How Al-Qaeda Controls Mali in Africa
It began in 2003, when terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda in Algeria fled with 32 hostages into Northern Mali. Using them for hostage money, the group raised nearly $90 million in 10 years. During this time, the men married locals, had children and formed supply and logistical relationships with locals paying them well to be loyal.
Now, Northern Mali is owned by al-Qaeda. Nine months ago in 2012, Mali was stable and its government seemed able to have staying power. Then, on March 21, 2012, there was an internal coup from the military that took unpredictable turns and ruined the Army's command and control system. This weakened communications and trust in units elsewhere. Rebel soldiers mixed with loyal ones but the lack of communication created mistrust. The soldiers holding the remote towns and cities fled and abandoned thousands of vehicles and weapons an area the size of France! Now, al-Qaeda controls much of Mali and has become a country owned by them. They are as ruthless as the Taliban in the law and religion. They are building three key bases paying locals $20 a day to clear roads, dig trenches, help build because they anticipate an attack by surrounding democratic African nations. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, operates not just in Mali, but in a corridor along much of the northern Sahel. This 4,300-mile long ribbon of land runs across the widest part of Africa, and includes sections of Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, Libya, Burkina Faso and Chad.
AQIM captured $11 million dollars worth of various contrstruction earth movers and trucks. These are in heavy use creating underground bunkers, tunnels, tank traps and more. They anticipate an African army attack (comprised of several nations) by Sept. 2013. They are gathering supplies and ammunition and have deadly SA-7 ground to air missiles from Libya able to knock out most aircraft other African nations possess. They have money to buy other Libyan military weapons. The first base is occupied by al-Qaida's local fighters in the hills of Teghergharte, a region the official compared to Afghanistan's Tora Bora. The other base is near Boghassa in similar terrain.
Al-Qaeda controls Gao, Timbuktu, Kidal and other smaller towns. Roadblocks are everywhere. Unless the surrounding African nations attack Mali and win, al-Qaeda, and what they represent, will do what they want and in the same manner as they did to Mali to other African nations that are unstable.