World View: Algeria Cracks Down on Jihadists Headed for Syria

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  • Algeria cracks down on jihadists headed for Syria
  • In a major shift, Mali becomes the new jihadist training ground
  • Top 50 tools to safeguard your personal information

Algeria cracks down on jihadists headed for Syria

Algerian jihadists (AFP)
Algerian jihadists (AFP)

As I've written many times, the civil war in Syria, in which Shia/Alewite Bashar al-Assad is being supplied with heavy weapons, which he uses along with chemical weapons to massacre and torture Sunni women and children, is serving as an enormous recruiting opportunity for Sunni jihadists in South Asia, the Mideast, the Maghreb (northern Africa), and the Caucasus. However, Algeria has been cracking down on Syria-bound jihadists, by infiltrating and dismantling recruitment cells.

However, that's only one of the reasons why the number of Algerian jihadists headed for Syria has been kept under control. Other reasons are:

  • Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) refuses to support jihad in Syria. They consider any fight by North African jihadists in Syria as "illegitimate," in view of the fronts already open in Algeria and northern Mali.
  • Algerians suffer discrimination in Syria. Non-Syrian Arab jihadists are suspect to the point that field leaders refuse to give them responsibilities.
  • Preachers and theologians have made calls urging young people not to be deceived by fatwas calling for jihad in Syria.
  • They also criticize as plain adultery the so-called "Jihad annikah", whereby women and girls from Tunisia and other countries have gone to Syria as temporary wives to insurgents.
The results have been remarkably effective, as the number of Algerians killed in Syria is far lower than then the number of Tunisians and Libyans. Magharebia

In a major shift, Mali becomes the new jihadist training ground

Last year, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) did something no other modern terrorist group has: conquered a large region within a sovereign country -- the northern 2/3rds of Mali. France's air and ground forces reconquered the north, with more than 4,000 French soldiers in Mali at the peak. But France will withdraw 3,000 of them this year, and the last thousand next year, leaving defense of Mali in the hands of a United Nations peacekeeping force, which may not be able to handle the job.

There is a major shift going on. American policy makers have long treated the Middle East and South Asia as the main battlegrounds of the war on terror, but those regions are quickly being joined by Africa, which is now home to some of the largest and most active Islamist militias in the world. AQIM is using Mali as a base to plot sophisticated attacks outside its borders -- including last year's Benghazi attack that killed the American ambassador. AQIM has publicly promised to carry out attacks in France in revenge for the intervention in Mali.

Since then, despite French intervention, northern Mali has become a jihadist front and training camp, with Islamist militants flowing in from around the world. While America remains focused on threats from the Middle East and South Asia, the new face of terror is likely to be African. AQIM is able to take advantage of the fact that many of the continent’s countries have porous borders; weak and corrupt central governments; undertrained and underequipped militaries; flourishing drug trades that provide a steady source of income; and vast, lawless spaces. And the reason that AQIM was able to conquer northern Mali in the first place was because of vast treasure troves of Libyan weapons left behind by the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Atlantic and AP

Top 50 tools to safeguard your personal information

A list of tools to foil hackers and identity thieves include: identity protection, credit monitors, computer security systems, fraud protection, virus and malware protection, social security tracing, and identify restoration. FreePeopleSearch

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