Sunday, February 17, 2013
Al-Qaida Strategy in North Africa Revealed in Document Found in Mali
After Islamist rebels were driven back into the mountains of northern Mali by combined French and African forces, a fascinating trove of documents the rebels left behind paint a picture of the rigid Islamist court they instituted to oversee the lives of Malians. One recovered letter from an Islamist leader scolds the rebels for the haste and lack of grace in which they tried to push Sharia law on Malians.
While Mali was under the influence of al-Qaida and its local ally, Ansar Dine, from April 2012 to January 2013, the leaders tried to establish a theocracy in places like Timbuktu in the north. Among the hundreds of documents found in the hastily abandoned offices of the Islamic police and the Sharia court are rulings and decisions that illustrate how extremely restrictive the laws were — and how much women are treated as second-class citizens.
One document found by The Associated Press at the ministry of finance’s regional audit department in Timbuktu was signed by Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, also known as Abdelmalek Droukdel, a senior commander of the insurrection in Mali. In language that times sounds critical and condemning, Droukdel scolds the locals for the manner in which they tried to impose Sharia law.