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TA-ANALYSIS: Al Qaeda Shifting Focus (Western Africa)

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posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 03:35 PM
With the worlds attention riveted on recent events in the Middle East has Al Qaeda quietly shifted its focus to countries in West Central Africa where it has the advantages of operating in countries with porous borders, weak security apparatus, weak military resources and many ongoing Islamic insurgencies.

The region centered on the Gulf of Guinea has the potential to supply 25% of the United States oil needs in the near future. Black market diamond trading is suspected in Al Qaeda financing and of course control of Nigerian yellowcake as another financial resource must be taken into account.

Western Africas geography with its network of rivers and extensive foliage cover combined with little road infrastructure also offers a near ideal place for Al Qaeda to base operation from. Once into North Africa it is fairly simple to enter Europe.

Islamic groups have essentially two overland routes into this region. One is a northern route coming from Algeria, a hotbed of Islamic fundamentelist insurgent activity. The other is from the east originating in Somalia and Sudan traveling across Chad.

The country targeted and most at risk is Nigeria with its greater population and mineral resources.

Janes, Militants Target Oil Rich Nigeria

Western intelligence services believe that Islamic extremists are making a determined effort to penetrate West Africa, an emerging world-class oil giant, amid signs that Osama bin Laden has singled out Nigeria for jihad.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the continent's leading oil producer. It has the largest Muslim population in Africa after Egypt. In recent years, there has been mounting Islamic militancy and growing anti-Western hostility in Nigeria that makes it fertile ground for extremist recruiters. The unrest is apparently being stoked by radical Arab Islamic preachers and agents of Al-Qaeda.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

U.S. DoD, U.S. Must Confront Terrorism in Africa, General Says

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2004 -- While most Americans focus on the Middle East as the bull's-eye of terrorist activity in the world, Africa continues to fester as a breeding ground for al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, the deputy commander of U.S. European Command told civilians attending the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference last week.

Northern Africa serves as a transit route for terrorists headed to Europe, Wald explained. East Africa, particularly Somalia, has become a hotbed of al Qaeda elements. Western Africa has witnessed dramatic rises in anti-American and extremist Islamic rhetoric, particularly in northern Nigeria. And in parts of South Africa, Wald said, "we have no clue what's going on."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

With Al Qaeda suffering the strategic loss of Afganistan and witnessing a turbulant but successful transition to interim government in Iraq along with the death or capture of many of its operatives, one can speculate that many of the horrific beheadings and terrible attacks that to outsiders seem counterproductive to their cause may be an effort to keep attention on the Middle East and away from Africa.

When is the last time Africa has been on your radar?

[edit on 30-6-2004 by Banshee]

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 07:16 PM
It was on my radar when I was offered a job in Nigeria. In fact, they still think I'm coming on July 3. They're going to pay me to get there. And then they offered me a salary, which is amazingly high for what I want to do.

But yea, I didn't want to go cause I was worried about such a thing.
Anyway, doesn't surprise. Al-Qaeda will be everywhere...

I didn't realize they were still hearing from Osama these days..

[edit on 30-6-2004 by Jamuhn]

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 07:22 PM
It has been in my radar since I read the book by Laura Flanders, the bushwomen; it has a chapter in wish it explains the struggles of the Niger people and their military government and in the middle companies like chevron and violation human rights, in order to protect America investments in the area.

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 07:31 PM

Pretorian News

he United Nations nuclear watchdog has issued a worldwide high-security alert warning countries, including South Africa, about the dangers of possible nuclear terrorism attacks.

Information given to the Pretoria News shows that the South African government's security agencies, including the police (SAPS), received several warnings from the International Atomic Energy Agency two weeks ago about the possible threat of a terrorist nuclear attack, either occurring in this country or being launched from it.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

What Gain do they really have attacking Africa?
I would bet on using it as a launching pad, rather than attacked.

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 07:53 PM

What Gain do they really have attacking Africa?

I believe that the attacks in this area being one of the riches areas in oil in africa, and taking in consideration of the interest US have and the companies involve, this will probably hurt US.

[edit on 30-6-2004 by marg6043]

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 07:58 PM

Just what Africa needs...Pretty soon even the lions are gonna start making suicide bombings for animal rights

Where does it all end?

posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 09:59 PM
TMT, I've got to go with the launching pad theory and add the financial aspect as a pull in that direction, this area bears watching closely as it is not on the ordinary media bandwagon until something big happens, seems like a logical direction for Al Qaeda to go to me.

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 09:15 AM
Great thread. I have to say it makes good sense. Most of my theories tend to focus on what the US and other great powers are doing since I really don't give militant Islam a snowball's chance in hell of getting very far, but I must admit that if I were going to wage an unconventional war of global scale, I'd concentrate my efforts in North Africa and Indonesia, where I could make economical strikes against Europe and Western navies in transit through the Med and Indian Ocean.

Imagine the payoff if terrorists obtained one of the new supersonic missiles the Russians have been selling to every tinpot dictator in the mid east, and managed to sneak it in there and catch an aircraft carrier in Gibraltar or just too close to the coast elsewhere. Just one of many benefits of North West Africa.

As has been said, it's a difficult place to wage a war, and so a hard place to get nipped in the bud as you set up for such things.

Another one, perhaps a little far fetched but not too much so... has anyone considered what the real barriers are to privately built short-range ballistic missiles? Being able to fire a crude, innaccurate missile across the Med is 60+ year old technology- frankly I'm confident that with enough money and a lot of reading my brothers and I, with a little help from our dad (the best mechanic I've ever seen), could pull it off.
Imagine the reaction if explosives start falling out of the sky at random over France and Italy...

Then there's the oil, the Uranium, and of course the Holy Grail of any real Jihad- landing a large armed force in a Western Nation, if not to win, at least to make the first REAL stand on their soil and scare the holy snot out of them.

You can't send a hundred trucks from Syria through Turkey bound for Europe. Believe me, somebody will check to be sure those trucks aren't towing howitzers. On the other hand, could you sneak a handful of T-55s and howitzers into a freighter in Algiers along with a few bad men, bound for northern Italy, then let them off near Rome and shell the Vatican before the Italian Army can respond?
I guarantee you that it'll make the Bay of Pigs look like an understandable mistake, but before getting butchered, if their gunnery is good and they've got spotters hiding out in the city... I think they just might get the Pope and a lot of other important stuff. Now THAT would inspire terror. Sure a bomb is scarry, but a company of raiders landing outside of Rome and whacking the pope with artillery fire... especially if followed by a second landing elsewhere... that'd be worth 10 9/11s in terms of psychological effect, and it would bring the infidel in for a truely decisive battle on whatever turf you had chosen for your base, no matter how inhospitable.

Yes, I'm insane. That's why I can sometimes put myself in the shoes of a half-crazed madman with dellusions of restoring the Caliphate and say "If I really wanted to make the Infidel soil his pants, what would I do?"

It lacks the calculating, practical finesse of bombing oil pipelines in Iraq from here till the discovery of Cold Fusion and keeping prices ridiculously high, and it would cost inordinate amounts of money and casualties for one strike... but you know, that's what I'd do if I was Bin Laden, and Africa makes sense from that standpoint.

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 10:32 AM
Great topic. And, Vagabond, you do make sense. The "US and other great powers" will continue to do what they've been doing. No more Cold War with Communism to fight, so the new War is with Terrorism. I kinda miss those old commies; they were supposed to mass at the southern US border for an invasion, hence, the wars in Central America in the 1980's to keep them away. (I guess we had to keep the commies away from the border in order to allow everyone else through
). Anyway, terrorism will provide a proper reason to wage war and help arm governments against indigenous struggles. It's always something.

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 10:56 AM
Yea everytime a nice supply of natural resources is involved, Al-Qaeda is pulled out for the world to see. The word Jihad is a synonym for corrupt politicians waging war for natural resources and profit at the expense of the indigenous population and masking it as Islamic Etremism. Thats all I see here.

I would keep an eye on Western Sahara though. There is a sovereignty issue between them and Morrocco, never know what could happen there if a Western nation decided to become directly involved due to "terrorism" and/or "al-qaeda".

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 11:06 AM
I miss the commies too. Ever since Bosnia, during which I read a neat little comic in Soldier of Fortune Magazine, which if i recall correctly, went more or less like this:

(two GIs sitting in a ditch ducking enemy fire)
"Why are we here again?"
"We've got to stop our Serbian friends from killing our Croatian friends, stop both of them from killing our Bosnian friends... etc etc etc"
"I miss our enemies".

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 11:40 AM
The Vagabond, another thing about this is how it'll force a shift in our focus.

If they begin to move away from Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan as their area of attacks - both physical and mental [propaganda]. But instead move to Africa, it'll force our troops to be redeployed. This will help them, let alone does Africa suffer from Socio-economic problems, they will then be stuck with terrorist groups bombing the only infrastructure that they do have. This will of course force, already poor Nation’s to redistribute wealth from the classes that need it to rebuild these buildings and to allow these terrorists to gain more members. Evidently, it is easier to recruit members in areas where the West is already seen as an enemy and with the history in Africa this can be easier to accomplish.

Also, Africa does tend to make a lot of produce that we use in the West. If they were able to attack these Nations, in the oil refineries which are now strongly protected in the Middle East, to destroy and loot farms it could cause a direct ripple affect to the rest of the World. Furthermore, if they begin to do what they have been doing in Iraq and try to cause Civil War in many Nations this could be easily achieved. Areas such as Ethiopia, Sudan, etc, all supply us with items we take for granted in the Western World and are from areas which have been rife with Civil Problems over the last decade - they would be so much easier to inflame.

This again will cause us to push more troops into these zones, out of Iraq, before they can re-shift once more and focus back on the Middle East. Africa, if we are not very careful is a pot waiting to boil over. They need not land in Europe, because many European Nations need Africa more than we like to admit.

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 12:31 PM

Originally posted by DYepes
Yea everytime a nice supply of natural resources is involved, Al-Qaeda is pulled out for the world to see. The word Jihad is a synonym for corrupt politicians waging war for natural resources and profit at the expense of the indigenous population and masking it as Islamic Etremism. Thats all I see here.


Which came first................chicken or the egg.

Does the resource make a vulnerability recognized by AQ and then exploited.
Does the resource attract warfare and strife itself like flies to honey.
Does the resource attract corrupt politicians who conspire to control it.

I can't say its true that any of the above is a sole reason by itself for WOT nor can I yet assert that a conspiracy exists because all evidence is circumstantial and amounts to conjecture at best.

I do know this however.............

In a predominant number of areas comprising the battlefronts on terrorism one will find three common denominators, 1 - Al Qaida or an affiliate, 2 - US military or proxy, 3 - Oil. An exception being Afganistan which holds a strategic position for the upcoming Iranian operation.

Coincidence?, an enemy who knows our vulnerabilty or a conspiracy to grab finite resources? Could be any two, all three or just one of the above reasons - who knows for sure yet.

It bears watching and debating the developments as presented for sure.

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 04:16 PM

Originally posted by Phoenix
An exception being Afganistan which holds a strategic position for the upcoming Iranian operation.

Actually, Afghanistan itself is important for Oil. it happens to be the pipeline for the caspian sea. It was either going to be through China or Afghanistan.

Some sources can be found here:

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 09:42 PM
I actually read an article recently which was based on a document recovered from the Zarqawi bombing which stated there need to force the United States into fighting another front. This would force the US to spread out there troops and create even more political trouble back in the states and on top of that we would be forced to spend more money first on fighting another war, but also for rebuilding another country and there government, eventually straining our resources. The terrorists are smart. There trying to break us from within first through our own politics. They know that our citizens are not very found of war, and eventually will get our congressmen to pull our military back, and then ontop of that they want to break us economically, so that we won't be able to afford the too fight. We need to stop them... the only problem is finding them :\

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