report 'Challenging the Myth of the Drug-Terror Nexus in the Sahel' from the West Africa Commission on the Impact of Drug Trafficking on Security, Governance and Development in West Africa (WACD) by a German author.

In summary:
Quote:
This paper reviews the evidence for the links between drug smuggling and extremist activity in the Sahel-Sahara region. While it demonstrates that such links clearly exist, the paper argues that the widespread talk of a drug-terror nexus in the Sahel is misleading, for several reasons. First, much of the evidence presented as basis for such claims can either be easily debunked, or is impossible to verify. Second, rather than the two extremist groups as such, involvement in drug trafficking appears to concern individuals and groups close to, or within, MUJAO and AQIM: within both groups, members are driven by multiple and, at times, conflicting motivations. Third, numerous other actors are playing an equally or more important role in drug smuggling, including members of the political and business establishment in northern Mali, Niger and the region’s capitals, as well as leaders of supposedly ‘secular’ armed groups. Fourth, the emphasis on links between drug trafficking and terrorism in the Sahel serves to obscure the role of state actors and corruption in allowing organized crime to grow. Fifth, the profits derived from kidnap-for-ransom played a much more significant role
in the rise of AQIM and MUJAO.
Link:http://www.wacommissionondrugs.org/w...2013-08-19.pdf
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Old 08-31-2013   #50
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Default Back to Amenas for a moment

jane Corbin, one of the better BBC reporters, returns to the Amenas incident in a hour long documentary 'This World: Terror in the Desert', which I am watching now. So far nothing new, but she has several hostages talking, both expats and Algerian hostages.

Hopefully you too can watch:http://www.bbc.co.uk/tv/bbctwo/live

Or there is a written article:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23878183
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Old 10-02-2013   #51
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Death, Darkness and the Deserters
From the archives, a harrowing tale of African desert warfare from June 2008
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/f107d318173f
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Old 12-04-2013   #52
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Default Challenging the Myth of the Drug-Terror Nexus in the Sahel

Thanks to a lurker a new report on this theme:http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6...df%20FINAL.pdf

From the conclusion:
Quote:
The din of the chest-beating around narco-trafficking and state failure in West Africa is rendering very difficult a useful debate about affordable and effective measures that might avert the well documented worst consequences of the ‘war on drugs’.
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