September 09, 2009
RFI: Algeria strikes joint security operations agreement with Sahel States contra Al Qaeda fil Maghreb.
Interesting report here, RFI - Front commun contre al-Qaïda au Sahel on Algerian, Mauritanian, Malian and Nigerian military experts reaching an accord or rather understanding on a "common front" against AQIM. More interesting this:
Une opération d'envergure imminente
Secret défense oblige, la date du début de ce que certains appellent déjà « une opération d’envergure » n’a pas été rendue publique. En revanche, on sait que de très gros moyens seront dégagés. Sur le terrain, à côté des troupes, on verra notamment des avions de combat, nécessaires pour gagner toute guerre dans le Sahel ... cette vaste zone sahélo-saharienne et aussi al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (AQMI).
It reports an important / sizeable (regional) operation is imminent against AQIM in the Sahara / Sahel region against AQIM.
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Interesting indeed, if it happens, and I think necessary (provided they don't fuck up, which I'm sure they will). AQIM has really been on the offensive lately, down there, what with kidnappings, and the Mauritania attacks, and hostage killings. They're outgrowing "nuisance" status and need to be dealt with.
Posted by: alle at September 9, 2009 07:55 PM
Disagree. Useless on the security dimension. AQIM is a nuisance, cars and cigarettes kill more. "Regular" crime probably kills more too.
OTOH, this is political posturing, building political legitimacy with dumb westerners. Or a good training field for anti-guerilla weapons. Or just macho muscle flexing.
OK, but compared to cars and cigarettes, nuclear weapons are also a minor issue. The issue is not just killing, but killing violently and publicly, and demonstrating that the state is incapable of protecting tourists, embassies, citizens, itself, etc. Perception matters in politics, that's what terrorism is all about. You'll remember that the US didn't declare War On Drunk Driving in 2001, even though that probably killed more people than bin Ladin.
Posted by: alle at September 10, 2009 02:54 PM
You'll remember that the US didn't declare War On Drunk Driving in 2001, even though that probably killed more people than bin Ladin.
Right. And the "War on Terror" is a smart fuzzy concept because...?
I'm afraid I am with Alle on this, while the threat of Al Qaeda can and is overdone in many places, in the Algerian context (and Malian) the potential for hook up with wider activities does render it more problematic.
Violent terror attacks on a regular basis have an outsized impact on stability and commerce.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at September 11, 2009 04:59 AM
Violent terror attacks on a regular basis have an outsized impact on stability and commerce
aha. Good point, but doesn't actually contradict mine. The disruption is a result of perceptions, not actual quantifiable reality. My "dumb westerners" comment. Military response is a way to address perceptions. Not necessarily the only one. (not that I'm against it btw).