By Wayne Madsen
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was brutally assassinated on October 20, 2011 by US-supported death squads. His death heartened two imperialist organizations eyeing expansion in Africa: the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the embryonic Islamic caliphate, which, after Clinton oversaw the transfer for Libyan arms caches to jihadist groups in Syria, would eventually become the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Without Qaddafi’s Libya acting as a bulwark against the spread of Salafism, Wahhabism, and jihadism in Africa, the resulting invasion of West and Central Africa by Islamist terrorists gave AFRICOM a new raison d’être. It also gave a new impetus to Islamist terrorist groups to attempt similar overthrows of governments from the Central African Republic and Cameroon to Mauritania and Mali.
The September 11, 2012, attack by the jihadist Ansar al-Sharia terrorist group on the US Central Intelligence Agency station in Benghazi represented an arms deal gone bad for the Obama administration. The US intelligence cell in Benghazi was operating under the cover of a diplomatic mission. Yet this mission did nothing usually carried out by such diplomatic facilities. It issued no visas, provided no passport support for US citizens and had no diplomatic personnel on its staff.
US envoy to Libya Christopher Stevens, who was acting as an illicit arms smuggler, was killed by the terrorists because the CIA and Pentagon botched the deal to transfer weapons in the hands of Ansar al-Sharia to Turkish intermediaries. Stevens met with the facilitator of this weapons smuggling, Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, shortly before the Ansar al-Sharia attack on the US compound and a nearby annex, which served as a CIA arms warehouse.
The Turks were shipping captured arms to Iskenderun, Turkey and then on to jihadist rebels in nearby Syria who were battling against the Bashar al-Assad government. The Libyan rebel group, the February 17 Brigade, which was contracted to guard the US Consulate in Benghazi, which was actually a CIA station, included Salafist sympathizers who owed ultimate allegiance to Ansar al-Sharia. Stevens, no hero but an arms smuggler for the CIA, had been involved in other weapons transfers, including a $200 million shipment of weapons to Qatar that were destined for jihadist rebels in Iraq and Syria.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her close assistant, the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Huma Abedin, were part of a small cabal of State Department officials who communicated classified information about Libya and other Arab destabilization operations via Mrs Clinton’s private email server located at her home in Chappaqua, New York. Ansar al-Sharia was linked to the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The information transmitted via Clinton’s private system included Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) at the Top Secret level from CIA imagery intelligence satellites.
Ever since Benghazi, AFRICOM and jihadists in Africa have maintained a virtual platonic relationship. Every time there has been a major terrorist attack in West Africa by jihadists, there has been a heavy presence of US Special Operations attached to AFRICOM and CIA personnel. These attacks have been used to justify a growing American, as well as French, British, and German, military and intelligence presence in Africa.
In November 2015, US and French special forces troops, including French special police paramilitary personnel, just happened to be on the scene of a terrorist attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali. After the US and French forces engaged the terrorists who took over the hotel and seized hostages, six Americans were reportedly among those freed.
Two Islamist groups, Al-Mourabitoun and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), claimed responsibility for the attack. The so-called terrorists managed to gain access to the hotel, which is located in a secure compound, by evading security forces stationed at the hotel’s perimeter. The terrorists arrived within the hotel compound in a car bearing diplomatic plates. An American staying in the hotel died in the attack.
In January 2016, the same exact scenario played out in Ouagadougou. Islamist terrorists, evading perimeter security, stormed the Hotel Splendid and the Ukrainian-owned Restaurant Cappuccino across the street. Some twenty-three people were killed in the attacks on the two locations in the Burkinabe capital. US and French special forces personnel were not only present at the scene immediately after the attack but some were staying at the hotel.
In the cases of Bamako and Ouagadougou, each terrorist unit was reportedly composed of three to ten personnel. None of the terrorists survived the attack. A fourth terrorist in Ouagadougou was killed at the Hotel Yibi.
Ouagadougou is the location of a major US intelligence surveillance operation in West Africa code named CREEK SAND. An intelligence fusion center in Ouagadougou is code named AZTEC ARCHER.
Burkinabe military forces used the occasion of the attack to round up as suspects several members of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a Tuareg separatist group seeking independence for their homeland in northern Mali. The MNLA is a sworn enemy of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. After a military coup in Mali, Al-Qaeda and allied Islamist terrorist groups seized control of northern Mali with suspected French and American help, after the MNLA declared the region independent as the Republic of Azawad. Also arrested after the attack on the hotel were a Tuareg candidate for the presidency of Niger, Adal Rhoubed, and three other citizens of Niger. Rhoudeb was on a visit to Burkina Faso at the time of his arrest. The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has conducted, along with the Central Intelligence Agency, as clandestine war against African separatist groups in order to protect the interests of US oil, natural gas, mining, and other companies in Africa. Chief among AFRICOM’s and the CIA’s targets are the Tuaregs, many of whom received support in the past from Muammar Qaddafi’s government in Libya.
The growing presence of AFRICOM and US and NATO military and intelligence units in Africa is justified by the presence of jihadist terrorists. However, the real targets for the US and NATO forces are not the jihadi terrorists, but legitimate secessionist and anti-globalist groups that pose a danger to American and Western economic interests in Africa, including oil companies and gold, diamond, and uranium mining firms. As is the case with Islamist terrorist groups worldwide, the ultimate beneficiaries of terrorism are the Western multinational companies and the US military-intelligence complex.