Regular readers of Jihadica know of my long-running interest in Jihadism in Mauritania (go here for a great blog about the country). Recently, a German intel chief remarked that al-Qaeda has moved all of its training camps from Af-Pak to Mauritania and is planning to launch attacks on Europe from there.
The movement of all the camps to Mauritania can’t be true–AQ has a good thing going in Pakistan with the modular camps they set up, which, I’m told, are indistinguishable from the air from normal houses in enclosures. Nevertheless, it makes sense for AQIM to increase training in Mauritania now that Iraq is drying up. They’ll have more manpower, more money, etc. From there, operatives can move north to Europe via Morocco and to the east along the Sahel. That there are rebellious tribesmen (the Tuareg) and well-grooved smuggling networks is an added bonus. If there is to be a redoubt for a second front, Mauritania looks like a good spot.