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Entries in Ansar Dine (8)


Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Israelis Arrest More than 20 Hamas Members in West Bank

1458 GMT: Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces has failed to adequately investigate complaints of abuses by IDF soldiers against Palestinians, according to a human rights group. Haaretz reports:

Of the 240 complaints regarding possible crimes committed by Israel Defense Forces soldiers against Palestinians filed with the Military Police in 2012, only 78 investigations were launched and not a single indictment was served, a report by the Yesh Din human rights group has revealed.

0800 GMT: Mali. Two senior Islamist insurgents, including a top leader of the group Ansar Dine, have been captured in the north, near Mali's border with Algeria.

The Tuareg separatist group MNLA said it arrested Mohamed Moussa Ag Mohamed and Oumeini Ould Baba Akhmed on Saturday

Ag Mohamed is the third-ranking leader of Ansar Dine, which controlled Timbuktu for 10 months until French and Malian Government forces moved in last week.

Baba Akhmed is believed to be a member of the Movement for Unification and Jihad in West Africa.

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Mali Feature: Making Sense of an Escalating Conflict (Wing)

The war, which already involves local, regional, and international troops, is not likely to end soon. As Bamako struggles to regain control of the northern part of the country and maintain stability in the south, observers have explained the conflict and the intervention with crude simplifications that do not reflect the reality on the ground and which point to incorrect solutions to the country's problems.

For starters, the conflict in the North is often reduced to two actors: Tuareg separatists and radical Islamists.

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Mali, Algeria, and Beyond: A Beginner's Guide to the Bad Guys (Karl reMarks)

Mokhtar Belmokthar, a.k.a., Mr MarlboroMokhtar Belmokhtar --- The Masked Ones 

Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s name is a subtle nod towards Jean Valjean, the central character in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. (Al-Qaeda’s dalliance with symbolism is legendary.) Belmokhtar is believed to be responsible for the recent hostage-taking operation in Algeria.

The one-eyed Islamist is also known as Mr Marlboro and The Uncatchable. His group, The Masked Ones, go under various names including Khaled Abul Abbas Brigade and The Blood Battalion. 

The nickname Mr Marlboro comes from Belmokhtar’s cigarette smuggling activity. Other al-Qaeda groups have banned smoking in the areas they control. According to experts, this shows that al-Qaeda is learning from the European governments when it comes to implementing contradictory but lucrative tobacco policies.

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Mali Feature: A Beginner's Guide --- The Timeline of the Conflict


  • March 22: Mutinous soldiers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo announce they have overthrown the Bamako government, saying it has failed to give the armed forces the means to defeat a rebellion by Tuareg rebels in the north. The junta leaders detain President Amadou Toumani Toure and suspend the constitution.

  • March 30-April 1: Tuareg rebels and armed Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) capture a string of key northern towns, including Kidal, Gao, and the fabled city of Timbuktu. Tuareg rebels are then ousted by the Islamists.

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Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: French Warplanes Continue Attacks


Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Advance While Brahimi Stalls

See also Egypt Feature: An Alternative Justice System in the Sinai
Syria 1st-Hand: The 11-Year-Old Fighting with the Insurgents
Friday's Syria Live Coverage: The End of the Brahimi Mission?
Friday's Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: An Activist Tries to Re-Enter the Kingdom

1729 GMT: Palestine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the Supreme Court to remove an injunction against his order to the military to overrun the new village of Bab al-Shams, on Palestinian territory near East Jerusalem.

Activists pitched tents to launch the new village on Friday. It is in the E1 area, where the Israeli Government is supporting the construction of new Jewish settlements.

Netanyahu ordered that the area be considered a "closed military zone", with all access cut off "to prevent gatherings".

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Mali Video Feature: Explaining the Danger in the Country and the Region (Al Jazeera English)

This spring has brought escalating tension in the African state of Mali, with a coup on 21 March, the declaration of independence in the north by the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, the seizure of some of that territory by Ansar Dine, said to be linked to Al Qa'eda, and this week's destruction of historic mausoleums in Timbuktu by that group.

Al Jazeera English's Inside Story explains and evaluates the situation with a former Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, a former Algerian ambassador, and a London-based analyst.


Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: An International Gathering in Geneva

The moment a mortar or shell hit a funeral procession in the Damascus suburb of Zamalka today --- at least 20 people were reportedly killed (see 1800 GMT)

See also Saudi Arabia Feature: The Professor on Trial for Speaking Out
Syria 1st-Hand: The Stories of the Widows
Friday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 139 Die as Assad Talks of "Eliminating Terrorists" to Save Lives

2104 GMT: Syria Observers on the Internet appear to be racing ahead of the situation to proclaim US support of military intervention.

The catalyst is a statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the US would "accelerate" its work at the United Nation Security Council on a resolution that would "impose real and immediate consequences for non-compliance" with today's resolution of an international conference for a transitional national unity government, "including sanctions". She continued, "We should endorse this plan in the Security Council, we should endorse it with real consequences, including Chapter 7 sanctions if it is not implemented."

A Chapter 7 action provides for non-military sanctions and/or military action, but chatter is jumping to the presumption that Clinton is indicating the latter.

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