Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Letter was found on the floor of former rebel headquarters in Timbuktu.

The Associated Press has found a secret letter from Al Qaeda's commander-in-chief in Africa to Islamic fighters in Mali. The letter details the group's long-term strategy for carving out an Islamic state in northern Africa, as well as pointing out mistakes and how to improve.

A softer approach is being suggested for Al Qaeda operatives in Mali.

A softer approach is being suggested for Al Qaeda operatives in Mali.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Al Qaeda, Mali, terrorists, letter, strategy, Africa


TIMBUKTU, MALI (Catholic Online) - The secret document was discovered by an AP reporter combing through papers left behind at the groups former headquarters in Timbuktu. The letter is incomplete and part of a larger document, but the nine recovered pages provide a treasure trove of information about the group.

The letter is signed by Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, which is the pen name of Abdelmalek Droukdel, the commander appointed by Osama bin Laden to supervise Al Qaeda operations in Africa.

Perhaps the most shocking admission found in the letter is that the organization needs to compromise on their strict Sharia standards to gain acceptance and victory. 

Droukdel compares the movement to a baby, saying that they must be more gentle with the people they conquer, much like a parent with an infant.

"The current baby is in its first days, crawling on its knees, and has not yet stood on its two legs. If we really want it to stand on its own two feet in this world full of enemies waiting to pounce, we must ease its burden, take it by the hand, help it and support it until its stands," he wrote.

He chided the fighters by adding, "Every mistake in this important stage of the life of the baby will be a heavy burden on his shoulders. The larger the mistake, the heavier the burden on his back, and we could end up suffocating him suddenly and causing his death."

What Droukdel was criticizing was the swift imposition of Sharia law on the populace. Following the Islamic occupation of northern Mali and Timbuktu in particular, stories quickly emerged about stoning and  beatings for those who infracted Sharia rules.

The letter suggests fighters should take a softer approach, at least at first. The letter also indicates that Al Qaeda is willing to accept some temporary setbacks and losses in order to preserve forces for future success.

Perhaps that is the most alarming bit of information extracted from the letter. Al Qaeda clearly plans to fight a very long-term conflict, grounded in ideology. Such conflicts can last for decades, or even generations.

The war on terror and the effort to dismantle Al Qaeda will not be easily won anytime soon. Any commitment to fighting Al Qaeda is likely going to be a lifelong commitment filled with difficult struggles and sacrifice.

Still, the letter also acknowledges that Al Qaeda is vulnerable to organized military intervention. In the face of sophisticated and disciplined military force, the organization is at a distinct disadvantage. However, the fact they recognize this is part of the reason Al Qaeda will be around for a very long time to come.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Africa

Africa's Sahel region still under iron fist of terrorist groups Watch

Image of Young people living there in poverty fall prey to al-Qaeda recruiters who bribe their families with money.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Composed of the nations of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, the Sahel region of Africa remains under the stranglehold of several terrorist groups. France, along with its allies are the chief targets of attack here, which are mainly in retaliation for ... continue reading


Militant Muslims abduct more than 100 schoolgirls at gunpoint Watch

Image of The kidnappings took place after midnight in Chibok in the Borno state, which is a longtime stronghold for Boko Haram.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over a hundred female students have been abducted by gunmen at a government secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria. The mass kidnapping is believed to have been carried out by members of Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group that is believed to have killed 75 ... continue reading


Boko Haram suspected in numerous Nigerian massacres Watch

Image of A screengrab taken on March 24 from a video shows a man claiming to be the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamist insurgency group Boko Haram is suspected in a string of massacres throughout the African nation of Nigeria. The latest was an attack on a village in northeast state of Borno, where 60 people were killed. Eight people were killed in a separate ... continue reading


Worst famine since 80s looms over Christian South Sudan Watch

Image of In addition to rebel factions within the government, Islamic militants have also struck in the northern portion of the country, displacing millions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

South Sudan is poised to experience the worst famine in Africa since the 1980s unless aid is sent to the region by the end of May. About 3.7 million people, nearly all Christians, are at risk of famine unless the world community sends aid quickly. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Lives of 50,000 undernourished children on the line in war-torn South Sudan Watch

Image of There are more than 3.7 million people in South Sudan, including almost 740,000 children less than five years of age. These children are at a high risk of food insecurity, with many already forced to eat wild

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The youngest -- and henceforth the most vulnerable citizen's of the world's newest nation is under threat of hunger and mass starvation.  According to the United Nations, 50,000 children younger than five years of age are likely to die in war-torn South ... continue reading


Algeria's clemency law remains in effect preceding presidential elections Watch

Image of With the election of Abdelaziz Bouteflika as president, the situation changed. He decided to consecrate impunity for crimes under international law and other human rights abuses. He went as far as to muzzle open debate by criminalizing public discussion about the nation's decade-long conflict.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

After more than 15 years of bloodshed and turmoil, Algeria is at the crossroads. For terrorist groups that wish to receive an olive branch, the Algerian government is encouraging them to turn in their weapons. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - Algeria has been ... continue reading


Sensible growth benefits Algeria after spike in oil prices Watch

Image of High oil prices have led to hospitals and universities in the African nation of Algeria.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

It may not be a miracle - but it sure looks like one. In the past 30 years, Algeria has gone from being heavily indebted to a creditor nation. The reason behind the nation's success is its hydrocarbons sector. The backbone of the Algerian economy, it accounts ... continue reading


Calm presides over city of Ghardaia after deadly sectarian clashes Watch

Image of The Mozabites follow a method of allegorical interpretation of anthropomorphist expressions found in the Qur'an.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

In the city of Ghardaia, south of Algiers hundreds of police are striving to maintain a precious calm after deadly sectarian clashes. A week of rioting left four people dead, with more than 100 wounded. Dozens of homes and businesses were razed to the ground. ... continue reading


HIV project funded by the U.S. raided by Ugandan authorities on pretext that it was 'training youths in homosexuality' Watch

Image of Drawing international condemnation, Uganda's anti-homosexual law prompted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to liken it to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Claiming that it was "training youths in homosexuality, the Ugandan government Uganda police raided a U.S. - funded HIV project. The action took place shortly after the president of Uganda signed into law a controversial anti-homosexual measure. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Islamists continue boycott of Algerian presidential election Watch

Image of The Islamist party of Justice and Development Front (FJD, or El Adala) of Abdallah Djaballahpictured,  was the first party to ask for electoral postponement.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Scheduled this coming April 17th, the coming Algerian presidential election is scheduled to take place without Islamist parties. None of these parties have designated a candidate. After voicing serious concern, the Islamist political parties in Algeria have ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 17th, 2014 Image

St. Anicetus
April 17: Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. He became pope about 155 and ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter