Algeria: Bitter Memories Keep The Peace

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May 8, 2014: The blatant manner in which the government rigged the April 17 th presidential election prompted many opposition groups to form a new coalition. Thus the ANC (Alliance Nationale pour le Changement or National Alliance for Change) was quickly put together with high hopes and bleak prospects. That’s because ANC success is unlikely because this alliance contains groups split by ethnic, religious, political and economic beliefs. The families that have ruled the country for half a century are focused on maintaining their political power and retaining their embezzled fortunes. Nevertheless the national mood has grown angrier and the trend of more and more protest demonstrations is apparently escalating. This sort of thing leads to injuries and deaths among the protestors which in turn leads to more people willing to consider armed resistance. But many Algerians still have bitter memories of the 1990s when a major uprising of Islamic conservative groups left over 200,000 dead and inflicted enormous economic damage. Fear of going through that again continues to damper enthusiasm for another revolution.

May 6, 2014: Over the last two days troops in the south (Tin-Zaouatine, on the Mali border) have killed at least ten Islamic terrorists caught trying to enter Algeria. Most of the dead terrorists were foreigners. The interlopers had arrived via the Adrar des Ifoghas Mountains, which are mostly in Mali and have long been a popular area for terrorist bases.  

Tunisia is now offering amnesty to Islamic terrorists. This is the same kind of amnesty Algeria has successfully used since 2005. That means as long as you have not killed anyone (or are sure no one can prove you did), you are eligible. In Algeria this process cost the terrorist groups a lot of manpower, with many factions losing most of their people. Moreover, some of the former terrorists went to work for the police who were seeking the hard core Islamic terrorists that had plenty of blood on their hands. The Tunisian government also revealed that it had recently arrested eight Islamic terrorist supporters who had been providing logistical support for hundreds of Islamic terrorists hiding out in the Chaambi Mountains near the Algerian border. These are the sort of people the amnesty is aimed at because without a source of supply (food, ammo, batteries for radios and such, clothing and so on) and people able to smuggle it to remote camps, Islamic terrorists won’t last long in wilderness areas like the Chaambi Mountains.

April 30, 2014:  Just across the Tunisian border in the Chaambi Mountains thousands of troops and police began a major operation to find hidden Islamic terrorist camps. Algeria also moved more troops to the border area opposite the Chaambi Mountains to prevent any fleeing Islamic terrorists from entering Algeria. These big sweeps in the Chaambi Mountains usually come up empty but often they get close enough to hidden terrorist camps to cause some of the terrorists to move, sometimes across the border, until the search operation is over. Tunisia insists that this operation is different and will continue until the terrorists are found or troops have set up small bases in the region blocking the known routes through the mountains terrorists and smugglers use to get around covertly.

April 28, 2014: Newly reelected Abdelaziz Bouteflika took the oath of office in a televised ceremony that was embarrassing for all concerned. Bouteflika was in a wheelchair and struggled to get through the 94 words in the oath. His speech was obviously abbreviated and largely incoherent. Bouteflika is 77 and suffered a stroke in 2013 that he has obviously not recovered from. Despite his infirmities several of Bouteflika’s allies put their ailing boss forward for another term in order to avoid a nasty fight to select a successor. The Bouteflika gang consists of powerful families that took over (as leaders of the rebellion against the French) after the French left in the 1960s and have used corruption and coercion to get rich and monopolize political power. The rigged elections and economic stagnation (largely a result of the corruption) are creating growing unrest. While the government got some love for crushing the Islamic terrorist uprising in the 1990s that good will has largely dissipated.

April 25, 2014: A hundred kilometers east of the capital troops killed two Islamic terrorists and recovered weapons and ammunition. The soldiers involved are part of the force assembled to find those responsible for an ambush on the 19th. This brings to ten the number of Islamic terrorists killed since the 19th.

April 24, 2014: Across the border in the Chaambi Mountain town of Kasserine a Tunisian soldier was wounded when his patrol clashed with some Islamic terrorists. Such patrols have been scouring the area in preparation for a major sweep of the mountains.

April 20, 2014: In the town of Tizi Ouzou (about a hundred kilometers east of the capital) troops clashed with a crowd of over 400 Berbers protesting police brutality and ill treatment of Berbers.

April 19, 2014: About a hundred kilometers east of the capital Islamic terrorists ambushed an army convoy and killed 14 soldiers while at least twenty were wounded. Over a thousand troops were sent to the area to seek out and capture or kill those responsible for the attack (the worst in several years).

April 18, 2014: Across the border in the Chaambi Mountains an army patrol suffered one dead and three wounded when their vehicle hit a landmine on a rural dirt road.  

April 17, 2014: The incumbent president (Abdelaziz Bouteflika) was reelected to a forth five year term. He received 81 percent of the vote in what is widely regarded as a rigged election.

 

 

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