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Al Qaeda planned Malian base for global terrorist operations



Mali arms cache.jpg

Malian officials display seized weapons. Image from the Associated Press

According to Reuters, French forces continuing their operations against al Qaeda in the north of Mali have found "tons of weapons" stockpiled across the region. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: "What struck me most was the scale of the arsenals that we have discovered in the north and in the region of Gao." A Malian official characterized it as enough weapons for an army.

French forces also discovered "a small army of jihadists" from around the world in the isolated Ametetai valley, Reuters reported. Found with them were arms caches containing heavy weapons, material for improvised explosive devices, and suicide bomb belts. "The Islamist rebels, many of whom have flooded in from abroad, had been well armed and hoped to make the impoverished, arid nation a terrorist sanctuary," Le Drian stated.

Al Qaeda planned to turn the region into a base for international terrorist operations, he concluded. "There was certainly the desire to make it a base for international actions."

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's emir, Abdelmalek Droukdel, said as much in a lengthy document that was found in Timbuktu last month.

It would appear that reports of al Qaeda's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

French forces continue to clear the region. They hope to complete their operations in April and then hand over the area to an 8,000-strong African peacekeeping force. "We are 70 percent there ... but we must do 100 percent," Le Drian said yesterday. "The mission given to our forces by the President of the Republic is to succeed in liberating all Malian territory ... so there will be more combat."



READER COMMENTS: "Al Qaeda planned Malian base for global terrorist operations"

Posted by mike merlo at March 9, 2013 6:38 PM ET:

"There was certainly the desire to make it a base for international actions." HUH?

when have the Jihadist's not sought to turn any locale into a base of operations for international terrorist activity/operations!

Who comes up with these oh so profound original thoughts and phrases? Gee to think Le Drian possibly came up with such introspective thoughtful meanderings all by his lonesome has me shivering in awe. Not!

What a joke. Right when I thought the French might be bringing that thoughtful blend of
Creative Ruthlessness to a difficult, at time's complex, problem some bureaucratic bozo pokes his head out from some 'holed out' wall space reserved for a Dodo Bird saying just enough to convince 'everybody' otherwise.

Posted by Johnsay at March 12, 2013 1:47 PM ET:

They are just doing what politicians do everywhere. Confirming or denying the obviousl. Nothing particularly French about that.