Washington, Nov 12, 2012 (MAP)
Washington, Nov 12, 2012 (MAP)
U.S. Security and counter-terrorism experts urged the international community to be watchful of the threat posed by the alliance established between terrorism and separatism, and deemed the Sahara autonomy plan under the Moroccan sovereignty, as “the only way to foil the threat by destabilizing terrorist groups” in the Maghreb and the Sahel.
The “Polisario”, which has proven links with terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), as evidenced by the kidnapping of Western citizens in the heart of Tindouf, turned into “a supporting force” in the war declared by AQIM and the “Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa “(MUJAO) against the West, warned Yonah Alexander, Director of the International Center for Terrorism Studies (ICTS), at the Potomac Institute in Washington.
The reports by the international media about the involvement of dozens of members of the Polisario with the Mujao in northern Mali “is a logical result of a radicalization of the Polisario and the worsening of conditions in the Camps of Tindouf, where people are held against their will by the Polisario militia,” Mr. Alexander told MAP.
He called on the international community “to take on the responsibility of addressing the threats posed by separatism and terrorism against the stability and security in the Maghreb and the Sahel.”
As the international community has its “eyes on the Syrian conflict, AQIM and Mujao have declared war against the West with the Polisario as a partner,” said Mr. Alexander, who is the author of several reference essays on terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel region. “The international community simply cannot afford to stand by and watch these extremist groups thrive and promise destruction in this region.
The “Polisario” separatists and AQIM are two partners in an alliance aimed at destabilizing the region of the Maghreb and the Sahel, said, for his part, Peter Pham, Director of the Michael Ansari Center for Africa, part of US Think Tank, the Atlantic Council.
“This is a situation where militarily trained separatists meet extremists AQIM militants, both driven by pragmatic considerations to achieve their own ends. The situation in northern Mali is a perfect example, ” he explained.
This, he said, has led to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation and human rights in the Tindouf camps, in violation of international conventions. “We can even talk of a generational misery in south-western Algeria, without any economic or political opportunities,” he added.
“We have a recipe for disaster in the region,” warned Mr. Pham, who is often called to testify at US Congress hearings on security in Africa in general and the Maghreb and the Sahel in particular.
The American expert, pointed to “the responsibility of the Algerian government that left the situation further worsen in the Tindouf camps.”
For Joe Grieboski, a U.S. expert on counter-terrorism, any strategy to end the crisis in northern Mali must be collective, which is an approach supported by the United States.” He said that Morocco’s holistic approach vis-à-vis the reforms in the religious field and the fight against extremist ideologies constitutes a “model” in the Middle East and North Africa.
“Morocco, as a democratically, has been a model in the fight against terrorism, transparency and openness by developing an approach which should inspire other countries in the region, particularly in the Sahel, “said Mr. Grieboski.