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
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.