AQIM Link Roundup

A short roundup of links related to al-Qa’idah in the Islamic Maghreb from the last few days. In the main these stories deal with relations between Mali and the Polisario (there were reports of a deterioration in relations and Bamako withdrawing from ties with the Polisario and then that Mali had agreed to allow the Polisario right of pursuit into its territory), the issuance of arrest warrants by the Mauritanians that includes alleged AQIM leaders but also an individual called Mustapha Ould Limam al-Shafe’i who is an important figure in regional politics and an opponent of the Ould Abdel Aziz government,¹ reports on developments within AQIM (leadership changes and divisions on national lines) and the breakaway MOJWA group (‘ ‘ on ethno-national divisions), the relationship between AQIM and Boko Haram and new reports of al-Qa’idah recruitment efforts and emplacement in Libya. As many have said recently, these are interesting times in northwest Africa. Additionally, the rift between Nouakchott and Rabat was a continued point of discussion in Mauritania in particular, where the Foreign Minister told parliament the expulsion of the MAP correspondent (see the last update) had contributed to improving Mauritania’s relations with Morocco. The Algeria angle also got attention in media. Also on the list is a piece this writer wrote for the great blog Al-Wasat (30 December) on the promotion of Gen. Bachir Tartag to head the DSI within the Algerian intelligence service (DRS), looking at the media coverage of the appointment and putting it in political context.

  1. Algeria Moves to Boost Regional Cooperation on AQIM Threat,’ Catherine Cheney, World Politics Review, 23 December, 2011.
  2. Les magouilles du duo Bouteflika/Toufik,’ Le Matin, 23 December, 2011.
  3. Changement au DRS: la derniere carte de Toufik,’ Kalima DZ, 24 December, 2011.
  4. Les Azawed s’organisent face au Silence du pouvoir central: Les Touaregs du Mali interpellent Bamako,’ Liberte, 26 December, 2011.
  5. Algeria frees GSPC founder Hassan Hattab,’ Magharebia, 26 December, 2011.
  6. Un nouveau patron pour le contre-espionnage,’ El Watan, 26 December, 2011.
  7. Le général Toufik impose Athmane Tartag à la Sécurité intérieure,’ Le Matin, 26 December, 2011.
  8. Nabil Abu ‘Alqamah designated Emir of al-Qa’idah in the Islamic Maghreb in the Sahara,’ ANI, 26 December, 2011.
  9. Le Mali prend ses distances avec le Front Polisario,’ AFP, 27 December, 2011.
  10. Inside the tension between Mauritania and Morocco,’ Taqadoumy, 27 December, 2011.
  11. Exclusif : le général Tartag s’apprête à prendre les rênes du DRS à la place de “Tewfic,”‘ Maghreb Intelligence, 28 December, 2011.
  12. Appui à Al-Qaïda au Sahel: mandat d’arrêt international contre un Mauritanien,’ CRIDEM, 28 December, 2011.
  13. Arrestation de trois présumés terroristes à Kiffa,’ Al-Akhbar, 28 December, 2011.
  14. Sahara occidental: divorce consommé entre le Mali et le Polisario?’ CRIDEM, 28 December, 2011.
  15. Le ministre mauritanien des AE qualifie de “très bonnes” les relations entre Nouakchott et Rabat,’ CRIDM, 28 December, 2011.
  16. Warrant issued against Qaeda suspects,’ News24, 29 December, 2011.
  17. Mauritanie – Al-Qaïda: un opposant et homme d’influence dans le collimateur de Nouakchott,’ AFP, 30 December, 2011.
  18. Mauritanie: l’opposant Chafi annonce une plainte contre le président Aziz,’ AFP, 30 December, 2011.
  19. Al-Shafe’i: Aziz will regret his decision which is an attempt by him to harass me,’ Taqadoumy, 30 December, 2011.
  20. Coordination of the Mauritanian opposition issues condemnation of arrest warrant on Ould Limam Shafe’i,’ Al-Akhbar, 30 December, 2011.
  21. Saleh Ould Hanena se range du côté de Moustapha Chavi’i,’ CRIDEM, 30 December, 2011.
  22. Une caserne de l’armée attaquée dans le nord-est du Mali, pas de victimes,’ AFP, 30 December, 2011.
  23. Mali – Une caserne de l’armée attaquée dans le nord-est, pas de victimes (sécuritaires),’ AFP, 30 December, 2011.
  24. Al-Qaeda splinter group reveals internal erosion,’ Magharebia, 30 December, 2011.
  25. Al-Qaeda trying to recruit fighters in Libya: officials,’ AFP, 30 December, 2011.
  26. Source: Al Qaeda leader sends veteran jihadists to establish presence in Libya,’ CNN, 30 December, 2011.
  27. Nigeria might talk to Boko Haram via “back channels”,’ AFP, 30 December, 2011.
  28. Algeria: The “Dur” who came in from the cold,’ Al-Wasat, 30 December, 2011.
  29. Ould Shafe’i to raise case before international courts against President Aziz and journalist Issa Ould Isselmou,’ Taqadoumy, 31 December, 2011.
  30. La Mauritanie n’a pas à choisir entre l’Algérie et le Maroc,’ CRIDEM, 31 December, 2011.
  31. Le Mali accorde aux sahraouis le droit de poursuite des terroristes sur son propre territoire,’ CRIDEM, 31 December, 2011.
  32. After the abduction of a gendarme at Addel Begrou: A new division of the whole territory of Mauritania into three security zones,’ Taqadoumy, 31 December, 2011.
  33. Mali–Front Polisario: Les relations bilatérales se normalisent à nouveau,’ Algerie Plus, 31 December, 2011.

1. A regional fixer linked variously to Burkina Faso, Niger, Libya (under Qadhafi, mostly before 2008) and a well known opponent of Mauritania’s president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who was mentioned a link list last week; Shafe’i is accused of financing, passing intelligence and other support to AQIM, although what triggered his inclusion on the list might have been his having criticised Ould Abdel Aziz by saying the Mauritanian army and civilian leadership ought to remove him from office before he allowed the country became overrun by AQIM or something like that; Shafe’i has been an important go between in previous negotiations for the release of hostages held by AQIM, he plans to contest the warrant and and perhaps sue a Mauritanian journalist who wrote articles accusing him of supporting AQIM and terrorism. Important opposition and civil society elements in Mauritania have protested the warrant. The warrant has become somewhat notorious in parts of Mauritanian political society, especially the opposition which sees the listing as political. Shafe’i belongs to an important family in Mauritania and the wider region, with business interests all over west Africa (he is also the son of an important marabout of the Tadjakanit). On Facebook, many people have posted a photograph of Shafe’i speaking on a mobile telephone saying ‘Alo…Aziz nte tissanet? Ana jayak. (Hello, Aziz…can you hear me? I’m coming after you’, referring to his case and the fact that Shafe’i has political connections in the region) Below is a screen capture with names taken out for privacy reasons (the poster of the image is not this blogger).

One thought on “AQIM Link Roundup

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