What Is Happening With The Tuareg?

PARALLEL UPRISINGS

There is a genuine and justified uprising taking place alongside an alternate movement that is entirely foreign-backed, guided by operatives in the U.S., U.K. and France in collusion with Al Qaeda, intended to manufacture consent for intervention.

Alexandra Valiente
Libya 360°

During NATO’s assault on Libya over 12,000 Tuareg warriors joined the Libyan people’s Resistance in defense of the nation and they declared Muammar Gaddafi their honorary leader.

On October 29, 2011, Dr. Shakir stated,

My brothers, the great Tuareg tribes of Libya and Africa, you elected the deceased Mu’ammer Qadhafi as your Leader. Your Leader was killed…We know that the Tuareg of Libya, Algeria, Western Sahara, Mali and Niger will avenge his death. Your actions will determine the fate and future of the mercenaries and colonizers.

1

On November 18th, 2011, I reported that Tuareg warriors returning to Mali from Libya faced detainment.

This action was instigated by corporate oil conglomerates who also sponsored the unleashing of elite army counterinsurgency units to quash a Tuareg rebellion that posed a threat to their resource interests in the region.

Other troubling reports have linked the Tuareg revolutionaries with the AQIM.

…the defence ministry said the Aguelhoc assault was carried out by “AQIM jihadis, MNLA forces and others”. It was referring to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), a rebel group.

This was the first time an official connection has been made between AQIM, Al-Qaeda’s north African arm, and the Tuareg rebels.

2

Another report from January stated,

Mali’s army says 47 were killed in ongoing clashes with a new Tuareg rebel group, whose members include former pro-Qaddafi fighters. But MNLA spokesman (one of the founding leaders) Moussa Ag Acharatoumane denied the government’s account, telling the Reuters that his fighters had killed around 30 to 40 soldiers. Both rebel and government forces claim to be in control of Aguelhoc. The MNLA spokesman said fighting was suspended in Tessalit to allow for the withdrawal of Algerian soldiers who had been helping Mali. Sources told Al Jazeera that the army is conducting house raids and arrests in the northern towns of Gao and Kidal, targeting Tuareg tribal sheikhs, as well as Tuareg military and political figures.

3

The spokesperson for the Taureg Youth Movement, Akli Sh’kka, claims to be living in exile in Leeds, England while leading a revolution of the Tuareg in Mali.

In his work for the Tuareg he has been giving vigorous support to the Libyan Revolution as a ‘one man pressure group’, in frequent contact with numerous friends in Libya.

4

One wonders who Akli Sh’kka’s “Libyan rebel” friends are.

Another movement orchestrated by imperialists to advance their interests in Nigeria echoes the pattern of the Mali uprisings.  Referring to Boko Haram,

Regardless of this group’s legitimacy…and possible foreign nurturing, the case for marketing foreign military intervention to Western audiences is steadily increasing. As an OPEC member, an unstable political climate leading to inaccessibility of its enormous domestic oil reserves would have dramatic ramifications for global oil markets. As the fourth largest supplier of oil to the United States, it is clear that the American Government would behave forcefully to preserve its stake in the region. A recently released subcommittee report issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security entitled “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the US Homeland” is a further testament towards the shape of things to come.

5

Quoting from Report 2 (below) we can see the parallels between the imperialist’s response to the violence in Nigeria and Mali.

The growing insurgency is also raising concerns in Washington, which sees the small, poor nation as an important ally against AQIM, the sub-Saharan al Qaeda group.

The situation is unpredictable and instability could spread. Private citizens have not been targeted, but the MNLA has indicated via its websites that it intends to conduct military operations across northern Mali,” the U.S. State Department said as part of a new travel warning issued last week.

In Report 1 we read,

In just over two weeks, the rebels – many who used to be part of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s armed forces – have attacked at least six towns in the north of the landlocked country. It’s the first time the Tuaregs have picked up arms since the last rebellion ended in early 2009.

“We’re surrounding the town, but we haven’t cut it off completely,” said Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, the Paris-based spokesman for the rebel group, the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad.

Note the demonization of the Tuareg because of their association with Muammar Gaddafi. Also repeated in mainstream news reports is the myth that the Tuareg were mercenaries paid to fight for the former regime. The fact is that,

on September 19 Tuareg tribes had a general conference composed of the heads of the tribes in Libya, Mali and Niger. Tuareg stated that all will fight against the renegades because they started a war against the Libyan Tuareg and killed a large number of them.

6

Mali’s recognition of Libya’s NTC deepened the rift between the Tuareg and the Malian government. At the same September 19th meeting of the tribes in Libya, the Tuareg also stated that,

…they would to go to war against the government of Mali if it recognizes the puppet regime in Libya or if the government of Mali arrests people close to Muammar Al Gaddafi found in Mali.

It is ironic that the U.S. State Department voices concerned about Al Qaeda links when they employed the same terrorist organization to aid in the overthrow of the former Libyan government and Al Qaeda‘s Abdel Hakim Belhaj is the military governor of Tripoli as well as commander of the imperialist backed Free Syrian Army.

Who is this Paris-based Moussa Ag Acharatoumane? In this BBC report from January 20th, 2012 he states that the Tuareg went to Libya for the sole purpose of obtaining military training so they could return home and liberate their people. “A dictator fell and the Tuareg were free…”

Does he speak for the Tuareg or his French paymasters?

This document from NATO’s Civil Military Fusion Center titled, “Unsecured Libyan Weapons:Regional Impact and Possible Threats”, addresses the the Tuareg “problem”:

Some of the Tuaregs who returned to Mali from Libya in 2011 included mercenaries recruited during the 2011 Libyan revolution and those who had joined the Libyan Army after the 1990-1995 Tuareg rebellion in Mali. Risks of a renewed insurgency within Mali have increased due to the likelihood that some of the Tuaregs have returned with weapons looted from Libya. Additionally, Tuareg groups benefit economically from revenue generated from smuggling routes in northern Mali, therefore making them a stronger threat within Mali. Exclusive Analysis suggests that if an insurgency were to occur in Mali, then it is expected that the army and government assets would be the primary targets, followed by foreign assets such as oil exploration and mining operations.

Stratfor is closely monitoring the situation.

Since negotiations between the Tuareg and the Malian government collapsed, the perceived Tuareg risk to foreign interests will present sufficient justification for military intervention.

My conclusion is that there is a genuine and justified uprising taking place alongside an alternate movement that is entirely foreign-backed, guided by operatives in the U.S., U.K. and France in collusion with Al Qaeda, intended to manufacture consent for intervention.

END

REPORT I – Major Mali city on high alert for Tuareg attacks

MARTIN VOGL
Associated Press

BAMAKO, Mali — The city of Kidal in the far north of Mali is on high alert after Tuareg rebels said Monday they have taken up strategic positions around the locality, setting the stage for the first aggression against a major city.

In just over two weeks, the rebels – many who used to be part of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s armed forces – have attacked at least six towns in the north of the landlocked country. It’s the first time the Tuaregs have picked up arms since the last rebellion ended in early 2009.

“We’re surrounding the town, but we haven’t cut it off completely,” said Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, the Paris-based spokesman for the rebel group, the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad.

On Monday morning, security forces in Kidal prevented protests against the arrest Sunday of two female supporters of the rebels, a local official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“Given the repression by the Malian security forces in the town – arresting our women – we are considering what we should do next,” Ag Acharatoumane said by telephone from Paris.

Heavy arms fire was heard around Kidal on Friday night and Saturday morning. Homeny Maiga, interim president of Kidal’s Regional Assembly said the Malian Army had been firing rockets at rebel positions about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the town.

“The army was firing rockets from a BM-21 launch vehicle, but it was a long way from town,” Maiga said. “What’s important now is that if the army and the rebels clash that it happens away from town so that civilians don’t get involved,” Maiga added.

If the rebels do attack Kidal, it would be the first regional capital they have attacked since they began their offensive just over two weeks ago. Since Jan. 17 the rebels have attacked towns across Mali’s vast north in an area spread over hundreds of miles in the Sahara Desert.

The towns attacked so far have been small, some with a population of just a few thousand. The rebels say this has been part of their strategy and they have the capability to attack much bigger towns.

“Like all the other major towns in the north, Kidal is one of the towns we intend to take over,” Ag Acharatoumane said. “Our strategy has been to attack smaller towns with major military bases first so later we don’t have to worry about attacks coming from many directions.”

REPORT II – Tuareg fighters from Libya stoke violence in Mali?

CNN Wire Staff
February 6, 2012

Tuareg tribesman who reportedly fought for Moammar Gadhafi in Libya have returned to Mali with weapons, stoking violence and forcing thousands to flee, Mali’s president said.

The development, announced by President Amadou Toumani Toure in a speech broadcast on state TV over the weekend, is perhaps the most-significant regional fallout to date from the end of former Libyan leader’s regime.

The fighters returning from Libya have blended into the National Movement for Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) and renamed northern Mali as the Azawad, the name of the region home to a majority of the Mali Tuareg.

During the address, Toure blamed freshly-armed fighters returning from Libya for attacks on military patrols outside the northeastern town of Aguelhoc, which has become a flashpoint in the struggle between the military and the rebels.

The military was “unable to enter Aguelhoc where elements of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a group of former fighters from Libya and a group of deserters from our army were well positioned,” Toure said, according to the state-run L’essor newspaper.

“The fighting was hard and we lost men, and equipment was destroyed.”

The growing insurgency is also raising concerns in Washington, which sees the small, poor nation as an important ally against AQIM, the sub-Saharan al Qaeda group.

“The situation is unpredictable and instability could spread. Private citizens have not been targeted, but the MNLA has indicated via its websites that it intends to conduct military operations across northern Mali,” the U.S. State Department said as part of a new travel warning issued last week.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland condemned the rebel attacks, saying Saturday that “the United States is deeply concerned by continuing incidents of violence.”

The influx of fighters returning from Libya has re-energized the Tuareg insurgency, which seeks to wrest control of three northern regions, according to the global intelligence firm Stratfor.

“Mali has experienced perhaps the most significant external repercussions from the downfall of the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi,” it said in a recent analysis.

Gadhafi endeared himself to Malians by funding the construction of a popular mosque in the capital Bamako, and helped pay for a Malian government complex that remains under construction.

He is also accused of backing the Tuaregs in Mali and Niger during the 1990s.

So it came as no surprise that Malian Tuaregs willingly went to Libya to fight for Gadhafi as he fought to keep hold of the reigns of his regime which crumbled in August, Libya’s new government has said.

After Gadhafi’s death in October, heavily armed Tuareg fighters began returning home and launching attacks on the Malian army, Mali’s government said.

The nomadic Tuaregs, who are considered an indigenous tribe in the region, are spread across Mali, Libya, Algeria, Niger and Burkino Faso.

In Mali, the Tuareg have long called for the creation of an independent state — and have risen up against the Malian government a number of times since the 1960s.

The latest uprising began to take root late last year but gained momentum in January when the rebels began attacking towns in northern Mali.

The Malian army clashed with rebels in the Timbuktu region last week, killing 20 people, taking a dozen prisoners and seizing vehicles and weapons, according to the country’s defense ministry. It reported no casualties on the government side.

But the rebels claim to have either attacked or seized at least six towns in recent weeks, including some in the Timbuktu region, according to its website. The claims appear to be supported by reports by the International Committee of the Red Cross that thousands have fled the region ahead of fighting.

Malians have taken to the streets in the capital city of Bamako to protest the government response to the MNLA amid rumors that the army, not the rebels, initiated the latest fighting with attacks on the Tuareg, an allegation Toure and others say is false.

The unrest has thrown Toure’s administration into turmoil. He sacked his defense and interior ministers last week, and quickly moved to meet with the wives of soldiers who were forced to flee their homes for refugee camps ahead of rebel attacks.

Toure told the families at camps outside Bamako and neighboring Kati that Malian troops did not initiate the fighting in famine-stricken Tinzawaten, which became ground zero in the latest uprising.

“Our military did not go to the north to make war but rather to deliver supplies to our troops in Tinzawaten,” he told the wives, according to state-run media.

It was after that that armed fighters attacked the towns of Menaka, Tessalit and Aguelhoc, he told the spouses, according to the report.

“There are many rumors. If we are not careful, we’ll fall into the hands of those who are attacking Mali and who want to oppose the government,” he said.

Nearly 10,000 Malians and Nigerians have fled because of the fighting, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported last week.

“Some of the refugees have been cared for by (local) villagers, but space has been absorbed very quickly,” said Jurg Eglin who heads ICRC operations in Niger and Mali.

“The shelters are sketchy. These people, many of them women and children, suffer from lack of food and especially water.”

Another 3,000 have reportedly fled to Mauritania, according to the state-run AMI news agency.