Tunisia Becoming Arms ‘Corridor’ for Malian Jihadists

By Dialogo
January 15, 2013

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki said on January 12, that his country was becoming a “corridor” for arms reaching Islamist militants in Mali, but stopped short of backing France’s military intervention there.

“The situation in Mali has always worried us because we have begun to understand that our jihadists, quote unquote, have ties with these terrorist forces,” Marzouki told France 24 television.

“We have the impression that Tunisia is becoming a corridor for Libyan weapons to these regions,” said Marzouki, whose country borders Libya but not Mali.

He was referring to arms from the arsenal of former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi that he said are reaching Islamists in northern Mali via Tunisia and Algeria, the latter of which shares borders with Mali.

“We are monitoring very closely what is happening in that hornet’s nest because it is a hornet’s nest that can threaten the security of all the countries, including Tunisia,” he said.

Marzouki gave a guarded response when asked to comment on the French military intervention in Mali.

“The situation is so complex. Of course we would have preferred a politically negotiated solution,” he said.

Mali has been in turmoil since three Islamist groups, among them Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, seized control of the country’s north after a coup in March.

Backed by French air power, Mali unleashed a counter-attack against the Islamists, recapturing a town lost to the rebels as they advanced south from their northern strongholds.