The French intervention in Mali has lead to many interesting revelations about the direction that Al-Qaeda has been going in recent years. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb had its headquarters based in the historic city of Timbuktu prior to French intervention. Since French air raids have lead to the retreat of AQIM from northern Mali, teams of soldiers and journalists have been analyzing multiple documents within the Timbuktu library. The analyzed documents have shed light upon the world's most infamous terrorist organization.
The Associated Press has discovered a 26-page manuscript instructing students of Al-Qaeda on the proper handling of surface-to-air missiles. The particular concern from Washington is that these missiles can be used to take down commercial aircraft. The missiles are known as SA-7 missiles and intelligence sources have strong reason to believe that the weapons were acquired during the overthrow of Moammar Ghadaffi.
This is not the only Al-Qaeda cell believed to be in possesion of SA-7 missiles. There is reason to believe that the weapons are circulating throughout Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Somalia. The United States sought to gain possesion of Ghadaffi's stockpile but by the time they had reached Libya it was too late.
While many military aircraft have the security capabilities to resist an attack from an SA-7 missile, civilian aircraft cannot. The SA-7 uses heat-sinking technology and would immediately chart a course for the plane's engine upon being fired. This could lead to planes being downed without a terrorist ever having to step on board a plane, let alone hijack it. With the growing ease occurring in the Global Arms Trade the possibility of the SA-7's being used by Al-Qaeda globally is very real.
The manuscript is believed to be the Encyclopedia of Jihad, an encyclopedia that Osama Bin Laden himself paid to have translated into Arabic. It is believed that the encyclopedia is being burned onto CD's in order to be distributed via the Internet. These recent revelations are showing the dangers of failed states as a hub for the globalizing of terrorism.