Western analysts discuss the consequences of the liberation by the Mujahideen of vast areas in northern Mali (see map), the area of which exceeds the area of France.
According to the Guardian, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Din and the Movement of Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MTJWA) use the situation to arm and train new recruits constantly joining the ranks of the Mujahideen. This may represent a direct threat to Europe.
This summer, the Islamic fighters have completely pushed out of northern Mali a secular nationalist group "The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad", taking control of the major cities of Gao, Timbuktu, Kidal and Ansogo (see map).
Sharia Law has been introduced on their territory - daily activities designed to combat that does not conform to Islam are held here such as: destroying pagan idols, warehouses with alcoholic beverages and cigarettes; there is a major battle being fought against drugs and moral decay.
"If Islamists continue to control vast areas of Mali where they can do what they like, then this will pose a direct threat to Europe", a senior western diplomat in the capital, Bamako, said.
"You cannot forget how close this region is to Europe. They are currently recruiting people in northern Mali, offering them money, training and weapons. If this continues, it is a matter of time before it affects Europe directly".
West has attempted to prevent the introduction of Sharia in the north of Mali, in particular after the destruction of pagan cults in the city of Timbuktu. UNESCO and a local group ECOWAS appealed to the UN Security Council calling for an end to what is happening. African puppet regimes hoped that UN will authorize the invasion of Mali, with support from the United States and France, but that did not happen - Security Council passed a resolution, but not one which sought by ECOWAS.
Meanwhile, the Mujahideen are already preparing for a possible invasion of aggressors. Thus, according to the Guardian, Mujahideen have surrounded Gao with such a large number of landmines, making it almost impossible for the foreign forces to enter
There is an organization of military and police units in urban areas, more and more local Muslim youth are joining the ranks of Mujahideen, at the same time Sharia knowledge has been spread, population taught Islam.
"They organize everything. Food, military training, intelligence, ideological training, said a source in the puppet local law enforcement agencies. - Let us not be mistaken, the hundreds of youths being recruited in the name of MTJWA or Ansar Dine are really AQIM fighters".
In the north of Mali, the Mujahideen continue to flock from neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger (photos can be viewed at this link), and from Algeria. It is reported by the locals of Gao that AQIM Emir Mokhtar Belmokhtar resides here.
"He is living here with his son Oussama, from a marriage with a Malian", said one of the local residents, who has been cited by the media.
"Islamists supported by AQIM are now really getting complete control of the region, and huge access to weapons and arms coming from Libya", - said Valentina Soria, a "counter-terrorism" and security analyst at the Royal United Services Institute thinktank.
"This can well develop into a more direct security threat for Europe - either by enabling AQIM to either plan and carry out attacks directly in Europe or the US, or to provide a safe haven for people connected to terrorist organizations to get some training and access to weapons", Soria says, and adds:
"The Sahel is closer to Europe than Afghanistan or Pakistan and easier for people from Europe to get in and out, so it provides all sorts of advantages from a logistics point of view for people who want to link up with AQIM and like-minded groups".
According to some analysts, the situation for Europe is complicated by the fact that several airports, including the international airport of Gao, fall under the control of the Mujahideen. This means that if AQIM and allies will master the air-combat, it can be applied not only in defending against intervention, but for the attacks on Europe.
"Ansar al-Din does not really exist, said one Malian analyst who comes from Gao. - The leaders of Ansar al-Din are a front for al-Qaida, who took advantage of the MNLA rebellion".
"Yes there are Afghans, yes there are Algerians, but 70% of the Islamists are Malians. And there are people who left Bamako who went to Gao to join the Islamists. This is a much more complicated situation than we in Mali like to admit", added the analyst.
However, plans for military intervention in Mali still remain just that- plans. Everything rests on the financial component. Huge amounts of money spent on Afghanistan and Somalia are a stopping factor here.
In addition, the situation in Syria is much more important for Western alliances, not least because it is one of the most sensitive regions, which is bordered by "Israel".
"It is a problem of resources, but to me this represents a lack of strategic insight", said Soria
Department of Monitoring