Mali and Algeria: Al Qaeda Moves in the Sahara
Terrorism in Algeria and war in Mali shows the increasing reach of Islamic extremist spreading in the Sahara. It is being reported that Al-Qaeda is shifting its focus to Syria, Libya, Iraq, Algeria and Mali.
The origin of the conflict in Mali is not, primarily regional or global, but local. Rebel Islamic fighters have held the northern part of Mali for almost a year. The rebel move South was apparently a response to the French ground and air assault which began on 11 January with the French objective to “restore Mali’s territorial integrity,” according to the French President Francois Hollande.
Earlier France was working with the UN to bring African Union forces to aid Mali but the rebel forces moved south before any foreign troops could arrive. France decided that only quick action would save their former French colony from Islamic jihadist. The French now plan to continue the assault on the retreating insurgents into the North before the rainy season starts in about a month.
The U. S. is significantly expanding its assistance to the French by offering aerial refueling and planes to transport soldiers from other African nations according to the Pentagon.
The Algerian natural gas plant where 37 foreign hostages were murdered last weekend had employed a trucking company owned by the brother of the regional leader of Al Qaeda, Mohamed Ghadir, better known as Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, a prominent leader in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the terrorist organizations waging war across the Sahara