New Papers on Algeria & Mali

Over the last few months the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has published several useful papers on security problems in the Sahel. The latest report, by Anwar Boukhars, ‘The Paranoid Neighbor: Algeria and the Conflict in Mali‘ is a useful introduction to the perceptions and questions at play for practical people approaching Algeria’s stance on intervention in northern Mali.  Previous papers include Wolfram Lacher’s excellent ‘Organized Crime and Conflict in the Sahel-Sahara Region‘ (September 2012) which follows up nicely with his previous paper on related subjects from January 2011, ‘Organized Crime and Terrorism in the Sahel‘. On the Algeria paper, some of the views expressed there have come out of Carnegie working groups, such as one from July 2012 (summarised in ‘Algeria’s Ambivalent Role in the Sahel’).

In general, this blogger believes more discussion needs to be had about Algerian foreign policy in general and that discussions about its Mali policy should be had within this framework in addition to the priorities of European and American regional interests (too often one gets the impression from western analysis and actors that Algeria has no foreign policy of its own other than to resist good ideas from Paris and Washington; this is changing though — although we probably need more studies on Algerian policy at the African Union and Arab League and with specific countries over time, such things interest specialists and not general audiences but one misses a lot as a result of the scanty attention these issues receieve); fortunately Boukhars spends some time in his paper going through Algerian assumptions about the problem in Mali and describing the Algerian perspective on the problem in Mali. Given the mood in Washington and much of Europe, the paper’s broad focus on what othercountries see as beneficial for the Algerians to do is understandable; and if the fallout from Libya is any kind of even vague guide, Algerian warnings about the consequences of intervention should not be ignored (a point Boukhars raises). The Moroccan angle, regarded with strong skepticism by the Algerians is dealt with in a fair manner, though when Boukhars writes that ‘as in the Libya intervention, Morocco is expected to play a discreet but active role in any military campaign in Mali’ the reader must wonder what this means and what it would mean for the Algerians (it is not hard to see this being no problem at all, but the point raises questions, especially given the well known méfiance between Algiers and Rabat). One does wish Boukhars used more Algerian sources.

For English speakers, and even Francophones, there are still not great deep studies or histories on Algerian foreign policy writ-large. This is particularly true of the post 1992 period — most of what is available are real time or journalistic accounts of Bouteflika’s policy. Prior to the civil war there is Mohamed Reda Bougherira’s dissertation (Algeria’s Foreign Policy 1979-1992: Continuity and/or Change, June 1999), which approaches Algerian foreign policy systematically from a theoretical perspective and outlines the key themes and movements in Algeria’s regional and technical policies up through the Chadli years. We also have Assassi Lassassi’s “Non-Alignment in Algerian Foreign Policy” (1988) and numerous articles by Robert Mortimer and Yahia Zoubir (who has been publishing quite a bit of late on these issues in the Maghreb), Judith Scheele (who for, for example, explains the rationale for the presence of the Algerian consulate in Gao from a logistical standpoint in Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara: Regional Connectivity in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge, 2012 pp.97, note 3), Peter Tinti (on the Mali file) and by Alexis Arieff. There are others as well. More and more is likely to come out as a result of Algeria’s positions in Mali and Libya and during the Bouteflika presidency in general.

The bad press and pressure the Algerians have felt over the last several months regarding the ‘opacity’ and alleged ambiguity of their position in Mali — both their perspective of the armed groups in the north, the level and ease of cooperation with other parties, and the motivations behind their contacts with various actors in the north — appears to have led to some statements from Algerian officials and ranking officers that give the impression of an easing on their opposition or hard skepticism of intervention in the north. The position itself does not appear to have changed much and it is likely the Algerians would provide intelligence or other support to an intervention if only for fear of probable spill over. All yet to be seen, though.

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2 thoughts on “New Papers on Algeria & Mali”

  1. The destruction of the holy sites by the deviant Saudis in power,
    by Ustadh Muqallid Abdul Haqq Al-Amreeki

    Dear Maulana, this article I have typed based on my own feelings at seeing the structures designed in Mecca. May Allah give you the tawfiq to accomplish your goals in both this doonya and the akheera.

    Bismillah hir Rahman ir Raheem,

    It was with much horror that I first viewed the giant All seeing-eye horror occult megalith constructed in the holiest and most sacred site on planet earth

    “A glowing green disc hovers high in the sky at night, casting an eerie glow over a forest of minarets, cranes and concrete frames that seem to stretch endlessly into the dusty distance, like a vast field of dominoes. The disc is the largest clockface in the world – and not only does it adorn the tallest clocktower in the world, it also sits atop a building boasting the biggest floor area in the world. Visible 30km away, this is the Abraj al-Bait, which rises like Big Ben on steroids to tower 600m over the holy mosque of Mecca in the spiritual heart of the Islamic world.
    This thrusting pastiche palace houses an array of luxury hotels and apartments, perched above a five-storey slab of shopping malls. Completed last year at a cost of $15bn (£9bn), it stands where an Ottoman fortress once stood. A stone citadel built in 1781 to repel bandits, the Ajyad fortress’s demolition sparked an international outcry in 2002, but this was quickly rebuffed by the Saudi Islamic affairs minister. “No one has the right to interfere in what comes under the state’s authority,” he said. “This development is in the interest of all Muslims all over the world.” The fortress wasn’t just swept away – the hill it sat on went, too.
    Shooting 26 searchlights 10km into the skies, and blaring its call to prayer 7km across the valley, the Abraj al-Bait is also the world’s second tallest building. Encrusted with mosaics and inlaid with gold, it is the most visible (and audible) sign of the frenzied building boom that has taken hold of Saudi Arabia’s holy city over the last 10 years. The house of the prophet’s wife, Khadijah, was razed to make way for public lavatories; the house of his companion, Abu Bakr, is now the site of a Hilton hotel; and his grandson’s house was flattened by the King’s palace. “They are turning the holy sanctuary into a machine, a city which has no identity, no heritage, no culture and no natural environment. They’ve even taken away the mountains,” says Angawi.
    Geological features have proved no match for dynamite and concrete, which are being liberally deployed to make way for the burgeoning number of visitors. Three million Muslims arrived in Mecca this week for the annual hajj pilgrimage, an event that has mutated from a simple, spartan rite of passage, in which pilgrims give up their worldly goods, into a big-bucks business worthy of Las Vegas – with the overblown architecture to match.
    Along the western flank of the city are the first towers of the Jabal Omar development, a sprawling complex that will eventually accommodate 100,000 people in 26 luxury hotels (notice how the number 26 is used by the Occultists on both the lights and the buildings– comments of Ustadh Abdul Haqq)– sitting on another gargantuan plinth of 4,000 shops and 500 restaurants, along with its own six-storey prayer hall. The line of blocks, which will climb to heights of up to 200 metres and terminate in a monumental gateway building, share the clocktower’s Islamic-lite language: a cliched dressing of pointed arches and filigree grillwork plastered over generic concrete shells.
    The developers have somehow transformed a type of architecture that evolved from a dense urban grain of low-rise courtyards and narrow streets into meaningless wallpaper: an endlessly repeatable pattern for the decoration of standardised slab after standardised slab. Flimsy rows of concrete arches hang above swaths of blue mirror glass, punctuated by stick-on timber trellis screens. These are modelled on traditional mashrabiya panels, those beautiful latticework openings designed as ventilating veils, but here they become meaningless applique. “If we are imitating, why can’t we imitate the best?” asks Angawi, in a tone of desperation. “Why are we imitating the worst mistakes of 60 or 70 years ago from around the world – only even bigger?”
    Another development of repetitive slabs, echoing Jabal Omar’s toast-rack urbanism, is slated for the northern side of the Grand Mosque, at al-Shamiya, while a $10bn plan to provide an extra 400,000 sq metres of prayer halls there is almost complete. Standing like a gigantic triangular slice of wedding cake, this building will accommodate 1.2m more worshippers each year, but it has come at a price.”

    —http://muslimvillage.com/2012/10/25/30665/meccas-mega-architecture-casts-shadow-over-hajj/

    the very house Nabi Ibraheem alayhee salam constructed with his own hands. The building work has inevitably changed the hajj experience for everyone. Aside from the increased pollution and heavy machinery, there is more segregation along economic and class lines. Surely, I am not alone in this assessment and every day around the world hundreds of poor Muslims from third world countries for the first time take gaze and tremble at the giant monuments of kufr and shirk, totally against the Sunnah of Rasulullah salalahu alayhee wasalam and his glorious Sahaba kareem. These giant buildings are indeed far for dark and sinister in scope than most laymen may realize. It may be that our vanguards in the field of ‘Amr bil maroof wa nahi anil munkar have underestimated the sheer size, money, and evil of the conspiracy that taken ahold of planet earth and placed its toxic corrupting european idols in the forms of buildings. These buildings are actually giant idols. Indeed, they appear to come alive striking terror into the hears of righteous men and women who fear Allah. Indeed, how would Rasulullah salalahuualayheewasalam handle the situation with the buildings? He would do the exact same thing he did in the Kabba and bring down each building of kufr and shirk with controlled demolition. Then, Rasulullah salalahu alayhee wasalam, under the fear and love of Allah, would call upon all of the Muslims of the world to meet in Mecca and he would address them as a people, in person; and the juma’aat would arrive at a much lovely and better architect plan for the holy precincts. It is indeed a great time of tribulation on planet earth, as much on the immediate horizon looks ominous, but Allah is using this conspiracy that has clutched the entire world and even the holy precincts of Islaam to prove that although the kuffaar plot and plan and conspire, so too is Allah planning a better plan and it will prevail at the end of the day in glory. Subahanaallah!! Allahuakbar our Lord is such a great Rabb. How many of us remember that all we have to do to make Allah our Wali is to lower our gaze towrads ghaiyr muhram women and instead fear Allah.

    The destruction of the amazing sites of Allah by these mad-men with power operating over the 5,000 saudi prince is remarkable – in fact, it may be that Allah has placed within the 5,000 Saudi princes at least one hero. How anyone could equate respect of tradition, history, legacy and the fact that pure Tawheed actually demands pondering over the creation and the ayats of Allah, not destroying them. The house of Khadijah radiallahu anha – if Rasulullah salalahualayheewasalam were alive now how would he respond to these acts? It may be true that if needed, Rasulullah would allow the spot to be given to the poor – but to build toilets on the house of Khadijah and a Hilton hotel on the house of Hadhrat Abu Bakr radiallahuanhu, may Allah crush them down along with the arrogant Shaytoni Fraud Sauds. To even use one of the Names of Allah to describe this deviant sect, Al-Wahab, is not befitting to Allah Azza Wa Jal’s Grandeur and Sublime Sifaats. Indeed Rasulullah salalahu alayhee wasalam would undoubtedly destroy these giant monuments of kufr, dhulm, shirk, bida’a and on. It is unfortunate how this conspiracy snuck up on the Muslim vanguard so quickly. It indeed was a well organized long-term business plan set in effect in Germany and Brittain. When I was a young man in high school, a friend of mine named Chris Thompson gave me a book – “Fleshing out Skull and Bones, order 322”. Every year at Yale University 15 white college frat men would meet. The likes of all three Bush unconstitutional criminals were in this religious cult the rituals of which involved Prescott Bush digging up the bones of epic American Indian war legend Giranamo, may Allah save him. Such skullduggery is indicative of black magic occultism. A human skull was always placed on a table in front of the yearly photograph (including all three Bushs) and in that same photograph there was, in the same room – you guessed it – a giant grandfather clock, a small idol-god eerily similar to the massive Idol placed in the Haram Shareef! May Allah bring these evil monuments to a hasted destruction! Black magic has been unleashed, which in Islaam we know exists and is haraam and whosoever calls on Djinn only does so at the cost of his own soul. In Islaam we are NOT permitted to call on Djinn. However, that does not mean that people who do call on Djinn will not conjure some dark power from the wickid haram. This, however, is all a part of Allah’s plan to let the Haqq prevail on its own. Of course Allah can interfere but we are living in the single most interesting time in all of human history and Allah is going to see how it pans out before He steps in with His Divine Wrath and destroy the monuments of Kufr and Shirk found in the Holy Lands of Islaam.

    My dear brothers in Islaam, PLEASE WAKE UP to what the Saudi Authoritarian Fascist New World Order tyranny has planned for the Haram Shareef! They are surrounding it with a horrible new reality! Now, from every single possible angle that only the best math expert could solve, there are eyes on the Kabba. Breathtaking in horror, the Musellai realizes that the new all seeing eye has thousands of cameras and angles staring fixatedly on the Kabba itself. My dear brothers and sisters in Islaam please I beg of you boycott the future plans for putting up 30 odd domino-looking monuments all around. Please look at this future plan and do everything in your power to prevent it from coming into being –

    It is with a sad heart that I write this letter of mine only because I remember when once my beloved Teacher taught me that, “if you see something unlawful, change it with your hands. If you cannot do that, speak out against it, and if you cannot even do this much, feel bad about it in your heart”.

    We should all make fervant dua’a that Allah brings these giant monolith idols of kufr and shirk to a hastened destruction. AMEEEN

    Ustadh Muqallid Abdul Haqq al Amreeki
    Dhul Hijjah 9th, 1433

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