Tunisians represent a major fighting force (3000 men)  in Syria to overthrow Assad from the early days of the Arab Spring. Perhaps the event should be renamed for what it really was: revolutionaries or extremists from the Sunni religion who had been brain-washed for years by Imams in madrasses and mosques funded by the rich Arabs and charities from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates. Qatar supported the extremists from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Libya and Syria. Both elements fought side by side to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, but were unable to unite in the Geneva negotiations under leadership of Hillary Clinton. Western nations from Europe (France and Britain) and the US were confident to ignite the warfare in the Middle East as they have done for decades before in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. They could not manage the end game as nation after nation slid into chaos, killing fields and millions of displaced persons and refugees seeking safety in Europe. Just to recall the optimism by president Obama to intervene in Libya to stop Gadaffi and bloodshed in Benghazi – March 2011. And more here.

Today, after the Tunesian terrorist attack killing tourists on the beach of Sousse, the PM warns all 80 mosguea not under government control and preaching extremist military jihad (Salafists) will be closed down. One year ago the same threat was issued, nothing must have changed, waiting for the next attack to happen. Flushing out terrorists is what the US has tried with little succes. Not selling or providing weapons on immense scale and not seeking the military option in the Middle East could have been to seek a diplomatic solution to regional crisis. This recent article illustrating the art of diplomacy and how to end conflict by a peace setlement, is quite telling of the moral crisis of the leading world power.  

In reference to BooMan’s front page story – Declare the War on Terror Over, I wrote my reply in a diary – Dream On Guys. It wasn’t shocking to me as I’ve been reading about the African situation throughout the last decade. [June 2012]

Tunisia takes fight to militants in mountain hideout | Reuters |

Tunisian security forces backed by jets and helicopters have begun a major operation to root out al Qaeda-linked militants from a hideout in the Chaambi mountains bordering Algeria.

Thousands of troops have deployed in the remote area to scour the mountains, where the militants are holed up, some since a French military operation drove al Qaeda-affiliated fighters out of Mali last year.

Analysts said the operation, which Algeria was reinforcing on its side of the border, was a shift to a more pro-active tactic in Tunisia, where Islamist violence risks damaging the transition to democracy after the 2011 “Arab Spring” uprising.

“We’re making progress on terrorism, we are attacking them in their stronghold now and we are moving to the highest point of the mountains,” Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa told reporters at the weekend.

The mountain range is tough terrain with access into Algeria. Tunisian forces conducted several raids there and have occasionally bombarded mountain caves after eight soldiers were killed and had their throats slit last year.

Rahmouni said the army planned to run the operation until it had taken control of the mountain range, which this month was declared a closed military zone to restrict public access to the area.

One militant group, Ansar al Sharia, is branded a terrorist group by Washington and has clashed repeatedly with security forces. Some of those in Chaambi are linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al Qaeda’s North Africa branch.

A suicide bomber also blew himself up at a beach resort last year – the first such attack in a decade – and shock for a small country heavily reliant on foreign tourism for its foreign currency income.

ALGERIAN HELP ‮‮‮‮‮‮‮‮ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Algeria’s military, with years of experience battling their own Islamist militancy, have also been coordinating on their side of the frontier, especially with sharing intelligence.

“Algeria will certainly be putting up a block to stop any possible infiltration of terrorists into their territory, but never to go beyond its frontiers,” an Algerian security source said, asking not to be identified.

Algeria has its own security concerns. A militant ambush on a military patrol killed 14 soldiers just east of Algiers last week in one of the worst attacks on the country’s security forces in years. Officials blamed AQIM for the attack.

Since the end of its 1990s war with armed Islamists, attacks have been rarer in Algeria. But Algerian and Tunisian officials are concerned about a spillover from the turmoil in neighboring Libya, where fighters linked to al Qaeda take refuge in the southern deserts.

770 Workers Rescued as Algerian Hostage Crisis Ends In Violent Deaths – Jan. 2013  

Tunisia to close down Salafist-run mosques | Al Jazeera – July 2014 (!) |

Tunisia has launched a crackdown on mosques and radio stations associated with conservative groups following a deadly attack on its soldiers near the Algeria border. Tunisia’s armed forces have been carrying out a campaign to flush out fighters from their remote hideout in the Chaambi mountains.

Some of the armed groups are tied to al-Qaeda and 14 soldiers were killed this week when dozens of fighters with rocket-propelled grenades attacked two army checkpoints in the region.

    “The prime minister has decided to close immediately all the mosques that are not under the control of the authorities, and those mosques where there were reported celebrations over the deaths of the soldiers,” the office of Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa said in a statement.

It said the government would also order the closure of radio stations, websites or television stations that publish messages from armed groups. More than 60 men linked to fighters had also been arrested since the attacks on the army checkpoints. It did not give any figures for mosques included in the crackdown or name any websites or media, Reuters news agency reported.

Tuareg Declare Independent State in Mali (Gaddafi Mercenaries) by Oui on April 6, 2012

As the US with Hillary Clinton and the Monarchs of Qatar and Saudi Arabia were busy arming and funding the phony Syrian Freedom Movement, the Libyan Freedom has come at great expense. Armed militant factions have resumed fighting and the Tuareg fighters have returned with heavy arms to Mali. In a few weeks time, the Malian army chose a coup d’etat and the MNLA fighters have now occupied northern Mali, the size of the state of Texas.

    Mali’s perfect storm of woes creates a perfect militant breeding zone

    (France24) – With its legendary cities such as Timbuktu conjuring images of ancient trade junctions, its undulating Saharan sands and its distinctive indigo-scarf encased nomads, Mali has all the features of a perfect tourist destination. But a recent slew of developments have combined to produce a perfect storm of crises in this West African nation – one that many fear will be exploited by Islamist militants.

    Mali has been in disarray since a March 22 military coup in the capital of Bamako opened a window of instability that was seized by rebels in the north, enabling them to sweep through key northern cities and control a swathe of territory as large as France.

White House: We’re not seeking ‘regime change’ as goal in Syria  [Aug. 2013]

More below the fold …

White House: We’re not seeking ‘regime change’ as goal in Syria | The Hill – Aug. 27, 2013 |

The White House said that President Obama is not seeking “regime change” in Syria from any military strikes launched in response to President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Statement by the President on Syria – Aug. 31, 2013

“The options we are considering are not about regime change,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “That is not what we are contemplating here.”

The White House spokesman said that the administration was instead simply weighing a reaction to the violation of “an international standard” barring the use of chemical weapons.

“It is not our policy to respond to this transgression with regime change,” he said.

The comments by Carney came as the White House attempts to decouple the response to last week’s chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs from broader support for the rebel forces challenging Assad in Syria.

While the United States has repeatedly said that Assad would and must fall from power, the Obama administration has also said that transition needs to come internally. Carney reiterated that there was “no military solution to the conflict in Syria,” giving credence to reports that a U.S. military response would be limited in scope.

“We are very engaged in the process of pursuing a political resolution to this conflict,” Carney said. “We have stated it for a long time, that there is no military solution available here, that the way to bring about a better future in Syria is through negotiation and a political resolution.”

Still, Carney said that “there must be a response” to the rocket attack in the suburbs of Damascus last week. Rebel groups on the ground have estimated that more than 1,000 Syrians died in the chemical weapon attack.

Earlier, NBC News reported that the U.S. was preparing three days of bombing attacks on Syrian targets to begin as early as Wednesday. Administration officials told the network the strikes would be limited in scope and aimed at sending a message to Assad in hopes of deterring a future chemical weapons attack.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told the BBC that the military was “ready to go” if orders came from Obama to begin the strikes. “We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take,” said Hagel.

[From my diary – Syria Expendable In Joint US-Israel ME Power Schemes]

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