Who is benefiting from recent MUJAO terrorist attacks in the Sahel? What party wants to weaken the resolve of the Touareg people and undermine the Azawadi rights to local rule in a unified Mali? To answer these questions, Western diplomats need to take a closer look at the long-term effects of the MUJAO’s military actions and the political implications of a volatile Northern Mali on the regions minorities. MUJAO and Ansar Eddine’s- another terror group active in Mali- activities in the Sahel and the Sahara serve the agenda of one power only, Algeria.
It is time for the European and the United to face up to Algeria and ask the Algerian Military to stop their proxy war against the Touareg people. Despite undeniable evidence of its support of Ansar Eddine, Paris and Washington chose to accommodate Algiers contentious agenda in the Sahel.
Weeks after the end of major hostilities in the North, the Malian government is still unstable and unable to secure the totality of its territory. MUJAO and Ansar Eddine are still battling MNLA (Mouvement national pour la libération de l'Azawad)fighters and government troops. Despite all this, France and United States have not addressed Algeria role in keeping the Malian crisis vigorous.
In fact, Algiers views strong and unified Touareg movements in the Sahel as a clear and present danger to the unity of Algeria and an impetus for the long-neglected Algerian Touareg to demand local rule in the Ahaggar. Algerian authorities perceived MNLA success as a threat to the central government fifty-year campaign of” destruction for assimilation” that targeted the Touareg’s ancestral land.
The creation of Ansar Eddine and MUJAO coincided, conveniently, with the beginning of the Touareg rebellions in Mali. These two groups, previously unheard of, took over big chunks of lands in Mali and chased MNLA seasoned fighters in record time. Observers in Bamako and Paris, who suspect that the two terror groups receive foreign covert military and intelligence assistance, believe that regional powers baited France, which was forced to protect its key installations in the Sahel, into launching a military action in Mali.
Algeria’s change of heart regarding foreign intervention in the Sahel and its alliance with France against the Touareg people did not go unnoticed by minority groups in Algeria and Mali. MNLA considers Ansar Eddine and MUJAO as Algerian cronies created to prompt Paris to act in Northern Mali where France has extensive mineral investments.
The Algeria military unwilling to intervene in Mali to fight the MNLA used its proxies to dislodge the Touareg fighters crating a de facto security situation in the ground that forced France to send its forces to protect French interests.
It is worth remembering Malian government early criticism of Algeria’s close relations with Ansar Eddine, whose leaders are currently on Algerian territory according to Agence France Press. Eve tough it assumed that Algerian interests do not meet Malian attempts to pacify the North and keep Mali unified, Bamako was furious when its early attempts to negotiate with MNLA were sabotaged by Ansar Eddine in the behest of Algiers.
MUJAO terror campaign serves no power in the region but Algeria’s long-term policy of discrediting the struggle of the Azawad people for a better life within unified democratic Mali. Algeria dubious campaign is palpable to the Touareg and the Kabylie people who are joining hands to expose the world indifference to their plights. As the international community presses certain government to grant self-role rights to their communities, Paris and Washington continue to ignore Touareg and Kabylie suffering at the hands of the Algerian Military establishment.
Algeria’s secret campaign of using terror groups to dismantle and eradicate the MNLA from Mali continues. Just last week, MNLA leadership issued a statement denouncing MUJAO unprovoked attack in Anefis. During this terrorist act, MNLA lost three fighters and killed 19 MUJAO terrorists. For the Touareg leadership, MUJAO’s targeting of MNLA fighters and not Malian or French troupes is yet another indication of the terror group’s agenda and goals.