Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from the outset in 2007 had established a close relationship to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), whose leaders had also been trained and recruited in Afghanistan bu the CIA. The LIFG is supported covertly by the CIA and Britain’s MI6.
The LIFG 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 been brought into Libya prior to onset of the insurrection, acting as mlitary advisers to the LIFG.
More recently, reports confirm that AQIM has received weapons from the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). LIFG mercenaries have integrated AQIM brigades. According to commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who coordinated the In Amenas 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_terrorist.cfm?dossier=174
The BP In Amenas plant is located directly on the Libyan border. One suspects that there was a contingent of Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) combatants involved in the operation.
AQIM also has ties to the Al Nusra Front in Syria which is supported covertly by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is indelibly tied into a Western intelligence agenda. 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 including the Salafist Ansar Ed-Dine:
Both the Tuareg rebels of the MNLA (independence and laity), Ansar Ed Dine, AQIM (Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb) and Mujao (Jihad in West Africa) were assisted with dollars from Qatar, according to one report (The Examiner)
The satirical French paper Canard Enchaîné reported [June 2012] that Qatar has allegedly been funding armed groups in northern Mali made their way into Algerian and west African outlets.
Suspicions that Ansar Ed-Dine, the main pro-shari’ah armed group in the region, has been receiving funding from Qatar has circulated in Mali for several months.
Reports (as yet unconfirmed) that a ‘Qatari’ aircraft landed at Gao, full of weapons, money and drugs, for example, emerged near the beginning of the conflict.
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 repeated reports from the French DGSE to the Defense Ministry have mentioned Qatar’s support for ‘terrorism’ in northern Mali. (emphasis added)
The role of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb as an intelligence asset must be carefully assessed. The Islamic insurgency creates conditions which favor the political destabilization of Mali as a nation state. What geopolitical interests have been served?
Concluding Remarks: “The American Sudan”
In a bitter irony, the kidnapping operation in Southern Algeria and the tragedy resulting from the Algerian led military “rescue” operation provide a humanitarian justification for Western military intervention led by US AFRICOM. The latter not only pertains to Mali and Algeria. It could also include the broader region extending across the sub-Saharan Sahelian belt, from Mauritania to the Western border of Sudan.
This process of escalation is part of a US military and strategic “road-map”, a subsequent stage in the militarization of the African continent, “a followup” to the US-NATO 2011 war on Libya.
It is a project of neo-colonial conquest by the US over a vast area.
While France is the former colonial power, intervening on behalf of Washington, the end-game is to eventually exclude France from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. This displacement of France as a colonial power has been ongoing since the war of Indochina in the 1950s.
While the US is prepared in the short-run to share the spoils of war with France, Washington’s ultimate objective is to “redraw the map of the African continent”, and eventually, to transform francophone Africa into an American sphere of influence. The latter would extend across the continent from Mauritania on the Atlantic to the Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.
A similar process of excluding France from francophone Africa has been ongoing since the 1990s in Rwanda, Burundi and the Republic of the Congo.
In turn, French as an official language in francophone Africa is being encroached upon. Today in Rwanda, English is an official language, alongside Kinyarwanda and French. Starting with the RPF government in 1994, secondary education was offered in either French or English. Since 2009 it is offered solely in English. The University since 1994, no longer operates in French. (The president of Rwanda Paul Kagame does not read or speak French). In 2009, Rwanda joined the Commonwealth.
What is at stake is a vast territory which during the colonial period included French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa (See map left as well as maps below)
Mali during the French period was referred to as Le Soudan français (the French Sudan).
Ironically, this process of weakening and eventually excluding France from francophone Africa has been carried out with the tacit endorsement of both (former) president Nicolas Sarkozy and president François Hollande, both of whom are serving US geopolitical interests to the detriment of the French Republic.
The militarization of the African continent is part of the mandate of US Africom.
The longer term goal is to exert geopolitical as well military control over a vast area, which historically has been within France’s sphere of influence. This area is an rich in oil, natural gas, gold, uranium and strategic minerals. (See R. Teichman, The War on Mali. What you Should Know: An Eldorado of Uranium, Gold, Petroleum, Strategic Minerals …, Global Research, January 15, 2013)
The colonial re-division of Africa decided at the 1884-85 at the Berlin Conference (right). For the maps of French colonial Africa, see below.