RECORDED NUMBER OF TERROR ATTACKS DROPS IN ALGERIA..2012 WAS THE CALMEST YEAR FOR A DECADE

Algerian gendarmes on counterterrorism operations

Algerian gendarmes on counterterrorism operations

MAGHAREBIA
2013-01-08
By Walid Ramzi for Magharebia in Algiers

Algerian security reports describe 2012 as the calmest year in the last decade.Armed attacks fell to their lowest level
since 2002, with the most significant
decrease found in the traditional
strongholds of terrorism in the east.Carefully planned security operations
succeeded in neutralising top leaders of
al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Algerian forces also stopped AQIM plots
against parliament and the Cherchell
Joint Military Academy, as well as plans to abduct foreign nationals during Ramadan.

It was not al-Qaeda, in fact, behind the
two main terror attacks of 2012, but
rather a splinter group operating out of
Mali. The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of the Algerian National Gendarmerie regional command centre in downtown Ouargla last June. The Tamanrasset suicide attack last March was also the work of the MUJAO.

Algerian counter-terrorism agencies
killed 161 militants and arrested 309 in
2012, Tout sur l’Algerie quoted an
unnamed military official as saying on
December 31st. More than 30 repentant
terrorists also took advantage last year of the amnesty offered under the 2005 Charter for Peace and National
Reconciliation. The year saw a total of 65 terror attacks.

With most of the danger emanating from Boumerdès, Tizi Ouzou, Bouira and Béjaïa, army forces have focused on the Kabylie region. “The decline in armed attacks in 2012 is due to the pressure exerted by the security services on the strongholds of armed groups,” the military source said.

Counter-terrorism units have also
increased their presence on the border
with Libya. The move led to the arrest of
40 of AQIM fighters on the Libyan border. Officials attribute the drop in armed
attacks to pressures imposed by security
agencies. Last year witnessed a major
shift in counter-terrorism strategy, with a new focus on the leaders of armed
groups. Counter-terrorism units sought to target the “grey matter” of the terrorist organization, starting with the Ghardaia arrest of AQIM’s judicial commission head Necib Tayeb, (aka Abderrahmane Abou Ishak Essoufi). The most recent blow to al-Qaeda came on December 16th, when security forces
arrested the group’s number 2 man,Salah Gasmi (aka Salah Abou Mohamed), in Sharfa, Bouira province. Other important AQIM figures caught in
2012 include field commander Sidi
Mohand Ouramdane (aka El Khechkhache), foreign relations specialist Ahmed Bakai, and dangerous emir Abdelmalek Salami.

Special Forces also eliminated Makhfi Rabah, 45, a prominent al-Qaeda leader in Kabylie. “These operations have greatly confused al-Qaeda because of their accuracy,” security analyst Kamal Hadef told Magharebia. It was clear to the al-Qaeda hierarchy that “classified information was leaking from within the group”, he said. “This created an atmosphere of suspicion and doubt within the group,” he added.

According to former military officer Taher Ben Thamer, “Experience acquired over two decades has helped Algerian security forces deal with these groups, especially by targeting their heads and reaching the sources of information.”

Algeria’s war on terror also entered a
new stage in 2012 by focusing on
intelligence work and using advanced
monitoring technologies. Security
agencies created a data centre to identify specific targets. The drop in the number of terrorist operations in recent months is proof that al-Qaeda has been caught off guard by such intelligence achievements, especially in the eastern region of Algeria, Ben Thamer added.

Al-Qaeda’s failure in Kabylie made it shift gears to exploit the unrest in northern Mali, the analyst said.

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About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
This entry was posted in AFRICAN ARMED FORCES, AL-QAEDA IN THE ISLAMIC MAGHREB(AQIM), ALGERIA, ARMED CONFLICT, MOVEMENT FOR ONENESS AND JUSTICE IN WEST AFRICA, RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM, RISK ANALYSIS, SECURITY ISSUES AND CONCERNS, TERRORISM, WEST AFRICAN STANDBY FORCE and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to RECORDED NUMBER OF TERROR ATTACKS DROPS IN ALGERIA..2012 WAS THE CALMEST YEAR FOR A DECADE

  1. peccavi says:

    Wouldn’t be because AQIM now has N. Mali to play in?
    Does Algeria’s policy begin to make some sort of short sighted sense?

  2. beegeagle says:

    Yeah, it could be said that Algeria benefitted from the insecurity in adjacent northern Mali. But we should not forget that the commencement of AQIM activity in northern Mali predated the collapse of AZAWAD into rebel hands.

    Algeria have doubtlessly profited from insecurity in northern Mali to the extent that the region’s emergence as a watering hole for terrorists has probably led many an AQIM loyalist to seek refuge in the ungoverned spaces of AZAWAD.

    That is however not to suggest that in real terms, the Algerians have not grown their own capabilities in intelligence gathering and CTCOIN. One had even suggested closer synergies with the Algerians from whom we can learn a trick or two. We have been fighting BH for two calendar years while the Algerians have been at it for TWENTY YEARS.

    They seem to have moved a long way away from that sorry spat during the most vicious 1993-1998 phase when the Armed Islamic Group(GIA) of yore severally decapitated the entire populations of several villages – I am talking of overnight attacks which attained a crescendo in 1996-1998 when hundreds of people in ONE village after the other were beheaded by terrorists.

    Algeria have pulled back from the brink.

  3. beegeagle says:

    Again, it is clear that with ninety percent of Algerians living within the northernmost and non-desertified twelve percent of national territory near the Meditterenean Sea, the impact of instability in NE Mali which lies adjacent to the far south of Algeria would not be as greatly felt..seeming like distant upheavals.

    In the short term, Algeria appear to be playing for the continuation of the state of insecurity in NE Mali if only it serves as a drain on the extremist energies of AQIM and creates an ideological battleground which would suck in some of the terrorists who would have otherwise created security problems for Algeria. What with all the terrorists from Nigeria(chiefly Ansaru members) to Sudan, Pakistan to Yemen and elsewhere now finding solace and transacting there, preparatory to a fresh onslaught against ‘infidels’ – read AFISMA and EU troops and trainers.

    That really explains the unstated ‘entente’ and seeming tolerance of the situation in NE Mali..even more so than the purported spillover effects of military activity in Azawad, given the fact that the deep south of Algeria, bar a few isolated settlements such as Tamanrasset, is actually amount to “empty quarters” of sorts.

    I get this feeling that Algeria, while being opposed to AQIM, tolerate the separatist Tuareg MNLA. The idea would be to create a client state in northern Mali(AZAWAD) which would be ab initio an aid-dependent banana republic which would be firmly tied to the apron strings of Algeria – economically and politically – guaranteeing the stability of Algeria’s southern flanks while getting hundreds of millions of dollars in free cash and having tax-free access to Algerian ports, as against the use of Dakar, Abidjan or Lome ports, if not as a permanent political arrangement then until the threat of terrorism posed by AQIM is dealt with in Azawad and in Algeria.

  4. jimmy says:

    Simply the put the terrorists have another watering hole for now.
    They copied the Saudi example , however what goes around comes around, these groups due to ideological spats are notorious to control. first it becomes against the infidels ( read christian) then it becomes against ” i am more Muslim than you” ( read Sunni vs Shi’ite) then it becomes have gun will travel er kidnap westerner, rob bank er fill in the blank.
    Right now all is well in ALGERIA ( NO HARD FEELINGS) ….. but this is my beef with them they cannot be fence sitters nor the SWISS of AFRICA ( see no evil, hear no evil, do no evil) .
    Eventually the rooster will come home to roost then what?THEY HAVE TO PLAY THEIR CARDS RIGHT i get that they do not need any lectures from us they have been fighting these numbskulls for 20+ years however we in West Africa and America are telling them PICK OUR SIDES, THIS MEANS CLOSING THE BORDER SUNDAY THROUGH SUNDAY . A terrorists today is not a freedom fighter tomorrow..

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