Algeria: Things You Don't Forget

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April 29, 2007: Islamic radicals in Algeria were dismayed at the negative response to their April bombings. Not only in Algeria, but throughout North Africa and the Arab world, al Qaeda caught mostly bad press for those attacks. Popular opinion was also quite negative. This continues a trend begun two years ago, as increasingly horrific terror attacks against civilians in Iraq tuned Arab public opinion against al Qaeda, and similar groups. The trend continues, and al Qaeda is dismayed at its inability to reverse the trend.

April 28, 2007: Islamic terrorists, several hundred of them, remain active, operating mostly in rural areas, causing several dozen deaths a month. But many districts along the Algerian coast are being cleared of Islamic radicals. The police know this because these are areas where the Islamic radicals have little, or no, local supporters. Moreover, in these areas, most of the population is hostile to the Islamic terrorism, and quick to report any suspicious activity. A lot of this springs from memories of the massacres committed by the Islamic terrorists in the 1990s. Back then, entire families would be murdered, in an attempt to terrorize the locals into not cooperating with the police. People don't forget that sort of thing quickly.

April 26, 2007: Samir Moussaab, the number two guy in al Qaeda's North African branch, was killed by police east of the capital.

April 22, 2007: The police have rounded up the usual suspects. In this case, 80 men who had recently visited Iraq, and were known to be Islamic radicals. Many of these men are openly promoting Islamic terrorism, and are under police surveillance. Now they are under arrest. Dozens were already in jail. The same problem was encountered in the 1980s, when thousands of young men went to Pakistan, to join the fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. This time around, it's hundreds of young men going to Iraq to fight the infidels (non-Moslems, plus the Shia Arabs, who are considered heretics by many Sunni Arabs). Most of these guys don't come back, the casualty rate being much higher in Iraq than it was in Afghanistan. But a large proportion of those who do return are inclined to continue their violent ways.

 

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