RE: AQIM in Tunisia

A reader asked for comment on AQIM and Tunisia. At the moment only limited comment is possible given the lack of extensive public information, the difficulty in assessing the validity of confessions of individuals captured and claiming to be members of AQIM and the complexity of the group’s presence in Tunisia and Libya in light of the Libyan uprising and the NFZ there. Below are very brief thoughts attempting to integrate these problems taken form notes from the last two weeks on the Algerian position on Libya and the arrests of AQIM suspects in Tunisia. Readers with more information/knowledge on the issue are encouraged to comment and correct.

Algeria, Libya, Tunisia and AQIM.

  1. Algeria has strongly opposed the No Fly Zone in Libya decrying it publicly with Russia as well as other African and non-Allied states. This has been clear from the start; whether or to what extent Algiers has provided the Libyan government with material, financial or other support is less clear. The Libyan rebels have accused the Algerians of actively supported the Qadhafi regime by providing areal transport for mercenaries and providing money or even personnel. Most of these reports are unsubstantiated by conclusive evidence; the rebels claim to have captured Algerian mercenaries as well as Saharawis from the POLISARIO camps in Algeria. The Algerians cite fear of terrorists exploiting the implosion of the Libyan state as their main fear resulting from the intervention in Libya (they also fear the normalization of the “responsibility to protect” norm which they view as potentially destabilizing). Algerian officials have spoken (usually anonymously) to regional and international media on how AQIM might exploit Libya’s unrest to procure Libyan armaments and transport them to Mali or elsewhere. Algerian security sources have said AQIM has acquired weapons from Libyan stocks (Strelas, Duskas,) since the conflict began, and have warned that the fall of the Qadhafi regime would lead to regional chaos and allow AQIM to extend its reach farther north. Smuggling routes into Algeria via Tunisia and Libya have very probably become more active and lucrative in recent months (higher risk, less enforcement, etc.)
  2. According to the Tunisian authorities men linked to AQIM arrested on 11 and 14 May carried suicide belts, grenades, AK-47s all of which came from Libya. Recent clashes between the Tunisian military and AQIM fighters at Rouhia (18 May) have lent credence to some of these fears, though the extent of AQIM’s presence in northern Libya since the beginning of the uprising and the NFZ remains unclear. AQIM previously had only a light presence in both Tunisia and Libya. Continued erosion of the Libyan state as the Libyan conflict drags on will likely lead to greater proliferation of conventional arms out of the country and into the hands of smugglers and groups like AQIM. Tunisians and Libyans have been less well represented in AQIM than other North Africans but recent arrests have included them distinctly, likely due to geography and their increased activity. It is yet determined whether these men are new recruits or “sleepers” or long active militants. As more information becomes available so will more clarity. Increased AQIM activity in southern Tunisia is likely to be one consequence of the Libyan crisis although it will probably become more manageable in the next few months as the authorities adjust to its patterns of activity in an area with a relatively small population, generally qualified border security personnel and a largely unsympathetic host population. More attacks or arrests will alarm Tunisians and increase western interest in the country’s security but Tunisia is unlikely to become a problem area as far as AQIM is concerned, particularly if the border with Libya is effectively policed. Refugee flows will complicate this and a study of the phases of migration into southern Tunisia from Libya and of the geographic origins of known Tunisian AQIM members (in comparison with recent incidents involving the group in Tunisia) would help improve analysis of AQIM’s presence in Libya.

11 thoughts on “RE: AQIM in Tunisia

  1. My thoughts on AQIM are fairly straight forward.

    Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb = Algerian Secret Services.

    Most of the evidence concerning AQIM point to this as being the reality. The Algerian government uses AQIM as a bogeyman in order to silence political dissent and to procure military support and equipment from the west. Just as the Egyptian SSIS were doing all the false flag terrorist attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt to create sectarian divides so that the people of Egypt would not unite and oust Mubarak from power (which failed as we have obviously seen), so will the Algerian government use their bogeyman of AQIM in a similar manner.

    When you really study terrorism and who are behind various groups you find out that it is usually the secret service of the host nation running them. the German BND in the 1970s ran the Baader-Meinhof Gang / Red Army Faction. Serbian intelligence and MI5 ran the Red Hand, which assassinated Crown Prince Franz ferdinand of Austria, which in turn directly led to the First World War. MI6 has had complete control of the IRA and later splinter groups (PIRA, INLA, etc) since at least 1950, with MI5 running the protestant paramilitaries. MI5 now run the Real IRA. The Italian Secret Services run the Italian Anarchists. The CIA / Mossad / MI6 & Saudi Intelligence Services created Al Qaeda. It was the CIA and ISI that run the Mumbai attack. I dare say that soon evidence will come to light that the Spanish Secret Services are running ETA…

    I rest my case.

  2. Why would anyone carry a suicide belt unless he had a chosen target? If the intent was to blow themselves up if apprehended, why didn’t they?
    No surprise if AQ can recruit in Libya, but the lack of credible reporting from the region nurtures the conspiracy thinkers, as per above.

  3. Everything I have said above has been well documented. It is not conspiracy theory at all.

    The head of the SSIS in Egypt is currently in detention pending charges in relation to the attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt over the new year period. FACT.

    Documents released by the German government under the 30 year rule point very strongly to the BND running the Baader-Meinhof Gang / Red Army Faction. FACT.

    MI5 and Serbian Intelligence ran the Red Hand. Historical FACT.

    Italian Secret Services running Italian Anarchists. FACT – Operation Gladio.

    Both Sides of the Northern Irish Troubles being run by the British Secret Intelligence Service – EXTREMELY strong circumstantial evidence exists that this is indeed the case.

    Al Qaeda being a CIA / Mossad creation with help from MI6 / Saudi Intelligence. Documented FACT.

    CIA and ISI being behind the Mumbai attack – Indian government has also made this accusation. Sole survivor from the outfit that did the attacks is also a known DEA / CIA operative.

    I do not say anything lightly or without doing the historical research before hand.

  4. AQIM also operates in Mali and Niger(they also capture militants) are they a part of the conspiracy too.
    the question is will Libya collapse
    Tunisia needs extra help this summer what does Libya need in order for them not to collapse

    • Of course ilfdinar. AQIM in Mali is part of the conspiracy, including the air cocaine that is pointing the finger to ATT entourage. Visite Maliweb from time to time.”They” have decided not to deal with ATT until he leaves power and that is why they are giving themselves 18 more months to mount the 85.000 troups on top of the same decision 12 months ago. All the US taxpayers money on all the Flintlock of this world and no AQIM spotted by satelite, killed by a drone or taken. AQIM never found between hostage taking, but found when there is ransom to be paid and commission to be split. If this is conspiracy theory, let it be.

  5. While BlutHund is probably right for the Egypt part against Coptic churches, the rest is at best unsubstantiated. Yes, the CIA did help (a bit) Al Qaeda before it turned against the USA. But so did the ISI and many other services. And yes, the Serbian Intelligence services did manipulate the Red Hand. But that’s about it if you really want serious substiated information. Helping at a given moment a terrorist group does not mean that you agree with this group, neither that you support it in the long term. Alliances of circumstances have been the rules both in the Middle East and more generally in international politics. That’s the game, has been since Biblic times and still is…

  6. Discussing with conspirationists is a waste of time. If you travel in say Algeria, they are all over the place – and they ‘know’ that Al Qaeda is run by Mossad.
    Like mr Bloodhound they swiftly move from suspicious money transfers, alleged meetings or attempts at infiltration to a full flown “run by” xxx.
    Back to the subject, from Tunisia I recall the suicide attack on the mosque in Djerba 2002, the Soliman cell in 2007, and the 2008 surprise kidnapping of two Austrians. Other than that, not much.

  7. Priffe,

    I see conspiracy here, following the Bamako security meeting yesterday or the day before (see the joint declaration in the link below). Definitively AQIM = Algerian DRS. How come they propose 18 months to establish 85.000 troups to fight AQIM, although they established the Tamanrasset Center for the same purpose a year ago with the same proposal, but no move.

    During the last fight between Mauritanians and AQIM, it was the DRS that was informing the press of Mauritanian losses. Looked for me that they were managing AQIM in that battle and we discussed this before here. How come you establish and comand the famous Tamanrasset NATO and when there is threat in any of your friendly country, you don’t move the butt? Why 85.000 troups to combat 200 to 500 idiots that everybody know where they are?

    Yes secret services manipulate violent groups for a need or something of that magnitude. The most recent or so: the Pakistani ISS blowing into pieces innocent Frenchmen in Karachi and blaming Al Qaida, although we know now it is because Chirac stopped paying back bribes to the military in Pakistan over the sale of sub-marines (see articles in Médiapart and this is bringing a lot of headeaches to Sarkozy now) or El Para killing 45 innocent soldiers from his country just to fabricate his cover as leader of a GSPC or an AQIM totally fabricated (you can still find references in visiting Algeria Watch article by Gèze, Mellah and others where they indicate articles where the authorities say so) and we know now that this chap is a DRS agent.

    Hope after this Bamako declaration these bedfellows (algerians, mauritanians, malians, nigeriens, US, the french and some allies from the EU) will stop this nonsense. If they want to get oil and gas fields, they just grab it and stop terrorizing people, governments and killing here and there.

    Do you think the attacks on Lemgheity, El Ghallawiya, Tourine and the kidnappings in Mauritania not managed by these bedfellows? How come AQMI takes 3 hours to chose and pick hostages in AREVA compound in Niger, with the securitty of that compound in the hand of an experienced French military with the grade of admiral? No proof of course, but we read and think….

  8. Mr Bloodhound is probably AQIM himself trying to throw us off the track. Seriously though you are probably one the few that bought into the Dark Sahara conspiracy—You and Jeremy Keenan are probably the only people in the world who live in the AQIM is DRS fantasy.

    The fact is that Germany paid about 6 Million euro to get the 32 hostages (German and Swiss) back in 2003, after that the Austrians were taken in 2007, then the four Europeans (one Brit, one German and two Swiss), then the Canadians (including an ambassador), later AQIM kidnapped Italians, Spanish, French, more French, and they still hold an Italian and a few French. So in your world all these countries Intelligence and police services must be totally inept since they can’t discover what you and Jeremy have that “Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb = Algerian Secret Services”.

    OK back to reality though now: AQ and Libya- there is a history and probably a future too:A future Libyan government will lack coherent government structures, the ability to restore services and competing political and ideological agendas may increase the vulnerability to terrorism and potential for conflict.

    •Some Libyan’s participated in the 1980s jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviets.
    •Libyans were also among those Jihadists who fought for the Muslims in Bosnia.
    •Many of these early Jihadists were part of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
    •Many imprisoned LIFG members renounced violence as part of a Regime brokered de-radicalization effort
    •The circulation of experienced Jihadists will likely provide the personnel to help AQ constitute a network in Libya.
    •Senior experienced cadre available to AQ could facilitate the formation of a potent networkwith their training and technical skills that would significantly challenge any emergent regime.
    •More senior Libyans who are associated with AQ will likely return as a network forms.
    •Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was able to attract a significant number of Jihadists from Libya to its cause.
    •A significant number of Libyans fighting in Iraq on behalf or AQI originated in Eastern Libyan cites of Benghazi and Daharna.
    •Some Libyan Jihadists have cooperated with Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

    Al-Zawahiri said on 15 April “I call upon our people in Libya to be patient and to take up their fight, until their goal is achieved by establishing a Muslim state in Libya that is governed by the Shari’ah, instituting the shura.”

    Al-Zawahiri said on 21 May
    l•“I also advise our brothers in Libya to be keen on stockpiling weapons and storing them, in anticipation of any upcoming events
    .•I recommend them to pay heed to the weapons used in guerilla warfare, such as light machineguns and their ammunition, RPGs, explosives, cannonades, Katyusharockets, mines, Mortar rounds, and booby-trapping materials.
    •They should also offer training courses for the largest possible number of honest followers, who fear God and show readiness to offer sacrifices, until jihadist culture and experience spread among the people, thus helping to rid Libya of the corruption of Al-Qadhafi and the Crusaders’ ambitions.

    Abu Yahya al-Libi said
    •“The only solution for our country is Jihad for Islam”
    •“These revolutions have shown us that the Western governments only care about their own interests.
    •Therefore, take your weapons in yours hands, gather them and stockpile as much as you can.

    Maybe you and Jeremy can say that LIFG was run by Al-Qadhafi and the Crusaders and that NATO bombing was so that UK and France could get their hands on the Oil

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