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01 March 2013


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William R. Cumming

So there are control mechanisms over deployments of radical Islamists?


The Chinese news service links I was unable to walk the quote back to the original source; perhaps it is my error. If the chinese statement is true it would be of some import. .... Also one wonders how hundreds of such folks will then travel from Turkey to Mali and what opportunities this presents.

The beaver

May be the Sahel climate is better for those Jihadists from the Maghreb !!!
Saw that article a week ago:

"Young people go in the first stage to the Libyan city of Ghadames just 70km from the Tunisian border," he explains. "They receive some military training there, then train in Zawiya for another 20 days. After that, they travel from Brega to Istanbul, and then to the Syrian border, where they are handed over to the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's branch in Syria."


Beaver of Canada

You seem to have gotten the direction of "flow" backward. pl



The Turks are not preventing the flow of these people through their country. They can fly from Istanbul to Benghazi and then travel overland. pl


Col: It is an interesting development. The French will certainly be more lethal than the Syrian Army, but do the Jihadis concider the French more "infidel" than the Alawites? Whatever happened to the narcissism of small differences?


Can we count on the stupidity of our enemies? Jihadists are going to go from Syria to the Maghreb where they'll have multiple enemies and few allies? Wonderful. Whoever convinced them to do this ought to get a medal.

Charles I

Gee, maybe this just the break we need to start arming the "safe" rebels!

The beaver


What I forgot to add:

If they have been trained to go and fight in Syria, they can as well be rerouted back to Mali.


That's the first thing I thought, but I guess it's obvious in the this new communication age. Social evolution meets US foreign policy.

Medicine Man

I wonder if the foreign jihadis are simply wearing out their welcome in Syria? Regardless of religious sympathies they are still a bunch of outsiders telling the locals how to live, be more pious, etc. What is the half-life of a revolutionary without the support of the local populace? We could ask AQ in Iraq or maybe Che Guevara if we dig him up.

Supplementary question: How do you say "Happy Hunting" in French?

Alba Etie

Multiply news outlets are saying that Chad troops killed the Islamist Commander in the mountains of northern Mali today . I wonder if our 'eyes in the sky " from the just stood drone base in Niger - helped the Chad troops find the Commander ?

Alba Etie

Col Lang
Why are our new friends in the Libyan government not stopping any jihadis transit to anywhere from their country ? Is it still that lawless and ungoverned in Libya ?



It's a big, artificial country. Eastern Libya is wide open. pl



"have been pulled out of Syria to join jihadists in Mali."

There is no evidence I'm aware of that anyone is in a position to do the pulling. This report seems to be another in the line of fanciful assertions based on someone's fevered imagining that al-Qaida is a corporate body and acts like the Wehrmacht. Ten years on and public discourse is still at this childish level. Further confirmation that it's time to call off the "war on terror" so that the kids can respond to their mothers' call to get home and eat supper.

Alba Etie

Col Lang
So would the jihadis transit eastern Libya to the Magreb overland . Is all that transit route 'wide open " ? I have also been doing the Google regarding the Tuaregs being made part of the solution as has been suggested in this very forum . I wonder if the Tauregs of Azawad will be actively interdicting the al Nusra & other affliates coming to Mali ? Will it be something like what happened in al Anbar with the 'Sons of Iraq " ? The French troops that are specialist in the former colonies must be pretty busy right now .

Alba Etie

Al Jezeera is reporting that Algerian authorities are testing the DNA of the dead Islamist Mali Commander to make sure its him . The Algerians have zero tolerance for the Islamist - so does that mean that the Algerians are involved in Azawad now as well ? I wonder if the al Nusra and the rest are really leaving Syria en masse - as is being reported ?



"it's time to call off the "war on terror"" Your continued belief in the benevolence of mankind is surprising. what do you think the jihadis are, "agrarian reformers?" pl



I have no belief in mankind's benevolence, nor do I believe the Jihadis are agrarian reformers - neither are they Chinese Communists. "Jihadis" is a pronoun with multiple antecedent nouns. All I'm suggesting is that we differentiate among them, identify those that DIRECTLY threaten the U.S., and then take the minimal action necessary (essentailly a police/intelligence challenge). In some exceptional cases, where we have adequate means to deal with jihadi types at a very low cost and we can do so in the interest of regional stability, do so - e.g. Mali.

Let's drop the name GWOT, let's stop terrifying Americans about fantastic menaces, and let's stop doing things that are counter-productive. hat includes the assault on American civil liberties which, to my mind, are worth more than whatever is happening in Yemen, Somalia, the Sahel, Afghanistan and Iraq - among several other places.

The Twisted Genius


These jihadists are not organized like a conventional force. They operate in small independent groups that cooperate on the battlefield in an informal ad hoc fashion. Many came from North Africa. They probably follow the pronouncements of various religious/political leaders in their homelands. They went to Syria because they saw it as the place to carry on the jihad at the time. Perhaps the current French success in Mali caused them to decide to head back to Africa to shore up their brother jihadists in the Sahel. They could always head back to Syria later. They don't have to move equipment or weapons across borders, just their expertise. Militarily they are a flexible force with a distributed, cooperative leadership system.

A report from the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights is not proof that this is happening, but the ability for several hundred jihadist fighters to move from Syria to the Sahel is indeed plausible and possible.

As for your idea to drop the name GWOT, the industry that has grown around that term, and its assault on American civil liberties, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

William R. Cumming

Is the main control mechanism over radical Islamists Saudi funding? Next up the Iranians?


it's "Bonne chasse!"


Presumably it is Saudi funding and funding from other sources in the Gulf. Hence, this picture. Washington and the Saudis agree on the objective of toppling Assad and the Ba'ath. They are backing different elements of the loose coalition that is the insurgency. 'Our' guys are more numerous and have wider popular support. 'Their'guys are better funded, better armed,enlist some foreign jihadis, and are more disciplined (in every sense). So, if and when the insurgency succeeds, 'our' guys will be handicapped in the ensuing power struggle. Therefore, what is the thinking of our masters that leads them to: deny tangible support to 'our' guys and discourage others from providing it; and thereby prolong a struggle where time is clearly on the side of 'their' guys. What are we saying to the Saudis about this?

True, there are more things under the sun than in our theories. But this administration cannot suspend the rules of logic.



Contrary to what you seem to think, none of them are "our guys." They are all potential enemies in whatever sort of Sunni triumphalist government they will end by creating. What do we say to the Saudis? Whatever it is, the Saudis go their own way as they always do. pl



"Our" guys only in the sense that overall they are less hostile to us than al-Nous is. Saudis? I don't know the intricacies of our relations with them but I presume that they have an interest in other matters which we may be able to affect e.g. Iran. Of course, they'll go their own way; always have. How they define what their own way is. theortically at least, could perhaps be slightly inflected.

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