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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pascale Siegel on "AQIM's Playbook In Mali"

Pascale Combelles Siegel has a piece called "AQIM's Playbook in Mali" (here) in the new CTC Sentinel (here) from West Point's Combating Terrorism Center.  Siegel focuses on the document located in Mali by the Associated Press earlier this year that, as described by Siegel, was "purportedly part of a confidential letter from Abdelmalek Droukdel (also known as Abu Mus`ab `Abd al-Wadud), the amir of AQIM, to his lieutenants in the Sahara and to the Islamist militant group Ansar Eddine’s leader, Iyad ag Ghaly (also known as Shaykh Abu Fadl)." (This is the same letter I mentioned here that included criticism of the earlier cultural property destruction in Mali.)  Siegel notes:
The letter revealed a deep strategic fracture between AQIM’s leadership and its lieutenants on the ground, as Droukdel saw a military intervention as all but inevitable and therefore wanted to focus the group’s strategy on outliving it. The letter further highlighted major internal dysfunction between AQIM’s leadership and its subordinates in the Sahara. Finally, it showed a deep commitment to success and a worrisome plan for the future.
Siegel closes by stating:
As the French-led military forces retake northern Mali, Droukdel’s eight month old letter should resonate as an ominous warning as it points to a long-term strategic plan to outlive the intervention and sets the stage for a potentially successful return. Clearly, under Droukdel’s leadership, AQIM has no intention of relinquishing northern Mali.

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