From the Washington Times:
In what could be the first spillover from France’s intervention in Mali …
Islamist militants attacked and occupied a natural gas complex partly operated by energy company BP in southern Algeria on Wednesday. Two foreigners were killed and dozens of others, including Americans, were taken hostage.
Meanwhile, what’s happening in Mali?
The video and text are from DEBKAfile
On January 11, a few hundred French troops and a handful of fighter jets and gunships launched a campaign against Islamist terrorists in Mali, a West African desert vastness larger than Texas and California combined. This former French colony appealed to Paris for aid to throw back a mixed al Qaeda-rebel advance on the capital, Bamako.
But France, no more than the US, had learned from the Afghanistan War that Al Qaeda cannot be beaten by aerial warfare – certainly not when the jiahdists are highly trained in special forces tactics and backed by highly mobile, well-armed local militias, armed with advanced anti-aircraft weapons and knowledgeable about conditions in the forbidding Sahara.
Within 48 hours, this modest “crusader” intervention had united a host of pro-al Qaeda offshoots and allies, some of them castoffs from the army of Libya’s deposed Muammar Qaddafi.
They are led by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – AQIM; the West African jihadist MUJAO; and the Somali al-Shabaab which is linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – AQAP. Together, they are threatening to execute one by one the 10 or eleven French hostages they are holding as part of their revenge on France.
The French declared their mission to be to dislodge the Islamists from an area larger than Afghanistan in the north, including the principal towns of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. Without several thousand special forces’ troops on the ground, this is just a pipedream.
The disaffected Touareg tribes are supporting al Qaeda against the French as part of their drive for independence. Their added value is the training in special forces’ tactics some 1,500 Touareg fighting men and their three officers received from the US.
The US originally reserved them as the main spearhead of a Western Saharan multi-tribe campaign to eradicate al Qaeda in North and West Africa.
Instead, the Sahel tribesmen followed the Touareg in absconding to Mali with top-quality weapons for desert warfare and hundreds of vehicles from US and ex-Libyan military arsenals.
This major setback for US administration plans and counter-terror strategy in Africa tied in with Al Qaeda’s assassination of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff in Benghazi last September. Because the United States held back from direct US military action in both cases, Qaeda has been allowed to go from strength to strength and draw into its fold recruits from Mali’s neighbors. They are tightening their grip on northern Mali and have imposed a brutal version of Islam on its inhabitants, putting hundreds to flight.
France stepped in when al Qaeda drove south to extend its rule to all parts of Mali and pose a terrorist threat to Europe.
Denis Allex, the video narrator, was executed by al-Shabaab, according to its own report which contradicts the reports put out by France claiming that he was killed during a botched rescue attempt in Somalia.
From The Long War Journal by Bill Roggio, 1/16/2013:
Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia and East Africa, announced today that it would execute a French intelligence operative who was captured in Mogadishu in 2009.
The hostage, Denis Allex, was the subject of a failed rescue attempt last week by French commandos. …
Shabaab said he was killed after the group “reached a unanimous decision.” …
Shabaab pinned the blame for Allex’s death sentence on France, and denied the French claim that the hostage was killed during the rescue attempt. Shabaab has maintained this position since the first report of the raid, while French officials claimed that Allex was indeed killed during the rescue attempt.
“With the rescue attempt, France has voluntarily signed Allex’s death warrant. Following the failed operation, [French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian], aware that execution is the natural corollary of treachery, announced that the punishment had already been meted out, despite the fact that Allex was at the time alive and safe in another safe house,” the group said.
Shabaab said it would kill Allex after years of attempting to negotiate with France, and finally decided to kill him after the French commandos killed civilians during the rescue attempt. Two French commandos were killed; one of them was captured and subsequently died of his wounds, according to Shabaab. Two days ago, Shabaab released photographs of the captured French commando, who they claimed was the mission commander, and displayed his body with his weapons and gear.
But only announced yesterday that they “would execute” him?
“The death of the two French soldiers pales into insignificance besides the dozens of Muslim civilians senselessly killed by the French forces during the operation,” Shabaab stated.
Shabaab also claimed Allex was sentenced to death for France’s involvement in military operations in Afghanistan, Mali, and other “Muslim lands.” French troops have entered Mali to help the government retake the north from an Islamist alliance made up of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Ansar Dine, andthe Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. Last week, the jihadist groups advanced southward to take control of Bamako, the capital. The three militant Islamist groups have controlled northern Mali since the spring of 2012.
“Avenging the deaths of these civilians and taking into consideration France’s increasing persecution of Muslims around the world, its oppressive anti-Islam policies at home, French military operations in the war against Islamic Shari’ah in Afghanistan and, most recently, in Mali, and its continued economic, political and military assistance towards the African invaders in Muslim lands, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen has reached a unanimous decision to execute the French intelligence officer, Denis Allex,” the terror group said.
Shabaab also provided some details on the “botched rescue operation,” which it described as “an abysmal failure; both in terms of intelligence and the ground operation.” The group claimed the French assault team landed outside of the Shabaab-held town of Bulo-Marer and killed “all the villagers that crossed their path.”
“But before the French forces could reach their destination, the Mujahideen in Bulo-Marer were alerted by HSM [al-Shabaab] intelligence teams who had information of the French movements,” Shabaab stated. The description of events roughly matches a report that was published by Shabelle [a Somali media network].
Allex and Marc Aubriere, two French intelligence agents, were captured in July 2009 at a hotel in Mogadishu. Both men were posing as journalists and trainers for the Somali military. Aubriere escaped under mysterious circumstances and it is rumored the French government paid a ransom for his release.
France launched the rescue mission to free Allex as it was feared he would be executed by Shabaab in retaliation for the French intervention in Mali.
Shabaab officially merged with al Qaeda in February 2012 after working closely with the global terror group for years.
Were the French lying about Denis Allex being killed in the botched rescue attempt? If so, why? And in connection with all this, what is the Obama administration keeping from the American people?
These Islamic fighting forces which the might of the Western world, half-heartedly engaged, is signally failing to subdue in Mali, Somalia, Libya, many other parts of Africa, and Afghanistan, and Yemen, can no longer be called “terrorists”. They are the armies of the jihad, unrelentingly mobilized – and winning.