“AL-QAEDA is on the path to defeat,” American President Barack Hussein Obama announced a few weeks ago. The bloodbath in Algeria, where British workers were among 23 slaughtered hostages, suggests that this was shockingly wishful deceptive White House thinking.
UK SunThe world has taken its eye off the ball in Africa. Now al-Qaeda is back with a vengeance, opening dangerous new battle lines across Saharan Africa.
Here in Britain, David Cameron’s own recent foreign adventures are being seen as a key ingredient in this latest surge of Islamist terror. “Meddling in Libya was a mistake,” a Tory loyalist told me this weekend.
Britain and France justified support for Libyan rebels because they were ridding the world of one of its bloodiest tyrants. (And Barack Obama justified support so he could get rid of a relatively secular government and replace it with an Islamic fundamentalist one)
But in destroying Gaddafi, they put thousands of his vicious, battle-hardened Islamist thugs out of a job. These fanatics (Don’t call them fanatics, they are simply Muslims) fled home to Mali, armed to the teeth (with U.S.-supplied weapons), to join a ramshackle but dangerous al-Qaeda network that spreads across Africa from Somalia to Algeria and beyond.
They may be loose-knit and sometimes at odds but they share a murderous hatred of non-Muslims.Mali has no historic links with us. Nor has Algeria. But unless extremist forces are driven out of these two French former colonies, the next target is Nigeria, which certainly does.
Nigeria is criminally corrupt and barely democratic. But it is a strategically and economically vital member of the British Commonwealth. Its vast reserves of “sweet oil” and huge gas fields make it a major player on world energy markets. But Nigeria is a divided nation, split between Muslims and Christians — ripe for a revolution which is already under way. (Muslims are killing thousands of Christians every year)
Islamists in the Saharan North have forged links with the Mali fanaticsMuslims called, chillingly, Those Who Sign In Blood.
Before Iraq, the world might have hoped America, which buys 40 per cent of Nigeria’s oil, would flex its superpower muscle. But shale gas is making the US energy self-sufficient and President Obama has ditched America’s role as the world’s policeman (Only because the Muslims are winning in Nigeria. It would be different if the Christians were).
So this crisis is now marked for the attention of Europe’s former colonial empires, like France and Britain. The lesson from Libya is the same one we learned in Iraq and Afghanistan — that military victory can unleash a hornet’s nest of uncontainable ferocity.
For all President Obama’s optimismdeception, al-Qaeda today is a force in Mali, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, Yemen and Pakistan. They may be poorly organised, as we are seeing in Syria, but they can destabilise fragile Western allies and are beyond our capacity to control.
Nor can we wash our hands and say these are far-away places of which we know nothing. Britain is a melting pot of nationalities and faiths, home to hundreds of thousands of MUSLIM – Malians, Iraqis, Syrians, Somalis, Kenyans, Nigerians, Yemenis and Pakistanis.
Not all (hardly any)are grateful. Indeed, many are becoming outspokenly defiant. Some have colonised suburbs in major cities. One London borough is so staunchly Muslim it has become known as the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets. Last week, hooded gangs of self-appointed religious police roamed Muslim- populated suburbs ordering women to cover up, gays to leave the area, and are confiscating liquor.
Police are investigating YouTube clips which show the men branding mini-skirted white girls as “naked animals”. MI5 claims thousands of young British-born Muslims have been radicalised — some of them trained in bomb-making and terror tactics in the badlands of Pakistan.
That number has certainly grown in recent years. The security forces have done a remarkable job in keeping a lid on this threat at home. It is now more than seven years since the 7/7 London bombings and the terrorists have been silent.
But Mali and Algeria should remind us of Gerry Adams’ chilling warning about the IRA: “They haven’t gone away.” Now, as David Cameron warned yesterday, we face a global threat which could take “years, even decades” to resolve. He might have added, “if ever”.