Please Help New English Review
For our donors from the UK:
New English Review
New English Review Facebook Group
Follow New English Review On Twitter
Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Easy Meat
by Peter McLoughlin
The Tongue is Also a Fire
by James Como
Out Into The Beautiful World
by Theodore Dalrymple
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum

Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Introducing Mokhtar Bel Mokhtar


Algeria attackers reportedly led by one-eyed militant

By Ken Dilanian

January 16, 2013


WASHINGTON -- The attackers who seized an Algerian gas field and took foreigners hostage early Wednesday were commanded by the notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Mauritanian news agency ANI reported as the crisis continued.

Belmokhtar recently left Al Qaeda’s North African affiliate to form a splinter group that he said included foreign militants. French intelligence officials nicknamed him “The Uncatchable” in 2002.

Mauritanian news reports said earlier that an Islamist group had claimed responsibility for the attack and occupation of the Ain Amenas natural gas field in southeastern Algeria, saying they were targeting Algeria because it had cooperated with French operations against Islamists in Mali. 

The United States, Britain, Japan, Norway, and Ireland said they believed they had citizens among those held hostage; France was also among the countries whose nationals were seized, according to Algerian state media, which reported that more than 20 foreigners were being held.

U.S. officials have sought Belmokhtar for several years. He helped smuggle insurgents to fight U.S. forces in Iraq, an American official said, and he led the group responsible for the December 2008 kidnapping of Robert Fowler, a former Canadian diplomat and U.N. envoy who was held for 130 days.

Belmokhtar has smuggled contraband and committed kidnappings for ransom for most of his adult life, American officials said.

“Our contacts all characterize Belmokhtar as more of a smuggler than an ideological warrior,  more of an opportunist and bandit rather than a jihadi,” said an internal State Department cable in 2007 that later was released by the website WikiLeaks.

U.S. officials say Belmokhtar has been involved in Islamist militancy for nearly two decades. He joined the guerrillas that fought Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and an insurgency against the Algerian government in the 1990s. He later was sentenced in absentia to life in prison in Algeria.

In a 2005 interview, Belmohktar claimed responsibility for establishing links between his Algerian organization and Al Qaeda.

Last month, Belmokhtar reportedly broke away from Al Qaeda to form his own militia and criminal group in Gao, in northern Mali, where militants have seized considerable territory. In a video statement released Dec. 6, he said his new group included foreigners. Witnesses in Mali have reported seeing Arab fighters.

The hostage-taking Wednesday could affect deliberations in Washington on  whether to provide additional support for the French military intervention against insurgents in Mali. The Obama administration has not yet decided whether to increase support, in part because it could spark terrorist attacks on Americans living and working in North Africa.

Posted on 01/16/2013 3:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
No comments yet.

Guns, Germs and Steel in Tanzania
The Thinking Person's Safari
Led by Geoffrey Clarfield
Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:
The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31