Jihadist militants, linked to Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), have destroyed a holy tomb (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in the holy city of Timbuktu in northern Mali. This sacrilege has led to unprecedented terror within the local population.
We must strive to understand how, despite such acts, Al Qaeda continues to impress Muslims and to pursue its strategic objectives.
Al Qaeda's diatribe against "infidels" is in fact violent intolerance of all the forms of Islam which are not to their liking, such as that practiced in Mali and elsewhere. Jihadists seek to sweep away a glorious past to impose a totalitarian creed.
Also, nothing would make the Jihadist more pleased than to provoke foreign intervention; this would worsen the chaos in Mali and allow AQIM and its allies to portray themselves as defenders of Islamic lands...
I find it very unfortunate that such important monuments become stakes in this religious and political conflict.