Monthly Archives: January 2013

A SAHARAN ODYSSEY (extract): Guns, cigarettes & Salafi dreams: the roots of AQIM

Mokhtar Belmokhtar

There are facts about Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that are reassuringly hard and verifiable. The organisation exists. It’s run by Algerian Arabs. It’s made a home from home in the north east of Mali, on Tinariwen’s native earth. It earns millions and millions of euros from kidnapping westerners. No one knows exactly how much. Every now and then it chops the head off one of its victims. All in the service of a dream that has become a nightmare for the people of the Sahara

The sandstorm of war in northern Mali

The situation along the demarcation line that separates Islamist-held northern Mali from the south of the country is agonizingly confusing. How can we look through the sandstorm that surrounds the current Islamist advance south towards Mopti and the Malian heartlands.

Ansar ud-Dine speak out…at last!

Iyad Ag Ghali - Leader of Ansar ud-Dine

Ansar ud-Dine speak up…at last! The Touareg lead mujahedeen group currently controlling large tracts of northern Mali have finally posted their ‘Political Platform’, on their website. It’s one of the most illuminating and troubling documents that I’ve read so far during this entire crisis.