Algeria: Generation Gap Leaves Terrorists Leaderless

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October 5, 2007: A major terrorist leader, Hassan Hattab, has surrendered and accepted amnesty. Hattab was one of the founders of the GSPC, and did not agree with many other GSPC leaders, who decided to form an al Qaeda franchise. Hattab also lost faith in the ability of terrorism to bring meaningful change to Algeria.

Police have determined that the suicide bombing attempt on the Algerian president last month, was the work of a terrorist leader who had been released from prison under the amnesty deal. Some of these jailed terrorists were expected to go back to their violent ways.

The few hundred Islamic terrorists left are being hunted down by soldiers and police, and are finding civilians reluctant to hide them. There are several incidents a week when terrorists make contact with the security forces, resulting in several dozen casualties and arrests each week. Given the high unemployment among young Algerians, there are plenty of new recruits for the terrorists, but a growing shortage of older, more experienced, leaders. These terrorists, of an earlier generation, are not only getting picked off by police activity, but are getting out of the terrorism business (through exile, surrender or just fading into obscurity.) The shortage of good leadership makes it easier to catch the terrorists, and more difficult to plan and carry out attacks.

September 30, 2007: Since Ramadan began two weeks ago, terrorist violence has killed 37 security personnel, terrorists and civilians.

 

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