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ESISC: Links Between Polisario and Development of Terrorism In Sahel Are Multiplying May 24, 2010

Posted by saharanews in Uncategorized.
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Brussels – Links between the Polisario Front and the development of terrorism in the Sahel are multiplying and the collapse of the movement feeds the activity of Al Qaeda branch in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Brussels-based the European Strategic Intelligence & Security Center (ESISC) said Thursday.

“While this hypothesis initially reflected the simple fear of excesses of the Polisario, every day it becomes a bit more concrete, to the point where now there is a consensus among analysts regarding the security situation in the region,” said ESISC in a report entitled “The Polisario Front and the development of terrorism in the Sahel.”

“One of the major elements which motivated members of the Polisario wishing to join the ranks of AQIM or other armed Islamist organisations has been the fact that these groups try to target the Kingdom of Morocco, the same country that the separatist propaganda has taught them to hate since their childhood,” ESISC noted.

The report illustrates with examples and studies the diversity of links existing between the Polisario and the AQIM, underscoring that “the fact that some active members of the movement are on the lookout for supplementary revenues, like mercenaries who seek to make money from their past experience in military structures of the Sahrawi independence movement, can slip into terrorism after likely passing through various forms of trafficking.”

Criminality, particularly arms and drugs trafficking which have developed in the region for the past several years, has thus appeared to many Sahraouis to be the only viable prospect for the future, according to the centre.

“The diversity of the paths which lead to terrorism is just one more proof of the advanced state of decomposition of the Polisario Front more than thirty-five years after its creation,” the report said.

“It also illustrates the complexity of the security issues of the region, where it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish terrorists from traffickers of all varieties,” ESISC added.

This collusion between terrorism, arms and drugs trafficking, and former or present members of a decomposing pro-independence movement has facilitated the development of what is presented by the Institut Thomas More as a “hybrid industry of abductions,” which, thanks to payment of ransoms, finances terrorism and the activities of AQIM in the entire region, the same source said.

ESISC underlined that “for several years now, we have seen a certain interest on the part of AQIM for the Polisario Front, which has become one of the main manpower pools for recruitment by the terrorist organisation.”

The centre said that young and idle Sahraouis could allow themselves to be seduced by the ideology of AQIM, adding that “powerful terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are expert at detecting persons showing signs of vulnerability. Thus, the camps of Tindouf represent a potential gold mine for recruiters from groups like AQIM.”

“If we also take into consideration the ideological void left behind by the bankruptcy of Marxism-Leninism to which the Polisario held claim, then we easily can understand that radical Islamism may be for some a substitute for the pro-independence fight,” the report noted.

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