What do the Mali aQ documents tell us?

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We now have another opportunity to gain some insight into the inner workings of al Qaeda through captured documents. The French military intervention in Mali apparently forced the insurgents to flee without their most confidential papers. In the chaotic aftermath, journalists found a large number of documents produced by al Qaeda’s shadow government in Timbuktu. The documents demonstrate the extent of the bureaucracy erected in just a few months, and show just how seriously al Qaeda takes the political objectives that they have set for themselves.


Just as interesting is the fact that the emir of AQIM admits his group uses the pretense of a local focus as a cover for its real nature as a global jihadist, al Qaeda organization. He tells his commanders to “adopt mature and moderate rhetoric that reassures and calms. To do so, you must avoid any statements that are provocative to neighboring countries and avoid repeated threats. Better for you to be silent and pretend to be a ‘domestic’ movement that has its own causes and concerns. There is no call for you to expose that we have an expansionist, jihadist, al Qaeda project or anything like that.” In one short paragraph, in other words, Drukdal explains how to confuse current analysis not just of AQIM, but also of al-Qaeda’s branches worldwide.


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One Response to “What do the Mali aQ documents tell us?”

  1. 1

    Nan G

    Thanks for linking to this.
    There was a point that reminded me of one of the letters between al Qaeda leader of earth and al Qaeda leader of Iraq….found in the book compilation, The al Qaeda Papers.
    In it the same thing was said as between these al Qaeda leaders:
    be nice to fellow Muslims….for now…..we will impose OUR version of Sharia on them LATER…..lie to them….this is war.

    The Koran (writings of Mohammad) and Hadith (life experiences of Mohammad) are filled with just such admonitions to lie and deceive. One’s ”enemy” (even if a Muslim) is not worthy of truth.
    Mohammad is the model for all Muslims to follow.
    It is up to interpretation, however, as to who is interpreting his life correctly.
    The group in charge gets to impose their version on everyone.
    That’s what all the fighting is about.

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