Last month's terror attacks killed over a
hundred people, while this month there has been nothing so far. The police and
army response to the August attacks was energetic, and the public disapproval
of the large number of civilians killed in the attacks increased the number of
tips phoned in. Al Qaeda is aware of the need to avoid civilian casualties, but
this is difficult to do as the police and soldiers often operate among civilians.
When the security forces are out in the country, any approaching terrorists
stand out and are usually shot before
they can attack. Roadside bombs and ambushes are also difficult to carry out.
But the combination of civilian casualties, from over a decade of Islamic
terrorist violence, and the growing availability of cell phones, has made the
terrorists more vulnerable to detection and attack by the police. There are not
that many terrorist cells operating, and each time they carry out attacks ,
they increase the chance that someone will see and report them to the police.
September 15, 2008: In neighboring Mauritania, twelve soldiers
were killed in an ambush by al Qaeda terrorists near the Algerian border. Hundreds
of Algerian terrorists fled to southern Algeria in the past few years, and many
operate on both sides of the borders there. This is desolate country, with lots
of deserts and mountains.
September 13, 2008: The military budget will go up ten percent
next year. In addition, an amount greater than the defense budget will be spent
to create manufacturing organizations that will supply the army with equipment
and weapons. This is an economic development program, not, strictly speaking, a
military one (since the gear could be imported more cheaply.)
September 11, 2008: Based on tips, police prevented several
terror attacks in eastern Algeria.
September 10, 2008: In the south, an Algerian brokered peace deal
between the Mali government and Tuareg rebels has worked. Both sides have
released prisoners and are halting armed operations.
September 9, 2008: An al Qaeda member, unhappy with the number
of civilian casualties from bombing attacks, went to the police and provided
information on his cell, and prevented 4-5 terrorist attacks in western
Algeria. The defector also reported on how the terrorists have been using
kidnapping (for ransom) to finance their operations.
September 8, 2008: Police arrested four people belonging to a
terrorist cell in southern Algeria. Wiretaps of known terrorist sympathizers
led to the discovery of this group, which was building a bomb and planned using
the widow of an Islamic terrorist to wear and detonate the bomb.