After Abu Zeïd and Djamel Okacha, another figure of Al-Qaeda in the islamic Maghreb (Aqim) has just fallen : that of Abdelmalek Droukdel, killed him also by the French forces in northern Mali, according to a tweet posted Friday night by the French minister of the Armed forces, Florence Parly.
On 3 June, the French armed forces, with the support of their partners, have neutralized the emir of Al-Qaeda in the islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelmalek Droukdal, and several of his close colleagues, during an operation in northern Mali.— Florence Parly (@florence_parly) June 5, 2020
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Cornered, challenged by the new generations of the group islamic State, diminished by years of living underground in the maquis, the emir of Aqim, fell at the dawn of the age of fifty near Tessalit had however nothing in common with the Abu Musab Abdel Woudoud – his real name – who joined at the beginning of the 1990s, the armed islamic Group (GIA), took the head of the GSPC (salafist Group for preaching and combat) in 2004 with the protection of his mentor Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and swore allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2006.
Then that Aqim had established a lasting basis in the maquis in the North of algeria in the early 2000s, and then had extended its sway until in the Sahel, through the Sahara, over the past fifteen years – the attacks in Algiers in 2007 was his last full-force attacks – Droukdel had not managed to halt its decline and that of her organization in spite of an attempt of redeployment in the north of Mali.
In 2011, he was close to Iyad ag-Ghaly, the " desert fox ", former leader of the tuareg rebellion versed in islam after a stay in saudi Arabia. The alliance between Droukdel and the smuggler emblematic of the region of the Ifoghas (northern Mali), through almost all of the negotiations for the release of the hostages, will be achieved by 2017 with the creation of the support Group to islam and to the muslims in the islamic Maghreb (GSIM). This consortium, which aims to unite the forces of the islamist armed groups in the region, brings together al-Mourabitoune (the group of Mokhtar Belmokhtar), the emirate of the Sahara to Aqim, the katibas of the Macina Amadou Kufa and Ansar Dine of Iyad ag-Ghaly. According to security sources in algeria, the movement represented in 2018 a force of about 2,000 men.
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Competition of the AES
If Aqim has found itself forced to retreat to Mali, it is, according to a security source in algeria, thanks to the struggle that Algeria has for twenty years against terrorism. "An armed struggle, which has raked relentlessly scrub islamists, but also a meticulous work of the intelligence services to dismantle the cells of communication and of logistics, but also a political awareness of the population so that it pushes the terrorists to lay down their arms ", explains our interlocutor.
In this " near-total absence of support on the inside ", that recognized the same Abdelmalek Droukdel, is grafted to the competition of new groups : first, that of al-Mourabitoune, led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, mastermind of the hostage crisis in Tiguentourine in 2013 – Droukdel was too independent, Belmokhtar accuses him of not having "done" Afghanistan ,and then by the soldiers of the Caliphate, an affiliate of the ARS.
In 2014, Aqim, according to military sources, algerian, known defections in favor of the AR. By refusing to join Daech and reiterated its allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri (amir of Al Qaeda), Droukdel has created against him a forehead "among those who were too passive in the face of attacks by the army and who said he was no longer able to mount a major operation," stresses our source. The years that followed were even more complicated for Droukdel, challenged in his authority, and whose margin of manoeuvre has become very limited, would not allow him to lay down guidelines for the jihadists on the ground dictated the options.
In 2017 in particular, he lost a number of executives of significance, as Bilel Kobi, the special envoy of Droukdel in Tunisia, Béchir ben Néji, emir in Tunisia, Adel Seghiri, responsible for the propaganda of Aqim, killed during military operations, conducted for some in co-operation with Tunisia.
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A run of almost thirty years
The attempt to retreat from the coastal regions of Algeria to the centre, the east and the south-east with nothing given, the noose is tightening more and more, it is, therefore, to the Sahara that Aqim has found a exit door. In this immense desert, the soft belly of the continent, with the invisible borders, smuggling and drug trafficking, the only generators of employment, provide an environment conducive to the development and a pool of potential combatants that the ransom money will allow you to recruit. This is where Droukdel sought a new breath. In 2017, in a long interview given to the magazine Inspire, a magazine of propaganda of Al-Qaeda in the arabian peninsula (AQAP), he promises "a resounding failure" in the AR. In what characterizes it, "a mixture of political islam and arab nationalism" in the words of the CEP (Counter Extremism Project), he also gives his analysis on "the political colonialist" France and the arab revolutions.
But in the face of the consolidation of the houses of terrorists, the French forces of the Barkhane, assisted by Algiers and Bamako, had organized the war. According to a security source in algeria, an agreement was signed in July 2017 between France, Algeria and Mali, had outlined the dryness of the scrub in the Sahel. Three important conditions had been laid down in this agreement : to enable the investigators algerians to communicate directly with the fugitives in the north of Mali, to open passages secured in this area for "repented" in order to avoid to be kill by the French forces, the malian or african, and finally establish a real coordination to force the surrender of the leaders of armed groups. In January, according to security sources in algeria, the forces of the Barkhane had drawn up a list of 50 "targets" priority. The operation conducted against Droukdel, in which the relatives of the emir have also been killed, would have also received the support of the United States, including intelligence, said Chris Karns, a spokesman of the command of the american army in Africa.
To Abdelmalek Droukdel, who was sentenced to death in absentia by the algerian justice on several occasions, it is a run of almost thirty years which ends.
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