A personal president-to-president report from Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika to Barack Obama in early February contained evidence that an Al Qaeda unit commanded by “the Egyptian” (unnamed) murdered US Ambassador Christ Stevens and three staffers in Benghazi last September, and that the same gang, under the same command, also carried out the Algerian In Amenas gas field siege in early January.
Three weeks after the Benghazi attack, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources reported that the CIA and FBI were hunting for the perpetrators of the Benghazi assault in the wrong places, in Tunisia and Mali. The key was in Egypt.
The investigation into the terrorist hostage siege at the Algerian gas field is still ongoing to discover how 38 Western workers came to die and the fate of many other hostages who are still missing.
But meanwhile, the Algerian president’s exposure of the Egyptian angle and other common factors between the two outrages hit Washington like a bolt from the blue.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources have obtained access to the Bouteflika report and disclose eleven of its eye-opening revelations:
The Emir of Qatar exposed
1. Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his son Sheikh Tamim al-Thani, head of the Qatari secret services, have spent more than $1 billion to build and run a covert subversive operation for toppling the Algerian government and its long-ruling president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
2. The Algerian special forces’ operation for ending the gas field siege and rescuing the hostages was slow and clumsy and the forces charged with securing the facility against attack and sabotage inept.
It turned out later that the military and intelligence bodies designed for rapid responses to threats against the Algerian regime and energy facilities were deeply penetrated. Qatar had bought several Algerian officers in the field and they were being manipulated by the emirate’s secret agents to sow confusion in the field.
So some of the time, the officers in Qatar’s pay obeyed orders from the presidential palace, the Ministry of Defense and General Staff in Algiers; at other times, they acted on instructions from their Qatari controllers who were sitting in Libya.
As a result, the officers in command of the gas field operation were totally at sea. They couldn’t make head or tail of the conflicting orders coming in or decide which to obey.
3. The fog of battle, endemic in these operations, was thickened further by surreptitious Qatari interference in the showdown between the Algerian army and the al Qaeda hostage-takers.
False trails and red herrings
President Bouteflika was not then aware of the Qatari conspiracy for his overthrow and so he jumped to the conclusion that the gas field operation was subject to a mutiny in a part of the Algerian army in cahoots with Al Qaeda.
Because of this, the Algerian government refrained from issuing communiqués in the course of the operation.
4. The Algerian investigation after the event traced the al Qaeda unit responsible for the gas field attack. It was commanded by an Egyptian al Qaeda operative with two Yemeni deputies. They entered Algeria from Libya three months after committing the assault on the US Benghazi consulate.
5. Algerian intelligence has no clear proof that this Libyan-based jihadist group was directly funded by Qatari agents operating out of Libya. What they do have is evidence that Qatari funds were channeled to radical Islamist groups who are in close contact with the Egyptian-led cell.
6. False reports were deliberately planted to send the hunt for the perpetrators haring off to Mali, Niger and Nigeria, away from the trail to the true attackers, their identities and their Libyan refuge.
The portrayal of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed “Untouchable,” the Terror of the Sahara, as the mastermind of the Algerian attack was likewise a red herring to misdirect the search away from the Egyptian-led Al Qaeda unit responsible for the two terrorist attacks and their common denominator.
7. At the same time, Algerian intelligence did uncover a certain shady link between Mokhtar Belmokhtar and the al Qaeda hostage-takers of In Amenas, It went through Doha and was purely financial. Qatari intelligence was found to be taking a rakeoff from the one-eyed terrorist’s ill-gotten gains from his smuggling rings for cigarettes, drugs, human traffic and arms. This black revenue is used to bankroll Qatar’s subversive plots in Libya and Algeria.
The Belmokhtar smuggling network is one of the world’s largest, with tentacles running across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Qatar sows mayhem in Libya and Algeria to undermine government
8. The al Qaeda gang’s first plan was to flee with its hostages across the border to Libya and await its next orders.
At this point, the Obama administration and European governments, whose nationals were among the captives, appealed strongly to Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan to have his border troops shut the door on al Qaeda and its convoy of hostages and keep them out.
Tripoli never answered this appeal.
The convoy was finally stopped by an Algerian Air force air strike as it drove out of the gas field.
9. Bouteflika reports that Qatar’s secret service is riding high in its campaign to sow mayhem in Libya and Algeria.
In Libya which, in his report to Obama, he calls “no longer a state, only a country,” Qatari agents are busy buying up selected Islamic militias for control of their regions while keeping central government in Tripoli in a permanent state of instability.
10. Algeria is a proper state with a stable government, an organized political hierarchy and a functioning army and intelligence. And so Qatar is trying to collapse the “deep state” – by which term, Algerians refer to the institutions of statehood. They must be knocked down first before the emirate can seize control of the elite groups running the political, military and intelligence arms of state. Until then, Qatar is buying influence in those groups with huge bribes.
Libya, in contrast, has no organized state infrastructure to destroy since Muammar Qaddafi’s downfall.
The bald-faced liars of Doha
11. Bouteflika offers evidence that Qatar has embarked on a major bid to seize control of the vast oil and gas resources of Libya and Algeria. The emirate is consumed by a burning ambition to make up for its small territory (11,571 square kilometers) and tiny population (only about 2 million) by turning itself into the world’s leading oil and gas superpower.
The Obama administration is keenly interested in playing down the discovery that the Benghazi and In Amenas outrages were the work of the same Egyptian-led al Qaeda band, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources report.
However, the Algerian report, after it was examined by the relevant experts in Washington, was deemed credible. It shows is that the US investigating teams wasted six months chasing in the wrong direction for the perpetrators of the murderous attack in Benghazi, while meanwhile the real culprits were resting quietly in Libya and laying their scheme for the Algerian gas field spectacular.
As for Qatar’s role and its subversive operations against Libya and Algeria, President Obama followed up on the Bouteflika report by sending a high-ranking US intelligence delegation to Doha to confront the Al Thanis, including the Emir himself, with these allegations.
They all vehemently denied complicity in any such nefarious doings.
In their report to President Obama, the delegates verified the Algerian report and agreed to a man that the Qataris were bald-faced liars.
The US President hasn’t yet decided what to do about either.