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Liberte, Algeria

America’s Number Two
Makes US a Target

By Merzak Tigrine

Translated By Gillian Wright

4 February 2013

Edited by Gillian Palmer


Algeria - Liberte - Original Article (French)

In the past, the Americans spoke generally about the war against al-Qaida. This time Joe Biden, number two in the White House, has made it clear that the fight against the terrorist organization al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is “in the interest” of the United States.

By declaring on Saturday in Munich that “the fight against AQIM may be far from America’s borders, but it is fundamentally in America’s interest,” American Vice President Joe Biden left no lingering doubt over Washington’s determination to eradicate the terrorist organization al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb after having decapitated al-Qaida. In his address at the security conference, which took place yesterday and the day before in Munich, Germany, the U.S. number two mentioned the different security issues going on in the world.

The American vice president did not fail to remind us that during the security conference which took place in 2009, it was he who said that the al-Qaida nebula was “on the ascendancy,” and that it was imperative to fight together against a “small number of violent extremists” that needed to be defeated. As for terrorism in North Africa and in certain parts of the Middle East, Joe Biden maintained that “the extremists are looking to exploit several elements” in certain parts of these regions. His list of these elements include “increasingly porous borders; a broad swath of ungoverned territory; readily available weapons; new governments that lack the capacity and sometimes the will to contend with extremism; a swelling generation of disaffected young people whose futures are stifled by stagnant economies.”

According to him, fighting against terrorism does not mean spending tens of millions of dollars and deploying thousands and tens of thousands of soldiers on the field, but on putting a “a more integrated strategy, a more coordinated strategy” into play.

Barack Obama’s right-hand man reckons that “the threat that spreads across many nations and millions of square miles cannot and will not be eliminated overnight, and we all know that.” But to meet these challenges “[will] require us to continue to work together, including through the United Nations, NATO, the G8 and other key international institutions,” he argued. For this he insisted on the necessity of “a comprehensive approach — employing the full range of the tools at our disposal — including our militaries.” Joe Biden assured that it is for these reasons that “the United States applauds and stands with France and other partners in Mali, and why we are providing intelligence support, transportation for the French and African troops and refueling capability for French aircraft.”

He highlighted that “as a result of the joint efforts of all of our countries and renewed and relentless focus on counterterrorism… we’ve dealt that organization, al-Qaida, a crippling blow.” He nevertheless indicated that: “we were cognizant of an evolving threat posed by affiliates like AQAP in Yemen, al-Shabaab in Somalia, AQI in Iraq and Syria and AQIM in North Africa.” Joe Biden noted that the majority of these groups “do not pose the same threat, with the same capacity, to our homelands as core al-Qaida once did.” He also warned that in certain cases, these organizations “are merely amalgams of disparate groups adopting a name. But increasingly they are targeting Western interests overseas. That’s why we have been just as relentless in taking them on.”



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