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L'Expression, Algeria

Anti-Terrorist Fight: Obama
Refers to Tigantourine

By Ikram Ghioua

Translated By Marcela Schaefer

25 May 2013

Edited by Kyrstie Lane


Algeria - L'Expression - Original Article (French)

Obama acknowledges the “emergence of various al-Qaida affiliates … from Yemen to Iraq, from Somalia to North Africa.”

Cited as an example by world powers, the attack on Tigantourine carried out by the People’s National Army (ANP), as well as the attack on Mokhtar Belmokhtar, continue to fuel the lively analyses of strategists. The tactic with which the ANP put an end to the taking of hostages and saved hundreds of lives has fed the feeling that terrorism should be fought with conviction and determination. Speaking about the fight against terrorism in the context of American politics at the National Defense University in Washington, President Barack Obama said, “While we are vigilant for signs that these groups may pose a transnational threat, most are focused on operating in the countries and regions where they are based,” citing as an example the attack committed against the oil site of Tigantourine last January.

For the head of the White House, who has ensured his second term, the core of al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the road to defeat. Nevertheless, he recognizes that various affiliate branches of this organization have emerged from Yemen to Iraq, from Somalia to North Africa. Obama, whose country endorsed the NATO war against Libya despite Algeria’s warning of irreparable consequences concerning prospects and opportunities for the emergence of terrorists, recognizes the capacity of these groups to constitute a transnational threat by emphasizing, “Most are focused on operating in the countries and regions where they are based.” In his speech he states in particular: “We will face more localized threats like those we saw in Benghazi, or at the BP oil facility in Algeria, in which local operatives — in loose affiliation with regional networks — launch periodic attacks against Western diplomats, companies and other soft targets or resort to kidnapping and other criminal enterprises to fund their operations.”

Taking into account the new realities brought about by a reckless foreign policy, President Obama finally admitted to redefining the global strategy of his country’s anti-terrorism fight, stating that the evolution of this global menace calls for a redefinition of the nature and the scope of the fight against this scourge. As such, he says, “To define that strategy, we must make decisions based not on fear.” He raised a fundamental issue when he noted that, “with a decade of experience to draw from, now is the time to ask ourselves hard questions — about the nature of today’s threats and how we should confront them.”

For all that, will this new strategy change his policy toward the fight waged by the Syrian Arab Army against the armed groups in Syria? Especially since the United States recognizes that the organization Jabhat al-Nusra, which operates in Syria, is a terrorist organization! In any case, Obama conceded, “Unrest in the Arab world has allowed extremists to gain a foothold in countries like Libya and Syria.” He also admitted that no president “can promise the total defeat of terror.” Thus, according to him, it is first of all essential to “dismantle networks that pose a direct danger and make it less likely for new groups to gain a foothold.” In his speech, Obama warned that threats to diplomatic facilities and businesses abroad must be taken seriously. In addressing the history of terrorism, he believes that the menace of this phenomenon doesn’t “arise in a vacuum” and is fed by a common ideology of certain extremists, according to which Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West. In regard to this, he underlines: “This ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam, and this ideology is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims, who are the most frequent victims of terrorist attacks.”

Later in his speech, he evoked the main parts of his new global strategy of counterterrorism. For him, it is above all a matter of defeating al-Qaida by carrying out a global and comprehensive war based on focused and precise efforts to help dismantle the extremist networks, stating that this will be done through partnerships with other countries on the gathering and sharing of intelligence and the arrest and pursuit of terrorists. Obama returned to his work on the use of drones, which certain countries reject. For him, these countries “cannot or will not effectively stop terrorism in their territory.”

Finally, the last issue mentioned by Obama for his new strategy involves “addressing the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism, from North Africa to South Asia.” But, all things considered, in his speech Obama talked about strengthening the Syrian opposition while isolating extremists. The least one can say is that his comments are contradictory. Indeed, he maintains that the Arab revolts nourished the presence of extremism in Syria, and yet he wishes to reinforce these same revolts! Obama puts his strategy in conflict by pretending to remodel attitudes in the region by introducing an uncertain and confusing policy, looking for the establishment of peace. A peace that, according to him, would occur by reinforcing a terrorist opposition! Nevertheless, the war against terrorism is conducted outside of the United States.



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