Algeria: Founder of Major Terror Group Surrenders


January7, 2007: As Algeria and the U.S. exchange information on Algerian Islamic terrorists, they find a common pattern. Many Algerian terrorists, who have "disappeared" from view in Algeria, are showing up in Iraq (where they are killed, captured or mentioned by prisoners),  in a Western prison, or under surveillance by Western security agencies. Fewer Algerians are going ti Iraq, apparently after noting the high probability of getting killed or captured there. Algerian terrorists are trying to establish themselves in the West (Europe, Canada, Australia.) The GSPC members share information via the Internet on how to work the legal and social welfare systems of Western countries, in order to stay out of jail, and get the local governments to pay for living expenses. But known GSPC members are closely watched, and know they will be picked up if they are caught planning an terrorist operations. GSPC members are also active in Arab countries, but this is more dangerous. Especially in North Africa, counter-terror operations are very active, and effective. Morocco and Libya are particularly energetic in hunting, and catching, Islamic terrorists (who threaten the local governments). Meanwhile, the GSPC leadership insists that it will carry on the struggle to establish an Islamic state in North Africa, and, in a telling and pathetic gesture, publicly calls on Osama bin Laden for "instructions."

January 2, 2007: Hassan Hattab, one of the founders of the GSPC, and about a hundred of his followers, have accepted the government amnesty. Hattab was ousted as leader of the GSPC in 2001, and his successor was killed in 2004, and GSPC has been shrinking ever since. Hattab has pretty much stayed in the background since 2001, when more radical members of the GSPC pushed a program of more violence. This turned most Algerians against the Islamic radicals, and led to the collapse of the GSPC.

December 31, 2006: Police arrested two Tunisians, who admitted that they had entered Algeria, via Libya, with the help of Islamic terrorists, to work with the GSPC. 

December 24, 2006: On the advice of French security officials, next month's "Dakar Rally" (a vehicle race across the Sahara) will skip Mali. There is fear that Algerian Islamic terrorists (belonging to GSPC) are in the area, and might ambush or kidnap some of the racers. American Special Forces have been training Mali security forces for some time now, but the area where the GSPC remnants can hide out is vast, and controlled by tribes more congenial to Islamic radicalism, than to their own government. 

December 22, 2006: A major sweep, some fifty kilometers east of the capital, resulted in three Islamic terrorists dead, and 14 arrested. Some of the arrested were also working with criminal gangs, which is a typical method for terrorists to support themselves, and gain access to goods and services available via the criminal underground.