Dialogue interview in Taqadoumy

Taqadoumy has an interview with participants in the government’s Islamist prison dialogue. Here Ould Sidina outlines his views on the dialogue, his opinions about media coverage of the process and AQIM in general; he says: “I am not a spokesman for al-Qaeda, but a simple soldier.” His ilk will not “work for any government [referring to a question about his trouble with the Abdellahi government] this one or another so long as they do not govern by the laws of God.” He reports “no dissent” in AQIM’s ranks, though one wonders how true this can be and how knowledgable he can be after his time in prison. He rejects media reports that say he expressed willingness to go to northern Mali during the dialogue sessions. Read it all here (in Arabic).

Meanwhile, government officials are emphasizing that the process is not reconciliation or negotiation, but an “intellectual dialogue” and a “thoughtful conversation on certain ideas and concepts that need some degree of reflection, correction, and a fact-based discussion.” The whole process should also be looked at in a broader picture where President Ould Abdel Aziz is attempting to grow a base, and build pillars and sectors of support for his regime. The Islamist community is a primary target for this, especially in  Tawassoul’s following and increasingly the Salafist tendency (in terms of efforts, though not necessarily results). His outreach to and use of Sheikh Dedew must be understood this way; Tawassoul’s cooperation with the government must also be seen in this context. The real issue here is not combating extremism or fighting terrorism per se, but establishing a system of reciprocity by setting up favors (which must naturally be returned) in the short-term and mechanisms of dependency in the medium/long-term. There are rumors that some prisoners may be released in the near future — a sign that there is an attempt to coopt such elements. At this stage that there are elements in government considering that option speaks to intent; if it plays out it speaks to an important choice in regards to house Ould Abdel Aziz will deal with the Islamist movement. His over all approach is a departure from the military’s past to be sure.

4 thoughts on “Dialogue interview in Taqadoumy

  1. Thank Kal again. Ould Sidna is a crook, used to stealing cars for a living (thanks for your older post Al Majlissi, the other salafi emir managed by Algerian emirs and I don’t know which state(s)is/are managing the whole scheme). Like you I am wondering how Ould Sidna got info on Al-Qaeda line of thought while in jail. It was given to him by those manipulating everything and they are. Have you seen the assurance of Semane who was supposed to have been tortured from Al Jazeera’s videos? All this seems fishy for me and I think i am not wrong

    Just watched this Saturday a whole series of 15 videos on the FIS mess in Algeria from 1988-2000 and I see some parallel with what the Algerian people went though and the mistake Ould Abdel Aziz is doing in giving a chance to the trigger-happy salafists to say a word tosay(I am un musulman laic).Benjedid, Zeroual, El Marhoum Boudiaf made a mistake to believe that they could trick the FIS into losing the famous 92 elections. Two had to resign courageously (Benjedid & Zeroual) and one was injustifiably killed (Boudiaf). It is only now that I understood the stance of the generals in Algiers, after hearing Belhadj call for jihad and inviting his countrymen not wanting to follow salafist way of living to get out of te country. I learned lot from this TV5 emission. However, from videos 8 or 9, the truth as we know now became blurred. The journalists did not know (I guess the emission was made in 2001 or 2002).

    If ever Mauritania goes through what Algeria went through, the whole region will be “waziristanized” and will be worse than what Mali is facing now. All this for oil, gas and uranium. For tose who do not know, good to watch this emission with te links below. Sorry for the long text.

    • This is a useful link. The pdf link is mostly the same as the CRS write up in the AQIM section. Raises the important point about whether the US is spending too much time thinking about terrorism in the area as opposed to general governance, development and security issues. I think it is; we cannot treat the Sahel only in terms of AQIM or terrorism, it must be treated as a “whole”; people lived there and suffered there before AQIM and will after AQIM. We can’t be really helpful there or productive there if we don’t think in the long term.

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