World View: Algeria Cracks Down on Jihadists Headed for Syria

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 whichShia/Alewite Bashar al-Assad is being supplied with heavy weapons,which he uses along with chemical weapons to massacre and tortureSunni women and children, is serving as an enormous recruitingopportunity for Sunni jihadists in South Asia, the Mideast, theMaghreb (northern Africa), and the Caucasus. However, Algeria hasbeen cracking down on Syria-bound jihadists, by infiltrating anddismantling recruitment cells.

However, that’s only one of the reasons why the number of Algerianjihadists headed for Syria has been kept under control. Other reasonsare:

  • 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 Algerianskilled in Syria is far lower than then the number of Tunisians andLibyans. Magharebia

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

Last year, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) did something noother modern terrorist group has: conquered a large region within asovereign country — the northern 2/3rds of Mali. France’sair and ground forces reconquered the north, with more than 4,000French soldiers in Mali at the peak. But France will withdraw3,000 of them this year, and the last thousand next year,leaving defense of Mali in the hands of a United Nationspeacekeeping force, which may not be able to handle the job.

There is a major shift going on. American policy makers have longtreated the Middle East and South Asia as the main battlegrounds ofthe war on terror, but those regions are quickly being joined byAfrica, which is now home to some of the largest and most activeIslamist militias in the world. AQIM is using Mali as a base to plotsophisticated attacks outside its borders — including last year’sBenghazi attack that killed the American ambassador. AQIM haspublicly promised to carry out attacks in France in revenge for theintervention in Mali.

Since then, despite French intervention, northern Mali has become ajihadist front and training camp, with Islamist militants flowing infrom around the world. While America remains focused on threats fromthe Middle East and South Asia, the new face of terror is likely to beAfrican. AQIM is able to take advantage of the fact that many of thecontinent’s countries have porous borders; weak and corrupt centralgovernments; undertrained and underequipped militaries; flourishingdrug trades that provide a steady source of income; and vast, lawlessspaces. And the reason that AQIM was able to conquer northern Mali inthe first place was because of vast treasure troves of Libyan weaponsleft behind by the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Atlantic and AP

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