Data Dump RE: Political Positioning in the Maghreb-Sahel

Several factors are worth considering with respect to the politics around AQIM (and some other things in the region; this is a data dump and is not polished or refined):

Terrible uses of terrorism: Local governments whose positions and legitimacy are otherwise questionable or whose regional ambitions are in need of a boost are using the “terrorism card” to sure up domestic support (a common outside enemy helps create group feeling) and to gain support from key foreign backers. In Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz’s case, as Mohamed Mustafa Ould Badreddine (of the opposition UFP) mentions in the video above, there is a General whose elite unit was tasked specifically with fighting terrorism in the period leading up to 2005. His experience should be of some use in combating AQIM. But as Badreddine says, “he chose to make a coup rather than fight al-Qaeda”; by 2008 he had made essentially the same choice. The failure to take AQIM serious in the 2005-2008 period is largely to blame for its proliferation inside of Mauritania and the many embarrassments it caused the Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdellahi government — while General Ould Abdel Aziz and his cohorts were directly responsible for handling those problems. This is a point that has been made on this blog previously. It should at all times be well considered that military regimes in the region hope to use AQIM or any uprising against them as an excuse to obtain western political support and monetary and military aid. Ould Abdel Aziz own use of American money (large parts of which have disappeared; certainly that part of the money is not being used by the military at all) is a good enough example of how this posturing can feed corruption and reward poor leadership. But as the saying goes, the world is what it is.

Intra-regional squabbling: Early on after the 2008, Ould Abdel Aziz received Morocco’s endorsement and support; as early as winter 2009 Yassine Mansouri (head of the DGED) was lobbying Washington personally and urging for leniency in the face of generalized American skepticism over Ould Abdel Aziz’s intentions. The Moroccans, who have been generally insulated from AQIM (save for a few notable and tragic incidents), fear that Algeria’s positioning (see the next point below) vis-a-vis the “War on Terrorism” (“violent extremism” nowadays) might undermine their privileged status as the chief American ally in North Africa. As the Mauritanians, Nigeriens, Algerians, Yemenis and Tunisians know well the threat of terrorism can be the key to enhancing or improving a state’s relationship with the Untied States or the EU. It can lead to increased aid for a bloated or bored military; it can provide financial support that helps grease the regime’s wheels and — as the Algerians know quite well — can give a country in a slump a little bit of its mojo back on the world stage. The Algerians have taken leadership roles in regional counter-terrorism initiatives and for now are the most technically advanced of the countries in the Maghreb-Sahel militarily. The minor-power conflict in the Arab Maghreb has tended to operate on the Morocco-Algeria-Libya axis. Tunisia has been too small and too northwardly-oriented to be much of a force (though it used to love the notion of Maghreb-unity); Egypt has been close to entirely irrelevant in Maghreb-Sahel politics since at least the 1960s. The Moroccans view Mauritania as “their back yard”; because the Maghreb is practically a tri-polar system (there are are only five states in the region to boot), the Algerians and Libyans have the same opinion. The Libyans frequently join the Moroccans in moves against Algeria, forming alliances overtly or supporting like-minded proxies.

While Libyan support for Ould Abdel Aziz, for instance, has been more conspicuous, the Moroccans’ backing has been just as constant though not as extravagant (because they lack Qadhafi’s cash money) because they viewed 2008 as an opportunity to make inroads into Mauritania which both they and the Algerians see as being critical to their positions on the Sahara question. The Algerians, for their part, opposed Ould Abdel Aziz in 2008 generally because they saw him as a Moroccan client but have tried to woo or bully him into accepting their line on several issues since he came to power. Recent spats between Algiers and Nouakchott over the handling of AQIM are related to this element of the Morocco-Algeria rivalry for influence in north-west Africa. The Algerians and Moroccans have somewhat different aims in the larger picture; the Moroccans interest is more limited to the Sahara issue, generally where the Algerians share that intrest but have other aims in the Sahel related to energy and prestige.

The Libyans have more grandiose ambitions and are willing to wager more on players and outcomes farther south than the Algerians. They hope to act as a bridge between the Arabs and the Africans and to be recognized as a power broker on the continent. The recent Afro-Arab Summit at Sirte is a precise example of this, at which the Libyans hoped to deliver Arab actors to African actors to one another, cushy declarations (the Arab “apology” for slavery) and humanitarian initiatives came out to make Libya appear as the agent of good will between the two sets. The caucus between the Maghreb-Sahel states (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Algeria and Niger) moderated by the Libyans was meant for the same end and to insert Libya more directly in the ongoings in the region. The body-language in a picture clipped from that meeting is telling as well: the Malians and Algerians are focused somewhat intently on Gen. Ould Abdel Aziz, almost looking past the Libyans. Ould Abdel Aziz, the client, is looking hard at Qadhafi who sits with the posture of a conductor. The patron-client relationship between Ould Abdel Aziz and Qadhafi remains strong, sometimes to the detriment of Ould Abdel Aziz’s relations with other Arab allies, such as the Qataris.

The recent back and forth between the Mauritanians and the Algerians is an attempt by Ould Abdel Aziz to entrench Morocco’s support, in part a response to the Algerians’ having lashed out at him for cooperating with France’s conspicuous operations in Mali (circa mid-September). Algerian officials pilloried, for example, the recent AQIM raid in Mali and picked on the Malians’ “incompetence” after one of their convoys was ambushed by AQIM. This is linked to other comments about AQIM acting as an agent of “neocolonialism” in Africa, referring to the increasingly visible involvement of the French. The end sum is the Algerians are concerned that the Mauritanians and the Malians (whom they believed to be their partial client until several months ago) are working to erode their recent semi-hegemony in Maghreb-Sahel by linking up with the Moroccans and the French. In Mali, Mauritania and Niger, especially, there is skepticism and some fear of the Algerians as power hungry and overly ambitious and so these little states hope to avoid exclusive Algerian domination of their policies toward terrorism and, in some instances newly found resources (which SONATRACH would love to take a greater stake in, and has in some places) by bringing in or strengthening ties with Morocco, Libya and France. They hope gain more humanitarian, military and economic assistance — which the Algerians can only give so much of — as well. But in Mauritania, these maneuvers are not universally accepted. There is entrenched resentment of Morocco in much of the political class and a greater appreciation of Algerian technical and humanitarian aid than for Rabat’s. Practically all politically relevant Mauritanians are wary of following Morocco, but as the two regional powers continue to spar it increases the Mauritanians’ value to both parties and there is some chance that minds could change for tactical reasons.

The recent conference at Bamako, featuring the G8 countries and practically all the regional actors except Algeria. But it revealed the exceptional distrust between Algeria and Mali and conflicts of interest within and between the region’s militaries. The main point of agreement regionally seems to be opposition to direct foreign intervention, though indirect or exceptionally subtle ones seem to be well accepted by the Algerians, Mauritanians, Malians and Nigeriens. Yet leaders in the region do not trust any one actor enough to bandwagon with any particular state, be it Algeria, Libya or Morocco. For political reasons they  will bounce back and forth between the poles when they believe they have the most to gain with one over the other. Morocco’s efforts to further politicize the issue, and the reactions it is causing and are likely to cause in Algiers, will add no operational value or political legitimacy to regional or international efforts to fight AQIM where it is the most problematic (Mali, Niger, southern Algeria and Mauritania). The problem has generally been isolated from the Algeria-Morocco rivalry that has debilitated all other major collective action efforts in the region; those interested in addressing AQIM or other security problems in the Maghreb-Sahel (namely the United States) stand only to gain by keeping it that way.

Foreigners and destabilizing problems besides “violent extremism”: Though the United States is known to be involved in Mali in particular (as well as in Mauritania, Niger and Algeria too) its efforts have been less flamboyant than France’s, whose participation raids and search activities have linked anti-terrorism to the west more explicitly than local regimes would like. The Algerians see this as especially problematic for tactical reasons — they want western assistance and aid without western footprints. Because Niger and Mali are weak states with identity problems in their northern regions they hope to avoid sentiments or allusions to occupation or oppression that might send their Tuareg and Moorish populations back into rebellion. They understand very well that the situation is precarious and that they have tighter limits than their larger neighbors in terms of financial, military and social capital to expend on counter terrorism. Domestic political pressure and basic responsibilities demand that governments guard their sovereignty, realities force them to rely in part on others to achieve this. But foreign support alone cannot mend internal grievances created by colonial borders, neglect and ethnic discrimination and past repression that still colors perceptions of central government efforts in places like Niger and Mali in particular. Furthermore, climate change — a fact of life in the Sahel — is beyond anyone’s control, given states’ divided attitudes on how to deal with it generally (the poor countries have even less agency here than most despite being most affected by it). Strong coping mechanisms are largely beyond the means of states in this part of Africa. Conflicts of all kinds will persist so long as locals in the Sahara especially are displaced from their livelihoods in pastoralism, farming and tourism. The exception, in part, is where mining (often predatory and corrupt) is concerned which is contributing to rapid aquifer depletion and exacerbating desertification and draining the “swamp” — not of terrorism or terrorists but people. Some efforts are being taken locally with international support, but these require significant dedications of resources from local governments and international entities. The need for broader, more even development needs to be included more aggressively in western policy options related to “combating violent extremism” in the region.

Military options have often done damage to the fragile relationship between frontier people and the central governments in Mali and Mauritania; for instance, men picked up in northern Mauritania in the days after the September raid claim the Mauritanians beat and tortured them (twice daily). The Mauritanians have taken local men into custody following most of their operations in Mali, frequently releasing them afterwards. This tests the patience of local people and risks destabilizing the fragile relationship between northerners and southerners in Mali, while adding an additional Mauritanian variable. Former Malian Tuareg rebels, according to El Watan, are in a mood to move against AQIM and drug smugglers — even clashing with the later recently. There are serious questions about how reliable such efforts will be and how they will impact the overall situation vis-a-vis the central government in Mali in particular. In all this the relationship between various Tuareg factions and their central governments as well as Algeria and Libya (and even Burkina Faso) deserve some study. How effective foreign military aid has been in strengthening the capacity of the weakest states in the region deserves careful consideration as well.

Russians: That the Algerians somewhat detest France’s (and other “western” countries) ostentatious involvement in the region is also expressed in the manner that prominent Algerian newspapers covered Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Algiers on 6 October. Western reports were mostly interested in what Medvedev and Bouteflika were doing in respect to hydrocarbons; Algerians were more concerned with armaments questions. Algeria is one of Russia’s largest arms markets. Though the Russians arrived with a large delegation of businesspeople interested in things other than weaponry — especially telecoms, energy and infrastructure — the fact that more than half of the $2 billion in trade between the two countries is in arms set the tone for the meetings. Newspapers were quick to note the large number of senior officers trained in Soviet and Russian academies and staff colleges, the fact that the vast majority of Algeria’s arms are of Russo-Soviet origin and that the Algerians hope to obtain advanced night time surveillance equipment from Moscow. To that end Ech-Chorouk noted that Algeria (with Nigeria and South Africa, supposedly) are looking for “African” solutions to the terrorism problem, which the Russians are enabling. (Le Soir also mentions the the Russians will be in direct competition with European suppliers for naval equipment, though.) The Algerians want to be taken seriously as a regional hegemon, as any cursory reading of the Algerian press in the last two months will show. And they are in no mood to have AQIM or anybody else making them out to western stooges for armaments or war-fighting. This is where their ancient relationship with Russia comes in. They feel they need both the appearance and fact of being able to more fully monitor and control the southern borders; the Russians can help.

It should not go unmentioned that there were many rumors of Algiers attempting to obtain American equipment for similar purposes earlier in the decade, which came to little and what did come out was some controversy over surveillance link ups that connected Algeria to American and Israeli watch satellites. In terms of “hardware,” though, the Algerians could never have expected much from the United States, which has always been hesitant to sell lethal weaponry to Morocco’s arch-rival (the Algerians do have many American transport aircraft used by for airborne and humanitarian missions, though), and it is unlikely that they ever expected anything in the way of combat equipment as so much of their infrastructure is from the old Warsaw Pact and Russia anyway. As late as 1993 Russian military advisors were attached to Algerian  units. Though the Algerians shifted to European (especially Ukraine and Belarus) and Chinese supplies in the middle 1990s, they stepped up Russian purchases after 1996 (also the year Algeria formally recognized the Russian Federation). The 2006 arms deal (which also wiped out a huge amount of Algeria’s Soviet-era debt), which was meant to help modernize Algeria’s aged material supplies, illustrated the mutual importance of the Russia-Algeria relationship. Some have made much of Bouteflika’s early visit to Washington and the great deal of attention Algiers got from the US after 9/11 as a sign of a new era in Algerian-American relations. There is perhaps more cooperation and more communication on military and intelligence matters than ever, to say nothing of in the energy sector. This has still done nothing to erode the importance of Russian arms to Algeria which has Moscow overshadowing Washington quite blatantly. High-level visits between Algiers and Moscow have only grown in the last decade, partly the result of a strategic-cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 (pre-9/11). The Algerians complained about the quality of Russian fighter jets — infuriating Moscow — mainly as a means of demonstrating their independence from Moscow to Europeans (there is also a sense that the Russians sometimes need to be reminded of the real nature of the relationship) and as a way of demanding slightly more advanced systems. The Russians are also concerned that the proposed Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (which may be dead or at least dying by now) will create more competition for Russian gas in central Europe. The whole logic of the project is to provide Europeans with a graduated alternative to Russia for gas, particularly Germans and Italians and the little countries in between. The Russians’ interest in Libya and Nigeria comes from this fear as well. Africa is Europe’s escape route from Russia. (This has been mentioned this blog before, especially with reference to Germany.)

The Algerians hope to stand to gain from playing the Europeans (and even Americans) off of the Russians and vice versa to maximize their potential to receive assistance and investment from both sets; Russian interest in investing in Algeria points to this too. If Osrascom’s Algerian subsidiary ends up being sold to Russians, as some reports say is in the cards, some clique within Algeria’s governing caste will end up benefiting quite sumptuously — the end result of the World Cup qualifier drama.


22 thoughts on “Data Dump RE: Political Positioning in the Maghreb-Sahel

  1. Just a note on the “competition” between Russians and Europeans in terms of naval equipment, it is a rather unequal one. The state of Russian military wharfs is abysmal and Russia is currently planning to buy most of its future ships (except the submarines) abroad. With technology transfer, obviously. Notably, Russia should buy at least 2 assault transport ships from France yards and is planning to have a public tender for its new frigates. The market for smaller corvettes and patrol ships (the one Algeria is most likely yo be interested in) is less high tech and more open. But it is even more dominated by Western yards than the submarine and heavy ships market.

  2. I just noticed another piece of news which is I think related, although it concerns a completely different part of the world. Last week, a powerful and rich businessman announced that he was building a new pipeline to bring gas to Turkey from Central Asia. This is a major set-down for both the South Stream Russian project and the Nabucco European projects. It means gas that was counted upon by the Russians (as transporter) and the EU (as customer) will not be available. Or at the very least, it is gas which will be controlled by none of both main interested parties.

    The interest for the Russians in controlling the Algerian stream becomes even greater. And they had an advance warning that the Europeans did not get, because said businessman is a good friend of Mister Putin…

  3. Cher Monsieur,

    Je vous écris du CIDOB, de Barcelone (Espagne), un centre de recherche et documentation en Relations Internationales. À présent, on est en train de développer le projet d’un Observatoire sur l’Algérie, qui n’est pas encore parut, et c’est à ce propos-là qu’on est en train de vous contacter.

    En faite, notre Observatoire (qui aura un format électronique) vise à couvrir un large spectre de sujets en référence à l’Algérie, tels que l’économie, la politique, la société, la musique, la littérature, etc, pour lequel on dispose de divers collaborateurs spécialisés dans chacun des domaines, qui vont écrire régulièrement des articles.

    On va, aussi, disposer d’une section dédié aux blogs d’auteurs algériens, et on voudrait vous proposer d’inclure votre blog dans cette section. L’idée serait de mettre le lien vers le site de votre blog, ainsi que de publier en premier page de notre site quelques uns de vos post, éventuellement traduits en espagnol.

    D’abord on voudrait savoir si vous êtes intéressés à un partenariat de ce genre, et dans le cas affirmatif on en préciserait ultérieurement les détails.

    En l’attente de votre réponse je vous remercie pour votre attention,


    Núria Serra

  4. Thanks Kal. You summarized it all very well. You have not even forgotten the TSGP which is central to some of the game played around: the energy game.

    I have been wondering myself what is the role given to Burkina Faso that said, at the margins of the G8 Security meeting in Bamako, they they will be willing to coordinate the fight against AQMI. This is not the axis Ivory Coast – Guinea! When you have Algeria, Libya and Morocco involved in their own “pré-carré”, you burn quickly your fingers when you are small and perceived working for the France-US coalition (hosting Flintlock 10 in Ouagadougou and giving a hand in ransom dealing against the perceived anti-ransom position of Algiers – honest or not).

    This post summarizes well the way Mauritania is playing the survival cards.

    Question: If AQIM disappears one day (they are somewhat around max 200) with the new G8 coalition, the US and Algeria stop playing the rest of us, will this bring some peace? Countries around (Mauritania, Niger and Mali) need to start exploiting peacefully the new opportunities given by the probable discoveries of oil, gas and uranium. Otherwise, unending poverty and military rule cannot help democracy to prevail.

    Just another conspiracy theory here: are Algeria and Libya not trying to create a separate Tuareg state in Northern Mali (or Niger) to avoid the same Tuaregs claiming southern Algeria and Libya as their territory? You know that these areas are rich in hydrocarbons. Why I am saying this? Because they are using again Ag Bahanga to attack probably someone else AQIM franchise or sacrifice a chunk of their fabricated AQIM for the purpose of making some of “their” Tuaregs relevant in the area. If I find it, I will send the link of MENAS’ Sahara Focus of December 2009 and this issue is better explained there. Also, the G8 security meeting in Bamako has forced me to read again the Sahara Focus of December 2009. However, no long term solution can be found if the Tuaregs are used as bargaining tool to achieve regional prominence (hegemony) for states that cannot even help end poverty and exclusion in their own countries. For instance, the number of “hitists” and ‘haragas” have not decreased in Algeria despite the billions of $ from oil all these years. In Libya, the situation is not better. Sending you the link to Sahara Focus of December 2009 and it is worth reading carefully. From Jeremy Keenan, of course. I like to challenge.

    • Sounds more plausible in the Libyan case than the Algeria one. The Algerians, I think, are less worried about their own Tuaregs and are more conservative in terms of how they think geography ought to be used (especially in recent years). The Libyans, though, could be up to anything and they have more leverage on the Tuaregs than the Algerians for a whole bunch of reasons. But the Algerians do want access to the gas and oil in Mali, Niger and Mauritania; they’re buying up access to it too, getting contracts, etc. (I’ve seen a couple of stories on that over the last couple of months). No question, both of them are “interested” for reasons beside AQIM for sure.

  5. Here is the issue of Sahara Focus of december 2009. Still a free sample from MENAS associates. Please read carefully the part on Tuaregs and in particular the map. This has led me to think the G8 meeting is giving some proof of what Jeremy Keenan has been saying for a long time. The generals in Algier, Nouakchott, Tripoli (still a colonel, but huge one) Bamako, Niamey and the King in Morocco (the greatest of all generals)should put their acts together and give the rest of us peace. Look also at the pattern of power: all military and for long time. Algeria? Bouteflika is not in charge, but the generals.

    N.B: Alle very well missed. Freezing the two blogs he was managing is a real loss in thinking over what is going on in the Sahara-Sahel mess.

  6. Look at page 15 and 16.

    Page 15: You shrink a Tuareg state into Mali and Niger and Algeria and Libya are safe from Tuareg’s claims for decades or a century. A real Kurdistan we have here. I think Burkina Faso has missed the opportunity to stay quiet during the G8 meeting in Bamako and not propose to “coordinate” an Algerian-Libyan affair. I am not a geopolitical expert, but I see some logic as you don’t need to go to West Point or Harvard to figure out things to come.

    Page 16: There no need to think further about the G8 meeting in Bamako. Who said that Jeremy Keenan has seen it all wrong?

  7. Watched the Al Jazeera video. I think the Representative of Ould Abdel Aziz won the debate. I truly believe that the Mauritanian army should go back to Tombuctu to continue pressure on AQIM. AQIM should disappear. Fabricated or not.

  8. I thought the abuses in Irak have stopped after the Abu Ghraib chapter since the revelations from Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker I guess , but apparently it continued after with the iraquis themselves and hope it will stop now with what Wikileaks got out.

    In reading some of this:

    There is no way not to look at this (thank Alex Thurston of sahelblog):

    On the basis of the Afghanistan and Irak papers, there is no doubt the no-foreign-presence position of Algeria is the best. Otherwise, the countries in the region will manage the presence of foreign forces à l’irakiene, that is, continue settling scores among themselves and going after their own opposition in their respective countries. The power in the sahara-sahel region is in the hand of the military, even in Morocco where dissent is handled the military way. We know for sure that the military and democratic opposition do not go along. So in the presence of foreign troups, we are likely to have some big problems and i think we are not that different from the Congolese when $$ and energy resources are around.

    In conclusion, there is no other way for the countries in the Sahara-Sahel not to come to an agreement on how they should behave and live in peace.

      • Agree. It is an accurate accounting. RE: stopping manipulation, the more Morocco pushes to be involved and link the problem to imaginary Saharawi “collaboration” the more likely Algeria is to really start infiltration and trying to use AQIM against its perceived enemies. Big risks for everybody if Morocco keeps trying to meddle and marginalize the Algerians.

  9. For one of the rare occasions, I am reading with attention El Watan without some second thought.,15215

    This below in particular is interesting. Algiers is giving a hand to the conspiracy theorists among many.

    “Les spécialistes de la région sont aussi de plus en plus nombreux à admettre le fait que depuis la récente découverte de grands gisements de pétrole, d’uranium et de fer dans le bassin de Taoudéni (une zone de 1,5 million de kilomètres carrés allant de la Mauritanie au Niger en passant par le Mali et l’Algérie), d’importants intérêts économiques cherchent à se servir d’AQMI comme alibi pour légitimer une présence militaire étrangère au Sahel. Bien entendu, l’objectif final recherché par ces intérêts est de s’assurer une part appréciable de ce nouvel eldorado minier. Autrement dit, le Sahel est pris dans l’engrenage infernal d’une géopolitique compliquée qui risque, à tout moment, de le précipiter dans le chaos. Une géopolitique dont les enjeux, ressort-il, sont perçus différemment dans la région. Et c’est probablement de là que pourraient découler les divergences constatées actuellement entre Alger et Bamako sur la question d’AQMI. Et comme toujours, les populations de la région paraissent, encore une fois, bien loin de s’imaginer de ce qui se trame derrière leur dos”.

  10. You are right Kal: marginalizing Algier is fruitless and very dangerous. The best is if both (Algeria and Morocco) can find a way to sit down and make la paix des braves, with none of them losing face. That G8 meeting in Bamako was a mistake as well as Bouteflika not wanting to go to that Heads of State Summit on Sahara-sahel Security called for by ATT. The African Union (AU) is useless as they say nothing and the Union of the Maghreb Arab (UMA) can’t do anythig while Morocco and Algeria don’t talk to each other. Very problematic.

    Something different: below an interesting and long vidéo on the Wikileaks stuff from Al Jazeera. The best to date, quality-wise:

  11. Kal’s writings are important to the analysis of the situation in the Sahara region.

    We hope they are read by more people. Especially those who preside over the destiny of the sub-region …. and those who suffer the pangs of their policy in the subregion.

    That said, the analysis of the situation will often ups and downs as the players hide their game under the pretense of good faith when they are only fighting for domination of oil and mineral resources of subregion.

    This will be naive to believe that the “powers” of the sub-region (Algeria, Morocco and Libya incidentally) will sit at the table and discuss the “pacification” of the area. The reason is simple: it does not help their interests.

    Morocco prefers the permanent tension to continue to “sink” the Saharan problem and continues to exploit the mineral resources of the Sahara as long as they are not dry.
    Algeria will continue to use “skirmishes” with “AQIM” on its southern borders to sharpen its denunciation of the political hegemony of France (and other intervenants in its “chasse gardée”) and manipulation of regional cards, including that of “AQIM” in the subregion. And, certainly, for other hidden interests than the future will not fail to reveal.

    As for Libya, because of the ”sawtooth politics » of its “leader”( who irrationally sometimes allied with the unexpected) , it will never be any outcome of the problem in the sub-region.In any case, not in short time or middle delay.

    Finally, it remains the countries known as “small states”, and since the beginning of the “case AQMI” are misled in the game of those powers. And they certainly will pay the greatest tribute.

  12. Professor Ely Moustapha,

    Because all three (Algeria, Libya and Morocco) play games like mafiosis, Elliot Ness has to come in the form of a G8 military “help” to save the situation. I have not heard from the US participation in the solution besides the hundreds of millions of $$ they spend on SWOT, but we know they are somewhere there between Tamanrasset and Gao. According to ATT of Mali on RFI today, the Areva hostages might not be in Mali and their kidnapping looks like a cooked one …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s