Changing landscape: Jihad in Mali

Flag of Mali

Flag of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Katherine Zimmerman,Dominic Lisanti | Critical Threats Project

On Tuesday, two Americans were arrested on terrorism charges. An FBI affidavit accuses the pair of planning to “travel from the United States to Mauritania intending to prepare to wage violent jihad.” Mauritania, their travel destination, was not the final destination. Instead, Randy (Rasheed) Wilson and Mohammed Abdul Rahman Abukhdair planned to cross the desert into northern Mali, now largely controlled by militant Islamist groups.

Wilson and Abukhdair met online between February and November 2010. Both were already exploring opportunities to take up jihad abroad. Wilson had been the roommate of Omar Hammami, who left for Somalia in 2006 and is currently a member of al Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate there. He had discussed following Hammami to Somalia with another friend, but ultimately, they never acted on it. Abukhdair moved to Cairo, Egypt in February 2007 and then to Alexandria in February 2010. Egyptian authorities arrested him in November 2010 on suspicions of being active in a terrorist group and he was deported to the U.S. in January 2011. By late October 2011, Abukhdair had moved in with Wilson’s family in Mobile, Alabama, and the two men had already begun talking about where to go fight jihad.

Read more : http://www.criticalthreats.org/west-africa/changing-landscape-jihad-mali-december-13-2012

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Comentario: Jabhat al Nusra y los Combatientes Extranjeros

Syria Independence Flag

Syria Independence Flag (Photo credit: FreedomHouse2)

Los Estados Unidos han dado un paso más en la guerra civil en Siria, al colocar al grupo Jabhat al Nusra, en su lista de organizaciones terroristas (Foreign Terrorist Organization), de manera completamente expeditiva.

De esta manera se establece que mas allá de la ayuda que el grupo este prestando a la Ejercito Libre Sirio, llegado el momento tendrá la prerrogativa de capturar a quienes formen parte Jabhat al-Nusra por sus conexiones con Al Qaeda en Irak.

Entre la cantidad de grupos Jihadistas en Siria se conoce que muchos de estos grupos provienen de otras partes de mundo islámico, lo que los diarios árabes han dado a llamar a este movimiento como “Jihadistas Globales”. Observan tambien la dificultad para identificar entre quienes siguen los conceptos de la “Jihad Islámica” y los que se denominan “Salafistas Moderados”.

Jabhat al Nusra o el Frente Nusra, hizo su debut el 24 de enero de 2012, con su afán mayor de ayudar a imponer un Califato Universal bajo la ley islámica, pero mas puntualmente establecer la Sharia en Siria. Algunos de estos grupos se han formado “ad hoc”, con el motivo de organizarse de maneras mas convenientes y naturales para los que arriban de regiones iguales y como sospechan muchos, con identidades que provienen directamente de Al Qaeda Central.

En Siria ven un “escenario” mucho mas complejo políticamente pero más accesible dentro de lo militar que el que se desarrolla en Afganistán e Irak. Reportes de las Naciones Unidas reportan alrededor de 11 nacionalidades se pueden encontrar dentro de los combatientes extranjeros.

En algunos casos, grupos Jihadistas han renunciado al uso de los símbolos del Ejercito Libre Sirio, y solo utilizan los estandartes propios (Como las banderas negras de Al Qaeda) de los grupos que han llegado a territorio Sirio. Muchos de ellos directamente llegados de Irak, para combatir en el frente de Aleppo junto con otros grupos que tambien promocionan un futuro estado islámico para Siria, hecho que es bien visto por aquellos que han financiado durante estos 20 meses de conflicto tanto al Ejercito Libre Sirio, como a los grupos extranjeros. Dinero que proviene de particulares por toda la región del Golfo Pérsico, con el siempre presente miedo de parte de las potencias occidentales, que parte de este financiamiento termine en operaciones terroristas en otros lugares del mundo, donde los intereses occidentales se encuentren.

Al Nusra es un grupo completo en términos militares, con veteranos de gran experiencia en el frente, considerado uno de los “mejores y más valientes batallones” por el Coronel Rial Asaad, del Ejército libre Sirio (1) . Habiendo mostrado sus capacidades en Afganistán, Libia e Irak. (Crónicas periodísticas alegan que tanto Qatar como Arabia Saudita han filtrado combatientes por las fronteras de Turquía, Líbano y Jordania)(2) por lo que se considera que la mayoría de sus miembros son wahabí y con miembros takfiri, ya que incluye elementos radicales islámicos.

Aunque los lideres de Jabath Nusra, que provendrían de Irak (Mosul) tendrían la intención de exportar la idea de la Jihad que invoca Al Qaeda en Irak ( AQI – de la cual seria una rama) hacia las fuerzas opositoras al régimen de Assad, la pregunta es y será como actuaran luego de que termine la guerra civil y como lograran contener a dichos grupos para no caer en guerras sectarias y vengativas, especialmente de las minorías que se encuentran dentro de Siria y que son parte del gobierno, como mas de un analista señala poco puede hacer la comunidad internacional al respecto.

1. “الأسعد : “النصرة” هي الفصيل الأفضل” (al Nusra es la Mejor Faccion), 13/12/12 disponible en http://youkal.com/2012-12-02-14-05-23/24-26/1228-2012-12-13-22-07-44
2. “الإرهابيون في سورية يرتكبون جرائم بشعة” , (Terrorists in Syria commit heinous crimes), 12/12/12 disponible en http://www.abna.ir/data.asp?lang=2&Id=371638

The Logic and Risks of Capture Operations | Center for a New American Security

Bagram Air Base

Bagram Air Base (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the moment, the United States has nowhere to hold and interrogate newly captured terrorists. America just handed over control of its detention facility at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, a significant step toward transferring security operations to Afghans. And while Guantánamo Bay remains home to nearly 170 men that the United States believes are still a threat, no captured terrorist has been transferred there since August 2008. Yet in the past four years, drone strikes and airstrikes targeting Al Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have increased dramatically.

 

The Logic and Risks of Capture Operations | Center for a New American Security.

Dividing the World into Terrorists and the Rest | The National Interest Blog

Terrorism Timeline

Terrorism Timeline (Photo credit: juggernautco)

The common American tendency to view the outside world in starkly divided Manichean terms between friends, allies and good guys on one side and adversaries and evil-doers on the other side arises in many circumstances but seems especially marked in discussions of terrorism. The tendency is most visible in how the lists that have become mainstays of counterterrorist policy are widely perceived. The U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations had an almost mundane purpose when it was established by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. One of the principal features of that legislation was to criminalize the provision of material support to any foreign terrorist organization. This made necessary clear definitions not only of material support but also of foreign terrorist organizations. Hence the creation of the list, entries on which are determined by the secretary of state with the participation of other executive departments and according to criteria specified in the statute.

 

Dividing the World into Terrorists and the Rest | The National Interest Blog.

Commentary: COIN’s Failure in Afghanistan | The National Interest

Late August marked a significant milestone in U.S. foreign policy and military strategy, even if its implications are yet to be properly recognized. The death toll of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan has now reached two thousand.

Half of that number came in the first nine years of the campaign. The second half came in just the past twenty-seven months, after the implementation of the counterinsurgency strategy (COIN) in Afghanistan. Five years after COIN’s ascendancy, it is time to critically analyze the empirical evidence from the strategy. The empirical data suggests that the predominant U.S. military strategy of the past half decade has not worked.

 

Commentary: COIN’s Failure in Afghanistan | The National Interest.

Exclusive Pics: Inside Yemen’s Shadow War (WIRED)

Map of Yemen showing Abyan governorate.For more than a year, Abyan province has been the epicenter of an intensifying covert war against Ansar al-Shari’a, a new al-Qaida incarnate spreading along the remote shores of the Gulf of Aden in southern Yemen. Hellfire missiles fired from Predator and Reaper drones have killed hundreds of Ansar soldiers since last June when the CIA began flying its fleet of drones from a secret base somewhere on the Arabian Peninsula.

Complete Article:

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/inside-yemens-shadow-war/?pid=1356&pageid=86004&viewall=true

Somalia’s Prisons: The War on Terror’s Latest Front

So now it’s official: United States soldiers have been hunting down al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia. When the White House confirmed earlier this month what has long been an open secret, most of the ensuing chatter focused on the need for greater transparency about the expanding war on terror.

Complete Article :

 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/27/somalia-s-prisons-the-war-on-terror-s-latest-front.html