General Ham is bright and hopefully he’ll be able to apply lessons learned in the next battle, which is already taking shape: Mauritania. And hopefully his learning will have included the fact that military means will not defeat al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda? You thought they were dead with bin Laden? Not so. “al-Qaeda” has become a ghost, a disembodied collection of ideas bound in a coherent global narrative that is available to any and all, individuals (the lone wolves) and groups, on many internet sites.
Ansar al-Shariah is one such group (of groups) that has adopted al-Qaeda’s goal of world domination by a radical, violence embracing ideology. And look! It has already metastasized! It was first named in Yemen in on Apr. 12, 2011. Then came Ansar al-Shariah (Tunisia), following the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine. Following the Arab Spring al-Shariah spread to Egypt, Syria, Mali, and…now it has announced, on the al-Sharq News Agency, its arrival in Mauritania.
There was forewarning. Abu Mundhir Shanqeeti, a prominent theorists of Ansar al-Sharia wrote an article back in 2012 titled, "We are Ansar al-Sharia," [al-monitor] I don’t who was listening then, but I’m sure Gen. Ham is listening now.
Note the global aspect of their creed: “We announce that we will defend our religion and the ...and all the Muslims who carry the burden of the call and who demand the implementation of the Shariah of Allah without rest and under any circumstances and conditions.” There is no sense of single-nation effort here. They are just a branch of a global effort, al Qaeda's global narrative, to blanket the world with their narrow interpretation of Islam: an extremist Islamic view that espouses violence against all, civilians or not, who stand in their way.
By the way, Ansar al-Shariah doesn’t just blow things up. They have an active, expensive, expansive social services program that provides clinics, repairs roads, gives monetary support, and generally instills itself in the minds and hearts of the people among whom it can hide when things get rough.
General Ham’s got a lot on his plate.
February 12, 2013 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Abu Ayyub al-Mahdi (AKA Ahmed Salim bin al-Hassan), an imprisoned Mauritanian Salafist, announced the creation of Ansar al-Shariah in the Land of Chinguetti (Mauritania) as a means to promote Shariah-based governance.
The statement attributed to Hassan was posted on the website of the Mauritanian news organization al-Sharq News Agency on February 12, 2013, and was subsequently distributed by users on jihadist forums. Al-Sharq News Agency had received prior messages from Abu Ayyub that it posted on its website, including a piece called "Breaking the Cross," concerning the French-led military intervention in Mali. In the statement, the prisoner declared that Ansar al-Shariah in Mauritania represents a "counter campaign" against the alleged war on Islam and what it entails of harming the faith and halting the implementation of Shariah.
He stated: "We confirm our adoption of Salafism and that we represent only part of it, and we express our ideas and not the ideas of other Salafists and other Muslims in general. We announce that we will defend our religion and the Sunnah of our Prophet and all the Muslims who carry the burden of the call and who demand the implementation of the Shariah of Allah without rest and under any circumstances and conditions. From this standpoint, we will respond with argument and explanation for all the falsehoods and the exaggerations of the secularists, the deniers and others who dared to touch our creed. We will never allow anyone to assault our religion and the Sunnah of our Prophet no matter who he is."