Want a headache … read this!
MEC Analytical Group
29 September 2011
According to a spokesman of the Libyan National Transitional Council Qadhafi is believed to be holed up near the western town of Ghadamis near the Algerian border under the protection of Tuareg tribesmen. Qadhafi supported Tuareg rebellions against the governments of Mali and Niger in the 1970s and allowed them to settle in Libya.
The Algerian Foreign Minister announced last week that his country was ready to work closely with the new Libyan authorities, adding that Algeria would eventually recognise the National Transitional Council.
We circulate below an article published by Al Jazeera which attempts to consider the many and confusing factors which influence developments in the Sahara including the position of Niger, Chad and Mali as well as Algeria and Libya, the Tuareg and other Saharan people, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), American pursuit of the “global war on terror” GWOT, and most recently the possibility that Qadhafi or his supporters will continue disruptive activity after their defeat in Libya itself. The author is a professor of social anthropology at the London School of Oriental and African Studies who seems to be the only analyst of the area writing in English.
Libya’s uprising is causing turmoil in amid its neighbours and speculation of a Tuareg rebellion has emerged.
Aljazeera, 28 Sep 2011
Prior to the start of Libya’s revolution in February, the Sahelian regions of Niger and Mali had already suffered eight years of increasing political instability and insecurity. The reasons for this are complex:
First, having partially recovered from the Tuareg rebellions of the 1990s, the rulers of both Niger and Mali became willing, pliant and corrupt partners in the global war on terror (GWOT). This transformation occured following the complicity between the US and Algeria’s mukhabarat [security services] and the Departement du Renseignement et de la Securite [DRS – Department of Intelligence and Security] in fabricating terrorism in the region in order to justify the launch of the 2003 second front in the GWOT in the Sahel/Sahara. That alone brought an almost instant decimation of the predominantly Tuareg tourist industry and an annual loss of an estimated $50m.
Another factor contributing to instability in the region occured in 2005, following the political provocation of the Tuareg by the Niger government. This led to a short-lived rebellion, while in May 2006 the US and Algeria’s DRS orchestrated a Tuareg rebellion in northeastern Mali. This was followed, four to five months later, by two contrived “terrorist” engagements designed to facilitate the name change of Algeria’s GSPC into al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its “insertion” into the Sahel.
Phi Beta Iota: There are at least two sub-texts here. The first and most obvious is that the USA has once again barged in with an abuse of power, including false information to the public and war crimes against Tripoli, without thinking through the deep cultural implication of the destabilization of Libya. It merits emphasis that in the eyes of the world, the US Government and Wall Street are the destabilizers of the world, everyone else pales in comparison. The second is more subtle–in opening Pandora’s Box, the USA may actually be doing some long-term good, unleashing long-repressed tribal grievances. It’s a long shot, but if Africa can come alive again, eventually throwing off the artificial political boundaries imposed on it by Western colonialism, and simultaneously throwing the US and European banks and their fronts – the IMF and World Bank – out of town, it is possible we may see an African Renaissance that is soon joined by an Iberian Renaissance and a South Asia (Indonedia et al) Emergence.