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Friday, September 19, 2008

Analysis from Western Sahara

- Zouërate is the town closest to Tourine, where the assault happened. It's a mining town of economic importance to Mauritania, nowadays with a significant Sahrawi population who have moved out from the Tindouf refugee camps.

-Meaning Mauritania. The Mourabitoun was an Islamic medieval movement that emerged in Mauritania and went on to found a dynasty in modern-day Morocco; an obvious local role-model for today's jihadists.

Also note that the soldiers are alleged to be taken prisoners, not killed as initially reported. This is also what international and Mauritanian media has begun to talk about.
  • It could be based on this statement, but I did read somewhere that army units returning to Tourine could not find bodies or equipment, even while there was blood on the scene. Finally, let's keep in mind that so far this is just something someone posted on a website -- not authenticated as an AQIM statement.
  • Adrian pointed out that there have been rumors of Mokhtar Belmokhtar stepping back, being replaced by Yahia Jouadi as leader in the south. Now a communiqé supposedly from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM, ex-GSPC) attributes the recent attack in Mauritania to this latter commander, labeling him the Emir of the Sahara. Either they're split threeways in some amicable division of labor, or Jouadi has moved up front (or some organizationally fuzzy combination of the two);
  • It seems reasonably clear that Belmokhtar, for whatever reason, is no longer the Emir of AQIM's southern branch. I wish to apologize to Mokhtar Belmokhtar, Yahia Jouadi and Abdelmalek Droukdel, and their families, for any damage or inconvenience my statements may have caused.

    Well, what do you know -- commenter Adrian turns out to have a blog with lots of interesting stuff on the Touareg rebellions in Mali & Niger. He also has a meaty thesis on the whole thing, available in PDF. Read! Learn!

    The Rest @ The Western Shara Blogspot

    More(Adrian) @ Arab Media Shack

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