Algeria: May 15, 2003


 After seven years of fighting, the Islamic radicals are down to a few hundred hard core men. The population has largely turned against the Islamic rebels, mainly because the rebels used terror against the population to obtain aid or discourage cooperation with the government. The most common form of terror was murdering entire families, including women and children. This backfired. Recruiting became more difficult, and more people informed on the rebels despite the threats of  retaliation. As is common with such groups, some of the remaining rebels are turning to banditry. Although the rebels always did a little crime on the side, overseas funding is now drying up. In the past, it was possible to solicit donations from Algerians living overseas. But since the Algerian rebel groups have been labeled international terrorists, and stories of their savage attacks on civilians have spread, collecting that money has become much more difficult. Iran and Sudan have also provided some cash in the past, but pressure from the United States and other countries has dried up a lot of that. So more and more of the rebels have to fend for themselves. Kidnapping tourists in southern Algeria (there have been no tourists in the north for years), seemed like a good idea. Collect a little ransom, buy some new trucks and SUVs, expand the cigarette smuggling business. But it didn't work out.


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