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Hostage update: anti-Qaida strike postponed

May 11, 2009

Algeria’s El Khabar reports that the Sahel countries* are “temporarily” postponing their offensive against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) for two weeks. The reason is said to be that unnamed European countries have pressured Algiers to wait until they can get the remaining two AQIM hostages (from the UK & Switzerland) released.

This supposed to happen “within weeks”, and hopefully no later than July, after negotiations with the AQIM group of Yahia Djouadi (Abu Ammar) have “made great progress without substantial concessions to the group holding them”. The negotiations are said to involve tribal mediators and “Salafists from Europe”. Worth recalling, then, that AQIM had demanded the release of Abu Qatada al-Filastini from British jails.

*) Algeria, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. Oh, and who’s missing?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tidinit permalink
    May 12, 2009 00:46

    Thanks alle for confirming this. I do believe that the sahel countries are: Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau (?) and Chad(not sure about Chad). For this AQMI issue those you said are on the front: Algeria, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso (master negotiator to arrange passing ransom money from Libya as it appears).

    Big question however: why Libya is not part of this coalition as we know they always come into the picture to end peacefully negotiations for the release of hostages in Northern Mali. What also about Morocco? In looking a the wonderful maps of westernsaharainfo, Tourine is closer to “Moroccan” or “Morocco-occupied” Sahara than Algeria/Mali.

    How sustaibable is the “final solution” envisaged by Algier-Mali-Niger without these two countries? France and the US (competing openly between pro and anti-putsh groups in Nouakchott) also missing. Whatever assistance Algeria will provide to the Malian and Niger army, I think it will not be enough. These armies, including Mauritania’s, have been helped with millions of US$ by the US, France and I recently heard Saudi Arabia ($50 million cash from Riyadh before Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was toppled) and all gone without any capacity improvement. Kind of bottomless pit.

    Do you think ladies and gentlemen this will be the end of it? Read this morning in a Malian neswpaper (posted on Maliweb and Temoust) that Ag Bahanga group did attack again this weekend or tried to do it? Kind of complicated and states let this thing go for too long, manipulated by countries or not.

  2. May 12, 2009 20:37

    I meant the five Sahel countries involved in the (postponed? cancelled?) operation, not Sahel countries generally. And the missing one is of course Libya — Morocco’s absence is about relations to Algeria and about being physically cut off by the W.S. conflict zone, not about any rivalries in AQIM or Touareg affairs.

    As for this as a would-have-been-final solution, I don’t think anyone imagined it that way. Banditry, smuggling, terrorism, Islamism, they all feed into each other, and a “final” solution must involve socioeconomic improvement and a real expansion of the modern state into these regions, it can’t be done with punitive expeditions. Although they can help tweak the rules of the game a bit, so one shouldn’t count them out.

  3. Tidinit permalink
    May 12, 2009 21:08

    I agree with you alle that peace will involve improvement in the socio-economic conditions and the rule of law in these countries.

    N.B; Tandia looking forward for a third term, ATT accused of trying to think about it. General Abdelaziz will change the constitution for the same as soon as he succeed to get accepted. Boutef has shown the way. What all have against retirement?


  1. Algeria reading: political parties, Ouyahia, AQIM « Maghreb Politics Review

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