Algerian religious bigots try to revive with al Qaeda

NY Times:


The inside story of the group, pieced together through dozens of interviews with militants and with intelligence, military and diplomatic officials, shows that the Algerians’ decision to join Al Qaeda was driven by both practical forces and the global fault line of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Droukdal cited religious motivations for his group’s merger with Al Qaeda. Some militants also said that Washington’s designation of the Algerians as a terrorist organization after Sept. 11 — despite its categorization by some American government experts as a regional insurgency - had the effect of turning the group against the United States.

“If the U.S. administration sees that its war against the Muslims is legitimate, then what makes us believe that our war on its territories is not legitimate?” Mr. Droukdal said in an audiotape in response to a list of questions from The New York Times, apparently his first contact with a journalist.

“Everyone must know that we will not hesitate in targeting it whenever we can and wherever it is in this planet,” he said.

Interviews with American, European and Arab officials and a former lieutenant in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb indicate that more opportunistic factors were at play in the growth of the group.

A long-running government offensive against the Algerian insurgents had nearly crushed the group, officials said. They needed the Qaeda imprimatur to raise money and to shed their outlaw status in radical Muslim circles as a result of their slaughtering of civilians in the 1990s.


That is something of a hoot since they joined the mass murders for Allah.

... March 2004, a covert American military operation led to the capture of one of the group’s top deputies. A few months later, Mr. Droukdal reached out to Mr. Zarqawi to get the man released. Mr. Zarqawi seized the opportunity to convince him that Al Qaeda could revive his operations, a former top leader of the Algerian group says.

Just as the Qaeda leadership has been able to reconstitute itself in Pakistan’s ungoverned tribal areas, Al Qaeda’s North Africa offshoot is now running small training camps for militants from Morocco, Tunisia and as far away as Nigeria, according to the State Department and Mr. Droukdal. The State Department in April categorized the tribal areas and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb as the two top hot spots in its annual report on global terrorism.


Al Qaeda certainly needs a group like this as a distraction since it is difficult for it to operate on a global basis right now. Most of its attempts in the last two years have been thwarted. This group may have ambitions for a global reach but they have limited means outside of Europe where they may have some co conspirators.

Spain has arrested several of them and France has too. Right now they are mainly killing other Muslims in Algeria, the thing that made them despised in the first place. Algeria needs to do a better job of finding them and destroying their operations. It is not like they have mountains for jungles to hide in. They could probably put some predators to good use in hunting and finding these guys.

The Times story covers several internet pages so there is much more.


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