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20 septembre 2015 7 20 /09 /septembre /2015 11:35
Militant Attack and Support Zones in Afghanistan: April - September 2015 - ISW

 

Sep 18, 2015 - Institute for the study of war
 

Taliban elements and other militant groups are conducting operations across Afghanistan, including spectacular attacks against major population centers and U.S. bases. The Haqqa­ni Network, a Taliban aligned-group, continues to pressure the ANSF and NATO forces with spectacular attacks in Kabul and Khost. Taliban elements are also conducting numerous ground assaults to seize district centers, especially in northern and southern Afghanistan. These campaigns comprised the 2015 warm weather from April 2015- September 2015. There have been several notable developments following the announcement of the death of Mullah Omar onJuly 29. First, Taliban militants have claimed control of two district cen­ters in Helmand on August II and August 26. Second, ISIS's Wilayat Khorasan have claimed control of seven district centers in Nangarhar over the course of July and September. Third, Taliban infighting has escalated as different factions compete and express varying positions on who should lead the Taliban movement.

 

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6 juillet 2015 1 06 /07 /juillet /2015 07:30
Terrorisme : la stratégie de la pieuvre

 

06/07/2015 Par Jean Guisnel - Le Point

 

Daesh a acquis une dimension que ceux qui l'ont précédé n'ont jamais approchée. Armes lourdes, recrutement, propagande. Le djihadisme 2.0 gagne du terrain.

 

Les conquêtes territoriales de l'Etat islamique feront date dans l'histoire du djihadisme. Sur le plan militaire, ce groupe a acquis une dimension que ceux qui l'ont précédé n'ont jamais approchée. La fameuse mouvance Al-Qaeda a beau avoir mené bien des actions spectaculaires, elle n'est jamais parvenue à se tailler un territoire d'une telle superficie ni à menacer des Etats dans leur existence même - ce que le groupe d'Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi est en passe de réussir en Syrie, en Irak et dans une moindre mesure en Libye.

 

Suite de l’article

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21 mars 2015 6 21 /03 /mars /2015 22:30
Al-Anad base located in Lahj province in southern Yemen (picture credit Google Maps)

Al-Anad base located in Lahj province in southern Yemen (picture credit Google Maps)

 

March 21, 2015 By Katharine Lackey, USA TODAY – Defense News

 

U.S. troops were evacuating a southern Yemen air base Saturday after al-Qaeda seized a nearby town amid growing violence in the war-torn nation, multiple media outlets reported.

 

Military forces, including Special Forces commandoes, were leaving the Al Anad air base near the southern city of al-Houta, the Associated Press and CNN reported citing unnamed officials. About 100 American troops and Special Forces members are stationed there.

 

The troops are the last American forces stationed in Yemen, CNN reported. Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch — considered the terror organization's most dangerous — seized al-Houta on Friday.

 

The evacuation comes amid growing sectarian violence in the mostly Sunni nation under assault from Shiite rebels known as the Houthis, who are the sworn enemies of the Sunni al-Qaeda terrorists.

 

On Saturday, the Houthis called for rebels to battle forces loyal to the nation's president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, AP reported. Hadi fled to a southern port city of Aden last month after being placed under house arrest by the Houthis and remains the country's internationally recognized president.

 

The call to arms came shortly after Hadi gave a defiant speech, where he declared Aden a "temporary capital" and challenged the rebels to stop tricking the nation's residents in his first address since he fled, AP reported.

 

The Houthis, backed by Iran's Shiite government, took over the capital in September. The rebels control at least nine of Yemen's 21 provinces. They've seized parts of the U.S.-backed government, threatening a key American anti-terrorism partner in the region.

 

The Pentagon has targeted members of al-Qaeda's Yemen branch with drone strikes and supported Yemen's armed forces in their fight against the militants. The base being evacuated Saturday houses American and European military advisors, AP reported.

 

Diplomats from the United States and several European nations fled Yemen in February amid embassy closures resulting from deteriorating security conditions.

 

In the past week, violence in the country has only grown. On Friday, 137 were killed and 357 were wounded after four suicide bombers targeted two Shiite mosques in Yemen's capital of Sanaa, located more than 200 miles north of al-Houta. It was one of the deadliest attacks in the nation's history.

 

A group claiming to be a Yemeni branch of the Islamic State, composed of Sunni extremists who are rivals of al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for Friday's bombings. The claim could not be verified, but would mark the first attack by the group in Yemen if confirmed.

 

However, officials in Washington raised doubts as to whether the Islamic State even has the operational capability to carry out such an attack in the country.

 

Fighting in southern Yemen has also ticked up. The international airport in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden was forced to close Thursday when forces loyal to Yemen's former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, waged a gunbattle with security forces loyal to Hadi. That incident left 13 people dead.

 

On Friday, the State Department condemned the violence, including airstrikes that targeted the presidential palace in Aden.

 

"We call upon all Yemeni parties to return in good faith to a political dialogue to resolve their differences," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement. "Political instability threatens the well-being of all Yemenis and denies them the opportunity to live in safety, peace and prosperity."

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 14:45
photo EMA

photo EMA

 

09 March 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

France and Mali have agreed to new measures to reinforce security in Mali in the wake of an attack that killed five people at a restaurant in Bamako, the French presidency said in a statement on Saturday.

 

"The two presidents decided common measures to reinforce security in Mali," the statement said after French President Francois Hollande spoke to his Malian counterpart.

 

It did not specify how the measures would be strengthened.

 

France has more than 3,000 troops in West Africa as part of a counter-insurgency force targeting al-Qaeda linked militants.

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7 mars 2015 6 07 /03 /mars /2015 22:45
credits Carnegie Endowment

credits Carnegie Endowment

Recent attacks in Libya by the so-called Islamic State, including the brutal slaughter of Egyptian Copts, the Corinthia Hotel attacks, car bombings in Qubbah that killed at least 45 people, and an attack on the Iranian embassy, have brought the spread of extremism in Libya to the forefront. While the Islamic State has intensified its activity in recent weeks, its spread into Libya began early in 2014 as Libyan jihadists began to return from Syria.

Jihadi groups in Libya were already deeply fragmented and localized, but the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in 2013 and 2014 sparked new debates, eventually dividing the Libyan jihadis between supporters of the Islamic State and supporters of al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates—mainly al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North Africa and the Nusra Front in Syria.

 

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7 mars 2015 6 07 /03 /mars /2015 21:45
Nigeria's Boko Haram pledges allegiance to Islamic State

The audio message is believed to be by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

 

7 March 2015 BBC Africa

 

Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), according to an audio statement.

 

The message, which was not verified, was posted on Boko Haram's Twitter account and appeared to be by the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau. Boko Haram began a military campaign to impose Islamic rule in northern Nigeria in 2009. The conflict has since spread to neighbouring states. It would be the latest in a series of groups to swear allegiance to IS. In the past Boko Haram is thought to have had links with al-Qaeda. IS took control of large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq last year. The group aims to establish a "caliphate", a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law, or Sharia. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is known to his followers as Caliph Ibrahim. In the audio message posted on Saturday, the Boko Haram leader purportedly said: "We announce our allegiance to the Caliph... and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity."

 

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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
Japan and the ‘Counter-Pivot’

 

By

 

With the U.S. increasingly engaged elsewhere, should Japan do more for regional security itself?

 

The U.S. pivot (or rebalance) towards Asia is America’s “I’m back” moment and a warning to China (to paraphrase The Terminator’s “I’ll be back” message). For Japanese who fear Chinese expansionism it is a welcome development. But there is now a risk of a counter-pivot. A full-scale war with Russia is unlikely. But the invasion of Ukraine, combined with European disunity, vacillation, and weakness, ensures that Washington will focus more on NATO’s eastern borders in the coming months and probably years.

 

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* Robert Dujarric is Director, Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan, robertdujarric@gmail.com

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15 février 2015 7 15 /02 /février /2015 12:35
Islamic State Goes Official in South Asia

 

05 February 2015 Pacific Sentinel
 

Although its prospects in the region are likely limited, IS could bring further death and destruction to South Asia.

 

The group that describes itself as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) has formally entered the fray in South Asia, recently announcing the formation of a wilayah(province) in the region.

IS is positioning itself as a competitor to the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda in South Asia. It is unlikely to supplant the two groups. Still, the establishment of a wilayah in the region raises the risk of an increase in sectarian attacks not just against Shias in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also against fellow Sunnis. It may also complicate the Kabul government’s efforts at reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban and give IS an opportunity to use the region to attack Shia Iran.

On January 26, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the IS spokesman, officially recognized the wilayah of Khurasan – a region that encompasses Afghanistan, much (if not all) of Pakistan, and parts of neighboring countries. IS commanders in Khurasan control little terrain, and so the wilyah is more notional than physical. But, importantly, IS has formed a single group operating on both sides of the Durand Line. In contrast, al-Qaeda has largely worked through Taliban groups operating separately in Afghanistan and Pakistan. IS has yet to identify the boundaries of Khurasan, and so it’s unclear whether this wilayah includes all of Pakistan, or whether the provinces of Punjab and Sindh fall outside of its orbit.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

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3 février 2015 2 03 /02 /février /2015 21:30
Islamic State builds on al-Qaeda lands

 

30 January 2015 Analysis by BBC Monitoring

 

The Islamic State (IS) group has forged links with militants across North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, embracing regional franchises that have pledged allegiance to the group.

 

The latest branch was announced in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, on 26 January. The first new branches beyond the group's strongholds in Syria and Iraq were announced by IS leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi in November when he accepted pledges of allegiance from jihadists in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Some of those pledges came from existing groups which went on to re-brand themselves as new IS "provinces", or wilayat, such as the Egyptian Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and Algeria's Jund al-Khilafah. The most prolific branches have been those in Libya and Egypt, which have tapped into the IS media network to publish a steady flow of propaganda, highlighting attacks and publicising their attempts at governance. Others have maintained a shadowy presence. For example, the IS Yemeni and Saudi provinces have yet to claim any activities or establish propaganda channels. But the impact of the IS expansion has nevertheless been felt by its jihadist rivals in al-Qaeda, which has branches in many of the areas IS has moved into.

 

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20 janvier 2015 2 20 /01 /janvier /2015 17:45
Djihadistes. La carte de la menace

 

20 Janvier par Bruno Ripoche – Ouest France

 

Treize ans après les attentats du 11 septembre, Oussama Ben Laden est mort et al-Qaida affaibli. Mais personne ne peut crier victoire, car le groupe a fait des émules.

 

Al-Qaida (central)

Création : 1991. Chef : Ayman al-Zawahiri. Implantation : nord-ouest du Pakistan. Force : résiduelle.

Al-Qaida (la Base) est le réseau formé autour d'Oussama Ben Laden par les djihadistes internationaux que le Saoudien avait entraînés pour lutter contre les Soviétiques en Afghanistan (1979-1989). En 1991, après l'invasion du Koweït, Ben Laden offre de protéger les monarchies du Golfe contre Saddam Hussein. L'Arabie Saoudite l'éconduit, lui préférant des troupes américaines. Une présence « impie » pour Ben Laden, qui dès lors porte le combat contre l'Occident. Il culminera avec les attentats du 11 septembre 2001. Ben Laden mort, al-Qaida chassée de son sanctuaire afghan, la « base » est affaiblie, mais a essaimé.

 

Al-Qaida péninsule arabique

Création : 2009. Chef : Nasser al-Wuhaiyshi. Implantation : sud du Yémen. Force : un millier d'hommes.

Aqpa est née du regroupement, dans les montagnes du Yémen, de vétérans locaux du djihad en Afghanistan, rejoints par les rescapés de la répression qui suivit la campagne d'attentats de 2004 en Arabie Saoudite. En 2011, ils profitent de la révolte contre le président Saleh, et se taillent un fief dans le sud. Sous l'impulsion de l'Américano-yéménite Anwar al-Awlaki, tué en 2011 par un drone, Aqpa redonne priorité à la guerre contre l'Occident : elle recrute et forme des radicaux aux États-Unis et en Europe, comme les tueurs de Charlie Hebdo.

 

Al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique

Création : 2007. Chef : Abdelmalek Droukdel. Implantation : Algérie, nord du Mali et du Niger, sud de la Libye. Force : 1 500 hommes.

Aqmi est la réincarnation du GSPC, le Groupe salafiste pour la prédication et le combat algérien, qui a prêté allégeance à al-Qaida, fin 2006, alors qu'il végétait, vivant du trafic de drogue sur la frontière malienne et d'enlèvements au Sahel. En 2012, une alliance des islamistes et des Touaregs s'empare de la moitié nord du Mali, avant d'être refoulée par l'armée française. Affaiblie, mais bénéficiant d'une base arrière en Libye, livrée au chaos depuis la chute de Kadhafi, Aqmi reste une menace, y compris pour la France.

 

Daesh

Création : 2013. Chef : Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Implantation : ouest de l'Irak, nord-est de la Syrie. Force : plus de 10 000 hommes.

L'État islamique (EI ou Daesh en arabe) émane de la « filiale » irakienne d'al-Qaida, rébellion sunnite contre l'occupation américaine en Irak, dirigée par l'islamiste jordanien Abou Moussab al Zarkaoui, tué en 2007. Son actuel chef, Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi, a tiré profit du chaos en Syrie pour y prendre pied. En avril 2013, ses partisans évinçaient les modérés de Raqqa, première ville syrienne conquise par l'opposition à Bachar al-Assad. Un an plus tard, renforcés par un afflux de djihadistes internationaux, ils reviennent en force en Irak, s'emparent de Mossoul et Bagdadhi se proclame caliphe d'un État islamique à cheval sur les deux pays, et prétend diriger le monde musulman.

 

Talibans

Création : 1994. Chef : mollah Omar. Implantation : sud de l'Afghanistan, est du Pakistan. Force : plusieurs milliers d'hommes.

Chassés de Kaboul par l'intervention occidentale qui suivit les attentats du 11 septembre, les talibans n'ont jamais disparu. Repliés dans le sud et l'est pachtoune du pays, ils ont attendu leur heure - le retrait de l'Otan en décembre 2014 - et l'on verra, à la fonte des neiges, s'ils repartent à l'assaut de Kaboul. Rien n'indique qu'ils prendraient le risque d'héberger, de nouveau, des djihadistes internationaux. De l'autre côté de la frontière, le Mouvement des talibans pakistanais, né en 2007 dans les zones tribales, protège ce qu'il reste d'al-Qaida, et mène une sanglante campagne contre le pouvoir d'Islamabad.

 

Boko Haram

Création : 2002. Chef : Abubakar Shekau. Implantation : nord du Nigeria. Force : plusieurs milliers de combattants.

Après la fin du régime militaire, en 1999, le prédicateur Mohamed Yusuf, un émule nigérian des talibans afghans, part en croisade contre l'influence occidentale - Boko Haram signifie, littéralement, « l'éducation occidentale est un péché ». Il est capturé en 2009 et sommairement exécuté. Ses successeurs déclarent une guerre totale à l'État, en vue d'instaurer l'ordre islamique dans le nord musulman. Les attentats sanglants se multiplient, contre les églises, les écoles, l'armée. Cette violence a fait plus de 5 000 victimes en 2014.

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16 janvier 2015 5 16 /01 /janvier /2015 17:30
Can ISIL be copied?

 

16 January 2015 Florence Gaub Brief - No1 -  EUISS

 

While al-Qaeda made a frightening return with its attack in Paris last week, 2014 was very much marked by a different, yet equally menacing form of terror: the rapid ascent of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant organisation, known as ISIL or ISIS (Daech in Arabic). Now running a proto-state, ISIL has been elevated from a mere terrorist group to something far more ambitious. Whereas al-Qaeda and its outlets conduct terrorist attacks as trained commandos with pre-identified, high-profile targets, ISIL encourages suicide bombings and ‘lone wolf’ actions, as also the two Paris attacks (however coordinated) showed.

Yet ISIL’s aspirations to forge a state based on extremist interpretations of Islam run even higher. A key question therefore is not only whether ISIL can be contained but can other groups replicate its achievements?

 

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4 octobre 2014 6 04 /10 /octobre /2014 20:45
Somalia's al-Shabab 'withdrawing from key Barawe base'

 

3 October 2014 BBC Africa

 

Al-Qaeda-aligned militants are withdrawing from their last major stronghold on Somalia's southern coast, residents in Barawe have told the BBC.

 

They said that al-Shabab battle-wagons loaded with their weapons had been leaving since the morning. African Union forces and Somali government troops have been closing in on the town - an official says they are about 20km (12 miles) away. Barawe is in a strategic position 200km south of the capital.

 

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8 septembre 2014 1 08 /09 /septembre /2014 12:50
More defence cuts would be irresponsible

General Sir Peter Wall, the Chief of the General Staff, said a 'resurgent' Taliban and al-Qaeda could see combat troops being redeployed in Afghanistan - photo EMA

 

08 Sep 2014 By Con Coughlin

 

The head of the Army is retiring with a warning to the Government. He talks exclusively to Con Coughlin

 

In an Army career spanning 41 years, General Sir Peter Wall has seen his fair share of modern conflict. When he passed out from Sandhurst as a young officer in the Royal Engineers, the threats facing Britain ranged from the Cold War stand-off with Moscow to the bitter struggle with the IRA. Now, as he retires from a career that has seen him rise to the Army’s highest position as Chief of the General Staff, Sir Peter cannot help but reflect on the similar types of threats Britain faces today.

 

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11 août 2014 1 11 /08 /août /2014 21:30
Drones Join Fighter Jets in Striking Targets in Iraq

 

August 11, 2014 by Brendan McGarry - defensetech.org

 

The U.S. military has turned to drones to help launch airstrikes against Islamic militants in northern Iraq.

 

The Defense Department acknowledged early on that aerial drones, known as remotely piloted aircraft in military speak, would be part of the effort to gather intelligence on and, if necessary, bomb militants with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the al-Qaeda inspired Islamic group that controls much of the northern part of the country.

 

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10 août 2014 7 10 /08 /août /2014 16:25
France bombs Islamists in north Mali

 

10 August 2014 at 14:27 GMT BBC Africa

 

French forces have bombed Islamist militant positions in northern Mali.

 

Four or five bombs were dropped in the Esssakane region, west of the city of Timbuktu on Sunday morning, the BBC's Alex Duval Smith in Mali reports.

 

The UN has said al-Qaeda militants were active in the area. Last month Timbuktu airport came under rocket attack.

 

France intervened in Mali in January last year to try to drive out al-Qaeda-linked groups, which had taken over the north of the country.

 

Last month the French government said it was setting up a new military operation to stop the emergence of jihadist groups in the Sahel region of Africa.

 

Both ethnic Tuareg separatists and al-Qaeda-linked militants are operating in northern Mali.

 

Tuareg rebels agreed a ceasefire with Mali's government in May, and the two have been holding peace talks in Algeria.

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16 juillet 2014 3 16 /07 /juillet /2014 16:30
AQIM network - source criticalthreats.org March 2014

AQIM network - source criticalthreats.org March 2014

 

15 juillet 2014 liberation.fr

 

La branche maghrébine du groupe islamiste dénonce l'absence de consultations des autres mouvements djihadistes dans la création de cette entité.

 

Al-Qaeda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) a rejeté la récente annonce par l’Etat islamique (EI), un groupe ultra-radical sunnite, d’un califat à cheval entre l’Irak et la Syrie, a rapporté mardi le centre américain de surveillance des sites islamistes SITE.

Dans un communiqué, Aqmi, l’une des branches les plus dangereuses d’Al-Qaeda, renouvelle en outre son allégeance au chef du réseau extrémiste, Ayman al-Zawahiri, en conflit ouvert avec le chef de l’EI, Abou Bakr Al-Baghdadi, qui s’est proclamé calife des musulmans dans le monde. Aqmi s’en prend à l’EI pour avoir proclamé son califat «sans consultation avec les chefs des moujahidines», en référence aux groupes jihadistes, et lui demande quel sort il réserve aux émirats autoproclamés, dont «l’émirat islamique en Afghanistan» et «l’émirat islamique du Caucase» ou aux branches d’Al-Qaeda et autres groupes jihadistes.

 

Suite de l’article

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17 mai 2014 6 17 /05 /mai /2014 19:45
Boko Haram a "des liens avec Aqmi" selon l’Elysée

 

17/05/2014 Par Le Figaro.fr avec AFP/Reuters

 

François Hollande a affirmé aujourd'hui lors d'un mini-sommet africain sur la sécurité régionale que le groupe islamiste Boko Haram était devenu "une menace pour l'ensemble de l'Afrique de l'Ouest et maintenant pour l'Afrique centrale avec des liens établis avec Aqmi et d'autres organisations terroristes".

 

"Nous connaissons la menace", a dit Hollande en mentionnant que l'Europe était une cible.

 

"Nous sommes ici pour déclarer la guerre à Boko Haram", a résumé le président camerounais Paul Biya.

 

Le président français réunissait les chefs d'Etat du Nigeria, du Niger, du Cameroun, du Tchad et du Bénin un mois après l'enlèvement de plus de 200 lycéennes par Boko Haram au Nigéria. Les Etats-Unis, la Grande Bretagne et l'Union européenne ont aussi été conviés à ce sommet.

 

François Hollande a également appelé à mettre en oeuvre un "plan global" visant "à échanger les informations, à coordonner les actions, à controler les frontières".

 

Boko Haram "doit être vaincu par les pays de la région avec notre soutien", avait déclaré avant l'ouverture du sommet le chef de la diplomatie britannique William Hague.

 

L'enlèvement massif le 14 avril dernier des 223 lycéennes à Chibok, dans l'Etat de Borno, et les vidéos terrifiantes du chef de Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, menaçant de marier de force les jeunes femmes ou d'en faire des esclaves, ont suscité un mouvement d'indignation mondiale et braqué les projecteurs sur une violence jusqu'alors peu médiatisée.

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12 mai 2014 1 12 /05 /mai /2014 11:35
photo ISAF

photo ISAF

 

 

11/05/2014 Nicolas Ropert, avec Charles Haquet  - lexpress.fr

 

Longtemps moqués pour leur amateurisme, les militaires afghans impressionnent désormais par leur aplomb et leur ténacité. Au point que certains s'interrogent, à l'approche du second tour de la présidentielle, en juin : leur popularité risque-t-elle de faire de l'ombre au pouvoir civil ?

 

Dans la province orientale du Nangarhar, frontalière du Pakistan, le long convoi s'ébranle vers le sud. Une cinquantaine de pick-up Ford aux couleurs de l'armée nationale afghane (ANA), progresse dans cette base arrière des talibans. La veille, le général de brigade Dadan Lawang a assigné leur mission à ses 250 soldats : "Défendre l'Afghanistan contre les ennemis qui détruisent nos mosquées et brûlent nos écoles."

Il est rare que l'armée autorise un reporter étranger à suivre une opération. C'est l'occasion, peut-être, de répondre à une question qui, en ces temps d'élections, taraude tous les observateurs de la vie afghane : après le départ des troupes américaines, à la fin de 2014, l'armée nationale sera-t-elle capable de tenir tête aux talibans? La guérilla de ces soi-disant islamistes n'a jamais cessé depuis la chute du régime du mollah Omar et la fuite de ses alliés d'Al-Qaeda, dans les derniers mois de 2001. 

 

Le soir, des fonctionnaires deviennent talibans

"Les zones que nous allons traverser sont acquises aux extrémistes, explique le sergent Tarooz, dans sa voiture blindée. Ils vont se manifester, c'est sûr." S'il vient tout juste de rejoindre les rangs de l'armée afghane, l'officier est un habitué des opérations à risques. Trois ans durant, il a été employé comme traducteur auprès des forces américaines, dans le sud du pays. Il sait que la plupart des soldats, comme les talibans eux-mêmes, est issu de l'ethnie pachtoune, majoritaire dans le pays. 

Face à nous, les sommets enneigés de Tora Bora dominent l'horizon. Oussama ben Laden aurait trouvé refuge ici, dans les jours qui ont suivi la fuite des talibans de Kaboul. Bombardé par les avions américains, traqué par les troupes d'élite de Washington, le chef d'Al-Qaeda a pu fuir cette forteresse inexpugnable sans être inquiété (1). 

Après plusieurs heures de route, une détonation sourde couvre le bruit des moteurs. Une épaisse fumée noire s'élève dans le ciel, à l'avant de la colonne : les démineurs ont fait sauter une bombe radiocommandée. Un cratère de 1 mètre de diamètre montre la puissance de la charge. "Si nous ne l'avions pas détectée, les insurgés l'auraient déclenchée par téléphone à notre passage, affirme le lieutenant Feroz. Ces lâches n'ont pas les moyens de nous affronter en face, alors ils posent des mines qui tuent des civils. Ce ne sont pas de bons musulmans." Depuis le début de l'insurrection, ces engins auraient tué près de 3000 civils afghans, selon l'Organisation des Nations unies. 

Une vieille Toyota grise, qui tente de se faufiler entre les véhicules militaires, est arrêtée par des soldats. Le père de famille, vêtu d'un shalwar kamiz, l'habit traditionnel afghan, blanc cassé, sort craintivement de la voiture. Le sergent Ahmad Qais, tee-shirt marron sous son gilet pare-balles, effectue une fouille au corps minutieuse, puis lâche : "C'est bon, vous pouvez repartir." L'automobiliste ne demande pas son reste : il est déconseillé, dans la région, de sembler fraterniser avec des militaires afghans. Sans trop d'illusions, le sergent Qais cale son fusil-mitrailleur sur son épaule et remonte dans son pick-up. Par ici, il n'est pas rare que les fonctionnaires du gouvernement se transforment, à la nuit tombée, en talibans... 

 

Des embuscades sanctionnées par un déluge de feu

A l'heure où le soleil commence à disparaître derrière les montagnes, les véhicules parviennent enfin au district de Sherzad. Pour en arriver là, il aura fallu désamorcer six bombes, sur cette route désertique, bordée de champs verdoyants - du pavot. C'est dans ces petites fleurs blanches bourgeonnantes, dont la résine sert à fabriquer l'opium, que les talibans puisent leur force : une bonne part du financement de l'insurrection provient du trafic de drogue. 

L'Afghanistan est le premier producteur d'opium, et concentre 90% du marché mondial. Dans ce district, où les champs de pavot colonisent de vastes étendues jusqu'au bord des routes, les militaires semblent indifférents. "Cette année, nous n'avons pas reçu l'ordre de lancer de campagne d'éradication", confie le général de brigade Dadan Lawang, avant d'ajouter, "à titre personnel", que des destructions massives auraient permis d'affaiblir les talibans. Pour autant, tenter d'éradiquer cette culture risquerait de déstabiliser toute la région et de pousser davantage de paysans dans les bras des talibans. Un hectare de pavot rapporte, selon la Banque mondiale, entre 8 et 20 fois plus que 1 hectare de blé. Une réalité implacable, que les millions de dollars investis par les Occidentaux dans des programmes antidrogue n'ont jamais gommée. 

 

Les militaires afghans plus forts que jamais

Soudain, des tirs en rafales éclatent. Les talibans sont en face, sur le flanc de la colline. Le sergent Qais fait poser les mortiers sur le sol. Pendant plus de deux heures, l'artillerie afghane déchaîne un déluge de feu. La précision n'est pas de mise, mais peu importe. "Nous n'avons subi aucun dommage et infligé de lourdes pertes à l'ennemi", fanfaronne, après l'assaut, le colonel Shirin Agha, porte-parole de l'armée, qui accompagne cette mission. De telles embuscades, la brigade en essuiera trois en deux jours. Et toujours, le même constat : les militaires sont confrontés à des talibans peu nombreux, manifestement incapables d'affronter une armée nationale bien préparée et bien équipée, même si la riposte de celle-ci se révèle, chaque fois, aveugle et disproportionnée. 

Politiques, diplomates et militaires se sont longtemps interrogés sur la capacité de l'armée afghane de prendre le relais des forces de l'Otan. Or non seulement l'institution en paraît tout à fait capable, mais certains se demandent même si les militaires afghans ne seraient pas devenus trop puissants... Certes, il aura fallu, durant cette opération, un appui aérien américain pour faire cesser les tirs des insurgés. Certes, les Afghans ont, à plusieurs reprises, appelé les forces spéciales américaines en renfort pour débusquer les francs-tireurs. Il n'empêche : les militaires afghans sont plus forts qu'ils ne l'ont jamais été. 

D'abord, ils sont nombreux: 350000, en incluant toutes les forces de police. Préparée durant plus d'une décennie par les Etats-Unis, qui ont investi plus de 60 milliards de dollars dans sa formation, l'armée afghane est, par ailleurs, bien entraînée. En déployant 190000 hommes dans les jours précédant le premier tour de l'élection présidentielle, le 5 avril, n'a-t-elle pas montré qu'elle avait les capacités de repousser les talibans? Ces derniers n'ont pas réussi à perturber le scrutin, comme ils l'avaient pourtant annoncé. Alliés objectifs du Pakistan voisin, qui leur a longtemps offert un sanctuaire dans la zone frontalière, les partisans armés du djihad apparaissent désunis, à l'image du régime d'Islamabad lui-même, où civils et militaires se disputent ouvertement sur de nombreux sujets. 

Comme souvent tout au long de l'histoire de l'Afghanistan, le destin de ce territoire enclavé, aux confins de l'ex-Union soviétique, de l'Iran, de la Chine et du Pakistan, semble dépendre de forces étrangères qui l'ont placé au centre d'un "grand jeu". Or le "joueur" américain, pour l'heure, déploie largement plus de moyens que les autres... Au début de mars, le Pentagone a annoncé qu'il comptait consacrer, en 2015, plus de 79 milliards de dollars au conflit afghan et à la lutte contre le terrorisme dans ce pays.  

De toute évidence, le prochain président - qu'il s'agisse de l'ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères Abdullah Abdullah, en tête du scrutin, ou de l'économiste Ashraf Ghani - signera l'accord bilatéral de sécurité avec Washington. Celui-ci fixe les modalités d'une présence militaire américaine après le départ des 50000 soldats de l'Otan. Or, si les soldats américains continuent d'épauler leurs homologues afghans, comme ils le font jusqu'à présent, il y a peu de chances que ceux-ci se fassent balayer par une insurrection talibane. 

Vingt ans après la guerre civile, qui marqua la lente dissolution du pouvoir central et ouvrit la voie à l'instauration du régime taliban, l'armée est désormais l'une des rares institutions nationales en bon état de marche. Trop, peut-être ? Foreign Affairs, une revue américaine de politique internationale qui fait autorité, soulignait, il y a peu, que les militaires afghans risquent de prendre goût à leur force retrouvée et à la sympathie qu'ils suscitent (2). Une étude conduite en 2013 par l'ONG Asia Foundation montre que la population considère à 93 % que son armée est "honnête et juste", tandis que 1 Afghan sur 2 seulement fait confiance au Parlement de Kaboul et à l'action menée par le gouvernement. Peut-il en être autrement dans un pays qui serait l'un des trois plus corrompus du monde, selon le classement de l'ONG Transparency International ? 

 

Un équilibre entre Tadjiks et Pachtouns

Depuis l'invasion soviétique, en décembre 1979, le peuple afghan a connu, au fil des ans, l'occupation militaire et le djihad, une guerre civile sanglante et destructrice puis la dictature aveugle de radicaux extrémistes, avant de se voir soumis aux soldats de l'Otan et aux foucades de Hamid Karzaï, le président sortant, aux prises avec la guérilla talibane. Nul doute que la société civile, ou ce qu'il en reste, applaudirait l'instauration d'un régime militaire et la promesse de stabilité qu'il représenterait à court terme. Mais la lune de miel ne durerait pas. Car l'armée, comme le souligne Foreign Affairs, est équitablement répartie entre les ethnies tadjike et pachtoune. Des officiers formés par les Soviétiques y côtoient d'anciens moudjahidin et des soldats, souvent plus jeunes, entraînés par les Américains. En cas de coup d'Etat, ces forces se neutraliseraient. 

Voilà pourquoi, au pied des montagnes du Nangarhar, la détermination des militaires impressionne. Ces derniers l'ignorent sans doute, mais l'armée révèle au grand jour le meilleur atout de l'Afghanistan : les Afghans eux-mêmes. 

 

(1) Un rapport du Sénat américain décrit en détail cet épisode à la manière d'un roman d'aventures (en anglais) : "Tora Bora Revisited: How We Failed to Get Bin Laden and Why it Matters Today" (www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Tora-Bora-Report.pdf). 

(2) "Afghan's Coming Coup?", par Paul D. Miller, www.foreignaffairs.com 

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19 janvier 2014 7 19 /01 /janvier /2014 20:45
Al-Qaeda gains haven in Libyan desert

 

19 January 2014 alarabiya.net (AP)

 

Swathed in a white turban and robes, Eissa Abdel Majid sits in his militia barracks on the edge of the desert describing a losing battle to stem the flow of armed militants with suspected links to al-Qaeda - who use it as a freeway across northern Africa.

 

 

He says he's fed up with trying to guard borders and oil installations in a power vacuum left by the fall of Moammar Qaddafi: "They are getting weapons and building their strength," he says, "because the government is weak."

 

In the rocky mountains and dune-covered wastes of southwestern Libya, al-Qaeda's North African branch has established a haven after French and West African forces drove them out of their fledgling Islamic state in northern Mali a year ago. Now, according to interviews with local soldiers, residents, officials and Western diplomats, it is restocking weapons and mining disaffected minorities for new recruits as it prepares to relaunch attacks.

 

It's an al-Qaeda pattern seen around the world, in hot spots such as Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and increasingly here in North Africa: seemingly defeated, the terror network only retreats to remote areas, regroups and eventually bounces back - pointing to the extreme difficulties involved in stamping out the threat.

 

Mohmamad, an officer in the Libyan army based in Ubari - the last major town in the south before the Saharan sands reach the borders of Niger and Algeria - said that his soldiers frequently run into SUVs filled with armed bearded men from Mali, Algeria and Libya coming here to buy weapons and supplies.

 

"There are occasional clashes with them but their forces are stronger than ours," said the officer who wore surplus U.S.-style digital camouflage with Libyan army patches sewed on. He asked that his last name not be used for fear of being targeted by jihadists. Momhamad said many people in Ubari are active sympathizers or at least trade with these militants, whom he described as linked to al-Qaeda.

 

"Most people know who they are but without a central government, you can't really do anything," he said. "We can do little on the borders and sometimes we just let them through."

 

U.S. officials have confirmed the existence of al-Qaeda-linked camps in southwest Libya, and a U.N. official based in Sebha, Libya's main southern city, described the extremist group as being "all around" the area. A high-level Algerian army officer based in the Saharan city of Tamanrasset also confirmed al-Qaeda's presence in Libya and said his forces were remaining vigilant along the Mali border despite plans for a new African force once the French pull out.

 

From desert bases, experts and Western officials say, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is building up links with like-minded jihadists in northern Libya, especially in eastern coastal cities such as Derna and Benghazi, as well as militant groups in Nigeria, and preparing for new attacks on Western targets.

 

One prominent Morocco-based al-Qaeda expert, who has interviewed former and current leaders of AQIM in Mauritania, said there are even signs the group is preparing to recapture lost territory northern Mali once the French leave.

 

"The strategy that people told me in Mauritania was that they always withdraw to Libya where they can hide and wait for the French to leave," said Djalil Lounnas, an Algerian researcher at the University of Montreal's Center for International Peace and Security Studies.

 

The growing al-Qaeda presence in southern Libya has raised concerns in the West, with one British official describing the security situation in the region as potentially more dangerous than before the French intervened. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly about security matters. Since the French intervention in Mali, at least two deadly attacks on Western targets in nearby Niger were launched from southern Libya.

 

While the al-Qaeda militants move throughout this desert region, their camps are mostly hidden in the valleys of the Akkakush mountains north of the town of Ghat, on Libya's border with Algeria, said Claudia Gazzini, the Libya-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, who based her information on Tuareg military commanders based there.

 

The Tuareg are a nomadic desert people spread across the Sahara throughout Mali, Niger, Libya, Algeria and Mauritania. With no state of their own, they have mounted revolts for independence numerous times over the past decades. While their rootlessness and grievances make them receptive to al-Qaeda's message, their deep knowledge of the terrain make them an invaluable resource for a terror network seeking to rebuild in hiding.

 

In a Sebha slum filled with thousands of displaced Tuareg, members of the nomadic people say al-Qaeda often provides the best shot at a decent future.

 

"We have seen (Tuareg) go up to eastern Libya and return with beards, Islamic-style outfits and talking about religion - they pay money so anything is possible," said Abdallah Sherif, a Tuareg doctor and social worker, who said he has witnessed al-Qaeda recruiting attempts first hand.

 

Next to him, Ali Suleiman, a Tuareg who says he fought for an independent state in northern Mali last year, speaks of despair in the slums: "If you leave someone in such conditions," he said, "they will join extremist groups like al-Qaeda or become drug smugglers."

 

In a November conference on border security in this desert region, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said disenfranchised groups like the Tuareg have to be helped economically in order to reduce the incentive for them to become al-Qaeda allies. "In Libya we need to involve the minorities living across the borders and they need to have legal status," he said. "This calls for the economic development of the region."

 

Intermarrying with the Tuareg has given al-Qaeda the support of these tribal people and allowed them to move quickly across Africa through the desert.

 

"Some members of the Tuareg community are acting as support staff, bringing food and water into these valleys," Gazzini said, noting that the same region once supported a desert safari industry. "It's the same setup as when the tourists were in these areas."

 

According to the men guarding the borders and patrolling the desert, al-Qaeda militants take their four wheel drive vehicles east across the country and then north up to Benghazi and Derna - the intellectual heart of Libya's jihadism.

 

It was in Libya's coastal areas that the anti-Qaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in the 1990s, some of whose members later joined al-Qaida, while others became part of the new Libyan government. It's also the home of the Ansar al-Shariah movement that has been linked to the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other diplomats last year.

 

While al-Qaeda seeks new friends in southern Libya, it is also exploiting enmities between the area's dominant Arab tribes - who long controlled the region - and the Tuareg and Tabu peoples who have created their own militias since Gadhafi's fall.

 

In Sebha, there are already 27 militias vying for power, leaving little hope for any concerted push against al-Qaeda. Pitched battles have flared several times in the last year, especially between the Tabu and Arab tribes.

 

Al-Qaeda has developed ties with several different militias and keeps a low profile while the different factions clash, several militia leaders and smugglers told AP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

 

It's a situation that allows al-Qaeda to operate at will: Abdel Majid, the militia leader in Sebha, describes witnessing a constant flow of jihadists between Ubari and Derna.

 

"Arabs from Derna came down to join the battle in Mali and then headed back in the other direction," he said.

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10 janvier 2014 5 10 /01 /janvier /2014 08:45
Algerian jihadist remains serious threat: US general

 

Washington Jan 09, 2014 Spacewar.com (AFP)

 

The elusive jihadist who staged a deadly siege of an Algerian gas plant a year ago, Moktar Belmokhtar, has the means to stage a similar attack, a top US general said Thursday.

 

Belmokhtar was the mastermind behind an assault on a remote gas facility near In Amenas on January 16 last year that left 38 hostages dead, following a three-day siege and rescue attempt.

 

"We still believe he has the capability to do another attack like In Amenas," General David Rodriguez, head of the US Africa Command, told reporters.

 

The United States in December designated Belmokhtar's group, "Signatories in Blood," as a terrorist organization, and the State Department is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to the Algerian's capture.

 

The one-eyed Islamist is the former leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and is also believed to be behind twin car bombings in Niger in May that left at least 20 people dead.

 

Belmokhtar is "in the middle of the Sahel," exploiting the porous borders and isolated terrain between southwest Libya and northeastern Mali, according to Rodriguez.

 

He said the US government was trying to help Libya and other countries in the region bolster security and counter the threat posed by extremists.

 

"We're working with Libya to start to improve their effort to handle their security," the four-star general said.

 

"We're also working with the French at the opposite end of that challenge in Mali where we continue to provide airlift and intelligence support to their efforts there," he said.

 

The Algeria siege by Belmokhtar's group was said to have been carried out in retaliation for France's military intervention against Islamist militants in Mali.

 

The US general also said Washington was encouraging governments in Niger and Chad "to help limit freedom of movement" for Islamist militants.

 

To assist Tripoli control its borders and improve security, the US military is preparing to conduct a 24-week training course for "5,000 to 8,000" Libyan forces, with tentative plans to launch the effort in mid-2014, he said.

 

The training project is part of a NATO mission approved last year, with Britain, Italy, Turkey and Morrocco also taking part.

 

But logistical and financial hurdles have delayed the effort, and Libyan authorities have struggled to provide a sufficient number of recruits for the training, Rodriguez said.

 

Turkish trainers "didn't get nearly as many recruits as they wanted" for the program, he said.

 

Libya's new government is struggling to restore order and build up a professional police force and army in a country awash with weapons and well-armed militias since the overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 13:45
Une opération française menée dans le désert malien

 

14 novembre 2013 Liberation.fr (AFP)

 

Des armes ont été saisies et des membres d'Al-Qaeda «neutralisés» dans les environs de Tessalit, selon l'armée.

 

Une opération militaire ponctuelle a été menée dans la nuit de mercredi à jeudi dans le désert malien, lors de laquelle des armes ont été saisies et des membres d’Aqmi «neutralisés», a indiqué l’amiral Edouard Guillaud, chef d’état-major des armées (CEMA).

 

Interrogé par Europe 1 sur la situation dans ce pays, le haut responsable a relevé que les opérations militaires «ne sont pas encore terminées». Exemple : «cette nuit même, à 2h30 du matin, nous avons une opération spéciale contre un pick up dans le désert, à à peu près 200-250 kilomètres à l’ouest de Tessalit, donc en plein milieu du désert, où nous avons neutralisé un certain nombre de gens d’Al-Qaeda». L’opération, a relevé l’officier général, «continue et maintenant nous récupérons le matériel qui va "parler" d’une certaine façon».

 

Suite de l’article

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7 octobre 2013 1 07 /10 /octobre /2013 19:30
Special arms for Syria rebels fall into Nusra hands

October 04, 2013 By Lauren Williams - The Daily Star / Lebanon News

 

BEIRUT: Some Saudi Arabian-supplied anti-tank missiles intended for mainstream Syrian rebels have inadvertently landed in the hands of the Al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front, throwing plans to arm moderates via neighbor Jordan into question.

 

The failure of the pilot plan has forced Western and Arab opposition backers to reconfigure efforts to arm and vet moderate opposition types, and shift these efforts to the northern, Turkish border, The Daily Star has learned.

 

Senior Free Syrian Army and Jordanian sources, along with video evidence, have confirmed that European-made anti-tank missiles were obtained, and in some cases sold, to the hard-line Nusra Front after being supplied to vetted Free Syrian Army battalions across the Jordanian border.

 

The debacle prompted Jordan to back away from arrangements to arm moderate rebels, and close its borders in May.

 

The plan to train and arm moderate rebels via Syria’s southern border gained Western and Saudi support earlier this year, as concerns mounted over gains by Bashar Assad’s forces, backed by his Lebanese ally Hezbollah, as well as the proliferation of hard-line Islamist rebel brigades.

 

Special Forces personnel from the United States and the United Kingdom are known to have conducted training operations for vetted opposition troops.

 

An investigation by Reuters revealed that Saudi Arabia began transferring small numbers of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to Syrian rebels under the command of Gen. Salim Idriss, the chief of staff of the FSA, through Jordan in March.

 

The supply was reportedly coordinated by Saudi Arabia in consultation with France and Britain.

 

But Jordan, weary of the presence of Islamists at home, voiced concern over plans to arm the rebels, fearing that the weapons might end up in the hands of radicals, further jeopardizing Jordan’s security.

 

Jordan’s foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, cast doubt early on about the ability to properly vouch for rebel elements.

 

“Our position was always, arming who? And do we have addresses and do we have CVs? ... We are a country that neighbors Syria, and therefore, while we don’t interfere in the internal affairs of Syria, we are certainly affected by the outcome of what’s going on in Syria,” Judeh told reporters, in response to questions about arming the rebels, during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman in May.

 

Those fears have only been compounded by hard-line jihadist gains in northern Syria. Increasing clashes between hard-line Islamist groups and Western-backed FSA battalions are also troubling Western opposition backers, who fear the Islamist rebels will prove hostile to their interests.

 

Complicating matters further, a group of over 30 mostly Islamist factions issued a statement late last month rejecting the authority of the Turkey-based, Western-backed Joint Military Council of the FSA, which has been struggling to unite armed opposition groups on the ground.

 

Those concerns appear to have come to fruition with the Saudi-supplied missiles apparently landing in the hands of the Nusra Front “within days” of arrival.

 

“Saudi [Arabia] supported the FSA with anti-tank missiles, which were worth about 1 million Syrian pounds ($5,000) each,” one Joint Military Council source told The Daily Star.

 

“But within days Nusra paid $15,000 for each.”

 

“So they are going in, and immediately being sold on.”

 

Whether FSA fighters were selling the missiles or Islamist fighters were acquiring them by force is unclear. But the effect was immediate.

 

Rebel fighters made steady gains in Deraa province on the border with Jordan in July and August, after the missiles began to be supplied.

 

But the growing role of Islamist groups in spearheading the fighting there was highlighted last week, when a group of mainly Islamist brigades, including the Nusra Front claimed to have taken control of the main Ramtha border crossing following days of intense fighting.

 

Jordan has closed its main borders to Syria for months, but officials and analysts say that events effectively ended the program and halted all weapons supply.

 

“Because Nusra has now taken control of the borders, arming has completely stopped,” said Fahd al-Khitan, political analyst and commentator at Al-Ghad newspaper.

 

“The transfer of weapons did not produce practical results on the ground.

 

Khitan noted incidents in which it appeared Nusra fighters had captured the weapons from their intended recipients during clashes.

 

“Jordan was always concerned that these shipments would reach radical groups and their concerns were proven correct,” he added.

 

Videos and photographs of Nusra Front fighters with the new weapons have recently circulated on the Internet.

 

“It was intended as a message from Nusra,” the Joint Military Council source said of one video statement.

 

“All this proves is that the SMC needs to work more on how to protect their property,” he said.

 

Blogger Eliot Higgins, aka Brown Moses, who maps the spread and use of weapons in the Syrian conflict, documented Nusra Front fighters using the Saudi-supplied missiles in joint operations in Deraa in March, but noted that in joint operations, it was unclear whether the intended recipients were also using the weapons.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 07:45
Qui sont les shebab somaliens?

24.09.2013 BBC Afrique
 

Le groupe militant islamiste somalien shebab a revendiqué l’attaque du centre commercial Westgate à Nairobi au Kenya.

 

Qui sont les shebab somaliens?

Al-Shabaab signifie “la jeunesse” en arabe.

Le groupe a émergé commet aile militaire radicale de l'Union des tribunaux islamiques en Somalie, et s’est fait connaître en 2006 en combattant les forces éthiopiennes venues soutenir le gouvernement somalien de transition.

Le groupe jihadiste a occupé Mogadiscio avant que les forces de l’Union Africaine ne le chasse de la capitale, mais il contrôle toujours les campagnes du sud et mène régulièrement des attaques dans la capitale.

Les shebab adhèrent à la vision salafiste de l’Islam, inspirée de l’Arabie saoudite, qui inclut la lapidation à mort des femmes accusées d’adultère et l’amputation des mains des personnes accusées de vols.

La plupart des Somaliens sont sunnites.

Les shebab ont formé une alliance avec al-Qaida, et selon de plusieurs sources, de nombreux jijadistes étrangers sont allé en Somalie pour prêter main forte aux shebab.

Leur nombre est estimé à entre 5.000 et 9.000.

 

Qui est leur leader?

La direction du groupe a fait l’objet de violentes rivalités ces derniers mois, car le groupe est confronté à des pertes de territoires, une baisse de ses sources de financement et une scission idéologique qui oppose ceux visent des priorités domestiques et ceux qui souhaitent mener un jihad international.

Ahmed Abdi Godane, dit Mokthar Abu Zoubayr, a pris l'ascendant sur les shebab.

Rarement aperçu en public, il est originaire du Somaliland, région du nord de la Somalie qui a déclaré son indépendance.

Son prédécesseur Moalim Aden Hashi Ayro a été tué en 2008 dans un raid aérien américain.

Ahmed Abdi Godane est l’instigateur de l’alliance du groupe avec Al-Qaida, et est partisan d’une ligne dure et du jihad international.

Sa tête est mise à prix par les Américains pour 7 millions de dollars.

Son rival Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys était partisan d’une lutte axée sur la Somalie.

Plusieurs de ses alliés et été tués, et il s’est rendu au gouvernement.

 

Quelle zone de Somalie les shebabs contrôlent-ils?

Les shebab avaient pris le contrôle de quasiment l’ensemble de la capitale Mogadiscio en 2006, et de large portions du centre et du sud de la Somalie jusqu’à l’intervention des forces de l’Union Africaine en 2011.

Le groupe a été chassé de Mogadiscio en 2011, et de la ville portuaire de Kismayo en septembre 2012, qui constituait un bastion clé du groupe.

Il contrôle toujours de larges zones rurales, notamment dans le sud, où il a imposé la charia.

Les shebab mènent toujours de nombreux attentats suicides à Mogadiscio et ailleurs.

Les analystes estiment que le groupe se concentre de plus en plus sur des techniques de guerilla pour contrer la puissance de feu des forces de l’UA.

Le groupe est pressurisé sur plusieurs fronts depuis l’incursion des forces kényanes en Somalie en 2011, désormais sous la bannière de l’UA.

 

De quels soutiens étrangers les shebab disposent-ils?

Les shebab ont annoncé leur alliance avec al-Qaida en février 2012.

Dans une vidéo commune, le leader des shebab Ahmed Abdi Godane a prêté son allégeance au chef d’Al-Qaida Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Les deux groupes travaillent ensemble, et des combattants étrangers combattent aux coté des Somaliens, venus notamment du Kenya, d’Ouganda, de Tanzanie ou de l’Occident.

Les responsables américains pensent qu’étant donné le repli d’Al-Qaida en Afghanistan et au Pakistan depuis la mort d’Osama Ben Laden, ses combattants se réfugient de plus en plus en Somalie.

Hostiles à toute intervention occidentale, les shebab ont interdit toute aide alimentaire en 2011 des zones qu’ils contrôlent, et chassé les ONG.

L’Erythrée est le seul allié régional des shebab, pour contrer l’influence de son ennemi juré l’Ethiopie, qui avait envoyé ses soldats en Somalie entre 2006 et 2009.

L’Erythrée dément fournir des armes aux shebab.

 

Comment sont financé les shebab?

Dans un rapport publié par l’ONU, les revenus du groupe étaient estimés à entre 70 et 100 millions de dollars US en 2011, essentiellement des taxes portuaires.

Ces revenus ont disparus depuis la perte de Mogadiscio et Kismayo.

L’ONU a demandé aux pays du Moyen Orient de mettre fin à un trafic illégal de charbon de bois qui contribue au financement des shebab, en violation des sanctions internationales.

 

Pourquoi viser le Kenya?

Les shebab ont pris pour cible le Kenya depuis l’envoi de soldats kényans dans le sud de la Somalie en octobre 2011.

Ces soldats ont ensuite été intégrés dans la force de l’Union africaine.

 

Quelles attaques les sheb ont-ils mené hors de Somalie?

Les shebabs ont revendiqué l’attaque meurtrière du centre commercial Westland à Nairobi le 21 sepetembre 2013.

Ils sont responsables d’un double attentat suicide dans la capitale ougandaise Kamapala, qui avait fait 76 morts en 2010 parmi des spectateurs qui regardaient la Coupe du Monde de football.

L’Ouganda avait été visé car il fournit en troupes la force de l’UA en Somalie, de meme que le Burundi.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:35
Six killed in US drone strike in Pakistan: officials

Sept 22, 2013 spacewar.com (AFP)

 

Miranshah, Pakistan - At least six people were killed in a US drone strike on a militant compound in a northwestern Pakistani tribal area on Sunday, officials said.

 

The attack took place in Shawal , about 55 kilometres (35 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, along the Afghan border.

 

"US drones fired four missiles into a militant compound. At least six militants were killed and three others were wounded," a security official told AFP.

 

A second security official confirmed the attack and death toll.

 

The officials said the identities of those killed were not yet clear.

 

Pakistan's foreign ministry said it "strongly" condemned the drone attack.

 

"These unilateral strikes are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Pakistan has repeatedly emphasised the importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes," it said in a statement.

 

US drone attacks are deeply unpopular in Pakistan but Washington views them as a vital tool in the fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in the lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

 

The Pakistani government has repeatedly protested against the strikes and there has been a recent decrease in their use.

 

During a visit to Islamabad at the start of August, US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that drone strikes targeting Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan could end "very soon" as the threat of militancy recedes.

 

According to an AFP tally there were 101 attacks in 2010, killing more than 670 people, compared with just 19 so far this year, killing just over 100 people.

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8 mai 2013 3 08 /05 /mai /2013 11:45
Tunisia links two wanted jihadist groups to Al-Qaeda

May 07, 2013 Spacewar.com (AFP)

 

Tunis - Tunisian authorities on Tuesday recognised that two jihadist groups which the army has been hunting on the Algerian border have links to Al-Qaeda, stressing their determination to take them out.

 

"There are two groups, one in the Kef region with around 15 people and the other in Mount Chaambi with around 20 people," interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told reporters, referring to the groups being pursued by the army since last week.

 

"There is a connection between the two groups, and the one in the Chaambi region has ties with the Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade, which is linked to Al-Qaeda."

 

"We will respond militarily to anyone who takes up arms against the state," Aroui added.

 

Since the revolution in January 2011 that ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has seen a sharp rise in the activity of radical Islamist groups that were suppressed under the former dictator.

 

Those groups have been blamed for a wave of violence, notably an attack on the US embassy last September and the assassination of a leftist opposition leader in February, cases which the ruling Islamist party Ennahda has sought to portray as isolated incidents.

 

The jihadists hiding out in the remote Mount Chaambi region are blamed for an attack on a border post in December that killed a member of the national guard.

 

The army says there have been no direct clashes with the group, but homemade explosive devices they have place in the area have so far wounded 16 members of the security forces involved in the hunt, five of who lost legs.

 

Explosives, coded documents, maps and mobile phones were discovered at a camp used by the group, and the army troops has been using mortar fire to try to demine the area.

 

Aroui said the Chaambi fighters were from "neighbouring countries," notably Algeria, while army sources on the ground have said some were veteran Islamist militants who fought in northern Mali.

 

"They wanted to make Chaambi their base, but we have dismantled it and they no longer have a refuge," said army spokesman Mokhtar Ben Nasr, adding that a search for the second group was launched on Tuesday in Kef, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) to the north.

 

"An extensive search is underway in the Kef and Jendouba mountains," also close to the Algerian border, Ben Nasr said, without elaborating.

 

Tunisia and Algeria share a long, porous border which is often used by smugglers, and the army spokesman said the two countries were cooperating in the hunt for the jihadists.

 

Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki went to meet the troops involved in the search operations on Tuesday, according to his office.

 

"We are currently experiencing a crisis that requires a national effort," Marzouki's spokesman Adnene Manser told reporters.

 

"We need to have confidence in our army and give it strong support in combating this threat," he said.

 

Tunisia's opposition has strongly criticised the government for failing to catch the jihadists, accusing it of recognising the threat they pose too late, despite the problems they have caused, and condemning the poorly-equipped state of the armed forces.

 

In December, the authorities announced the arrest of 16 militants belonging to the Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade, described as a cell of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM ), in Tunisia's Kasserine region, where Mount Chaambi is located.

 

But they had not until now confirmed a link between those arrested and the "terrorist group" holed up in the Chaambi region that the security forces have been tracking since the deadly December attack on the border post.

 

The government has in recent months warned of jihadists linked to AQIM infiltrating Tunisia's borders and undermining its stability, especially since their occupation of northern Mali last year.

 

Bolstering those concerns, a leader of Al-Qaeda's north Africa affiliate urged Muslims worldwide to attack French interests in retaliation for France's military intervention in Mali, in a video recorded last month and posted online. There are an estimated 30,000 French citizens living in Tunisia.

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