Islamic violence remains present, but low. Last month, 15 died (two civilians and 13 terrorists), while in December 16 died. Police and troops continue to sweep the hilly forests along the coast, where Islamic terrorists hide out and plan attacks. Just staying hidden and alive takes most of the terrorists time, and months go by with no successful attacks. Some of the dead or captured terrorists have explosives, even explosive vests (for suicide bombings), showing that the murderous efforts continue.
The government is making nice with Cuba, another dictatorship run by elderly leftist revolutionaries who have run their country into the ground economically, and refused to take responsibility for it.
February 9, 2009: Russia has agreed to take back 24 MiG-29 fighters Algeria bought for about $28 million each. There were complaints of poor quality, and Russia really couldn't fight that charge. For over two months, all of Russia's MiG-29s have been grounded over safety issues.
January 31, 2009: Ali Ben Touati, a senior member of al Qaeda in North Africa, surrendered and accepted amnesty. Touati was induced to give up by some of his contemporaries, who have done so already. Islamic radicalism is now seen as another failed ideology, just like the previous radical socialism (which the elderly revolutionaries running the government still cling to). But some younger Algerians still want to give terrorist violence a chance, if only because there isn't much else to do.
January 30, 2009: In central Algeria, 600 kilometers south of the capital, a dispute between Berbers and Arabs outside a mosque left nearly 30 people injured, and many more arrested. The Berbers are less tolerant of government corruption and incompetence, and often come to blows with the majority Arabs over that, and other cultural issues.
January 29, 2009: The CIA has removed its station chief in Algeria, Andrew Warren, after he was accused of drugging and raping two women. Warren, a convert to Islam, is one of the more successful CIA counter-terror operatives, because he speaks Arabic and mixes it up with local Moslems in mosques and has a remarkable ability to keep track of local Islamic politics. The charges are a bit murky, and there is suspicion this is a ploy to keep Warren from finding out too much about scandalous behavior by Algerian officials.
January 24, 2009: Across the border in Mali, the Tuareg rebels are offering to negotiate a peace deal, after soldiers killed 31 rebels earlier in the month.