Algeria: Trouble Next Door In Tunisia


October 31, 2013: Additional soldiers and police are patrolling the Tunisian and Libyan borders to keep Islamic terrorists out and to look for terrorist camps or supply caches.

At least 34 foreign workers have returned to the natural gas facility in southern Algeria (near the Tunisian border) where 70 people died (including all the Islamic terrorist attackers) in January when al Qaeda took control of the place. That resulted in much tighter security around that facility and all others. The foreign firms are satisfied with the new security arrangements and have allowed their citizens to return to work at the plant. Without the foreigners, full production has not been resumed and a lot of other technical work had to be postponed. Oil and natural gas accounts for 95 percent of exports and the foreign currency needed to buy imports. Most food is imported and over the last three decades the economy has stagnated because of corruption and continued belief in centralized control. If the current leadership (who have been in power since France left in the 1960s) wants to prevent another rebellion, they have to fix the economy. But as long as the leaders refuse to allow foreign investment and local entrepreneurs to operate freely, economic revival is not happening. Official unemployment is 10 percent but that includes a lot of marginal jobs provided by the government. For men under 30, the government admits there is a much higher unemployment rate (over 20 percent) and these are the people who would start and sustain another revolution. Few of these young men are attracted to Islamic terrorism any more, but most want some economic and social changes, and so far all the government offers are admissions that there is a problem but no real solutions. Meanwhile, oil income is shrinking because current oil and gas fields are running dry and government investment restrictions and inept management hamper efforts to find new fields. Despite that, one new field has been discovered, and that means less pressure on the government to clean up the corruption in the oil industry. Meanwhile, the population increases and those who do not flee the country become angrier and more impatient.

October 30, 2013: Neighboring Tunisia suffered its first suicide bombing. The bomber walked onto a beach at a tourist resort 150 kilometers south of the capital and detonated his explosives. The bomber died but no one else was injured. Police quickly found and arrested another bomber and found a bomb workshop in a local house.

October 28, 2013: Police arrested 20 people living in Tlydjen, a town on the Tunisian border, and accused them of providing support for Islamic terrorists. Police had been seeking out people who, for ideological of financial reasons, support Islamic terrorists. Taking down this network creates another portion of the border where Islamic terrorists cannot operate freely.

October 26, 2013: The government announced the discovery of another oil field, one with up to 1.3 billion barrels of oil (worth over $150 billion). The new field was 112 kilometers from what is currently the largest oil field in the country.

October 25, 2013: The government revealed that troops had recently discovered a large cache of weapons hidden near the Libyan border. In addition to assault rifles, RPG launchers, and rockets and landmines, there were also 500 shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles and 100 larger anti-aircraft missiles. The government did not reveal the country that produced the weapons, but it is likely they were Russian made weapons from Libya. Smugglers have been getting those weapons, stolen from unguarded military warehouses during the 2011 rebellion. Some of these stolen weapons have been showing up all over the Middle East and Africa. This cache was probably left by smugglers who were waiting for the increased security in the area to diminish before trying to move the weapons.  

October 23, 2013: In neighboring Tunisia seven policemen were killed fighting Islamic terrorists south of the capital. Tunisia blames some of its Islamic terrorist problems on a lack of law and order in Libya and the ability of the Islamic terrorists to bring in weapons stolen from Kaddafi era armories. Islamic terrorists also maintain bases in the south, especially the southeast near the Niger border. These are the bases that can send terrorists into neighboring Algeria or straight north to Tunisia. The Algerian border is well guarded, so many terrorists head for Tunisia where they have established bases in the Atlas Mountains near the Mediterranean coast. Tunisian soldiers and police have been searching for these bases all this year, without much success.

October 19, 2013: In northeastern Tunisia police have killed 10 Islamic terrorists over the last few days.

October 17, 2013: In northeastern Tunisia two policemen were killed as a group of Islamic terrorists was being pursued.





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