- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2013

A document uncovered in Mali giving Islamist extremists 22 tips on avoiding drones is sending a subtle message to military analysts: Al Qaeda is becoming more united.

“This new document shows we are no longer dealing with an isolated local problem, but with an enemy which is reaching across continents to share advice,” said Bruce Riedel, a 30-year veteran of the CIA who now directs the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institute, in an Associated Press report,

The tip sheet was left behind by Islamists as they fled France’s military in Mali, AP reported. An AP reporter discovered it in an envelope on the floor of a building in Mali that was occupied by Al Qaeda militants.

The tip sheet was originally published two years ago, on a jihadist website, AP said.


Its discovery in Mali proves that al Qaeda fighters in North Africa planned for a military mission that would shift from ground to air, focusing on unmanned drones, AP said — and that Al Qaeda chapters around the world are uniting, to the great concern of Western powers.

In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, photo, a young vendor waits for clients alongside woven reed mats of the type purchased by fleeing Islamists, apparently to camouflage their vehicles, in Timbuktu, Mali. (AP Photo/Rukmini Callimachi)
In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, photo, a young vendor waits for ... more >

Moreover, the tips aren’t silly. They may be outdated — but they’re still common sense, AP said.

Some examples, AP reports: Use fake props, like dolls or statues, and arrange them in formation to mislead the enemy.

Pull mats or carpets across the top of cars to conceal their presence from drones. And hide; don’t get spotted, either directly or indirectly.

“These are not dumb techniques,” said Col. Cedric Leighton, a 26-year U.S. Air Force veteran who helped set up the Predator drone program, according to AP. “It shows that they are acting pretty astutely. What [the tips do] is it buys them a little bit more time — and in this conflict, time is key. And they will use it to move away from an area, from a bombing raid, and do it very quickly.”