Al Qaeda's office politics led to Moktar Belmoktar's departure


Nigerien soldiers stand near a damaged building at an army base in Agadez on May 26, 2013. Militants linked to Al Qaeda staged twin bombings at the base on May 23. In all, the attack claimed 24 victims and eight militants, according to Niger's Defence Minister.



Not even Al Qaeda is immune from office politics.

The Associated Press has discovered an insightful, perhaps embarrassing, 10-page letter from the terrorist organization to former rising star Moktar Belmoktar.

Officials from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – a branch that operates in North Africa – outline their gripes with Belmoktar, who later spearheaded his own missions in Algeria and Niger.

A small sample: “Why do the successive emirs of the region only have difficulties with you? You in particular every time? Or are all of them wrong and brother Khaled is right?”

Belmoktar prefers to be called Khaled Abu Abbas.

The pseudonym is just part of his personality, a “talented employee with a bruised ego,” as the AP calls him.

He’s also accused of ignoring phone calls, skipping meetings and failing to submit his expense accounts, according to the letter signed in October by 14 members of the Shura Council.

They also blast him for giving up two foreign diplomats taken hostage in return for a “meager” 700,000 euros.

The AP discovered the letter in Mali.

Belmoktar eventually parted Al Qaeda to form his own terrorist organization – “Those Who Sign in Blood” – that recently claimed responsibility for high-profile attacks.

He organized the 600-strong hostage taking at a BP gas plant in Algeria that killed 37 and twin suicide attacks in Niger, one at a military base and another at a French uranium mine.

Those attacks earlier this month killed roughly 30.

When French forces invaded Mali to combat extremists there earlier this year, armed forces from Chad believed Belmoktar was among the dead.

That Belmoktar had died couldn’t be confirmed, The New York Times said.

In claiming responsibility for the Niger attacks, Belmoktar’s group said it had more operations in store.

It attacked in Niger because of that country’s involvement with the Mali offensive.

“We will have more operations, by the strength and power of Allah, and not only that, but we will move the battle to the inside of his country if he doesn’t withdraw his mercenary army,” the statement read, according to Reuters.

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