More to Read

De l’archaïsme de l’université tunisienne,” Jolanare, Nawaat. 9 September.

Libya: policing the middle of nowhere,” Alex Warren, The Guardian. 9 September.

Mauritanian army compensates abuse victims,” Defense Web. 9 September.

The impact of Libya’s missing missiles,” Andrew Lebovich, The Wasat. 8 September.

Algeria, revolutionary in name only,” John P. Entelis, Foreign Policy. 7 September.

So will Algeria blow on 17th September?Though Cowards Flinch. 7 September.

The full story of ‘Abu Younis al-Mauritani’ an al-Qa’ida man who planned bombing in Europe,” Sahara Media, 7 September. [Arabic]

The Arrest of Younis al-Mauretani: On the trail of the al-Qaida Phantom,” Der Spiegel. 6 September.

The Arab Counterrevolution,” Hussein Agha and Robert Malley, The New York Review of Books. 31 August.

The links on Younis al-Mauritani are interesting. The Sahara Media report is based on interviews with Abu Younis al-Mauritani’s family, neighbors and Salafist associates in Mauritania. In terms of background Abu Younis (Abd al-Rahman Ould Mohammed el Hacen Ould Homahed Salem Ould Abdel Jellil) has superficial similarities to high profile Mauritanian AQIM recruits: an early millennial (b. 1981) from a large family out of Boutilmit (of the Oulad Bieri in Trarza, zawaya), grew up in a suburb of Nouakchott (the son of an imam who studied in Saudi Arabia). He has six sisters and five brothers. Abu Younis’s brother is quoted as saying that he figured his brother would “either be killed or arrested one day”. He was born while his mother made hajj and thus had the nickname “El Hajj” and went to religious schools in Saudi Arabia and Mauritania as a youth.

Abu Younis left Mauritania for Afghanistan in late 2001 to fight the American invasion there; he then became ill and traveled to Saudi Arabia eventually returning to Mauritania after “a very high fever prevented him from participating in campaigns in the mountains of Afghanistan with the Arabs in the Afghan jihad against US forces.” He became involved with the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) which eventually became AQIM. He joined the Tareq ibn Ziad (under Abdelhamid Abu Zeid). According the Sahara Media report, it is at this time he began to be called Abu al-Younis al-Mauritani. He was seen a strong believer within al-Qa’ida; he is also considered a key link between the core al-Qa’ida group and its north African affiliate. The information resulting from his arrest will shed new light on al-Qa’ida’s links to north Africa and the genesis of AQIM (in Mauritania) especially.


5 thoughts on “More to Read

  1. Read twice the article from Der Speigel and I have some doubt about their story for the following reasons :

    Youness El Mauritani seems to have studied only religion as this note from Saharamedias say (full link to the article below the text below :

    (Abou Youness el Mouritani est née en 1981, exauçant le vœu de sa mère de le voir naître au moment où elle accomplissait le pèlerinage aux Lieux Saints. Une naissance qui sera bien accueillie, des milliers de kilomètres plus loin, par des bédouins mauritaniens de la tribu des Oulad Biéri, nomadisant dans la vaste région du Trarza. Une bénédiction qui allait conduire la famille vers une localité nommée Hassi el Mar’a, à quelque 100 kilomètres de la ville, mais son père qui aimait les enfants, tenait à ce que son fils soit toujours près de la « route de l’Espoir », avec les enfants de sa collectivité pour apprendre le Coran. Une étape sur laquelle le jeune Abdallahi Ould Dewla, responsable de la mahadra du village, ne dit pas grand-chose, mais il sait qu’Abu Youness a terminé ses « humanités » (récitation du Coran) en Arabie saoudite et poursuivi ses études à l’Institut Al Arqam Abi Al Arqam pour les sciences islamiques et l’Institut du « Haram el mecqui ».)

    Link to the full article:

    This is what Der Speigel says about this Mauritani:

    (They even knew how he liked to spend his free time on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan: on his computer where he was fond of performing economic simulations.)

    My reaction : can someone who has never studied economics at the master’s level can do economic modeling and simulation ? I don’t think so.

    This is also what Der Speigel says about this gentleman :

    (He instructed his two apprentices from Germany in the use of encryption programs, likely so that they could keep in touch with each other once they had returned home as a kind of sleeper cell.)

    My reaction: same as the first. Using encryption programs requires training in maths and engineering and this guy have not open a book on both subject to instruct someone to use or create complicated algorithms to pass on mesages.

    So, I got some doubt on the whole story from Der Speigel, if the life of this gentleman from Saharamedias is correct. Has Der Speigel been fed a story?. Too coincidential with 11 September. These days, secret services are not doing their job and good journalism is gone.

    Thanks kal.

  2. Big bravo Andrew Lebovich. Excellent post. Hope the Malian and the Mauritanian armies read your excellent piece and prepare themselves. Very worrisome.

    As a conspiracy theorist supreme, I do not think that these people from AQIM can do this alone.

    Is this alternative II of the Wagadou forest battle? They are allowed to come back just like that? No surveillance ever to spot them and deal ith them? Bizarre.

    Wondering if the Security Conference in Algiers talked about this (they definitively know this) and is taking measures to handle this Wagadou forest.

    With missiles such as you describe, the mauritanian planes will not be able to come close to the forest. This whole sahara-sahel area is becoming a real second front for GWOT….

    This post needs to be read and even translated into French and Arabic: people just don’t know what is happening around them and this is very serious.

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