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February 14, 2007

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John Ballard

This is so very important. Thanks for publishing it.
How many times do we need to hear the same message before it catches on?

WatchfulBabbler

From what we know, how active is al-Qa'ida in Mali, and how strong is their support there? Mali's pluralistic religious society isn't what I would consider fertile ground for Salafist ideology, the U.S. military has a longstanding and strong relationship with the Malian armed forces, and I'd expect the Tuareg to have a vested interest in keeping interlopers out of their part of the country (between Qadhdhafi, the rebellion, and the post-rebellion military compromise, your average Tuareg family probably has more combat training and gear than most GSPC cells).

upyernoz

for what it's worth: i was in mali in october 2001. it was only about 3 weeks after 9/11 when i arrived, but i did see photos of bin laden for sale at the bamako market that is by that saudi financed mosque. on the other hand, malians (at least all the ones i spoke to) uniformly expressed sympathy to me as an american because of what happened the month before. it seemed like while bin laden photos were for sale, the population wasn't all that receptive.

a couple of week later i was in timbuktu. by then the campaign in afghanistan was well under way. some locals told me that some "afghans" (by which they meant arabs) had fled afghanistan and recently appeared in timbuktu. no one seemed to like them and by telling me, a greasy american independent traveler, they seemed to think that they were ratting the guys out and that i would call in the special forces or something. timbuktu is a really small place and i never saw the people they were talking about. but everyone claimed to have seen them. it's the kind of town that's small enough so that everyone notices when newcomers show up.

the above all took place almost 6 years ago before, for example, the iraq war. so a lot could have changed.

Leroy

Let's not forget that there was no such thing as a group that called itself al-qaeda until the Bush administration started using the term and applying it indiscriminately to all Islamic opposition to US policies. We created it by giving it a name. That started a chain reaction in which unrelated groups started cooperating and using the term in their press anouncements because we had given it the ultimate name recognition.

mustashriq

briefly speaking, Wright foresees the comeback of
"al-Afghan al-Arab" phenomena?
The same happened when Arab jihadists came back to their native coutries from Afganistan.

Gary Farber

"Let's not forget that there was no such thing as a group that called itself al-qaeda until the Bush administration started using the term and applying it indiscriminately to all Islamic opposition to US policies."

Probably we should forget that, since it isn't true, actually.

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