Monday, January 21, 2013

Bloodbath In Algeria With Hostage Rescue Attempt...War On Jihad Spreads To Maghreb

The latest battleground in the War on Jihad is North Africa and the Maghreb,the northern Muslim rim of Africa. The 'mainly Taureg area' notation refers to the indigenous desert Taureg tribes, who've been fighting some of the surrounding governments for years and are now being used as jihadi shock troops by Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM).

This is a vast area almost the size of Western Europe.

The ill-advised western intervention to overthrow Moamar Khaddaffi is spawning a number of unpleasant consequences as al-Qaeda and other salifists relocate back to the Arab world to take advantage of the new empowerment of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and the Arab Spring.

The site of the latest atrocity was Algeria's In Amenas natural gas facility near the Libyan border, which was targeted by AQIM in response to France sending in troops to the North African country of Mali to war against a threatened takeover of another AQIM affiliated group, Ansar al Dine which already controlled the Northern part of the country. Ansar al Dine had launched an offensive against Bamako, the capitol which came seriously close to succeeding and probably would have without theF rench intervention.

Both Ansar al Dine and the perpetrators of the attack on the In Amenas natural gas facility were well supplied with arms that came out of former Libyan dictator Moamar Khaddaffi's arsenals.

Since Khaddaffi's overthrow and subsequent assassination, the security situation in Libya has visibly worsened.

The military has essentially dissolved and weapons from Khaddaffi's armed forces have flooded the markets in the region. A stable and sustainable government has yet to take hold and a lot of the power still rests with competing groups, a number of whom are affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Many of the AQIM affiliates have made a business out of kidnapping westerners working at oil facilities in the region.

The attack on In Menas was carried out by The Signed-In-Blood Battalion, an offshoot of AQIM. The group is led by a one-eyed veteran of Algeria's civil war, named Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

The group attacked the facility at dawn on Wednesday, overwhelming the and taking a number of foreigners hostage. According to one BP worker there, they were told by the attackers "'You have nothing to do with this. You are Algerians and Muslims. We only want the foreigners.'"

Most of the plant's 700 workers either eluded capture of managed to hide from the jihadis, but a number of non-Muslim hostages were taken, and many had explosives wired to them.

The jihadi's demands were that France pull its troops out of Mali and that the U.S. free two terrorist icons.

Sheik Abdul Ramen, AKA 'The Blind Sheik' who played a major role in planning the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and is serving a life sentence is high on every Islamist's wish list. No less than Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood Presixdent Mohammed Morsi vowed to free the Sheik in his inaugural speech.

The jihadis also demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist who was convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill U.S. FBI agents and military officers after she was detained by police while trying to enter Afghanistan back in 2008.

When the FBI agents began asking her a few questions, she reportedly snatched an untended M-16 ( don't ask me whose error in judgement that was) and started shooting at them while yelling, "Death to Americans!"

Instead of wasting any time on things like negotiations, the Algerian military simply cowboyed things and attacked the site, something a number of experts criticized them for. Reportedly, they did not inform any of the countries whose nationals were believed to be hostages before undertaking the raid.

All of the hostages were killed, as well as 32 jihadis. So far, they've found the bodies of 23 hostages, and the death toll is almost certain to rise and the plan is secured.

This is something like standard procedure for hostage situations in Algeria, of which there have been far too many since the civil war. The Algerian security forces normally assume that any hostages are dead meat anyway, and therefore, everybody dies. The fact that those hostages are non-Muslim ferenghi makes a decision like that even easier.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar has promised that there will be more attacks until their demands are met and given the state of things in the Maghreb and in Mali,we can probably expect more of these.

The ironic thing in all this is that while Moamar Khaddaffi was in charge in Libya, he was actually helping us take out elements of AQIM, because he saw them as a threat to his rule. Perhaps the Obama Administration should have thought twice before jumping into Libya and helping the people whom ousted him. They're increasingly turning out to be a change for the worse.

As for Mali, don't be surprised to see U.S. involvement there eventually. According to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, we already have 'military trainers' there to train African troops as they deploy in Mali, as well as drones and that wonderfully loose term 'logistical support.'

The last time we did this in tandem with the French over half a century ago, our military trainers in South Vietnam (known then as 'advisers') ended up taking a vastly increased role beyond anything we anticipated, we ended up paying all of the costs of France's intervention and then taking over for them in the end.

Stay tuned.


UCSPanther said...

I would love to see what historians say about Obama's reign and foreign policy in 199 years.

I wager history will not be kind to Obama and he will be remembered in worse light than Neville Chamberlain...

B.Poster said...

The standard narrative on this is without "Western" intervention Mr. Khaddaffi and his forces would have prevailed against the rebels, Western European nations had oil contracts with the Khaddaffi government, the Khaddaffi government had made an agreement with us not to pursue WMD, and they were helping us in the fight against Al Qaeda. Why would Western European nations risk perfectly good oil contracts in order to suppor the rebellion? Why would the United States want any part in this?

At one point the UK even released an individual who took part in the planning of the Lockerbie bombing did they not? Presumably this was done in order to preserve these perfectly good oil contracts. Also, I'm sure they wanted to stick it to the Americans on this to while using something like "humanitarian grounds" for the release as a cover for what they were doing.

Why the sudden changes in behavior by both the Americans and the Western Europeans? Essentially the leadership in the US and Western Europe have jeopardized the economic interests and the national security interests of the nations they lead and for what? So Islamic terrorists who pose a greater threat to America than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan ever did could gain even more strength. The most logical conclusion for such bone headed behavior seems to be that it was based upon ideology and/or nefarious forces acting within the US and Western European nations to get them to act against their own interests.

The best course of action for the US and Western Europe here probably would have been for us to stay out of this entirely. If the conventional wisdom is correct, Khaddaffi prevails and these valuable oil contracts are safe and the assistance against AQIM is able to continue.

Finally, while the situation may be simillar in some ways to South Vietnam, they are not the same. France is not the same as it was then and neither is the US. While the US likely has more fancy military hardware than France does, US military tactics, US military training, and US military leadership is inferior to the French. Furthermore the French possess a certain ruthlessness that the US does not possess. Also, the French are generally able to operate without the level of hostile media scrutiny the US faces.

At least for the last decade or so French foreign policy has primarily been to undermine the US at any costs. They opposed our efforts in Iraq, in order to protect their economic interests knowing full well that doing so was placing the lives of tens of millions of Americans in grave danger. This is a level of ruthlessness that the US would not dare engage in. If it did, the media and certain talking head pundits would no doubt howl in rage against US leadership and UN tribunals agains them would be started.

If France should now some how decide to redirect their foreign policy, this would be welcome news. If there is any assistance we can provide them, we should. The enemy of Islamic terrorists is simply to great not to assist them even though France has largely been an enemy of the US in recent years. I think the adage "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" applies here.

I think Mr. Romney mentioned the growing Islamic terrorist threat in Mali during the presidential debates. He was largely dismissed at that time. Perhaps he really knew what he was talking about.

Rob said...

Hello Poster,
I'm a bit surprised you forgot what I wrote abut this at the time, since you're a regular member of Joshua's Army.

Yes, the Brits and the French and the Italians had lucrative oil contracts with Khaddaffi and part of the price was the freedom of the Lockerbie bomber. However, as I revealed at the time, this was just fine with the Obama Administration.

What changed? Again, I wrote about this previously. In the beginning of the revolt against Khaddaffi, if you recall, the rebels were winning. They had advanced almost to Tripoli.

The EUrines (I pronounce this to rhyme with a certain natural bodily product) panicked, fearing that their deal with Khaddaffi, which they had already spent $1.5 billion on in baksheesh was going to be worthless. So they abruptly switched horses and backed the rebels.That backing included a cash and arms infusion in exchange for new oil contracts with the rebels.

Unfortunately for the EUrines, Khaddaffi regrouped, pushed the rebels back to their home base of Benghazi and was about to destroy them. Not only did the Brother Leader quite accurately point out the salafist nature of most of the al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood allied rebels, he also made his dissatisfaction at the treachery of the EUrines quite evident.The oil deal was history and he wasn't going to sell another drop of oil to them.

So he had to be removed.

President Obama's motivation for getting us into this was a bit different. He also was quite aware of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliations, but as in Egypt, he saw this as a plus. The entire Obama Administration is permeated with actual Muslim Brotherhood members or sympathizers like John Brennan and Delia Mogahead. This president's official strategy is to end our conflict with the Muslim world by encouraging Islamist regimes, ( whom he sees as pragmatists we can work with) largely abandoning that part of the world and in the president's own words, creating distance between America and Israel.

Another motivation was President Obama's active lobbying for a new UN doctrine called 'Responsibility to Protect', or R2P.

While I miscalculated when it came to the amount of time it took to bring Khaddaffi down, my predictions on the chaos that would ensue afterwards is what we're seeing happen now.


B.Poster said...


I do remember you writing about this. Even I knew at the time when it seemed the rebels were winning, that the rebels simply did not have the depth to defeat the Khaddaffi forces. The only assets I have at my disposal to figure this out are computers, an internet search engine, and access to various blogs and other news sources where multiple points of view are presented. If I could figure that out, then I would assume that highly compensated intellegence officials within the EU nations and the US could also figure this one out too. This was my reason for asking what changed.

If our assumptions that Khaddaffi's forces would defeat the rebels were correct, then the best course of action for the EU nations would have been to simply stay out of it while Khaddaffi's forces defeat the rebels. This way perfectly good oil deals are saved. Why would European governments be so reckless with something so valuable as these oil deals. Again, it seems like experential common sense that the Khaddafi forces were going to prevail. Why could they not figure that out?

With this said it seems likely highly paid intellegence offials have access to information that those not in these positions do not have. If it was concluded that the rebels were going to prevail with or without intervention on the part of the "West", this might have changed the calculations of these governments.

Maybe they felt in this case the least bad alternative would have been to support the rebels. At a minimum, military operations of this type need enough "boots on the ground" to ensure stability after the old government falls to allow breathing space to bring the various groups together and to proivde a secure environment for economic growth, as well to arbitrate any disputes between the various stakeholder groups. I'm getting off topic.

I agree that releasing the Lockerbie bomber was fine with this and the previous presidential administrations. They need the cooperation of the EU nations and the cooperation of the Khaddaffi government was also helpful as well as his agreement not to pursue WMD was as well as we could get. Supporting his fall or getting in the way of the Lockerbie deal could have jepordized all of that.

The chaos that has ensued should have been forseen by anyone with an IQ above room tempature who pays even remote attention to the news. How did the intellegence ommunities and the military planners miss this? I propse either 1.)they are complete idiots, 2.)they were blined by ideology, or 3.)they have been infiltrated by Islamists sympathizers. I think it is likely a combination of 2 and 3. At least in the case of the US government, the infiltration of Islamists and their sympathizers is obvious to anyone. You correctly point out the situation within the Obama Administration.

B.Poster said...

The problems with R2P are many fold. Most importantly it is easy to see how this doctrine could one day be used against the United States at some time in the future. Some day the United States will have to take drastic action to curb illegal immigration and possibly to control riots when the ability to sustain the wellfare state is gone. The major world powers could use R2P as justification to take military action against the United States. Putting something like this in place sets bad precedent.

Additionally, if one were to try and implement something like this, the first step in this would be to "first do no harm" as in theHippocratic oath taken by doctors. In the Libyan situation, the chaos that has ensued has likely made things worse for the typical Libyan than had we stayed out of it while the Khaddaffi forces prevailed. As such, hopefully leaders will realize the folly of this doctrine and not resort to it again.

Finally, as a result of this action the Eurpeans placed valuable interests in grave jeporady. Had they simply left things alone, they'd be in a much better situation than they are now!! Citizens of these nations might want to ask their governments why precious oil interests were placed at risk to support Al Qaeda supporting governments.

If there is a silver lining here. The French may finally be taking this seriously. As long as the primary target is Aemrica, this works fine for Western Eurpoean nations. Having their strategic competitor attacked and threatened works out well for them. Not so much when their interests are threatened. As pointed out previously, French forces are better trained, better led, and have superior tactics to their American counterparts. Maybe this will change the direction of the war. One can hope and pray. In any event, the way things have been conducted the operations cannot be supported as they are only making things worse. Maybe the French involvement now will alter things favorably for us.

Another problem is it involves intervention in areas that do not affect American economic or security interests. By intervening in these areas based upon this scenario the risk of "blow back" is significantly increassed. At least once a day prominent leftists remind us of this principle. In this case, they'd be right to remind people of this. Why don't they? It seems they only oppose military interventions that support American interests.