Algeria: Islamic Terrorists Persist


May 2, 2015: The government has its problems with the economy and Islamic terrorism under control, but just barely. Unemployment is still too high, as is the incidence of corruption and mismanagement. That helps keep some young Algerians eager to use Islamic terrorism as a solution. In 2014 about a hundred Islamic terrorists were killed in Algeria, which is low compared to previous years. The incidence of Islamic terrorist activity has been declining since 2005 . Islamic radicalism lost most of its popular appeal by the late 1990s. This came after Islamic terrorists organized a rebellion earlier in the 1990s and murdered over 100,000 civilians who did not agree with (or enthusiastically aid) them. That bloodbath ended in 2005 with an amnesty deal that attracted most of the remaining Islamic zealots. Some of the Islamic terrorists still operating in Algeria seem to acknowledge that abusing civilians is counterproductive and avoid further antagonizing civilians with the kind of mayhem still popular in places like Libya, Iraq and Syria.

Despite the 2005 peace deal there were still several hundred armed Islamic terrorists operating in Algeria. So far this year it appears that the number killed will be a bit lower for 2015. There are still a lot of Islamic conservatives in Algeria and a recent government effort to reform laws on Alcohol (making it easier to get) led to threats of street demonstrations by those who saw this as anti-Islamic. Algeria imports over $80 million worth of alcoholic beverages each year but current laws make it easy for police to harass places that serve the drinks. Sometimes that is fixed by paying a bribe, sometimes not and either way most Algerians are not happy with how the current rules on alcoholic beverages are written and enforced.

The increased Algerian border security, especially on the Mali and Libyan borders has led to more arrests, but almost all of those caught are smugglers, not Islamic terrorists. Most of the smugglers are moving consumer goods (cheap fuel, expensive alcohol, gadgets and low level drugs like cannabis, for use in Algeria) and illegal migrants headed for Europe.

April 28, 2015: About a hundred kilometers east of the capita (Tizi Ouzou) troops encountered and killed six armed Islamic terrorists and recovered their weapons and other equipment.

April 27, 2015: The government expelled a Mauritanian diplomat in response to an Algerian diplomat being expelled earlier. The Algerian was expelled for being involved with a web based article critical of the Mauritanian government.

April 24, 2015: Some 171 kilometers southeast of the capital troops killed an Islamic terrorist and recovered two weapons and other equipment.

April 23, 2015: In the northeast, just across the border in Tunisia (Kasserine) more than a day of fighting left ten Islamic terrorists and three soldiers (along with seven wounded) dead. It all began when Islamic terrorists ambushed an army patrol but were repulsed and then pursued and hunted down. This mountainous area and its forests has been the scene of much Islamic terrorist activity for several years.

April 22, 2015: About a hundred kilometers west of the capital soldiers ambushed and killed three armed Islamic terrorists.

April 19, 2015: In France a computer science student (Sid Ahmed Ghlam) was arrested after he was discovered preparing to attack a church. The arrested man was an Algerian immigrant who spoke fluent French but police were watching him because it was discovered that he was planning to travel to Syria and had become interested in Islamic terrorism. A search of Ghlam’s apartment found three AK-47s and evidence identifying two other Algerians in France as accomplices as well as an unidentified contact in Syria.  Ghlam was a scholarship student but is now being charged with murder and Islamic terrorism. There are over seven million Moslems in France, about a third of them of Algerian origin. The large scale movement of Moslems to France did not begin until after World War II (1939-45) and many of those migrants, or their children or grandchildren did not adjust to being in a largely non-Moslem culture. That has produced a steady flow of recruits for Islamic terrorism.

April 17, 2015: In the south, near the Mali border, an army patrol found a weapons cache containing three rifles, two rockets and ammunition.

April 15, 2015: Over the last two days border police seized over 9,000 liters (2,300 gallons) of fuel near the Moroccan border (540 kilometers west of the capital). In the past a lot of smugglers would bribe their way past border security but with the additional attention being paid to keeping Islamic terrorists out, there is a lot more supervision and inspection of border security efforts. So taking a bribe to let some smuggler past is more likely to be found out and cost border bribe takers their jobs, or worse.

April 14, 2015: Some 2,300 kilometers south of the capital, near the Niger border an army patrol found a cache of weapons containing six AK-47s, three machine-guns, two RPG rocket launchers, two 60mm mortars, six heavy (14.5 mm and 12.7 mm) machine-guns, two anti-personnel mines, 60 hand grenades, 225 kilograms (495 pounds) of explosives, 45 rockets and 1,761 rounds of rifle and machine-gun ammunition.

April 13, 2015: Algeria hosts another round of peace talks by the two main factions (rival governments based in Tripoli and Tobruk) in Libya. Several other factions are also represented.

Near the Libyan border (where it meets the Niger border) troops found a cache of more than 400 kg (880 pounds) weapons, most of it was explosives for making bombs.

April 12, 2015: The Mali peace talks hosted by Algeria are stalled by radical factions of the rebel alliance that insist on more autonomy than the government is willing to provide. The negotiators on both sides managed to work out an agreement that was acceptable to most factions but not for many of the armed and still angry young Tuareg men. The UN has threatened the holdout factions with sanctions but that had no impact. Between these holdouts and the active Islamic terrorists in the north it is obvious that for a significant minority of northerners the war for independence is not yet over. Most of these separatists are seeking a religious dictatorship. This is definitely not wanted by the majority of northerners. This is so typical of hotspots that peacekeepers have been sent to. A lack of fighting is interpreted as peace to keep when in reality it was just a pause in the violence as the local adversaries prepared for another round of armed struggle. The Tuareg and Arab majority in sparsely populated northern Mali still don’t, after thousands of years, get along with the black African majority in the south. In hindsight the north should never have been made a part of Mali. The north is too poor and sparsely populated to be independent but would be better off as a province of Algeria. That will never happen.

April 9, 2015: Some 40 kilometers west of the capital soldiers killed four Islamic terrorists and recovered weapons, explosives and equipment.

The government is expanding the number of mosques in the country by eleven percent to 20,000. The 45,000 people running these mosques are closely supervised by the government, as part of a wide ranging effort to prevent a reoccurrence of Islamic terrorism.

April 7, 2015: In the northeast, just across the border in Tunisia (Kasserine) Islamic terrorists ambushed an army patrol and killed four soldiers.

April 6, 2015: Overnight soldiers killed an Islamic terrorists and recovered an AK-47 some 60 kilometers the east of the capital (Boumerdes province).



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