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Friday, November 27

At least 9 targets of Mali attack were Chinese and Russian

An eyebrow raiser is that the Chinese and Russians were murdered first in the hit. This is looking to Eric Draitser as if could have been assassinations, with random murders as cover. Draitser does run with a dark speculation about motive -- Near Eastern Outlook is an outright anti-U.S., anti-Western site. But even if it was an assassination, it could've been locals trying to drive out foreign competitors. The Chinese have raised hackles in several African countries. 

In any case this is a reminder that what passes for a terrorist operation isn't necessarily so. Indeed, the more I learn about Islamic State's oil trade, the more I hear myself muttering, "Why does this remind me of the UN Oil For Food Program?"

Guess who knew everything to know about how that incredibly corrupt program, which involved scores of governments, worked? The very men who set up Islamic State. 

So the more I learn, the more I'm wondering whether IS is just a Get Rich Quick scheme in caliphate drag. We'll soon find out, if Russian and Syrian forces manage to seal the Syrian border with Turkey.
    
Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia?
Eric Draitser - NEO via Land Destroyer
November 27, 2015

Too many coincidences to ignore, including silence from the Western media 

Coming on the heels of the terrorist attack in Paris, the mass shooting and siege at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital of the African nation of Mali, is still further evidence of the escalation of terrorism throughout the world. While there has already been much written about the incident in both western and non-western media, one critical angle on this story has been entirely ignored: the motive.

For although it is true that most people think of terrorism as entirely ideologically driven, with motives being religious or cultural, it is equally true that much of what gets defined as “terrorism” is in fact politically motivated violence that is intended to send a message to the targeted group or nation. So it seems that the attack in Mali could very well have been just such an action as news of the victims has raised very serious questions about just what the motive for this heinous crime might have been.

International media have now confirmed that at least nine of the 27 killed in the attack were Chinese and Russian. While this alone would indeed be curious, it is the identities and positions of those killed that is particularly striking. The three Chinese victims were important figures in China’s China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), while the Russians were employees of Russian airline Volga-Dnepr. That it was these individuals who were killed at the very outset of the attack suggests that they were the likely targets of what could perhaps rightly be called a terrorist assassination operation.

But why these men? And why now?

To answer these questions, one must have an understanding of the roles of both these companies in Mali and, at the larger level, the activities of China and Russia in Mali. Moreover, the targeted killing should be seen in light of the growing assertiveness of both countries against terrorism in Syria and internationally. Considering the strategic partnership between the two countries – a partnership that is expanding seemingly every day – it seems that the fight against terrorism has become yet another point of convergence between Moscow and Beijing.

In addition, it must be recalled that both countries have had their share of terror attacks in recent years, with each having made counter-terrorism a central element in their national security strategies, as well as their foreign policy.

And so, given these basic facts, it becomes clear that the attack in Mali was no random act of terrorism, but a carefully planned and executed operation designed to send a clear message to Russia and China. ...

[Well, it's clear to Eric. He then lays out a detailed discussion of Russian/Chinese relations with Mali's government that should be of interest to wonks.]

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