Algeria encouraged a terrorist group to carry out attacks in Western Sahara, US report unveils

Extracts from the 2013 report of the General Directorate of External Security of France revealed that Algeria had encouraged the Mokhtar Belmokhtar terrorist group to carry out attacks against Moroccan interests in Western Sahara.


Three weeks prior to the American presidential elections, President Trump threw one of his last cards to win the race. The Department of State has responded to his October 8th injunction, urging the publication of Hillary Clinton’s private server emails while she was heading the same department under the Obama administration.


One of these emails, dated January 18, 2013, was about Morocco. Sent by a certain «Sid», said email contained a summary of a report by the French General Directorate of External Security on terrorist groups operating in the Sahel, published following the abduction of the Algerian consul in Gao (Mali) and six members of his diplomatic mission in April 2012.


The document indicates that the Algerian government was «surprised and disoriented by the attack» claimed by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), a militant Islamist organization that broke off from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.


A secret understanding with Mokhtar Belmokhtar


After this operation, the report reveals that Algerian intelligence «reached a highly secret understanding with Mokhtar Belmokhtar».


Under this agreement, Algeria would have reportedly asked Belmokhtar to concentrate «his operations in Mali, and occasionally, with the encouragement of the Algerian DGSE, attack Moroccan interests in Western Sahara».


For the record, the day after the kidnapping of the Algerian diplomat in Gao, the Algerian media had pointed at a supposed «connivance» between the Kingdom and the Mujao. 


However, the deal between Belmokhtar and Algerian intelligence would have come quickly to an end. In January 2013, Belmokhtar’s followers would have taken workers in the Tiguentourine gas exploitation, near Ain Amenas in the Algerian Sahara, as hostages. Moreover, in August of the same year, they would have merged with Mujao, which Algerians accused of «rooting for Morocco», to form Al Mourabitoune.


The same email also reveals that Rabat had taken the threat Belmokhtar poses to the stability of its southern neighbor very seriously. In 2010, «the Mauritania government, with the encouragement of Morocco, attempted to negotiate a settlement with Belmokhtar that would have allowed his followers to reneter normal society. These negotiations broke down, however, in the summer of 2010 and the Belmokhtar group has continued its operational support of AQIM throughout the region».


Committing attacks in Western Sahara was also one of the objectives of the group led by the Algerian Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, which was active between the Algerian-Malian borders, the DGSE report said. This former member of AQIM was killed by the French army in March 2013, two months after the message from «Sid» to Clinton.