Algeria: Getting Nowhere Faster


August 12, 2008:  The war between the security forces and al Qaeda has become personal, with troops tracking known terrorist cells over long periods. There are only a few hundred Islamic terrorists still at large, but they are able to find hideouts in the rural hill country of eastern Algeria. The terrorists have rebuilt their support network, and police have caught money and weapons being smuggled in. There are still plenty of angry, unemployed, young men willing to join. But the new (rebranded as al Qaeda) organization is keeping the actual number of operators small. The terrorists are now able to carry out four or more attacks a month. This is not going to win them control of the country, but it does keep them in the news. The terrorists are also trying to avoid hurting civilians. This is very difficult to do, and civilians continue to suffer from terrorist operations. Al Qaeda in Algeria is more efficient, but no more likely to succeed.

August 10, 2008: Apparently in revenge for yesterday's army ambush, a suicide car bomb attacked a nearby military compound, killing six and wounding 18. Another attack, 100 kilometers east of the capital, killed three policemen.

August 9, 2008: Police and army patrols in eastern Algeria have been chasing down al Qaeda gangs known to be hiding out in the coastal hills. Last night, an army ambush killed 12 terrorists.

August 3, 2008: An Islamic terrorist car bomb went off 150 kilometers east of the capital, wounding 25 people, including four policemen.


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