TERRORISM/ How Al Qaeda is spreading throughout North Africa
Everything that is happening in the Sahel is part of a larger context of the progressive expansion of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb and across North Africa. They range from southern Algeria to Mali and to all the territories in the Spanish area where the Polisario front once operated, and which are, in fact, under the control of many groups of Al Qaeda who are involved in drug and weapon smuggling, and human trafficking. Italian aid worker Rossella Urru was capture in this area by an Al Qaeda group. Africa is a free port through which the cells of Al Qaeda find it very easy to pass. In addition to controlling the Sahel, Al Qaeda is planted in Niger, Somalia, and northern Kenya. Moreover, in the midst of the Arab Spring Arab fundamentalist groups that provide support and complicity to terrorist groups have flourished. Besides Egypt, the Sinai area is now completely out of control.
Did the fall of the Libyan regime play a role in this new arrangement?
Certainly, because it opened a sort of Pandora's box. Once the Libyan borders were removed, truckloads of weapons, looted from Gadhafi’s stores, have gone over those borders, at the hands of the same Tuareg who were enlisted in the army of the former Rais.
You spoke of the relationship between the Polisario Front and Al Qaeda. What is the weight of this alliance in the balance of the region?
For nearly two years, contact has been reported between former members of the Polisario and Al Qaeda. The former, given the ongoing crisis that began after the armistice between the Polisario and Algeria, which, among other things, resulted in overflowing refugee camps of the population of the former Spanish areas for the past thirty years, were not only fascinated by the ideology of Al Qaeda but also attracted by the possibility of getting easy money by trading in arms.
Is it possible that this type of terrorist cell will be exported to Europe?