Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb: Who’s Who?

January 26th, 2013

Who is Behind the Terrorists? – Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, January 21, 2013.

… The operation was coordinated by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, leader of the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamist al-Mulathameen (Masked) Brigade, or “Those who Sign with Blood.”

Belmokhtar’s  organization has been involved in the drug trade, smuggling as well kidnapping operations of foreigners in North Africa.  While his whereabouts are known, French intelligence has dubbed Belmokhtar “the uncatchable”.  

Belmokhtar took responsibility on behalf of Al Qaeda for the kidnapping of 41 Western hostages including 7 Americans at the BP In Amenas Gas Field Complex.

Belmokhtar, however, was not directly involved in the actual attack. The field commander of the operation was Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri, a veteran jihadist fighter from Niger, who joined Algeria’s Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) in 2005. (Albawaba,  January 17, 2013).

The In Amenas kidnapping operation was carried out five days after the conduct of air strikes by France directed against Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) militants in northern Mali.

French special forces and Malian troops regained control of Diabaly and Konna, two small towns North of Mopti.  The town of Diabaly had apparently been taken over a few days earlier by fighters led by one of the leading AQIM commanders Abdelhamid Abou Zeid … //

… News reports confirm, however, that a large number of the deaths of both the hostages and the Islamic fighters was the result of the bombing raids led by Algerian forces.

Negotiations with the captors, which could have saved lives, had not been seriously contemplated by either the Algerian or Western governments. The militants had demanded an end to France’s attacks in northern Mali in return for the safety of the hostages. Al Qaeda leader Belmokhtar had stated:

We are ready to negotiate with the West and the Algerian government provided they stop their bombing of Mali’s Muslims (Reuters, January 20, 2013)

Within the ranks of the jihadists were mercenaries from a number of Muslim countries including Libya (yet to be confirmed) as well as fighters from Western countries.
(full text).

Links:

Mokhtar Belmokhtar
on en.wikipedia;

Iran and Russia sign agreement to coordinate security
, on Global Research.ca (first on Xinhua News Agency),
22 January 2013,

International Journal of Scientific and Research Publication IJSRP: Homepage, Call for Papers; on IJSRP.
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