Algeria: Better to Be Feared Than Loved


May 22, 2007: The terror bombings last month turned most of the population against the Islamic terrorists responsible. This, in turn, has caused a rift inside the Algerian branch of al Qaeda. There are only about 400 Islamic terrorists left in the country, and they are now divided over how to proceed. About half the terrorists want to go ahead with more terrorist attacks, on the theory that, if you can't be loved, then at least you can be feared. But the other half of the al Qaeda see that as pointless, because the popular hatred generated by more attacks causes more people to cooperate with the police. The terrorist team that carried out the April attacks was quickly rounded up because of widespread public cooperation. In the past, the police have used these tactical errors and internal divisions to help them crush terrorist organizations.

May 21, 2007: The National Police are being increased from 200,000 to 216,000, in an effort to prevent future Islamic terrorist attacks.

May 20, 2007: Police have arrested the twelve men it believed responsible for the bombings last month. Also captured were large quantities of explosives and documents.

May 19, 2007: The ruling party (National Liberation Front or FLN) dominated the recent elections winning 136 seats in parliament (out of a total of 389). The the pro-business Rally for National Democracy (RND) won 61, while the moderate religious party, Islamic Movement for Society and Peace (MSP) won 52. The FLN, in coalition with the Society of Peace Movement (MSP) party, together control 64 percent of the seats in parliament. May 17, 2007: Only about 35 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in national parliamentary elections, down from 46 percent five years ago. Algeria is still run by the group that refused to recognize a vote in 1992 that would have put Islamic conservatives in power. Voters are understandably apathetic.

May 15, 2007: Police counter-terror operations continue, with several suspects being picked up each day, as those arrested earlier give up information. Every few days there is a gun battle, as the more hardcore terrorists refuse to go quietly.

May 13, 2007: Police located and surrounded a terrorist camp about 100 kilometers west of the capital. There are believed to be about twenty rebels in the camp, which the air force has bombed. Police sweeps have picked up dozens of terrorist suspects. Some terrorists have turned themselves in, after getting caught up in a rift within al Qaeda over tactics.


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