Sunday…. 27 December 2009Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, AFRICOM, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, WAR!.
A Russian eagle owl, the world’s largest owl species, which can weigh in at over 4kg, with a wingspan of up to two metres [Denis Sinyakov / Reuters]
The last graphs from one of the many articles in the UK press… (not sure I can face the domestic reports East of the Rockies, not just yet).
So, what did Santa bring the world other than WAR! ?
[T]he nigerian connection: Al-Qa’ida gaining strength in formerly moderate West Africa
If the attempt to obliterate Northwest Airlines flight 253 came as a shock for the United States in the middle of its Christmas holiday, the suggestion that the would-be bomber came from West Africa via al-Qa’ida should not have been a complete surprise.
More than eight years after the 11 September attacks, the United States is still aware of the significance of al-Qa’ida, but the group has appeared less of a clear and present danger as the years have passed. However, less than a week before the Nigerian student Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded his flight to Detroit, The Washington Post had warned, grimly and prominently, of a new source of concern from the terror group.
An article warning of “worrying signs” that al-Qa’ida sympathisers were bringing “a violent brand of Islam to moderate parts of West Africa” catalogued a series of attacks in recent months that have accentuated fears that a group, mainly of Algerians, were threatening to radicalise areas where Muslims were in the majority. Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) was held responsible for the execution of the Briton Edwin Dyer and an army colonel in Mali, the killing of an American teacher and a suicide bombing in Mauritania, as well as the kidnapping of two Canadian diplomats in Niger. The recent arrest of three Malian al-Qa’ida suspects in Ghana, over claims that they were conspiring to smuggle South American cocaine through Africa, can be added to evidence that terrorists are taking advantage of disease, poverty, a disenchantment with authority and breakdown of the rule of law in large areas. While Western intelligence services have focused on the growing terrorist threat from East Africa, some of the most dangerous groups have been prospering on the other side of the continent.
Mali has become the centre of al-Qa’ida activity since the group arrived from the north in 2007. The extremist Algerians who made up the Salafist Group for Preaching and Jihad settled in the Malian desert and quickly renamed themselves Aqim. The West African wing of al-Qa’ida has been accused of gun-running, kidnapping, murder and now, for the first time, involvement in the drugs trade.
Intelligence analysts also maintain that Aqim has been seeking new recruits in large, “ungovernable” swathes of nation-states – many of which have large Muslim populations – mimicking al-Qa’ida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Encouraged by CIA warnings over the growing threat posed by the region, the US has diverted some $500m (£313m) to bolster the counter-terrorism capabilities of 10 countries – although some critics have complained that the effort has not produced lasting results so far.
The near-miss experienced over Detroit last week offered a chilling reminder that al-Qa’ida has not gone away but, in fact, has spread its tentacles far beyond its original base. The Americans and their allies in West African governments will be under intense pressure to turn the tide and prove that they are winning the battle.
Grab a gun or a Molotov cocktail… or, hey!, a rocket launcher and join in: Blessed are the Peace Prize winners.
Arms dealers the world over are standing and cheering… as we live in a hideous cartoon.