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Sunday, January 27, 2013 

The Economist acknowledges the jihad in Mali

Another mainstream news source, The UK Economist, has shown the courage to call a spade a spade, by referring to the terrorists in Mali as what they are - Islamists and jihadists, and tells who the gangs are that are causing chaos:
ON JANUARY 16th three dozen heavily armed Islamic extremists seized control of a gas plant in the Saharan desert near In Amenas, taking some 650 workers hostage. Their subsequent battle with Algerian special forces, fought across a sprawling landscape of pipeline bundles and housing containers, lasted four days. The hostage-takers were said to have planned to blow up the pipelines, which would have meant a significant drop in Algeria’s exports. But there was no explosion, and soon the hostage-takers were killed, as were at least 37 of the foreign employees at the plant. Algeria takes an uncompromising approach to terrorist attacks.

That battle, along with the escalating war in neighbouring Mali (see article), has raised the spectre of a new jihadism spreading across Africa. Western governments worry that conflicts in the vast Sahara, and in the countries of the Sahel that lie along its southern edge, have become increasingly linked. The attack on the Algerian gas plant was most likely launched from neighbouring Libya. Its architects, hidden somewhere in the sandy expanse hundreds, perhaps many hundreds, of kilometres away, claimed to be supporting the groups in Mali now being attacked by French and west African forces.

Islamist fighters from Libya and elsewhere brought violent jihadism to Mali in the wake of the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. The Tuareg people in the north of the country have a long history of rebelling against their rulers in the south, and found common cause with the newcomers. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and a recently formed splinter group, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), joined forces with the two main Tuareg rebel groups, the secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the smaller Ansar al-Din, a Salafist outfit more aligned with the newcomers, to take over the north of the country when a discontented army gave them the chance. The countries fighting the rebels fear that their control over a large part of Mali will allow jihadism to spread further in the region—and the jihadists to plan terrorist attacks overseas.
Nice to see that they're acknowledging the word "jihad", which basically means religiously motivated war, seen in Islam as a holy thing. Showing the guts to call a spade a spade helps tremendously.

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