By İbrahim Tığlı, World Bulletin
What started as a French military operation in Mali has evolved into a different issue with the Algerian hostage crisis. The war that started last year between the Tuaregs and the Mali army has turned into a regional war after the French military intervention. But after many people were taken hostages, among them foreign citizens, during the attack on the gas plant at In Amenas, the struggle has snowballed into a global war. There is no doubt that the murder of 3 American soldiers made the US, who have been implicitly supporting France, change their tactics. While the US President Obama confined himself to providing intelligence and logistic support, the Pentagon claimed it would open new military fronts.
Actually the USA has been in the French operation from the very start, and the fact that it has not been de facto present is explained by the US law, according to which a call of a non-democratic government cannot be regarded as a legitimate request. Though the operation, just like the one in Libya, was performed by the French soldiers, the power behind them was no other than the West African AFRICOM.
The In Amenas region where the hostage crisis burst out is well protected and the US intelligence is highly effective here. Though it has long been a no-fly zone, the USA has dominated the region in terms of intelligence. In spite of military training camps various groups have established here, the Algerian government has not taken any preventive measures over the past few years. Prior to the operation the Islamic Maghreb Front had announced that murderous acts would take place in the countries supporting the operation, Algeria being the first on the list. Actually the US intelligence, as well as that of France and Algeria, were informed about the upcoming hostage crisis. Because the same has already happened in Algeria, Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia. It is clear that a provocation took place in order to bring this war onto the international scale, the bait was thrown in and swallowed by the group named "Those Who Sign in Blood" that had been previously involved in some minor terrorist attacks. Experts know that such provocative operations are always followed by the acts of terrorism. Taking into consideration that the Algerian government would react harshly to a hostage crisis and would not be able to control the consequences, why was this act undertaken?
We can state that the control over the war in Mali has been taken by the USA due to the Algerian hostage crisis. From now on the global public opinion will concentrate on the al Qa'ida groups in the North Africa and the Sahel region as well as on the activity of such groups as the Islamic Maghreb Front rather than the independence of the Mali Tuaregs or the transition to Islamic government in Mali. Thus this governmental crisis will turn into another global terror threat.
Countries that have unwillingly provided support to the French military operation will be much more sensitive when it comes to supporting war against terrorism, which will thus gain international legitimacy. As the Arab spring has been postponed for Algeria, it becomes clear that the voice of the Islamic governments in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia will fade.
The global war on the Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan axis has now included the Sahel region as well. The energy from Afghanistan and Somalia is to be moved here. It is erroneous to state that the operation was planned 6-7 months ago. Because Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal have been trying to secure French support for almost five years now. Their efforts, supported by the US, have continued in the form of negotiations and associations.
The crisis in Mali has provided an opportunity for France to enter the region pursuing its own goals and become an apparent authority in the global war region.
The Islamic Maghreb Front has attracted international attention and, just like al Qa'ida, has come to be perceived as a global war threat. It is claimed that the hostage crisis was planned by a former Afghan militant and a founder of GIA (one of the most prominent groups that had emerged during Algerian war) Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who has been defined as the new bin Laden of the Sahel region.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar was charged for cigarette smuggling, kidnapping people and drug traffic, and being one of the most wanted criminals he has managed to escape security forces.
Consequently, what emerges from the military operation in Mali and the hostage crisis in Algeria is that the USA, France and the UK have persuaded the world that there is a global terror threat at the European threshold. They have demonstrated, by propagating "Those Who Sign In Blood", that the Mali operation could spread not only to Algeria but to the whole Sahel region, thus making it clear that they would rather become not just local but regional actors.
Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2013, 10:02