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Thread: Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia? One Third of the Victims were Russians and Chinese

  1. #1

    Default Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia? One Third of the Victims were Russians and Chinese

    Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia? One Third of the Victims were Russians and Chinese

    By Eric Draitser
    Global Research, November 27, 2015
    New Eastern Outlook 27 November 2015

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/terror-...hinese/5491869

    Coming on the heels of the terrorist attack in Paris, the mass shooting and siege at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital of the African nation of Mali, is still further evidence of the escalation of terrorism throughout the world. While there has already been much written about the incident in both western and non-western media, one critical angle on this story has been entirely ignored: the motive.

    For although it is true that most people think of terrorism as entirely ideologically driven, with motives being religious or cultural, it is equally true that much of what gets defined as “terrorism” is in fact politically motivated violence that is intended to send a message to the targeted group or nation. So it seems that the attack in Mali could very well have been just such an action as news of the victims has raised very serious questions about just what the motive for this heinous crime might have been.

    International media have now confirmed that at least nine of the 27 killed in the attack were Chinese and Russian. While this alone would indeed be curious, it is the identities and positions of those killed that is particularly striking. The three Chinese victims were important figures in China’s China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), while the Russians were employees of Russian airline Volga-Dnepr. That it was these individuals who were killed at the very outset of the attack suggests that they were the likely targets of what could perhaps rightly be called a terrorist assassination operation.

    But why these men? And why now?

    To answer these questions, one must have an understanding of the roles of both these companies in Mali and, at the larger level, the activities of China and Russia in Mali. Moreover, the targeted killing should be seen in light of the growing assertiveness of both countries against terrorism in Syria and internationally. Considering the strategic partnership between the two countries – a partnership that is expanding seemingly every day – it seems that the fight against terrorism has become yet another point of convergence between Moscow and Beijing. In addition, it must be recalled that both countries have had their share of terror attacks in recent years, with each having made counter-terrorism a central element in their national security strategies, as well as their foreign policy.

    And so, given these basic facts, it becomes clear that the attack in Mali was no random act of terrorism, but a carefully planned and executed operation designed to send a clear message to Russia and China.

    The Attack, the Victims, and the Significance

    On Friday November 20, 2015 a team of reportedly “heavily armed and well-trained gunmen” attacked a well known international hotel in Bamako, Mali. While the initial reports were somewhat sketchy and contradictory, in the days since the attack and siege that followed, new details have emerged that are undeniably worrying as they provide a potential motive for the terrorists.

    It is has since been announced that three Chinese nationals were killed at the outset of the attack: Zhou Tianxiang, Wang Xuanshang, and Chang Xuehui.

    Aside from the obviously tragic fact that these men were murdered in cold blood, one must examine carefully who they were in order to get a full sense of the importance of their killings. Mr. Zhou was the General Manager of the China Railway Construction Corporation’s (CRCC) international group, Mr. Wang was the Deputy General Manager of CRCC’s international group, and Mr. Chang was General Manager of the CRCC’s West Africa division. The significance should become immediately apparent as these men were the principal liaisons between Beijing and the Malian government in the major railway investments that China has made in Mali. With railway construction being one of the key infrastructure and economic development programs in landlocked Mali, the deaths of these three Chinese nationals is clearly both a symbolic and very tangible attack on China’s partnership with Mali.

    In late 2014, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita traveled to China to attend the World Economic Forum in Tianjin. On the sidelines of the forum the Malian president sealed a number of critical development deals with the Chinese government, the most high-profile of which were railway construction and improvement agreements. Chief among the projects is the construction of an $8 billion, 900km railway linking Mali’s capital of Bamako with the Atlantic port and capital of neighboring Guinea, Conakry. The project, seen by many experts as essential for bringing Malian mineral wealth to world markets, is critical to the economic development of the country. Additionally, CRCC was also tapped to renovate the railway connecting Bamako with Senegal’s capital of Dakar, with the project carrying a price tag of nearly $1.5 billion.

    These two projects alone were worth nearly $10 billion, while a number of other projects, including road construction throughout the conflict-ridden north of the country, as well as construction of a much needed new bridge in gridlock-plagued Bamako, brought the cumulative worth of the Chinese investments to near (or above) the total GDP for Mali ($12 billion in 2014). Such massive investments in the country were obviously of great significance to the Malian government both because of their economically transformative qualities, and also because they had solidified China as perhaps the single most dominant investor in Mali, a country long since under the post-colonial economic yoke of France, and military yoke of the United States.

    It seems highly implausible, to say the least, that a random terror attack solely interested in killing as many civilians as possible would have as its first three victims these three men, perhaps three of the most important men in the country at the time. But the implausible coincidences don’t stop there.

    Among the dead are also six Russians, all of whom are said to have been employees of the Russian commercial cargo airline Volga-Dnepr. While at first glance it may seem irrelevant that the Russian victims worked for an airline, it is in fact very telling as it indicates a similar motive to the killing of the Chinese nationals; specifically, Volga-Dnepr is, according to its Wikipedia page, “a world leader in the global market for the movement of oversize, unique and heavy air cargo…[It] serves governmental and commercial organizations, including leading global businesses in the oil and gas, energy, aerospace, agriculture and telecommunications industries as well as the humanitarian and emergency services sectors.” The company has transported everything from gigantic excavators to airplanes, helicopters, mini-factories, and power plants, not to mention heavy machines used in energy extraction.

    This fact is significant because it is quite likely, indeed probable, that the airline has been transporting much of the heavy, oversized equipment being used by the Chinese and other developers throughout the country. In effect, the Russian crew was part of the ongoing economic development and foreign investment in the country. And so, their killing, like that of the CRCC executives, is a symbolic strike against Chinese and Russian investment in the country. And perhaps even more importantly, the attack was a symbolic attack upon the very nature of Sino-Russian collaboration and partnership, especially in the context of economic development in Africa and the Global South.

    It would be worthwhile to add that Volga-Dnepr has also been involved in military transport services for NATO and the US until at least the beginning of the Ukraine conflict and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Whether this fact has any bearing on the employees being targeted, that would be pure conjecture. Suffice to say though that Volga-Dnepr was no ordinary airline, but one that was integral to the entire economic development initiative in Mali. And this is really the key point: China and Russia are development partners for the former French colonial possession and US puppet state.

    China, Russia, and Mali’s Future

    China and, to a lesser extent, Russia have become major trading and development partners for Mali in recent years. Aside from the lucrative railroad and road construction projects mentioned above, China has expanded its partnerships with Mali in many other areas. For instance, in 2014 China gifted Mali a grant of 18 billion CFA (nearly $30 million) and an interest-free loan of 8 billion CFA (nearly $13 million). Additionally, China established a program that offers 600 scholarships to Malian students over the 2015-2017 period. Also, the Chinese government announced the construction of a training and educational center focused on engineering and the construction industry, as well as the completion of the Agricultural Technical Center in the city of Baguineda in Southern Mali, not far from the capital and population center of Bamako.

    Of course, these sorts of Chinese offerings are only the tip of the iceberg as Beijing has also expanded its contracts with Mali in the transportation, construction, energy, mining, and other important sectors, including an agreement for China to construct at least 24,000 affordable housing units, making ownership of a decent home possible for many who would otherwise never have such an opportunity. Going further, as African Leadership Magazine reported in 2014:

    Mali also relies on China to invest in new power plants to break the electricity crisis that is affecting the country. This is supposed to make available cheaper electricity for the industrial development…A hydroelectric dam will be built in the area of Dire in the North of the country; a hybrid power plant in Kidal in the North-East and another one in Timbuktu, which is in the North as well. Solar power plants will also be created in other parts of the country and all those infrastructures will be connected to the national grid of electricity… A factory of medicine production that is being constructed in the outskirts of the capital will be enlarged to be the largest in West Africa…More than 95 percent of the factory has been completed and it will be operating on January, 2015…Chinese banks that are not yet present in Mali are supposed to contribute to create small-scaled companies and industries.

    To be sure, China is not offering such deals to Mali solely out of altruism and in the spirit of generosity; naturally China expects to enrich itself and ensure access to raw materials, resources, and markets in Mali now and in the future. This is the sort of “win-win” partnership forever being touted by China as the cornerstone of its aid and investment throughout Africa. Indeed, in many ways, Mali is a prime example of just how China operates on the continent. Rather than a purely exploitative investment model (the IMF and World Bank examples come to mind), China is engaging in true partnership. And, contrary to what many have argued (that China is merely a rival imperialist power in Africa), China’s activities in Africa are by and large productive for the whole of the countries where China invests, a few egregious bad examples aside.

    China is a friend of Africa, and it has demonstrated that repeatedly throughout the last decade. And perhaps it is just this sort of friendship that was under attack in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako.

    Likewise Russia has been engaged in Mali, though certainly nowhere near the extent that China has. Russia was one of the principal contributors to the humanitarian relief effort in Mali after the 2012 coup and subsequent war against terror groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Russia provided much needed food, clothing, and basic medical aid, while also supplying more advanced, and essential, medical equipment to Malian hospitals desperately trying to cope with the flood of wounded and displaced people.

    Additionally, Moscow became one of the major suppliers of weapons and other military materiel to Mali’s government in its war against terrorism in 2013. According Business Insider in 2013, Anatoly Isaikin, head of Russia’s state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport, “revealed that Moscow had recent military contacts with the government of Mali…He said small amounts of light weapons were already being delivered to Mali and that new sales were under discussion. ‘We have delivered firearms. Literally two weeks ago another consignment was sent. These are completely legal deliveries…We are in talks about sending more, in small quantities.’”

    Finally, Mali has a longstanding cultural connection with Russia through the Soviet Union’s sponsorship of thousands of Malian students who studied in Soviet universities from the early 1960s through the 1980s. As Yevgeny Korendyasov of the Center for Russian-African Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences explained, “We have had very close ties to Mali throughout recent history…Though overall financial estimates of Soviet aid received by Mali are hard to come by, Moscow’s involvement with the country was all-encompassing.” Indeed, the Soviets educated Malian officials and intelligentsia, as well as their children, developed local infrastructure, and mapped the country’s abundant natural resources. Such long-standing ties, moribund though they may seem today, still have a lasting legacy in the country.

    While the world has been transfixed by terrorism from the downing of the Russian airliner in Egypt, to the inhuman attacks in Paris and Beirut, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the attack in Mali. Perhaps one of the reasons the episode has not gotten the necessary scrutiny and investigation is the seemingly endless series of terror attacks that have transfixed news consumers worldwide. Perhaps it is simply good old fashioned racism that sees Africa as little more than a collection of chaotic states constantly in conflict, with violence and death being the norm.

    Or maybe the real reason almost no one has shined a light on this episode is because of the global implications of the killings, and the obvious message they sent. While media organizations seem to have deliberately ignored the implication of the attacks of November 20th in Mali, one can rest assured that Beijing and Moscow got the message loud and clear. And one can also rest assured that the Chinese and Russians are well aware of the true motives of the attack. The question remains: how will these countries respond?
    Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

    The original source of this article is New Eastern Outlook
    Copyright © Eric Draitser, New Eastern Outlook, 2015
    "There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

    Joseph Fouche

  2. #2

    Default In the Wake of The Mali Terrorist Attacks: Escalation of U.S. and French Military Interventions in A

    In the Wake of The Mali Terrorist Attacks: Escalation of U.S. and French Military Interventions in Africa?

    By Abayomi Azikiwe
    Global Research, November 23, 2015

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/in-the-...africa/5490840

    Over two dozen killed at hotel in Bamako

    Despite the presence of French and United States Special Forces inside Mali, the siege of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako on November 20 has resulted in the deaths of over two dozen people.

    U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) leader Army General David Rodriguez continues to maintain that the purpose of Washington’s military policy on the continent is to assist nation-states in their efforts to enhance the security capacity of various governments. AFRICOM identifies its purpose as working with African states in the so-called “war on terrorism.”

    Nonetheless, the “war on terrorism” is a by-product of successive failed imperialist interventions from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The so-called “Islamist extremist” organizations were nurtured, funded and coordinated since the early 1980s when the administration of President Jimmy Carter worked vigorously to overthrow the socialist government in Afghanistan which was supported by the former Soviet Union.

    With the overthrow of the government of President Saddam Hussein in Iraq, these same strains of Islamic organizations were strengthened spreading their influence into the Syrian situation which began during the early months of 2011. The outbreak of the Syrian war coincided with the destruction of Libya that subsequently brought unrest and instability throughout North and West Africa, right across the Mediterranean into Southern, Central and Eastern Europe.

    Rodriguez was quoted as saying by the Department of Defense news agency that “The major thing they need and want is training and understanding how to operate in the environments they are working in. They usually need help in the same type of areas — command and control and communications, [and] intelligence — we do a tremendous amount of intelligence training throughout the African continent. They need help in logistics and mobility. They need help in specialty skills anti-mine or IEDs.” (November 20)

    Another key aspect of this policy is the molding of African military officials into the image of the Pentagon. Rodriguez stresses “For their militaries and institutions, the most important thing for them is to grow leaders and select the right people and build the systems that sustain their efforts for the long run.”

    This purported selection of correct leaders resulted in a military coup over three years ago. The elected head of state in Mali, Amadou Toumani Toure, was overthrown on March 23, 2012 by military officer Capt. Amadou Sanogo. After regional pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), Sanogo turned over the ostensible reigns of power to an interim government headed by parliamentary leader Dioncounda Traore.

    Sanogo was a student of the Pentagon as a participant in the International Military Education and Training program where he received instruction in Georgia and at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, which specializes in counter-terrorism education. The former officer also studied English at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

    With specific reference to the recent attacks in Bamako, at least two gunmen walked into the hotel, which is a mainstay for diplomatic personnel and business interests from the international community, opening fire on staff and guests taking approximately 130 people hostage.

    It was reported that Malian, French and U.S. soldiers stormed the building ending the siege. At present it is not clear whether the hostages were killed by the gunmen or by the security and military forces allied with the Malian government during the retaking of the hotel.

    Two Organizations Claim Responsibility

    Two Islamist groups operating in Mali and Algeria have claimed responsibility for the attacks through the Al Akhbar website based in neighboring Mauritania. Both Algeria and Mali have waged wars against such organizations with the latter being the latest to face the seizure of its territory in the north during 2012-2013.

    The Al Akhbar site hosted a recording saying “We, in the group of the Mourabitoun, in cooperation with our brothers in Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the great desert area, claim responsibility for the hostage-taking operation in the Radisson hotel in Bamako.” This statement apparently issued during the siege suggested that an end to hostilities was “predicated on the release of the all the imprisoned mujahedeen in the prisons of Mali and the cessation of the aggression against our people in the north and center of Mali.” (November 20)

    In 2012, a secessionist movement based among the Tuaregs, the MNLA, declared an independent state in the north of the country. However, other groups entered the fray prompting greater French and U.S. military intervention.

    The main identifiable organizations involved in the struggle for control of Mali include Ansar Dine – which is Arabic for Defenders of Faith – and two other groups, AQIM and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), whom were originally allied to the MNLA, but have appeared to have been operating independently since the French invasion of January 2013.

    The French government deployed its air force and 3,000 troops in 2013 in the north of the country at the request of the newly installed president, Dioncounda Traoré. Labelled as “Operation Serval,” the occupation continued through July 2014 when the French military forces were reassigned as the major elements within a broader offensive expanding across large swaths of the Sahel region. The United Nations mandated force, MINUMSA, has been operational since April 2013 now numbering approximately 10,000 troops.

    Pentagon air support was critical in this occupation of Mali. With the U.S. already well established within the military inside the country, it was poised to carry out logistical flights transporting personnel and equipment to the French forces and their allies.

    Pentagon and NATO Occupation Has Not Brought Stability

    French forces occupied Mali nearly three years ago with Pentagon assistance after the collapse of the security situation in the north and central regions of the country due in part to the unresolved regional issues stemming from colonial rule by Paris. It is important to note that the seizure of substantial portions of Malian territory took place in the aftermath of the March 2012 military coup led by the Pentagon-trained Capt. Amadou Sanogo.

    Many analysts have cited the war of regime-change engineered and waged by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon and NATO against the former Jamahiriya system under the leadership of Col. Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, as being a major contributing factor to the destabilization of northern Mali. Members of the Tuarag nationality in Mali were living in Libya during the Gaddafi era where some participated in the defense of the country during the counter-revolution in 2011.

    The fleeing of many Tuaregs from Libya and the conclusion of the bombing campaign by western imperialist states and their allies, found them inside northern Mali where unresolved inter-ethnic conflicts have reappeared since national independence in 1960.

    AFRICOM and other allied forces are already planning further deployments in the so-called “war on terrorism.” Nearly two years ago the Obama administration announced the deployment of 3,500 troops to nearly three dozen African states.

    The largest AFRICOM base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti contains thousands of U.S. and French troops at Camp Lemonier. This base has also been utilized in the Pentagon-supported bombing campaign by the Saudi Arabia and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) coalition that has ravaged Yemen since March.

    There appears to be no change in U.S. relations towards Africa and the Middle East with both Democratic and Republican candidates for president during 2016 saying nothing about the failure of these policies as it relates to instability spreading throughout the region. It will be up to a future regenerated anti-war movement in the U.S. and Western Europe to take up these issues within the broader struggles for social justice and peace.
    The original source of this article is Global Research
    Copyright © Abayomi Azikiwe, Global Research, 2015
    "There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

    Joseph Fouche

  3. #3

    Default Mastermind of The Bamako Terror Attack Mokhtar Belmokhtar: A CIA Sponsored “Intelligence Asset”?

    Mastermind of The Bamako Terror Attack Mokhtar Belmokhtar: A CIA Sponsored “Intelligence Asset”?

    By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
    Global Research, November 22, 2015

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/masterm...-asset/5490396

    In response to the tragic Paris events of November 13, Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan warned that “ISIL is planning additional attacks… It is clear to me that ISIL has an external agenda, that they are determined to carry out these types of attacks.” (Quoted in Daily Telegraph, November 16, 2015)

    Five days later following the CIA Chief’s premonition, the Bamako Radisson Hotel Blu in Mali’s capital was the object of a terrorist attack, resulting in 21 people dead. Following the attack and the taking of hostages by the terrorists, French and Malian special forces raided the hotel. US. Africa Command (AFRICOM) also confirmed that US special forces were involved.

    The Bamako terror operation was allegedly coordinated by Mokhtar Belmokhtar (aka Khaled Abu al-Abbas), leader of an affiliate of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Islamist al-Mulathameen (Masked) Brigade, or “Those who Sign with Blood.”

    Belmokhtar’s group was created in 2012 in the wake of the war on Libya. His organization has also allegedly been involved in the drug trade, smuggling as well kidnapping operations of foreigners in North Africa. While his whereabouts are said to be known, French intelligence has dubbed Belmokhtar “the uncatchable”.

    In June he was reported dead as a result in a U.S. air strike in Libya. His death was subsequently denied.

    Based on shaky evidence, The New York Times report below (November 20) concludes that Belmokhtar’s group (together with AQIM) is unequivocally behind the Bamako attacks:

    A member of Al Qaeda in Africa confirmed Saturday that the attack Friday on a hotel in Bamako, Mali, had been carried out by a jihadist group loyal to Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Algerian operative for Al Qaeda. The Qaeda member, who spoke via an online chat, said that an audio message and a similar written statement in which the group claimed responsibility for the attack were authentic. The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist groups, also confirmed the authenticity of the statement.

    The Qaeda member, who refused to be named for his protection, said that Mr. Belmokhtar’s men had collaborated with the Saharan Emirate of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, … In the audio recording, the group, known as Al Mourabitoun, says it carried out the operation in conjunction with Al Qaeda’s branch in the Islamic Maghreb.

    The recording was released to the Al Jazeera network and simultaneously to Al Akhbar, … The recording states: “We, in the group of the Mourabitoun [Arabic Rebel Group], in cooperation with our brothers in Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, the great desert area, claim responsibility for the hostage-taking operation in the Radisson hotel in Bamako.” (emphasis added)

    The SITE Intelligence Group is presented as an “independent” Washington think tank with a mandate of analyzing data pertaining to Al Qaeda affiliated terror organizations. SITE is also on contract with a number of US government agencies and has close links to US intelligence.

    SITE has provided no substantive evidence which supports the authenticity of the online audio chat recording, which is considered as a reliable source. The story could have been planted.

    Following the audio release, the Western media in chorus immediately pointed to an act of revenge directed against the French Republic in response to France’s 2013 military intervention in Mali, which had been ordered by President Francois Hollande.

    “France saved Mali from al-Qaeda but it never broke terror threat”. “France saved northern Mali from al-Qaeda’s brutal rule … But the country is still beholden to outsiders and, as events at the Radisson hotel have demonstrated, acutely vulnerable to the worst of terrorism” (The Independent, November 20, 2015)

    In turn, the French Minister of Defense acknowledged –prior to the conduct of a police investigation– that the authors of the attack were “most likely” led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s group in association with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

    What Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drain failed to mention was that both Belmokhtar and AQIM have longstanding links to the CIA, which in turn has a working relationship with France’s General Directorate for External Security, Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE).

    Casually ignored by the Western media, the leaders of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) including Belmokhtar were trained and recruited by the CIA in Afghanistan. Acknowledged by the Washington based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR):

    Most of AQIM’s major leaders are believed to have trained in Afghanistan during the 1979-1989 war against the Soviets as part of a group of North African volunteers known as “Afghan Arabs” that returned to the region and radicalized Islamist movements in the years that followed. The group is divided into “katibas” or brigades, which are clustered into different and often independent cells.

    The group’s top leader, or emir, since 2004 has been Abdelmalek Droukdel, also known as Abou Mossab Abdelwadoud, a trained engineer and explosives expert who has fought in Afghanistan and has roots with the GIA in Algeria. (Council on Foreign Relations, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, cfr.org, undated)

    Saudi born terror mastermind Osama bin Laden was recruited in 1979 ironically under the auspices of the CIA. The training, recruitment and indoctrination of Mujahideen launched in 1979 was considered to be “the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA” in response the Soviet Union’s military support of the pro-Communist secular Afghan government of Babrak Kamal.

    Al Qaeda in Arabic means “the Base”. What it referred to was the CIA’s “Database” of Mujahideen recruits who were referred to by President Ronald Reagan as “freedom fighters”:

    Shortly before his untimely death, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that “Al Qaeda” is not really a terrorist group but a database of international mujaheddin and arms smugglers used by the CIA and Saudis to funnel guerrillas, arms, and money into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. (See Pierre-Henri Bunel, Al Qaeda: The Database, Global Research, November 20, 2005, emphasis added)

    Mokhtar Belmokhtar: Post Cold War CIA intelligence asset?

    The Council on Foreign Relations erroneously describes “Mokhtar Belmokhtar as the one-eyed veteran of the anti-Soviet Afghan insurgency.” (CFR, op cit, emphasis added). Belmokhtar (born in 1972) did not fight in the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989). He was recruited in 1991 at the age of 19 in the immediate wake of the Cold War.

    CIA recruitment continued in the wake of the Cold War. It was in large part directed against the Russian Federation and the former Soviet Republics as well as the Middle East.

    The purpose of this later CIA recruitment was to establish a network of “intelligence assets” to be used in the CIA’s post-cold war insurgencies. Leaders of the Chechen Islamist insurgencies were also trained in CIA camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the notorious leader of the Chechen insurrection Ibn al-Khattab (a citizen of Saudi Arabia).

    Following his training and recruitment and a two year stint in Afghanistan (1991-1993), Mokhtar Belmokhtar was sent back to Algeria in 1993 at age 21 where he joined the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) (emblem left). The latter was initially part of the so-called Armed Islamic Group (Groupe islamique armé (GIA)) in Algeria which sought to overthrow the secular Algerian Government with a view to installing a theocratic Islamic State.

    Supported covertly by the CIA, Belmokhtar fought in Southern Algeria in the civil war opposing Islamist forces and the secular government. He was also instrumental in the integration and merging of “jihadist” forces.

    In January 2007, the Armed islamic Group (GIA) which had been prominent in the 1990s, officially changed its name to the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

    In turn, as of 2007, the newly formed AQIM established a close relationship with the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which was directly supported by NATO during the 2011 war on Libya, “providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.” (Tony Cartalucci, The Geopolitical Reordering of Africa: US Covert Support to Al Qaeda in Northern Mali, France “Comes to the Rescue”, Global Research, January 2013).

    British SAS Special Forces had also been brought into Libya prior to the onset of the insurrection, acting as military advisers to the LIFG.

    In fact, what has unfolded since the war on Libya is the merging of LIFG and AQIM forces. In turn, many of the LIFG operatives have been dispatched to Syria to fight within the ranks of Al Nusrah and the ISIS.

    Robert Stephen Ford

    It is worth noting that the 2007 restructuring of jihadist forces in Algeria and the Maghreb coincided with the appointment of Robert Stephen Ford as US ambassador to Algeria in August 2006. Ford had been reassigned by the State Department from Baghdad to Algiers. From 2004 to 2006, he worked closely with Ambassador John Negroponte at the US embassy in Baghdad in supporting the creation of both Shia and Sunni death squads in Iraq.

    This project consisted in recruiting and training terrorists modelled on the so-called “Salvador Option” which had been applied by the CIA in Central America. Negroponte as we recall played a central role in supporting the Contras terrorists in Nicaragua as ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, “The Salvador Option For Syria”: US-NATO Sponsored Death Squads Integrate “Opposition Forces”, Global Research, May 28, 2012)

    The 2006 appointment of Robert Stephen Ford to head the US Embassy in Algeria was timely. It coincided with the consolidation of jihadist groups within Algeria and the Maghreb. It preceded the 2011 US-NATO sponsored insurrections in Libya and Syria.

    In 2010, Ford was approved by the US Congress as US Ambassador to Syria. He presented his credentials to president Bashar al Assad in January 2011, barely two months prior to the onslaught of the terrorist insurrection in the border city of Daraa in mid-March 2011. Ford played a central role in assisting the channelling of US and allied support to Syrian “opposition” groups including Al Nusrah and the ISIS.

    Concluding Remarks

    Belmokhtar’s history and involvement in Afghanistan confirms that from the very outset he was an instrument of US intelligence. While, he operates with a certain degree of independence and autonomy in relation to his intelligence sponsors, he and his organization are bona fide CIA “intelligence assets”, which can be used by the CIA as part of a covert agenda.

    There are various definitions of an “intelligence asset”. From the standpoint of US intelligence, “assets” linked up to terrorist organizations must not be aware that they are supported and monitored by Western intelligence.

    With regard to Al Qaeda, from the outset in 1979, the CIA chose to operate through various front organizations as well as indirectly through its Saudi, Qatari and Pakistani intelligence partners. CIA’s Milton Beardman who played a central role in the Soviet Afghan war confirms that members of Al Qaeda including Osama bin Laden were not aware of the role they were playing on behalf of Washington. In the words of bin Laden (quoted by Beardman): “neither I, nor my brothers saw evidence of American help”(Michel Chossudovsky, Who is Osama bin Laden, Global Research, September 12, 2001):

    Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, the Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam. While there were contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in theatre had no contacts with Washington or the CIA. (Ibid)

    Amply documented, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)and its affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) was serving the interests of the Western military alliance. Confirmed by the Washington Post, June 29, 2011 (See below), France was supplying weapons to the LIFG at the height of NATO’s bombing raids.

    AQIM in turn was receiving weapons from the LIFG, which was supported by NATO. Moreover, LIFG mercenaries had integrated AQIM brigades.

    According to alleged Terror Mastermind Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who also coordinated the 2013 In Amenas Mali kidnapping operation:

    “We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world. As for our benefiting from the (Libyan) weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.” http://www.hanford.gov/c.cfm/oci/ci_...fm?dossier=174

    Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is indelibly tied into a Western intelligence agenda. While it is described as ”one of the region’s wealthiest, best-armed militant groups”, financed covertly by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. France’s Canard enchaîné revealed (June 2012) that Qatar (a staunch ally of the United States) has been funding various terrorist entities in Mali:

    The original report cites a French military intelligence report as indicating that Qatar has provided financial support to all three of the main armed groups in northern Mali: Iyad Ag Ghali’s Ansar Ed-Dine, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA).

    The amount of funding given to each of the groups is not mentioned but it mentions that repeated reports from the French DGSE to the Defense Ministry have mentioned Qatar’s support for ‘terrorism’ in northern Mali. (quoted by Jeune Afrique June 2012)

    Qatar is a proxy state, a de facto Persian Gulf territory largely controlled by Washington. It hosts a number of Western military and intelligence facilities.

    The Emir of Qatar does not finance terrorism without the consent of the CIA.

    And with regard to Mali, the CIA coordinates its activities in liaison with its French intelligence partners and counterparts, including la Direction du renseignement militaire (DRM) and the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE).

    The implications are obvious and should be carefully understood by Western public opinion. Inasmuch as Belmokhtar and AQIM are “intelligence assets”, both US and French intelligence are (indirectly) behind the Bamako attacks.

    Both US and French intelligence are complicit in the State sponsorship of terrorism.
    The original source of this article is Global Research
    Copyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2015
    "There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

    Joseph Fouche

  4. Default

    That's why we need to put in place more c-tpat compliance measures. Let's hope these attack decrease in frequency over time.

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