There are strange events afoot in Africa, and the US government is counting on the fact that you and I do not know enough, or care enough, to realize the fact. More specifically, a phony "terrorist organization" has been cobbled together and turned loose, in order to justify the creation of US Africa Command, and "opening a new front in the global war on terror". Is this sounding familiar yet?
In truth, the situation is complex, it involves people and organizations with names that no American can pronounce easily, and it is all happening in a part of the world which receives only sporadic coverage from the world's news organizations.
First, let's look at a map and see where these events are occurring.
The term for this region is "The Maghreb", as shown in green, and it consists of 5 nations and one "disputed territory". If you hate geography, skip the next paragraph.
Specifically, Algeria is the big wedge-shaped one in the middle, Libya is on the far right, Tunisia is the little wedge at the top between those two, Morocco and Western Sahara are the coastal strips at top left, and Mauritania is the bloc at the bottom left.
Just remember that Algeria is the biggest one in the middle, and you'll be fine, as it is Algeria we are mainly concerned with.
The other term one hears thrown around is "The Sahel", and some news stories, (when one hears news stories on the region at all), use these two terms as though they were interchangeable, which they definitely are not. As you can see from this map, The Sahel is a strip, shown in brown, from coast to coast, just south of The Maghreb.
Very well, enough of background, down to the meat of the story. In 2002 and 2003, the Algerians, with US help, concocted a scheme to get their hands on some of that anti-terrorism money that the USA was throwing around so freely.
So the Algerian secret intelligence agency, known as DRS, found themselves a bandit called "Le Para", and encouraged him to create a band of Islamic "Freedom Fighters" under the name of GSPC. Shortly thereafter, GPSC kidnapped a group of 30-some tourists in the Sahara desert region of Algeria, thereby providing the USA with a handy-dandy excuse to open a new front.
Make no mistake, dear reader, this was approved from the top, by Donald Rumsfeld himself, who was then Defense Secretary. The purpose was to justify a US military presence in Africa, which would then position the US military to dominate African oil resources. In January 2004, Bush launched his Pan-Sahel Initiative, which introduced US military and mercenaries to Chad, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. In 2007 that was expanded to Algeria , Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Africom, the US Africa Command, was created in 2008.
Note how neatly this positions US military units, (and mercenary contractors, special forces, and intelligence assets), right on top of both Algerian gas resources, and Nigerian oil deposits.
In 2006, the Algerians assassinated a Tuareg minister in Niger to provoke a rebellion by that minority. And next year, Algerian intelligence units aided by 100+ US special forces, assisted a Tuareg rebellion in Mali. All of this with the general intention of stirring up unrest and conflict in the area, in order to justify the presence of US forces. When the Tuareg rebellions did not get enough media play to be noticed in the States, the US and Algerian intelligence put their heads together ands came up with their next ploy. Remember the GPSC, the phony terrorists from the beginning of this long story? They changed their name to "Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb", or AQIM. Now the US could say, "Al Qaeda has established itself in Africa!", and finally the military got the media attention they craved.
And just as the kicker, the Sahel region also includes the uranium deposits which France relies upon in order to fuel its extensive nuclear power industry.
All well and good for the powers-that-be, one might think. Except that the Algerian DRS, which controls this phony "Al Qaeda" creation, is not so biddable as the US and Europe expected, and seems to be pursuing its own policies independent of foreign concern. Again, sound familiar yet?
The similarities to the manner in which the western-created Mujahideen became the current Taliban are apparent. As is the similarity to the story of Frankenstein's monster.
Further reading on the subject Here and Here, in the form of two essays by Jeremy Keenan, professorial research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, and author of The Dark Sahara: America's War on Terror in Africa.