In Northern Mali, al-Qaeda Building Its Own Country
Extremist groups took over the area after coup
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2012 7:02 AM CST
In this April 24, 2012 file photo, fighters from Islamist group Ansar Dine stand guard during a hostage handover in the desert outside Timbuktu, Mali.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Since the military coup in Mali earlier this year, al-Qaeda's influence in the African nation has increased—to the point that northern Mali, the largest territory held by the terror group, is now basically al-Qaeda's own country. The AP takes an extensive look, describing the elaborate series of tunnels, trenches, and other defenses erected by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its allies, Ansar Dine and MUJAO. The Islamist extremists are preparing for a war they say will be worse than Afghanistan, and have been stockpiling weapons, supplies, and fuel as well as training forces there.

"Al-Qaeda never owned Afghanistan," says a former UN diplomat who was kidnapped and held for 130 days by an al-Qaeda chapter. "They do own northern Mali." But, though other African nations have agreed to intervene and take back the area—and though the UN Security Council has authorized that intervention—no action is likely to be taken until at least September, diplomats say. The territory is so large—about the size of Afghanistan—and home to such hostile terrain that rooting out terrorists will be difficult, experts add. And as more time passes without military intervention, says one local mayor, the extremists are getting less anxious and "more prepared."

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
MattB
Jan 2, 2013 1:03 PM CST
DUMB! YOUR IN THE DESERT WITH LITTLE POPULATION, they will fall like rain upon the sands of time!
Spudsy
Dec 31, 2012 11:23 AM CST
And not one righty here has even mentioned how they would pay for any war they want to start in Mali. The deficit creators are at it again. Oh, how I long for the days of Democrat Clinton surpluses.
reallybig
Dec 31, 2012 9:15 AM CST
OBAMA quote said it, "We have Al-Qaeda on the run" -- YEA, they're running through all the Muslim world and heading for Europe, and the Americas. --- The whole Islamic world and Africa is erupting in chaos and violence, (and Al-Qaeda is growing ever stronger), and America is "led" by Obama who hasn't got a clue on whats going on anywhere. --- Obama shows no leadership skills, and he won't "man-up" and lead, and instead whines and cries like a little school girl. --- Yea Obama, Al-Qaeda is on the run, just ask anyone, other than yourself? -------- REALLY