The document reveals that al Qaeda recognized its own vulnerability in the face of the pending military intervention, launched by France in January to oust the extremists. It also shows a sharp discord within al Qaeda’s local chapter over how strictly to apply Islamic law, with Droukdel expressing dismay over the whipping of women and the destruction of Timbuktu’s shrines. It indicates the cell is willing to make short-term concessions on ideology to gain the allies it acknowledges it needs.
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