Algeria: No Way Out

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November 4, 2009: Government analysis of known (dead, arrested or still out there) Islamic terrorists indicates that groups like al Qaeda have not had a lot of success recruiting in Algeria. Most of the identified terrorists were veterans or foreigners. Government analysts believe that only ten Algerians have been recruited into the terrorist ranks in the last three years. This seems absurdly low, given the number of young, unemployed and angry, Algerians. Then again, there are very few Islamic terrorist left in the country, and Islamic terrorism is very unpopular among the general population. While the young give some support in conversation, and email, in practice they stay away.

People in the slum neighborhoods of the capital are beginning to hold regular, and increasingly violent, demonstrations. The people want jobs and housing (or at least livable housing.) Police and demonstrators are injured, and there will probably eventually be deaths, which could ratchet up the violence still more.

November 1, 2009: The U.S. has donated five million dollars worth of military equipment to Mali. This includes 37 fully equipped (for counter-terror operations) vehicles. Mali is cooperating with Algeria to prevent Algerian Islamic terrorist groups from setting up bases in neighboring countries.

October 31, 2009: The increased counter-terror operations in the south are encountering other illegal activity, mostly smuggling. Troops recently encountered (based on a tip) two vehicles, near the Moroccan border, that were carrying 3.5 tons of marijuana. The drivers fled, leaving two assault rifles behind. A year ago, nine tons of marijuana was seized as smugglers tried to get it across the border.

October 27, 2009: The government signed a defense agreement with Britain. This one involves Algerian officers receiving training in Britain, and joint exercises between forces from the two nations. The agreement also covers increased joint efforts in counter-terrorism activities.

October 22, 2009: Islamic terrorists ambushed and killed six security guards (who protect foreign workers on an irrigation project being built east of the capital.) The area around the attack has seen several dozen terrorists getting caught and killed in the last few weeks.

 

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