Algeria: The Revolution Will Be Delayed By Bad Memories

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October 1, 2011: For the last week, the government has been fending off accusations from the new Libyan government that Algeria is working with Libyan Tuareg tribes to shelter former Libyan ruler Moamar Kaddafi. The Algerians deny this, and point to their own long and difficult relationship with the Tuareg. Kaddafi and his family were on much better terms with the Tuareg. For example, last March, Libyan diplomats and agents were seen recruiting Tuareg tribesmen in Niger, Mali, Algeria and Burkina Faso, to fight in Libya to keep Kaddafi in power. Kaddafi has hired Tuareg to fight for him for decades, so there was a willingness among young Tuareg to take the money ($10,000 to sign up and several thousand a week thereafter) to risk their lives for a desperate dictator. In contrast, the relations with the local tribes, especially the powerful Tuareg, were always more complicated for Algeria. This is because, while the Tuareg are not fond of Islamic terrorism, young Tuareg are allowed to work with al Qaeda as hired guns. The pay is good, and, so far, not too dangerous. But the young Tuareg are picking up some radical ideas from their al Qaeda bosses, and that is causing some tension with tribal leaders. The mere fact that Tuareg are working for al Qaeda in southern Algeria has angered Algerian officials.

It's all about smuggling cocaine and hashish north, through Algeria, to Europe. The drug smuggling is actually handled by Arab gangsters that are not terrorists. Al Qaeda gets paid lots of money to provide security for the drugs as they make the long run through the Sahara. The Tuareg provide local knowledge of the terrain, and people, at least in the far south. The Algerian government is afraid that the Tuareg will be tempted, by a big payday, to provide sanctuary for Kaddafi, or help in smuggling him to Zimbabwe, which has offered sanctuary.

The government believes that many of the weapons looted from abandoned government warehouses in Libya are finding their way to Algeria. Some weapons recently captured from Islamic terrorists and gangsters could be traced back to Libya.

The government, lacking any heavy public pressure, is not making much progress in announcing, much less carrying out, political and economic reforms. The corruption, mainly to benefit the ruling families (including many descended from the anti-colonial rebels of half a century ago) continues, as does public anger at it. But two decades of Islamic terrorism has made the public reluctant to engage in another revolution. Not just yet, but eventually.

September 30, 2011:  Hardliners in the government have rejected calls for another amnesty, to try and get the remaining Islamic terrorists to halt their violence. The hardliners point out that past amnesty had not brought in the hardcore Islamic terrorists, who went on to recruit replacements for those who did surrender. Worse, many of those who did surrender went back to Islamic terrorism. For the hardliners, killing or imprisoning all the Islamic terrorists is the only solution. The mood in the country supports the hardliners.

September 27, 2011:  The government warned members of Moamar Kaddafi's family taking shelter in Algeria to keep quiet about political matters, or face being sent back to Libya. This came in response to Kaddafi's daughter Aisha making a statement to the press about how her father was well and still fighting.

East of the capital, troops encountered and fought a large group (about 33) of Islamic terrorists. At least five of the terrorists were killed, and the rest escaped into the forests. Some of those were believed to be wounded, and one or more bodies may have been carried away.

September 26, 2011: The new Libyan government is demanding that Algeria do something about pro-Kaddafi gunmen operating out of Algeria, and crossing the border to make attacks inside Libya. Both countries share a long, mostly desert border, south of Tunisia. Algeria protests that it cannot monitor this entire borderland. Libya points out that the Kaddafi gunmen must have access to water, fuel and food, and there are only a few places where those items are available in the desert border region.

September 24, 2011: Islamic terrorists fired an RPG rocket at an airfield 250 kilometers east of the capital. The target was apparently a military helicopter, but no damage was done.

September 23, 2011: Police in neighboring Tunisia report battles with armed men (presumably pro-Kaddafi gunmen) trying to sneak in. At least six of the infiltrators have been killed in the last week, and many more were driven back into Libya. The action took place in the area where the Libyan, Tunisian and Algerian borders meet.

September 19, 2011:  The first of the new privately owned TV stations will be on the air next year. The government recently announced that the decades old government monopoly on electronic media was being lifted. The Internet had a lot to do with this, as it had already lifted the government monopoly, and there was nothing the government could do about it.

September 17, 2011:  Algerian reform groups tried to use Internet social media to organize large pro-reform demonstrations today. The effort failed. While most Algerians want reform, they don't want any more violence, not after two decades of Islamic terrorism.

September 16, 2011: The U.S. embassy issued a terrorist alert, warning foreign oil firms that Islamic terrorists were planning to use missiles against the chartered freighter aircraft the oil companies make heavy use of. The missiles were believed to be coming from Libya.

The government was alarmed at an Internet based call for large demonstrations tomorrow. The government blamed Israel.

 

 

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