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Steve Blair
01-30-2007, 03:06 PM
Interesting story in BBC here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6313343.stm).


The militants carried out a rocket attack on an army post, killing five soldiers, while 10 Islamists reportedly died in an army counter-attack.

A BBC correspondent in Algeria says this is the most serious Islamist attack for several months.

They are thought to belong to a group now renamed "al-Qaeda in the Maghreb".

Earlier this week, the Salafist Group of Preaching and Combat (GSPC) announced that it had changed its name.

This latest clash comes amid repeated calls by the army to the general population to help them in their fight against armed militants.

This also comes after the Algerian government tried a limited amnesty program.

Jedburgh
01-30-2007, 03:52 PM
....this older paper by ICG provides a succinct background for those unfamiliar with earlier events:

Islamism, Violence and Reform in Algeria (http://www.weltpolitik.net/attachment/0644a930ba1074b5cca2acd4809cbed5/5a72ffb5bf97b0da468baa92624519fd/ICG_islamism__violence_and_reform_in_algeria.pdf)

This is the third of a series of briefings and reports on Islamism in North Africa. The first (http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/middle_east___north_africa/egypt_north_africa/200404_islamisminnorthafrica_i_web.pdf) provided general background on the range and diversity of Islamic activism in the region, and subsequent papers examine with respect to particular states, the outlook and strategies of the main Islamist movements and organisations, their relations with the state and each other and how they have evolved. The analysis focuses on the relationship between Islamic activism and violence, especially but not only terrorism and the problem of political reform in general and democratisation in particular.

Jedburgh
02-18-2007, 05:49 PM
Feb 07 Policy Focus from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

Islamist Terrorism in Northwestern Africa: A 'Thorn in the Neck' of the United States? (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/download.php?file=PolicyFocus65.pdf)

...Sahelian Africa as a whole is not a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. But a unique mélange of international trends and local circumstances makes the region an attractive area of operations for Islamist terrorists. Locally, political Islam has already become a vehicle of protest against undemocratic regimes, giving rise to Islamically motivated political violence in Algeria, Nigeria, and Morocco that is still simmering. The global trend of Islamic revivalism and—on the extreme end of the spectrum—the metamorphosis and spread of al-Qaeda’s ideology have exacerbated local conflicts and flavored the expression of political grievances. As these developments intersect in northwestern Africa, they facilitate terrorists’ efforts to blend with the local population....

Jedburgh
04-10-2007, 04:03 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Focus, 3 Apr 07:

Al-Qaeda and Algeria's GSPC: Part of a Much Bigger Picture (http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373295)

The decision of the leaders of Algeria's Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) to pledge allegiance to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda has been well-covered. The GSPC's proven combat capabilities, willingness to send fighters to Afghanistan, Iraq and other Islamist insurgencies, widespread presence in Western European cities, connections and working relationships to criminal enterprises in Europe and its status as a potential al-Qaeda-related threat to Western oil and natural gas supplies emanating from Algeria are all positive benefits for al-Qaeda. Beyond these tactical and strategic—at least regarding energy supplies—advantages, the GSPC's decision to join al-Qaeda is, from the latter's perspective, part of a bigger, long-labored-for and positive whole...

goesh
04-11-2007, 04:29 PM
The PM's office and police station were hit FOXNews is reporting

tequila
04-11-2007, 04:35 PM
23 killed so far (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6544437.stm). Looks like AQ-Maghreb is sending a message.

wm
04-11-2007, 04:50 PM
From the BBC yesterday (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6540369.stm)

'Bombers' die in Casablanca raid

The police raid took place in an impoverished residential area
A police raid on suspected militants in the Moroccan city of Casablanca has set off gunfights and suicide bombings that have left at least five men dead

One wonders how this maps to the events in Algeria.

I also heard that Algeria recently declined when asked to be the host country for the US AFRICOM HQ.

Sarajevo071
04-11-2007, 07:23 PM
In a statement posted this morning on the internet, a group calling itself Al Qaeda of the Maghrib has taken credit for a series of attacks in Algeria.

The posting includes three photographs of the young men who they claim carried out the three suicide attacks.





The first target was the headquarters of the apostate government in the capital Algiers where the martyr Muath Bin Jabal drove a truck filled of 700 kg of explosives storming in on the apostates in their fortress and according to our own sources killing about 45 and injuring an unknown number of them, destroying a part of the building

The second target was the headquarters on the international INTERPOL in the capital Algiers (the gate of Zuwar) where the martyr Al-Zubeir Abu Sajeda drove a truck filled with 700 kg of explosives and he stormed in the den of the tyranny and infidelity and those who are fighting Jihad and he was able with God's blessing to destroy it completely killing at least eight apostates and injuring an unknown number of them

The third target was the headquarters of the special forces of the Police in Ezzouar Gate in the capital where the martyr Abu Dujana drove a truck filled with 500 kg of explosives storming the apostate fortress and he was able with God's blessing to destroy it completely killing and injuring a large number of the apostates.




http://www.lauramansfield.com/j/

Jedburgh
04-12-2007, 12:45 PM
The Economist, 12 Apr 07: The Long Arm of al-Qaeda (http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8994446&top_story=1)

...Is all this just propaganda to revive the flagging spirits of north African insurgents, or the opening of a new front in the global jihad? Two bomb attacks against foreign oil workers in Algeria hint that the group has adopted the al-Qaeda policy of killing foreigners. But this week’s bombings in Algiers are more in keeping with the GSPC’s tradition of hitting the Algerian state.

Still, some of al-Qaeda’s modus operandi is evident: the seven near-simultaneous bombs against security forces in February, and this week’s apparent use of suicide bombers, a rare tactic in Algeria. Many north Africans have joined Iraq’s insurgency; veterans are apparently returning to wage jihad at home or in Europe.

The jihadists stirring next door in Morocco so far seem less proficient than their Algerian cousins. Last year King Muhammad ended military conscription and reorganised much of his security apparatus after Islamists infiltrated his armed forces. The trial of 50 people accused of trying to overthrow the monarchy is due to begin in May. Separately, security forces have been unravelling a web of militants said to have been planning suicide-bomb attacks on foreign ships, hotels and police buildings....

Jedburgh
04-13-2007, 01:38 PM
From the USMA Combating Terrorism Center:

The GSPC: Newest Franchise in al‐Qa’ida’s Global Jihad (http://ctc.usma.edu/publications/pdf/Kennedy_GSPC_041207_update.pdf)

The GSPC, one of the most notorious terrorist groups in North Africa, has aligned with Al‐Qa’ida and changed its name to “The Organization of al‐Qa’ida in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb.” On April 10, 2007, the new organization claimed credit for two suicide car bomb attacks in Algiers that killed 23 people. Some observers have speculated that North Africa may be the next safe‐haven for al‐Qa’ida, and that European countries may face a greater risk of attack if Algerian terrorist groups expand their base of support in Europe. The alignment of the GSPC with al‐Qa’ida represents a significant change in the group’s strategy, however, its decision to join al-Qa’ida’s global jihad should be understood as an act of desperation....

marct
04-16-2007, 09:04 PM
Interesting press reaction - well worth reading the entire dispatch.


Special Dispatch-North Africa/Jihad & Terrorism Studies Project
April 17, 2007
No. 1546

Reactions in the Algerian and Arab Press to the Al-Qaeda Attacks in Algiers

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit:
http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD154607 .

The suicide bombings in Algeria on April 11, 2007, the first spectacular attack carried out by the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, brought the region to the forefront of the headlines in the Arab press - especially as they occurred in tandem with a number of abortive suicide bombings in Casablanca. In Algeria, fears for the future were underscored by memories of the dark years of the 1990s, and the press was unanimous in calling for concerted action against terrorism. Many also criticized government policies, in particular the National Reconciliation plan, which aims to reintegrate radical Islamists into society.

In the international Arab press, well-known commentator 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed criticized what he described as fallacious assumptions about the root causes of terrorism, saying that the terrorists are driven by religious extremism, and not by poverty, nor by the lack of democracy - which, he emphasized, they consider to be heresy.

Jedburgh
05-10-2007, 12:25 PM
CEIP, 9 May 07: Demilitarizing Algeria (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/cp_86_final1.pdf)

...With Bouteflika’s health now in question, his chances of securing a third term in 2009 are in doubt and arguments over the succession have already begun to preoccupy and divide the political/military elite. Moreover, the onset of a factional dispute over this since the summer of 2006 has coincided with a striking—and quite unexpected—recrudescence of terrorist activity. The main armed movement still active, the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat (Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat, or GSPC) was previously noted for confining its attacks to the security forces and sparing civilians. Under new leaders, it has recently reverted to the indiscriminate terrorism formerly associated with the GIA while re-branding itself as a branch of Al Qaeda. With the unprecedented attack by a suicide bomber on the principal government building in central Algiers on April 11, Algerian politics has once more entered a period of uncertainty and anxiety....

SWJED
05-30-2007, 08:57 AM
30 May Washington Post - From Iraq to Algeria, Al-Qaeda's Long Reach (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/29/AR2007052901967.html?hpid=topnews) by Craig Whitlock.


Al-Qaeda has rapidly extended its influence across North Africa by aiding and organizing local groups that are demonstrating a renewed ability to launch terrorist attacks in the region, such as the triple suicide bombings that killed 33 people here last month, according to counterterrorism officials and analysts.

The bombers who struck the Government Palace and a police station in Algiers, the capital, are believed to have been local residents. But Algerian authorities are examining evidence that the bombers were siphoned from recruiting pipelines that have sent hundreds of North African fighters to Iraq and perhaps were trained by veterans of the Iraqi insurgency, U.S. and European intelligence officials said...

SWJED
05-30-2007, 09:01 AM
30 May Washington Post - Group in Algeria Turned To Al-Qaeda (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/29/AR2007052901978.html) for Assistance by Craig Whitlock.


Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Algeria was originally called the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, a name derived from a fundamentalist branch of Islam. Founded in 1998, six years after the outbreak of a civil war that has killed an estimated 200,000 Algerians, the group's stated mission was to topple the military-backed government and transform Algeria into a theocracy.

Despite pledges to avoid civilian targets, the Algerian Salafists experienced a steady erosion in popular support and saw their ranks dwindle to fewer than 1,000 fighters, according to Algerian officials...

With the organization on the ropes, Droukdel decided to intensify efforts to reach out to al-Qaeda and other extremist networks, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials...

Jedburgh
12-12-2007, 03:53 PM
The Economist, 11 Dec 07: Algeria: A Grisly Attack (http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10279051&top_story=1)

Who is killing whom in Algeria, and why? Islamic terrorism against western targets makes a certain kind of sense, and the violence in Iraq has its own grisly logic. But who were the targets of the twin-bombings in Algiers on Tuesday December 11th? One blast killed a busload of university students who happened to be passing by. The other bomb seems to have targeted the offices of the United Nations Development Programme, one of the more apolitical of the organisation’s many bodies.

Algeria has suffered a spate of violence in the past year. This has usually been explained as a hangover from Algeria’s particularly brutal civil war in the 1990s. But the nature of Tuesday’s attack suggests a more worrying culprit: an alliance, announced last year, between local Islamic terrorists and al-Qaeda. Nearly simultaneous multiple bombings, aimed at maximising terror rather than hitting specific political targets, has become a calling card of the international terrorist group....
The Long War Journal, 11 Dec 07: Al Qaeda hits UN offices, courts, police station in Algiers (http://www.longwarjournal.org:80/archives/2007/12/al_qaeda_hits_un_off.php)

....Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb most certainly conducted the Algiers bombings. The mode of attack - coordinated bombings against government and international institutions designed to inflict massive casualties and maximum media coverage - is al Qaeda's specialties. The North African branch of al Qaeda has taken credit for similar strikes in the past.

On April 11, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb took credit for a pair of coordinated suicide bombings in the capital. A powerful bomb was detonated outside the headquarters of Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem's headquarters in Algiers, and another blast occurred outside the headquarters of the security forces.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb took credit for two suicide attacks in Algeria over the course of three days in September. The first attack targeted the Algerian president during a visit to the town of Batna while the second attack targeted a coast guard barracks in Dellys in eastern Algeria. At least 69 were killed and 154 were wounded in the suicide bombings.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is the result of Al Qaeda's efforts to unite the various Salafist terror groups in North Africa and stems from the merger of the Algerian Salafist Group for Prayer and Combat (GSPC), the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the Tunisian Combatant Group. The GSPC forms the nucleus of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.....

Ron Humphrey
12-12-2007, 04:01 PM
The Economist, 11 Dec 07: Algeria: A Grisly Attack (http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10279051&top_story=1)

The Long War Journal, 11 Dec 07: Al Qaeda hits UN offices, courts, police station in Algiers (http://www.longwarjournal.org:80/archives/2007/12/al_qaeda_hits_un_off.php)

I would posit that AQ and others are as aware of history in that area as we are and as such may see it as an area in which more effective recruiting of individuals with historic experience in their arena.

Simplistic view I know but a possibility non-the-less

Jedburgh
02-08-2008, 04:17 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 7 Feb 08:

The Ideological Struggle Over al-Qaeda’s Suicide Tactics in Algeria (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373953)

On January 29, a lorry laden with 1,400 lbs of explosives and driven by a member of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was detonated in the town of Thenia, east of Algiers, killing four and wounding an additional 23 people. The target of the attack was the police barracks in the center of town, and among the dead was a police officer who has been heralded for preventing the bomber from detonating at his targeted location. While this attack did not result in the high casualty figures seen in AQIM’s previous suicide attacks, such as the December 11 bombing of the United Nations and Constitutional Court in Algiers, this attack constitutes yet another in an unpopular series of suicide bombings conducted by AQIM that have resulted in casualty figures not seen since Algeria’s civil war. In a subsequent statement issued by AQIM on January 30, the group claimed responsibility for the attack and addressed the ideological and societal tension brewing over the group's continued use of this tactic in Algeria. Despite the unpopularity of suicide bombings in Algeria and the development of an appealing counter-narrative by members of the ulema (body of Islamic scholars), it appears AQIM is positioned to carry on with its suicide bombing campaign, particularly as the group absorbs fighters returning from Iraq......

Jedburgh
08-07-2008, 06:10 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Focus, 5 Aug 08:

Restructuring al-Qaeda’s Algerian Insurgency (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2374355)

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the North African branch of al-Qaeda, has been driven to the wall. Despite a new suicide attack that injured 25 on Sunday morning in Tizi Ouzou, Kabylie, the Algerian-based group is facing difficulties that could endanger its very existence. The number of militants is shrinking due to continuous military operations and difficulties in recruiting new volunteers. International anti-terrorism cooperation is also drying up sources of financing.

Since the beginning of 2008, Algerian authorities, with the help of neighboring countries, have arrested or killed more than 200 AQIM members, according to security sources. The great majority of these individuals were affiliated to support networks, while about thirty were active terrorists.

The strategy of the People’s National Army (Armée Nationale Populaire - ANP) to focus mainly on key figures of AQIM has proven largely successful.....

Steve Blair
08-20-2008, 07:06 PM
A nice round-up of stories on current events in that country.

link (http://emm.jrc.it/NewsBrief/dynamic?language=en&page=1&edition=morebreakingedition&option=Algeria&category=&articleType=&foralert=&forsource=).

Algeria's unease

bbc Wednesday, August 20, 2008 8:23:00 PM CEST More about this article...

Other categories:Security; TerroristAttack;

The Algerian rebels are thought to have remained focused on fighting their own government, while drawing on international Islamist grievances to raise their profile and attract new recruits. Meanwhile, the Algerian government has insisted the rebels are on the verge of being eliminated....

Jedburgh
09-18-2008, 01:47 PM
The Economist, 11 Sep 08: A real network of terror? (http://www.economist.com/world/mideast-africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12209036)

Two years ago a ruthless Algerian terrorist outfit, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, better known by its French abbreviation, GSPC, announced it was joining al-Qaeda. Since then, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), as the group is now known in counter-terrorism circles, has stepped up a bombing campaign in Algeria and claimed responsibility for operations in several other North African countries. Last month the Moroccan government said it had broken up a terrorist cell with links to the group, while Algeria has toughened its security measures since more than 70 people were killed in attacks by AQIM in the last two weeks of August. The emergence of a powerful regional group of Islamist insurgents, recruiting members from among the millions of religious and poor North Africans, is rattling all the governments in the region and raises the unnerving prospect of a new wave of North African bombers heading for the cities of western Europe. But does AQIM really exist as a co-ordinated regional organisation?

So far there is little evidence that it does......

davidbfpo
06-02-2010, 06:23 AM
An intriguing report:
The ministry says Atmane Touati — alias Abu El Abbas — gave up after his wife "convinced her husband to abandon the criminal horde and come home."

Link:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100531/ap_on_re_af/af_algeria_islamic_militants

davidbfpo
07-27-2011, 09:06 PM
A country that rarely allows unrestricted media access and rarely given attention, so good to see this analysis. Opens with, slightly edited:
The Algerian government is working to prevent North Africa's revolutionary tide from reaching its shores.

For months now, Algerian authorities have been busy pre-empting a potential threat of revolution. The success of popular movements in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt sent alarming signals to government circles that Algeria was next in line to experience revolutionary change.

The effect has been so strong that local governments in the eastern part of Algeria have instructed police to relax street regulations, including allowing motorists to drive without a proper vehicle tax document.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14167481

SWJ Blog
08-26-2011, 01:24 PM
Book Review: The Islamist Challenge in Algeria: A Political History (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/book-review-the-islamist-challenge-in-algeria-a-political-history)

Entry Excerpt:



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This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

davidbfpo
05-09-2012, 04:31 PM
A rare news article on Algeria, undoubtedly due to an invitation to the foreign press to report on this Thursday's elections:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/09/algeria-votes-arab-spring

Alongside a comment piece:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/09/algeria-election-no-great-expectations

Someone clearly believes in saving, saving and saving - with my emphasis:
At present, Algeria has a staggering bank reserve of $200bn from oil and gas revenues – though the people are not benefiting from this. According to a recent report of the International Monetary Fund, youth unemployment in Algeria stands at 21% (two-thirds of the population is under the age of 35).

davidbfpo
07-11-2012, 11:02 AM
Algeria wrested independence from France in 1962 after a bitter and extremely violent eight-year struggle. The legacy has continued to shadow its efforts to create a workable model of development and a humane life for its citizens. Francis Ghils invokes a wealth of memory from his years reporting Algeria - in particular, a pivotal few months in 1991 - to reflect on a compelling country's troubled half-century.

Fascinating insight:http://www.opendemocracy.net/francis-ghil%C3%A8s/north-african-diversities-algerian-odyssey

I always puzzled at how a revolution turns in on itself and after 1991 Algerians truly terrified each other.

SWJ Blog
02-11-2013, 02:14 PM
The Amenas Siege and the Growing Hostage Problem in Africa (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/the-amenas-siege-and-the-growing-hostage-problem-in-africa)

Entry Excerpt:



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davidbfpo
04-02-2013, 07:08 AM
Algeria despite its size, oil & gas resources, position and history rarely gets English language coverage, it is so refreshing to see this Time article; it starts wth:
One wet, chilly February morning, Ali Zaoui climbed into his car in Algeria’s capital, drove 300 miles south into the desert, and knocked on the door of a three-bedroom house in the oasis city of Ghardaïa. Zaoui was well known to the occupants. They were the parents of the then most wanted man in North Africa, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist commander who had masterminded the hostage siege in January at a natural-gas plant in his native Algeria. The attack resulted in the deaths of 38 foreigners, including managers and specialists of Western oil companies. It was Algeria’s worst terrorist attack in years, and the worst ever for the global oil industry, anywhere. Zaoui, a veteran anti-terror fighter for Algeria’s security services, had spent years coaxing armed militants to surrender under an amnesty program and had come to know Belmokhtar’s parents well over five years of trying to persuade one of Algeria’s most fearsome jihadists to surrender. He never had won over Belmokhtar. But Zaoui thought they had an understanding: Don’t target Algeria.

Link:http://world.time.com/2013/04/01/the-rising-power-of-north-africas-jihadists-rattles-algeria/

davidbfpo
09-19-2013, 11:15 PM
A rare update on internal politics:http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2013/09/algeria-s-president

Which ends:
Mohamed Benchicou, a respected commentator, thinks otherwise. “For the first time since independence the security services have been marginalised,” he wrote in the online journal Tout Sur l’Algérie. “God is dead.”

SWJ Blog
10-25-2013, 05:03 PM
In Amenas Attack: Can Corporates Learn from the Military in Hostile Operating Environments? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/in-amenas-attack-can-corporates-learn-from-the-military-in-hostile-operating-environments)

Entry Excerpt:



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CrowBat
01-09-2014, 10:22 AM
Here some more details about Algerian experiences, which I guess might be of interest because this conflict is so underreported (the following is primarily based on interviews with various of participants)...

- The war actually began in 1987, with return of first larger groups of Algerian Islamists from Afghanistan. Primary Islamist activity was initially limited to ambushes for security forces, but also small-scale raids on isolated police stations and even military bases. Islamist operations intensified from 1991 onwards.

- The most intensive period of the war was 1994-2000, when army took over and active paramilitary cells were operating all over the country, enjoying widespread support in the population. Level of determined attacks on security forces was unprecedented and these have suffered plenty of 'minor' blows (no large-scale losses, but really hundreds of KIA; they also lost two helicopters shot down in 1994 and 1995, while carrying paras; plus five in an incident involving a defecting air force pilot who stole a Mi-17 to rocket four other helicopters at his base, and then fly the helo to one of insurgent bases).

Primarily using HUMINT but also all other means of intelligence collection (including MiG-25RB recce fighters), the security forces gradually rolled up nearly all of urban networks, forcing the Islamists to shift to rural areas, primarily to their heartlands, west and east of Algiers. The Islamists then shifted over to attacks on villages supporting the government, as well as intellectuals and foreigners. In turn, the government began launching large-scale operations, some including widespread deployment of air power, on top of usual 'commandos' (like 18th Para-Commando Regiment) and 'gendarmes'.

- 2000-2004: operating frrom their heartlands, and continuing the campaign of mass slaughter of civilians supportive of the government, and foreigners, the Islamists went over to the tactics of luring security forces into ambushes. They perfected the art of setting up ambushes or mock bases. In early 2003, the Islamists scored their biggest success. They stole a number of military vehicles then lured a company of paratroopers to 'find' these: when the paras arrived, Islamists detonated acetylene cylinders hidden inside vehicles and raked the area with gunfire. Security forces lost 49 KIA (out of 51 involved).

Security authorities reacted by improving means of intelligence collection (introduction to service of Beech 1900s, Seeker II UAVs, etc.); introduction of high-tech equipment like NVGs from USA and Qatar); and increased deployment of air power, primarily for heliborne operations (several large batches of Mi-8/17s - including FLIR-equipped variants - were purchased, 28 Mi-24s upgraded to ATE's Super Hind configuration etc.) but also purchases of PGMs (for Su-24s). A combination of advanced sensors, communications and precise geo-location technology, plus deployment of TV-guided PGMs (laser-guided systems proved less dependable for use in build-up areas and forrests), have allowed the security forces to launch a series of very precise strikes on guerrilla leaders deep within their urban and rural heartlands. The corresponding campaign was run in a particularly careful fashion, with extremely conservative ROEs - 'only verified HUMINT is of use for our operations' - limiting collateral damage to an absolute minimum (related concerns have actually strongly limited this campaign).

'Classic' example for such ops (from February 2002): Beech 1900s were used to track down one of Islamist leaders (with help from US, which provided satellite links and precise geo-location), then mapped the area with their SARs; helicopters then did the FLIR-imaging; then the ground forces went in (deployed by helos, then on foot), walked into the house, killed the guy, and went out.

Since then, the Islamists were forced further away - not only from urban centres, but indeed into the deserts of southern Algeria. By 2005, they were forced even out of the country, with very few isolated cells remaining active.

carl
01-09-2014, 04:31 PM
CrowBat:

Thanks for this. It is under reported but is filled with things to be learned.

Early in you post you mentioned " active paramilitary cells" were those insurgent cells?

TV guided weapons where preferred in Algeria because of forests and towns. It is my understanding we mostly use laser guided or gps. Why is TV better than laser in those situations?

Your comment about restrictive rules of engagement is interesting. If I remember correctly the western media reported security force activities as mostly being of the 'kill 'em all' type. It makes reporting easier I guess. Is there more available on the why and wherefores of the ROEs that were put in place?

CrowBat
01-10-2014, 10:57 AM
CrowBat:

Thanks for this. It is under reported but is filled with things to be learned.

Early in you post you mentioned " active paramilitary cells" were those insurgent cells?Yup, Islamist paramilitary groups.


TV guided weapons where preferred in Algeria because of forests and towns. It is my understanding we mostly use laser guided or gps. Why is TV better than laser in those situations?The first problem was that of obtaining high-tech equipment. There were not many countries willing to sell laser-designators to Algerian military (especially not markers that could be carried by ground troops). Even as of 2005, the Army was still waiting for delivery of enough of these to put them into operations.

Connected with this, the laser-designators installed on QJJ's (Algerian AF) Su-24s were found unpractical for usual circumstances (they are 'good to great' for conventional warfare, but not so much if you really want to 'decapitate' the leader of some Islamist gang). The situation improved slightly only once South-African-made equipment arrived together with Mi-24 Super Hinds (together with Kentron Ingwe and Mokopa ATGMs), but overall, at the height of this war, there was no really satisfactory solution.


Your comment about restrictive rules of engagement is interesting. If I remember correctly the western media reported security force activities as mostly being of the 'kill 'em all' type. It makes reporting easier I guess. Is there more available on the why and wherefores of the ROEs that were put in place?Yup, I know about all the sorts of prejudice by foreigners.

Surely, the Algerian authorities were never keen about any sort of negotiations with Islamists. But then, I think this was the right decision and the time has proven them right.

That is: time - and correct ROEs. If the authorities have run their ops the way they are usually said to have done, they would turn majority of the population against them (especially because as of 1990s majority of the population was supportive for Islamists). Given the situation in Algeria, I would say that something else happened, so it's quite obvious that the ROEs were entirely different than usually said.

That said, I do not know about any printed or electronic publication. Some of the stuff I mentioned above was provided to Dr Michael Knights (WINEP) for his article on QJJ during that war, published in AirForces Monthly (UK) magazine, sometimes back in 2005. But otherwise, I really do not know about any published sources of reference.

davidbfpo
02-01-2014, 07:07 PM
There is a good short review of the Algerian military's response to the Arab Spring by Michael Willis, alas behind the FP registration / pay wall. Then I found this alternative 'Algeria Three Years After the Arab Spring' by the German Marshall Fund of the US and the second chapter is worth reading.

Link:http://www.gmfus.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files_mf/1391100506HuberEtAl_AlgeriaThreeYearsAfter_Jan14_w eb.pdf

davidbfpo
02-01-2014, 07:07 PM
There is a good short review of the Algerian military's response to the Arab Spring by Michael Willis, alas behind the FP registration / pay wall. Then I found this alternative 'Algeria Three Years After the Arab Spring' by the German Marshall Fund of the US and the second chapter is worth reading.

Link:http://www.gmfus.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files_mf/1391100506HuberEtAl_AlgeriaThreeYearsAfter_Jan14_w eb.pdf

CrowBat
02-07-2014, 05:35 PM
A very interesting file, no doubt. Still, I can't but criticise the description of how the Algerian authorities and military handled the In Amenas affair.

While spending plenty of time with description of BelkMoktar's intentions, this account provides absolutely no details about his planning, nor about how much he managed to realize (or not at all). Considering that Algerian authorities actually have no problem to provide such info, that one of USN's EP-3s from Sigonella was nearby, and that an FBI team inspected the site once this affair was over - this is quite surprising.

Namely, BelMoktar wanted to capture a bus full of foreign workers as hostages (including the Boss of the BP), destroy a part of the industrial complex - which, BTW, is some 100 square kilometres in size - in order to attract attention of security services and fire-fighters, and then, once the military and fire-fighters would enter the complex, blow up the entire complex in order to cause a maximum of destruction of casualties.

The first part of the plan was spoiled by Gendarmes that escorted the bus. They identified attackers on time and opened fire. Sure, and sadly, two passengers (one Briton and one Algerian) were killed by Jihadists (and two Gendarmes injured too), but BelMoktar didn't manage to capture the bus and had to rush into the complex with empty hands.

The guards at the main (and only) gate recognized what is going on and sounded alert; control centre shut down the entire production, and started evacuation. Means, part 2 of the plan was spoiled too.

Now, the Jihadists killed the guard who sounded alert and managed to enter the place and started planting bombs around the complex. They also managed to capture a number of foreign and Algerian workers. However, by that time no less but 600 Algerians and 134 foreigners (out of some 800 employees) were evacuated. Means: the third part of the plan was spoiled too.

It was only then that BelMoktar began babbling about French ops in Mali and Algerian support for the same - and he did so while trying to open negotiations with Algerian authorities.

This is making it instantly clear that the story about the authorities not negotiating with BelMoktar being a hogwash. They did. Otherwise, the Jihadists wouldn't get a number of 4x4 vehicles from authorities, the following night, and wouldn't be able to load these with hostages and try to escape.

The security services went into action when that column drove out of the complex - and then because they realized that the cars in question contained only a part of Jihadists and their hostages: this made it obvious that those remaining inside the complex have decided to blow themselves and their hostages up. And in such cases, ladies and gentlemen, there is simply no other solution but 'assault the place'. That was when Mi-24s became involved. They set two vehicles on fire, while the third was detonated by one of occupants and set on fire. This is where most of hostages were killed.

Meanwhile, the Jihadists that remained inside the complex have started to liquidate hostages. However, Beech 1900s have blocked most of explosive vests the Jihadists installed on hostages, and thus only one of these was killed.

In summary, the Algerians killed 32 Jihadists, and captured four or five alive (not only 3; although this might be a figure released by the authorities 'for public consumption'). About 40 hostages were killed too (including Algerian workers, not only foreigners). Eight ANP troops were WIA. BelMoktar's gang has left behind a significant arsenal, including two mortars, at least two RPG-7 launchers, several dozens of mines, about two dozens of machine guns, over 50 hand grenades etc.

CrowBat
02-07-2014, 05:35 PM
A very interesting file, no doubt. Still, I can't but criticise the description of how the Algerian authorities and military handled the In Amenas affair.

While spending plenty of time with description of BelkMoktar's intentions, this account provides absolutely no details about his planning, nor about how much he managed to realize (or not at all). Considering that Algerian authorities actually have no problem to provide such info, that one of USN's EP-3s from Sigonella was nearby, and that an FBI team inspected the site once this affair was over - this is quite surprising.

Namely, BelMoktar wanted to capture a bus full of foreign workers as hostages (including the Boss of the BP), destroy a part of the industrial complex - which, BTW, is some 100 square kilometres in size - in order to attract attention of security services and fire-fighters, and then, once the military and fire-fighters would enter the complex, blow up the entire complex in order to cause a maximum of destruction of casualties.

The first part of the plan was spoiled by Gendarmes that escorted the bus. They identified attackers on time and opened fire. Sure, and sadly, two passengers (one Briton and one Algerian) were killed by Jihadists (and two Gendarmes injured too), but BelMoktar didn't manage to capture the bus and had to rush into the complex with empty hands.

The guards at the main (and only) gate recognized what is going on and sounded alert; control centre shut down the entire production, and started evacuation. Means, part 2 of the plan was spoiled too.

Now, the Jihadists killed the guard who sounded alert and managed to enter the place and started planting bombs around the complex. They also managed to capture a number of foreign and Algerian workers. However, by that time no less but 600 Algerians and 134 foreigners (out of some 800 employees) were evacuated. Means: the third part of the plan was spoiled too.

It was only then that BelMoktar began babbling about French ops in Mali and Algerian support for the same - and he did so while trying to open negotiations with Algerian authorities.

This is making it instantly clear that the story about the authorities not negotiating with BelMoktar being a hogwash. They did. Otherwise, the Jihadists wouldn't get a number of 4x4 vehicles from authorities, the following night, and wouldn't be able to load these with hostages and try to escape.

The security services went into action when that column drove out of the complex - and then because they realized that the cars in question contained only a part of Jihadists and their hostages: this made it obvious that those remaining inside the complex have decided to blow themselves and their hostages up. And in such cases, ladies and gentlemen, there is simply no other solution but 'assault the place'. That was when Mi-24s became involved. They set two vehicles on fire, while the third was detonated by one of occupants and set on fire. This is where most of hostages were killed.

Meanwhile, the Jihadists that remained inside the complex have started to liquidate hostages. However, Beech 1900s have blocked most of explosive vests the Jihadists installed on hostages, and thus only one of these was killed.

In summary, the Algerians killed 32 Jihadists, and captured four or five alive (not only 3; although this might be a figure released by the authorities 'for public consumption'). About 40 hostages were killed too (including Algerian workers, not only foreigners). Eight ANP troops were WIA. BelMoktar's gang has left behind a significant arsenal, including two mortars, at least two RPG-7 launchers, several dozens of mines, about two dozens of machine guns, over 50 hand grenades etc.

davidbfpo
02-14-2014, 08:19 PM
There is a Presidential election in April 2014, yes I know what does that actually mean?

In rare coverage of Algeria, Carnegie have published a short article (as per title):http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/2014/02/13/decline-of-islamist-parties-in-algeria/h0s4

Here is a taster:
A few months ahead of the presidential elections—and despite their pronouncements—the Islamists have not only proven unprepared but also unable to rally behind a consensus candidate. This is a strong indication that they lack a real electoral future.

(Ends) The images from Egypt and Syria serve as painful reminders, and the belief that a vote for the Islamists will not be the solution to Algeria’s problems seems to have only strengthened.

What happens in Algeria IMHO matters in the Arab World, not for the "man in street", rather those who today have the power.

davidbfpo
03-29-2014, 03:27 PM
A short, useful article on the 'dirty war' and ends with:
Grant it to the Algerian regime: they orchestrated this brilliantly. When the wave of rebellions broke on the Arab world in 2010, they hardly touched Algeria. The population was frightened of the Islamists and frightened of a return to violence; the Islamists were broken, splintered into too many factions to be any kind of force. The security services had done their work: whatever the level of discontent with their colourless rule, the population is now convinced that the only alternative is takfirism—and for the urban, the secular (a large number in Algeria), and the women and national minorities like the Berbers this is enough to hold together a strategic majority for the regime.

Link:http://kyleorton1991.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/algerias-years-of-blood-not-quite-what-they-seem/

davidbfpo
05-17-2014, 10:43 PM
The first of three old articles by the late Mahfoud Bennoune, an Algerian academic, which will appear slowly till July and starts that the late Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka:
believed that one of the best ways to comprehend the kind of horror that is happening in Nigeria is to remember the experience of other nations in the region confronted with jihadist groups much like Boko Haram.

Then asks:
Some of the most common reactions to the mass kidnapping of school girls by the jihadist group Boko Haram in Nigeria are to ask questions like: how can this be happening? Why would anyone do something so terrible?

Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mahfoud-bennoune/algeria-and-nigeria-sharing-deadweight-of-human-mindlessness

davidbfpo
09-26-2014, 10:02 PM
An important, concise explanation of how Algeria is working, this time with the emphasis on diplomacy, although other capabilities are still around:http://africanarguments.org/2014/09/26/algeria-north-africas-reluctant-policeman-by-imad-mesdoua/


Officials in Algeria still hope they can steer the region away from simplistic military interventionism, towards political solutions and “greater responsibility”.

(Ends with) The fierce debate raging inside the Algerian regime over greater or less interventionist action will continue. For now, North Africa’s ‘reluctant policeman’ will no doubt stick to a number of its non-interventionist dogmas. However, should a cataclysmic event like In Amenas occur on Algerian soil once more, the country will have no choice but to take decisive action.

Author's bio:http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/imad-mesdoua/

Now for something different, as Professor John Schindler refers to Algeria within a wider article on counter-terrorism is not always what you think you see:http://20committee.com/2014/09/25/what-if-everything-you-know-about-terrorism-is-wrong/

Scheming and ruthless come to mind.

davidbfpo
02-20-2015, 03:26 PM
A good overview of Algeria, both the wider context and the byzantine details of those in power or seeking power within:http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/15094/the-deluge-algeria-s-pending-succession-crisis

Interesting to note protests against fracking as locals feared water depletion.

davidbfpo
07-19-2015, 09:15 PM
An unusual article on Algerian politics and society via Carnegie:http://carnegie-mec.org/2015/06/26/social-and-cultural-re-islamization-or-trivialization-of-islamism-is-clear/ib67

It ends with:
Twenty-three years after the bloodiest chapter in contemporary Algeria, with 150,000 dead and 7,000 missing, victims of a war between the state and armed Islamist groups during which a whole society was held hostage, things do not appear to be very optimistic: here we are again in the same place caught between a patriarchal state and an Islamist revival.

davidbfpo
12-09-2015, 05:46 PM
A rare report on Algeria in English, by Andrew Lebovich and a key point:
It challenges the widely held perception of Algeria as stable but stagnant, pointing out that the country has gradually begun to open up.
Link:http://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/deciphering_algeria_the_stirrings_of_reform5047

One must wonder if all the calculations remain valid as the price of oil drops.

davidbfpo
01-22-2016, 08:08 PM
A good, broad brush article on Algeria, entitled:
A Dangerous Combinatio; In Algeria, a restive population and a failing strongman.
Link:http://www.weeklystandard.com/a-dangerous-combination/article/2000700

davidbfpo
02-02-2016, 10:42 AM
A political-economic overview of Algeria, with some social aspects too and the sub-title:
Algeria is facing succession scrambles and economic crisis. Why are the country’s leaders handing the country over to the IMF rather than use its political and economic talent?
Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/francis-ghil-s/algeria-s-transition-to-uncertainty

davidbfpo
04-11-2016, 02:40 PM
It is rare to find an Algerian writing about what happened in Algeria IMHO. This 1995 letter addressed to the jihadists resonates today. The introduction:
In this letter written during Algeria’s “dark decade” of fundamentalist violence - sadly relevant today - Mahfoud Bennoune argued that movements purveying “Islamic states” through terror are ultimately “doomed to failure.”

(At the end and we wish)Your movement, which has mistaken the era, the people and the target, is the negation of reason and democracy, of common sense and of Islamic, humanist and universal values. This is the reason why it can never be the bearer of peace, progress, prosperity, culture, civilization or of understanding and cooperation between peoples. Your movement is doomed to failure.
Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mahfoud-bennoune/jihadist-crimes-that-surpass-all-understanding-letter-from-1995-algeria? (https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mahfoud-bennoune/jihadist-crimes-that-surpass-all-understanding-letter-from-1995-algeria?utm_source=Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d7da74a88c-DAILY_NEWSLETTER_MAILCHIMP&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_717bc5d86d-d7da74a88c-407365113)

davidbfpo
12-07-2016, 10:38 PM
A rather pessimistic commentary on Algeria's future after the long and still awaited death of its strongman ruler:http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/how-algeria-could-destroy-the-eu/

Azor
12-08-2016, 04:49 AM
A rather pessimistic commentary on Algeria's future after the long and still awaited death of its strongman ruler:http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/how-algeria-could-destroy-the-eu/

So no efforts on a succession plan? The Algerian security establishment is unable to survive his death as Egypt's did Mubarak's fall?

davidbfpo
02-03-2017, 09:08 PM
From the think tank FDD a short update; sub-titled:
Religion, economics, and demographics are potentially explosive mixIt ends with:
Dire warnings have been issued about a pending implosion in Algeria and a flood of migrants to Europe. At least one prominent Algerian expert views this prediction as off the mark. Nonetheless, the dangerous mix of radical Islamism, economic instability, and growing youth unrest could be the recipe for a new Arab revolt in North Africa.Link:https://medium.com/@FDD/will-the-next-arab-revolt-be-in-algeria-bd15384eb7b4#.ko816okax

davidbfpo
04-10-2017, 05:11 PM
There are several posts here on the AQIM attack on Amenas gas plant, but others are in other threads - notably on Mali - so search for Amenas and ye shall learn.:)

AdamG
04-11-2018, 02:08 PM
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the neighborhood -

At least 100 people were killed when a military plane crashed soon after takeoff in a farm field in northern Algeria on Wednesday, officials said. The cause of the crash was unclear, and an investigation has been opened, according to a Defense Ministry statement.
https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/algerian-military-plane-crashes-killing-at-least-100-people/ar-AAvKzzu?ocid=ob-fb-enin-396

davidbfpo
02-28-2019, 09:16 PM
A short article in 'The National Interest' which appears to be based upon interaction with Algeria's Ambassador in Washington DC. The sub-title:
Algeria is vulnerable to extremism, but its successful counterterrorism efforts may provide lessons for its neighbors in North Africa and the Middle East.
Link:https://nationalinterest.org/feature/algerias-strategy-overcome-regional-terrorism-45742

It must be a different Algeria to one Forum readers are familiar with; as this sentence indicates:
Algeria’s counterterrorism strategy is centered on preventative measures and deradicalization.

Judge for yourself.

davidbfpo
03-18-2019, 09:49 AM
After several weeks of small protests at the decision of the President, in office since 1999 and not seen in public for 2014 to stand again, then announce his exit, but cancelling elections. Now the protests have become far larger. Plus interest groups have stood aside, e.g. the judges who supervise elections. There was footage of police cheering at the weekend.

This report ends with:
(President) Bouteflika helped to defeat a civil war against Islamist insurgents in which tens of thousands of people were killed in the 1990s, and many Algerians long accepted heavy-handed rule as the price of stability. But the public has lost patience with deteriorating economic conditions and the FLN’s failure to make the transition to a new generation despite the president’s failing health.

Link:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/15/algeria-protesters-bouteflik-movement

We can only hope the Spring will bring a peaceful change, as we know from Syria protestors carrying the national flag died.

davidbfpo
03-21-2019, 08:08 PM
Check out this article in CTC's 'The Sentinel':https://ctc.usma.edu/aqim-pleads-relevance-algeria/