making an arrest

Remember those Tuareg uranium guerrillas? Back in the summer of 2007, just before the crash, they were busy raiding Chinese prospectors and intriguing with both the French and the Nigerien government. And blogging, ISTR, on their Thuraya satphones.

Now look what’s happened: they’ve been recruited by the Algerians to fight Al-Qa’ida, or more specificially the GSPC, the local affiliate. Few things can be as valuable these days as a good Al-Qa’ida affiliate; I can almost imagine a Mouse that Roared scenario, where some bunch of accidental guerrillas decide to set up as Al-Q so they can make the government an offer to crush them. Almost as good as having communists used to be.

Meanwhile, has anyone else noticed that the West Yorkshire Police has become an actor in Somali politics?

A judge allowed publication for the first time of a deal which saw the Foreign and Home Offices pay the African state, which has no diplomatic ties with London, to seize 29-year-old Mustaf Jama in the desert two years ago, close to his warlord father’s headquarters.

The ambush of Jama’s Land Rover by 15 militiamen nearly failed when a pilot, hired to fly the captured gangster to Dubai, tried to back out, thinking that he was caught up in an anti al-Qaida operation which could bring reprisals.

You could say that again. And Dubai, of course, always Dubai; it’s the opposite of the Somali badlands, a chaotic warzone with too much marble flooring.

In other news, has anyone else noticed that the word “Hezbollah” in Iran essentially translates as “wingnuts”?

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