Al Qaeda has been busy recruiting,
trying to replace heavy losses. The terrorists have also made their pitch to
the Berber minority. Berber nationalism has long been a problem, not Berber
religious radicalism. The Berbers, a
people related to the ancient Egyptians, were the original occupants of Algeria.
Arab armies conquered the country over a thousand years ago, but, unlike other
Arab conquests, most Berbers did not adopt Arab language and customs. Today,
about a third of Algerians are Berbers, and speak the Berber language,
Tamazight. There has always been tension between Berbers and Arabs, and now
Berbers are demanding that their language be made one of Algeria's official
languages. The Arab dominated government refuses to consider this. So far,
Berber violence has been in the form of
rowdy demonstrations. But the Berber radicals could escalate to guns and bombs.
So far they haven't, but al Qaeda is trying to interest the Berber radicals in
a coalition, at least. This pitch isn't going down too well, as al Qaeda is
seen as a bunch of losers, especially since their defeat in Iraq. The one thing
al Qaeda has to offer is media recognition. Any terrorist action associated
with al Qaeda gets more coverage. Since terrorism lives and dies according to
how much media attention it gets, this is a persuasive pitch. Still, the Berber
radicals have not shown any inclination become another al Qaeda franchise.
last two weeks, police have captured bomb making supplies, new recruits and
terrorist camps. The police have become familiar with the rural areas al Qaeda
is hiding out in, and is making it more difficult for the terrorists to
1992, security forces have killed some 17,000 Islamic terrorists. Over 200,000
Algerians have died in this violence, most of them civilians killed by the
terrorists for not being Islamic enough. In the last fifteen months, 2,226
terrorists have accepted the amnesty. The high unemployment tempts many young
men to join al Qaeda. The terrorist organization is still considered hip among
the young, or at least some of them. On the Internet, al Qaeda is having a hard
time, with many Islamic militants openly criticizing the terrorist organization.
But every successful operation, especially large bombings, inspire some guys in
their teens or twenties to check it out.
2008: After hiding out for a month, an
al Qaeda bomb maker was found and captured by police in Mauritania's capital.
The prisoner, Sidi Mohamed, is believed to work for al Qaeda terrorists in
2008: The month long cease fire in Mali
was broken when Tuareg rebels attacked an army convoy near the Algerian border.
Four rebels were killed. The Tuareg are ethnic cousins of the Berbers to the
north, and also don't get along with Arabs, or anyone for that matter. There is
also a Tuareg revolt in neighboring Niger. Like the Berbers, the Tuareg are not
attracted to Islamic radicalism or al Qaeda, but will provide support, for a
price. Al Qaeda needs cash to survive, and smuggling, especially drugs,
provides that. They cooperate with traditional smuggling groups, like the Tuareg