The Starbucks View of Al-Qaida 152

The United States has set up its first Sahelian drone base, in Niger, in order to carry on the war against “Al-Qaedah in the Islamic Maghreb”. The problem is that there is no such thing as “Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb”. The US seems to confuse Al-Qaeda with Starbucks. Al-Qaeda does not have branches everywhere, a highly organised supply chain, and transfer pricing.

It is true that long standing ethnic militias in the Maghreb have adopted the styles and terminology of radical Islam, and have tenuous and occasional links with other radical islamic leaderships. But their income and supplies come from unrelated activities – chiefly extortion and smuggling – which have been going on since before al-Qaeda existed. These groups are disparate. There is no connection between the group which took western oil workers hostage in Algeria, and the Tuareg based militias who contolled Timbuktu. Indeed the Mali islamists had a close and cooperative relationship with the Algerian security services, and in their desert wanderings before the disintegration of central authority in Mali, were frequently refuelled and resupplied inside Algeria from government depots.

As usual in Africa, the base of these problems is poverty and competition for scarce resources between competing groups, all complicated by the legacy of colonialism. Hatred of the United States has not been a strong motivator in the Maghreb. But now the United States is about to introduce the concept of weekly drone kills and collateral murders, it will be. The USA is going to create the kind of anti-American unity which does not exist at present, and yet it claims to be fighting. Which will, of course, please the politicians’ paymasters in the arms and security industries just fine.

152 thoughts on “The Starbucks View of Al-Qaida

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  • Debbie(aussie)

    Greed, says it all really. Why can’t the rich and powerful get rich and powerful doing good; lifting the poor, saving lives etc. why must it be through death and mayhem?

  • Chris Naden

    In fact, AQIM does exist, and has existed for some time, it’s just quite new to Mali. The organisation was formed by primarily Algerian and Libyan bandits like Mr. Malboro, a.k.a. Mokhtar ben Mokhtar, and is actually more like a franchise operation than you’d think; it is an Islamist criminal organisation with very deep roots in Algeria, reaching back to the wars against French occupation. Its leaders, allegiances and operational history pre-date Al-Quaeda by some decades, if one counts the two different insurgent groups which merged to create AQIM. It is only ‘Al-Quaeda’ in the sense that they have adopted the brand identity of AQ as a recruiting and fund-raising tactic; there is limited to no evidence of AQ in other places having much of a hand in creating or even instructing AQ in the Maghreb. It is also a rival or enemy of, rather than an ally of, the pre-existing Tuareg independence movement which AQ hi-jacked a few years ago (after, admittedly, a brief alliance of convenience which went very badly for the local rebels).

    If you want a very good, close view on the subject that has a longer memory than current world focus on Mali, read the archives at Bridges from Bamako, which covers both the Malian military coup and the northern rebellions in detail at various points.

  • Mary

    Who believes that the drones are for surveillance?

    US drone base for Niger: report
    Submitted by WW4 Report on Wed, 01/30/2013 – 00:20North Africa Theater
    Burkina Faso

    The US military is preparing to establish a drone base in “northwest Africa”—likely be located in Niger along the eastern border of Mali, where French forces are currently waging a campaign against jihadist rebels, anonymous officials told the New York Times Jan. 28. The base would supposedly facilitate intelligence gathering by unarmed surveillance drones on al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and related militant networks. If the plan is approved, up to 300 US military personnel and contractors could be sent to staff the base.


    Also saw this. I thought the US was broke.

    US Marines to Morocco for “African Lion” exercise
    Submitted by WW4 Report on Sat, 02/23/2013

    Under an agreement signed Jan. 30 in the port of Agadir, 1,400 US Marines and 900 Moroccan soldiers will join in April on the North African country’s Atlantic coast for a training exercise dubbed “African Lion.” The joint forces will land more than 200 vehicles at Agadir and advance with weapons and equipment 300 kilometers before returning to the starting point where they will disassemble the equipment for re-embarkation within 24 hours. The forces will deploy long-range missiles that can reach targets more than 60 kilometers away accurately—a first for an exercise involving Morocco.

  • ValuePlus

    “The USA is going to create the kind of anti-American unity which does not exist at present, and yet it claims to be fighting”

    But this is deliberate.

    The US (and UK) rulers, corporations and politicians, are not stupid.

    They can see as well as us what is happening around the world.
    They know that the only Salafist, Wahhabi, state is Saudi Arabia, which is also the main (only?) source of finance for the Salafists.
    Salafists are the Jihadists.
    The US and UK are staunch supporters of S Arabia.
    The US and UK are the main supplier of arms to S Arabia.
    The US and UK knew that supporting the Jihadist to drive the Soviet Union from Afghanistan and getting S Arabia to finance and create the Madrasas (the origin of Taliban), and ISI, the Pakistani Intelligence, which played a major role in the creation and sustenance of the Taliban, was going to create a strong and lasting fundamentalist Muslim organisation of Jihadists.
    The US and UK know as well as we do that their current approach to “Terrorism” is converting more Muslims to the Jihadist point of view.

    Salafists are mortal enemies of Shias.
    The main force fighting against the Salafists within the Muslim world are the Shias and Iran is the most powerful Shia country.
    The US and UK and Israel are doing all they can to weaken Iran.

    So, the only conclusion we can draw is that the US, UK and Israel and probably the rest of the West, want the Salafists to gain strength. This would suggest that there is a conscious decision to maintain a force in the world that will justify the perpetual war that is absolutely essential to sustain the current form of Capitalism. This will also explain why the there is such a fierce drive to make sure that the public in the West is firmly contained by the use of methods that the Western countries are employing to prevent any protest.

  • Mary

    What are Kerry and Cameron cooking up at No 10 today? Kerry will meet the boy wonder Hague later.

  • nevermind

    Value plus, according to your logic the greatest supporters for Al Quaeda are also the one’s we should be fighting.
    So are we now rightfully allowed to go to/be at war with the supporters of Saudi and Quatari Al Quaeda supporters?

    This today, the last sentence from my MP Richard Bacon to my questions regards to our effort in Mali.

    ” The deployment of our brave armed forces is incredibly serious and I can assure you that I will be following developments very closely. However, I do believe that this action is right and will help the Malian authorities establish control and be a key contribution to the overall African effort to bring peace and stability to Mali and the region.”

    Very depressingly it makes it clear that they are talking of ‘Mali and the region’, which was exactly my point from the start. Mali will be base for many a lift off and the drone base will be followed by others.

    R.Bacon MP was pained to let me know that we are not there to fight and that we are not alone in this and that Canada and Denmark have confirmed their support and that discussions with our EU partners, (all in a sudden they are partners again) are ongoing.

    two faced gits

  • KingofWelshNoir

    It is self-evident to most reasonable people that killing children with drones, waterboarding, rendering, invading and bombing, blowing up wedding parties and just about every other tactic of the War on Terror simply adds fuel to the fire and creates more terrorism. They’ve been doing it for ten years now and I’m pretty sure they are not stupid. Therefore I have to assume that fomenting anti-American hatred must be the intended outcome. Or is there another explanation?

  • KingofWelshNoir

    By the way, this really made me laugh:

    ‘The US seems to confuse Al-Qaeda with Starbucks. Al-Qaeda does not have branches everywhere, a highly organised supply chain, and transfer pricing.’

  • MJ

    Drones – don’t you just love them? Within a few years it will be possible to police the whole planet from an underground bunker. No problem there, nothing to worry about at all.

  • nevermind

    ‘Listen David, we have batted no eyelid with Murdoch and Co trying to drill for oil on the occupied Golan, so, should we get asked to back up an Argentinian prospecting team wanting to drill for oil in the Falklands, we have to ensure some parity, blah sovereign rights blah blah’

    But Messrs Kerry and Cameron will eventually emerge smiling, delivering spin all over our news shite MSM.

    My other letter was on Julian Assange and policing costs versus accountability. here is what Richard Bacon MP said in his last paragraph.

    ” Under our law, with Mr. Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden. We must carry out that obligation and the Government fully intends to do so. The Government will not allow Mr. Assange safe passage out of the UK, nor is there any legal basis for them to do so. No one should be in any doubt that the Government is determined to carry out its legal obligations to see Mr. Assange extradited to Sweden. he faces serious charges in a country with the highest standards of law and where his rights are guaranteed.”

    He is a political refugee now, who, despite being given asylum, has no prospect of the Tory’s changing their tune or expenditure.

    I think President Correa should visit London and make Julian an honourable ambassador, and then take him to Ecuador.

  • ValuePlus

    KingofWelshNoir, there is no other explanation. The logic is almost mathematical. I don’t think any other conclusion is possible.

  • Fred

    “It is self-evident to most reasonable people that killing children with drones, waterboarding, rendering, invading and bombing, blowing up wedding parties and just about every other tactic of the War on Terror simply adds fuel to the fire and creates more terrorism. They’ve been doing it for ten years now and I’m pretty sure they are not stupid. Therefore I have to assume that fomenting anti-American hatred must be the intended outcome. Or is there another explanation?”

    Yes, the obvious one, to make the American ruling elite the world ruling elite, total world domination, they haven’t exactly tried to keep it a secret.

    So what if half the world does hates them? They don’t care, they didn’t worry too much about the Native American hating them they just wiped them out while feeding everyone a load of propaganda about them being the bad guys, savages.

  • November

    Funny how the word play goes on without anyone taking any notice of it! Islamic Maghreb or Islamic West, are both one and the same, but as we all know the standard issue moron weaned on politics by numbers: West is good, East is bad, Muslims bad, foreign words dangerous/bad/nonsense would be hard pressed to find there is an Islamic West too. Hence the foreign word: Maghreb the terrible guttural sounding “gh”, a clear and present danger to all things civilised and Western. This alleviating the confusions arising from the concept of Islamic West, that would be yielding addled and confounded masses exhibiting clear signs of: does not compute Syndrome.

    The whole stinking imperial war unleashed on the planet is based on the notions of “al Qaeda” the most dastardly organisation ever exiting in human constructs, with a branch under every lily-white, Freedom lovin, civilised Westerners’ bed!

    It is patently clear that Starbuck dose not enjoy the extensive franchise that al Qaeda does. The scary letter of Q yet another clear and present danger, as its guttural sound proves, is the start of yet another foreign word that has been translated as “the base” for the benefit of the the same Western masses, trouble is the foreigner (Westerner) who picked up the name had no idea about semantics of this “base”, qaeda is also a reference to the arse, and the bum hole there of.

    The guy choosing this phrase ought to have had a rudimentary working knowledge of Arabic, or was this phrase picked up just for the benefit of the Western audiences? On one hand the Arab audiences are falling side ways with the jokes about the butt-hole and the bandits thereof, posing as al Qaeda or AQ whichever one you care to choose. On the other Western audiences are being scared shitless about the said butt bandits which the Arabs are laughing about.

    Simple facts before us are, the language of the imperial war waged on the planet has been carefully chosen to portray the all foreign and strange sounding words to be associated with the all foreign and weirdly dressed Muslims to be a readily available substitute for the red menace and commie bastards of the yesteryear, that the Western ideologists had spent millions to sew in the minds of their respective audiences.

    Evidently the ill equipped Tuareg, sporting a firs world war rifle on the back of their armoured plated camels that could theoretically carry explosives and then theoretically explode in a market place or some other place that could in effect theoretically classify these as weapons of mass destruction, represent the kind of menace that the armed to the teeth twenty first century imperial storm troopers ought to be fighting with all their modern means in their hands, ie a turkey shoot to keep the oil flowing and the bananas growing and keeping the lilly-white Westerners butt immune from the dangers posed by the branch of al Qaeda under their bed!

    It behoves all those progressive souls not to fall into the trap of echoing the same unconscious drivel fed to the standard issue moron and fall into the trap of engaging in the same kind of word play. These ought not assume that the masses know “maghreb” means West in Arabic, or al Qaeda means the bottom/butt/arse/the organ which some humans sit upon, and other humans do their thinking with, and talk whence from. The fact is those forces of reaction are bent on propagating fear through introduction of words that have no meaning but sound threatening and frightening to carry on their assault on the planet.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    We witness the United States of Amassica has executed a Presidential legal framework that somehow justifies the extrajudicial murder of ‘American’ citizens in a foreign country.

    The United States of Amassica has already murdered thousands of it’s own citizens in false-flag operations devised to perpetuate the al-Qaeda myth and the ‘war of terror’ as a means of control by fear, hysteria, panic and phobia.

  • Abe Rene

    The Unired States action may be trying to do more than one thing at once. Boko Haram in nearby Nigeria may be on their minds as much as the Islamists in Mali, whether or not they call themselves “Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb”.

  • Yakoub

    This is on my reading list: Jeremy Keenan ‘The Dark Sahara: America’s War on Terror in Africa’ (Pluto Press, 2009)

    Jeremy Keenan’s research expertise and interests cover respectively the Sahara/Tuareg, militarization of Africa, Africa general, and longitudinal studies of genocides, victims and survivors.

    His views seem rather at odds with prevailing narratives about the region.

    He states: “The Islamist ‘terrorist’ groups that have taken over control of northern Mali are not only the creations of Algeria’s secret police, the Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS), but they are being supplied, supported and orchestrated by the DRS.”

    (Open Democracy piece from 25 September 2012)

  • Michael Culver

    Maybe this is all part of Kissinger’s de-population plan,perpetual war to bring the numbers down.It is very difficult to understand in any other way.I think KingofWelshNoir,Nevermind and November have got it about right.

  • Mary

    Zero Dark Thirty, the CIA and film critics have a very bad evening

    The stigma attached to the pro-torture CIA propaganda vehicle, beloved by film critics, results in Oscar humiliation

    Glenn Greenwald, Monday 25 February 2013 12.48 GMT

    The first sign that this fallout was harming the film was when its director, Bigelow, was not even nominated for Best Director. And now, on Sunday night at the Academy Awards, Zero Dark Thirty got exactly what it deserved: basically nothing other than humiliation:

    “‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ about the decade-long US hunt for Osama bin Laden, has received more attention in the US Congress than it did at the Oscars on Sunday, amid political fallout over its depiction of torture and alleged intelligence leaks to the movie’s makers. . . .

    “Just three months ago, the thriller, which culminates in Osama bin Laden’s killing by US Navy Seals, was a strong contender to pick up the biggest prize of Best Picture, as well as the Best Actress and Original Screenplay awards.

    “By the end of Sunday night, however, it had picked up just one award – a shared Oscar for Sound Editing, which was a tie.”

    (I’m actually glad that it won essentially half of an award, for sound editing, as that’s somehow more cruel than if it just won nothing).

    This is a rare case of some justice being done. There’s little question that the objections to its pro-torture depictions and CIA propaganda were what sunk the film. In explaining why its Oscar chances had all but disappeared, the Atlantic’s Richard Lawson explained last month that as a result of the controversy, the film has “just become something vaguely taboo”. That’s a good thing, as it should be taboo. The film is unsurprisingly a box office success, earning in excess of $100 million. But still, it’s both gratifying and a bit surprising to see that this CIA-shaped jingoistic celebration of America’s proudest moment of the last decade – finding bin Laden, pumping his skull full of bullets, and then dumping his corpse into the ocean – ended up with the stigma it deserves.

  • nevermind

    Maybe Kissinger should instigate his Soylent Green plan, and then, after considering the mess he created in this world, step forward to be the first to be immolated into nutri biscuits for the poor.

    Kissinger is a nasty piece of work,imho, he’s in the same mindset as Ariel Sharon, Ben Gurion and Wolfowitz, but more clever.

    These Straussian’s have all got their cue’s from the third Reich, not just their philosophical spinal fluids, but their media management, base genetics and rocket sciences, all nicely studied and incorporated from the third Reich.

    Were would, sorry, rephrase, would there be a body such as NASA without Werner von Braun? The whole military industrial complex of A. Speer copied and transcribed to today’s equivalent US armourers, some massive multinationals, so we know were it comes from, and how and what this type of people think of the people in developing Africa.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    Attempts are made constantly to craft and tailor historical events to suit the political paradigm through propaganda and subliminal mind-control.

    We note the glorification of torture in ‘ Zero Dark Thirty’ for instance, which despite the films’ US government funding, has its roots we are told in credible US intelligence source information.

    Eventually when these ‘Iraq dossier’ type Hollywood lies and propaganda are busted, history will be changed to declare them ‘works of art’ enabled by creative license. That same license embalmed the phrase ‘Let’s Roll!’ into the American psyche.

    It’s safe to say that the sort of people who would never admit in public to questioning a government’s official explanations about 7/7 or 9/11 – are generally the same section of the population who would accept a film like ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ as recorded history. –

    These might also be the same type of people who believed in advance that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, a meme that justified America’s bombing and invasion; maiming and orphaning thousands of infants, toddlers and school children in Iraq – left to rot in slums and street corners…

    Unless of course those ‘sort of people’ are in fact heartless zombies who think ‘rag-heads’ young and old are expendable non-contributing fodder.

  • nevermind

    At least five broken camera’s two creators are happy with the prevailing Hollywood politics.

    They know they have created a film people will want to see. I shall make it my duty to go and see it.
    Could it be possible that the powerful descriptions within this film was the final nail in the coffin for that Biggelow torture epic which did not register on the Richter scale, rendering the killing of Usama Bin Laden a virtual taboo film.

    well done to both, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi

  • Mary

    Any news from Horsham Mark? I could not go as I have a streaming cold and uncontrollable sneezing which I did not think the magistrate(s) would welcome very much.

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