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Potential Hot Spots: Follow The Money In Mali
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Items About Areas That Could Break Out Into War 

December 6, 2012: Much to the dismay of Mali and its neighbors, the UN refuses to authorize an immediate military operation against the Islamic terrorists who control northern Mali. Instead, the UN insists that all diplomatic options be tried first and that any intervention force undergo lengthy training and preparations. In other words, the UN will approve a military intervention but only if it takes place in late 2013. This has alarmed African government and those familiar with how Islamic terrorists operate. The UN attitude assumes that the locals in northern Mali (mainly the Tuaregs, because most of the black Africans from the south have fled or are terrorized) can control the Islamic terror groups. For the last six months several attempts to do just this have failed. The Islamic terrorists get stronger each month and are beginning to send terrorists they have recently trained into other nations in the region. Thus the African states see waiting as not a peace gesture but an invitation to more Islamic terrorism in their own countries. The UN is reluctant to authorize the use of force because the last time it did so, in Somalia in 1993, the effort did not turn out well. Moslem nations are also reluctant to back anything that can be interpreted as “war on Islam” (even if its Islamic terrorism).

Then there is the problem of paying for the military intervention. The UN says it cannot afford it and getting the United States and European nations to step up has proved difficult. These nations believe that the UN should pay for this, as the UN would be using mainly money from the U.S. and Europe (who provide most of the UN budget). The African nations are pushing the UN leadership to approve a military operation by December 20th, so that the planning and preparations can get going.

Meanwhile, the Tuareg rebels and Islamic terror groups have agreed to stop fighting with each other. It’s not likely that this truce will last because the Islamic terrorists are determined to force everyone in the north to adopt a strict Islamic lifestyle. This includes banning traditional Tuareg music and demanding that the musicians find another profession. Few of the natives up there, particularly the Tuareg, are interested in this. The al Qaeda lifestyle police can try and avoid harassing the Tuareg but that will be impossible because many Tuareg live in towns and cities and maintain their tribal ties. If al Qaeda wants the towns and cities they control to become “Islamic” that will mean forcing Tuareg to change the way they live, and the Tuareg are willing to fight against that eventually. The al Qaeda solution to this is to hire the growing number of unemployed Tuareg young men and turn them against their elders. That often works, at least in the short term. But in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia this kind of tribal politics eventually backfires. Ultimately, the tribes prevail against the outsiders and their own wayward youth. That’s how tribes survive. Many Tuareg in the north are now willing to keep Mali united, if the Tuareg can have more autonomy. Al Qaeda doesn’t really care, as they are on a Mission From God and all that happens is God’s Will.  

The major advantage the Islamic terrorists have up north is that they have more cash and weapons than anyone else. This is the legacy of Osama bin Laden, who founded al Qaeda (which means “the base” in Arabic) in the 1980s in Pakistan as he helped organize support for Afghan rebels operating inside Afghanistan. While the Afghans were brave, they had a poor grasp of how important it was to gather money and supplies for sustained operations. Bin Laden, with his university education and family business background, did. This attention to finance and logistics has survived in al Qaeda and has provided the Islamic terror groups in northern Mali with a key advantage.

In southern Mali a growing number of civilian groups are seeking volunteers to organize and train for an armed attempt to regain control of the north. Volunteer militias like this would most likely get slaughtered by the experienced and better armed Tuareg and al Qaeda groups up north. There is a quiet realization of this in the south but the aggressive rhetoric remains popular.

December 4, 2012: The government held peace talks with Tuareg rebels. The Tuareg were more willing to make peace and keep the country united. But the talks also made it clear that the Islamic terror groups in northern Mali had the military edge over the Tuareg rebels and prevented the Tuaregs from exercising much control in the north.

December 3, 2012: U.S. military intelligence reported that al Qaeda in northern Mali is now running terrorist training camps and providing assistance to Boko Haram (a local Islamic terror group in neighboring Nigeria). Al Qaeda is financing itself by transporting and dealing in illegal drugs, as well as seeking to kidnap foreigners (preferably Europeans) and hold them for multimillion dollar ransoms (which European nations tend to pay, eventually). The commander of AFRICOM (the U.S. combined military command that specializes in Africa) pointed out that an intervention force composed of troops from African countries would require months of training and a lot of cash for new equipment before they could be sent north. Going north unprepared would be a disaster.

December 2, 2012: Moktar Belmoktar, one of the leaders of AQIM (al Qaeda's North African wing) has left the group to start his own Islamic terror group that will operate throughout North Africa. Moktar Belmoktar has specialized in kidnapping, which has become a lucrative business for Islamic terrorists in Africa.

November 30, 2012: The EU (European Union) has called on the UN to back a military intervention in northern Mali. France is leading this plan but is encountering resistance in the UN.

November 29, 2012: Islamic terrorists (Ansar Dine) forced Tuareg rebels out of Lere (a town on the Mauritanian border). This makes it easier for al Qaeda to move in and out of Mauritania.

November 26, 2012: A French man, kidnapped in Mali on the 21st, has appeared in an al Qaeda Internet video pleading with the French government to help (pay whatever the Islamic terrorists are demanding). Al Qaeda has made it known to gangsters throughout the region that they will pay substantial amounts of cash for kidnapped Westerners. Al Qaeda then gets a much higher ransom from Western governments, especially the European ones. While all Western governments admit that paying these ransoms only makes the terror groups stronger and encourages more kidnappings, local politics in Europe usually forces the payment to be made, often clandestinely. There are currently six French citizens being held by al Qaeda in the region and the new victim makes that seven.

November 25, 2012: Several dozen Algerian Islamic terrorists drove into Timbuktu and very publicly joined the Islamic terrorists already there.

Mauritian border police arrested a French Islamic radical who was attempting to enter Mali.

November 24, 2012: Morocco announced that it had broken up an al Qaeda cell that was recruiting young Moroccan men to go to Mali to receive terrorist training. Apparently al Qaeda has alerted followers everywhere that northern Mali was the place to go for terrorist training.

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