Droukdel threatens Sahel states
Jemal Oumar in Nouakchott contributed to this report for Magharebia from Nouakchott – 05/12/12
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) just released a video warning African and European states against any military intervention in northern Mali.
"If you want peace and security in your country, we are for it. If you want war, the Sahara is a large graveyard for your soldiers and a disaster for your interests," AQIM chief Abdelmalek Droukdel said in a new video released by Sahara Media on Saturday (December 1st).
"This war is going to make us more determined to hit your interests, which are numerous in the Sahel, and which we have not yet targeted," he said. The AQIM leader also claimed that his fighters had access to large quantities of weapons.
"The Great Sahara will be a grave for your soldiers," he said. "We are men of war, and we have extensive experience and long breath. In addition, God has endowed us with a stock of weapons and young people, and therefore, it will be a long war, and also a sacred war for the sake of Islam."
Directing his warning at Mauritania, Senegal, and Niger, Droukdel (aka Abou Moussaab Abdelouadoud) said: "When your house is made of glass do not throw stones at people."
His comments come in response to the decision by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to deploy 3,300 troops to oust Islamist militants and their al-Qaeda allies from northern Mali.
It also coincides with news that Algerian terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar (aka "Laaouar") quit AQIM after being fired as one of its two top commanders in northern Mali.
Confusion and anxiety at the top of al-Qaeda's Maghreb branch are apparent, according to analyst Mokhtar al-Salem.
The Droukdel terror tape was timed to influence the diplomatic negotiations now under way in Ouagadougou between Ansar al-Din and the Malian government, he said.
Droukdel is sending his Islamist allies a warning not to make concessions on Sharia, al-Salem told Magharebia.
"We can feel al-Qaeda leader's tone of fear over military intervention," al-Salem added.
While the video message contained no new content, "the new thing about it is that Droukdel himself appears ", the analyst said.
"This shows that al-Qaeda now feels that there is imminent danger," al-Salem said.
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