US Might Expand 'Kill List' Into North Africa
Officials debate adding Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2013 11:38 AM CST
This image from video provided by the SITE Intel Group shows militant militia leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar.   (AP Photo/SITE Intel Group)

(Newser) – Amid the debate about whether US drone strikes go too far, the Wall Street Journal reports that US officials are considering a "significant" expansion of the nation's targeted-killing program into northwest Africa. Specifically, the powers-that-be are debating whether to add Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar to the Pentagon's capture-or-kill list. For now, the US is taking a second-hand approach to going after Belmokhtar, providing information to allies about his suspected whereabouts.

That could change, however, given Belmokhtar's growing status. His militia is responsible for the recent attack on a gas plant in Algeria, and he is also thought to be looking to hit Western targets. The debate on adding him to the list would be easier, the Journal notes, if official could establish clear ties between him and al-Qaeda, but that's where things get a little fuzzy. His militia is called Those Who Sign in Blood, and it's described as offshoot of al-Qaeda's branch in North Africa, called al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Leading an offshoot of an affiliate might not cut it—unless Belmokhtar makes good on his promise to start hitting Western targets.

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Feb 9, 2013 4:59 PM CST
So we continue our experiment to determine whether a nation founded on the highest principles of human rights and justice can preserve itself by abandoning those very principles. Any bets?
Feb 9, 2013 4:14 PM CST
Feb 9, 2013 1:53 PM CST
aint you just so happy that we have an arab mass killer as potus! talk about a power trip! wow! FUBAR-FUBO! our pres can kill more people than yours can! HE BE POTUS THE GTRRRRTTTTTT WARRRRRRIOR! defender of the people! SUPER HERO IN HIS OWN MIND! O O MY BAD WHAT MIND? FUBAR=FUBO!