Algeria: To Try And Kill Another Day

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September 22, 2009: Ramadan, the annual Islamic month of fasting (by day, feasting by night) and prayer has passed largely without Islamic terrorist violence. But the police know that there are still Islamic terrorist cells out there. What the government is trying to do is crush those cells along the coast, as these groups are most able to carry out bombings in urban areas. Most of the surviving Islamic terrorists are known to have moved to remote camps further inland, in the mountains, or much further south in the semi-desert Sahel region on the southern border lands.

What is most troublesome for the government is that continued high unemployment among young men is creating a constant supply of new recruits for terrorist units. The government is generally hated because it is basically a self-serving dictatorship pretending to be a democracy. Despite all the oil money, the economy is sluggish, and it's difficult to start a new business without someone in the government getting a cut. This scares off foreign governments, as does the terrorist violence. The government is trying to change its image, but it cannot change what it is.

The government is re-equipping the military. Over ten billion dollars is being spent to buy dozens of Su-30 fighters and hundreds of armored vehicles from Russia, six frigates from Italy and over a hundred helicopters from a supplier not yet selected. It's the armored vehicles and helicopters that will have the most impact on the counter-terrorism efforts. The government has already equipped the police and army with commercial grade transport (police cars and trucks) and communications. There are some helicopters, but the army, in particular, would like more, to assist in search operations once terrorist cells have been detected. Currently, if the police or troops cannot detect the terrorists within hours, the vastness of the countryside usually enables most of the terrorists to get away, to try and kill another day.

 

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