L’Horrible Vérité du Terrorisme en Algérie: Le terrorisme qui fait les affaires de l’Etat (En Anglais)
The Ugly Truth behind Terrorism in Algeria
We just learned that two suicide-bombers exploded themselves inside Cherchell Military Academy causing the death of at least 20 young cadets (this is according to a preliminary casualty report released by the ministry of defense earlier today). This is probably the most ambitious terrorist attack directed at one of the most secure institutions of the state—at least in a very long time. The question that everyone needs to be asking is why now. We all thought that terrorism and terrorist groups and networks in Algeria have been completely decimated or seriously neutralized. To corroborate this fact—so well advertized by the Algerian security apparatus—terrorist activities such as funding, recruiting, training, attacks and so forth have decreased in the last 10 years, reaching and maintaining the zero level for at least 5 consecutive years.
So, why do we have a sudden resurgence of terrorism in Algeria after it has been pretty much decimated?
Why do we now have a flurry of Islamic terrorist activities in the Kabyle region, and highly coordinated and sophisticated suicide-attacks on several vital and secure state institutions in the country when Islamic terrorism worldwide is being defeated on every front?
I am afraid that the answer is very sinister and very ugly. Terrorism and terrorist networks in Algeria are controlled by the Algerian state. The Algerian government is using Islamic terrorism and the threat of Islamism to stave off any possible democratic uprising in Algeria, and to discredit all organized and credible opposition movements and protests. By using the terrorism card, the Algerian government could legitimately claim that it is fighting Islamic terrorism, not pro-democracy movements. This claim would protect the Algerian government from international pressures and buy the government enough time to exterminate all legitimate demands for greater democracy, transparency, and accountability.
It is not a coincidence that the uptick of the so-called Islamic terrorist activities happened after the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. The removal of Ben Ali and Mubarak (and the successful Libyan revolution and the removal of Kadhafi) were literally a political earthquake, and they sent a terrifyingly clear message to every Arab autocrat that his days are numbered. That message was well-received and digested by the Algerian autocracy.
The Arab Revolutions also emboldened the youths across the Arab/Muslim world and woke them up from their deep lethargic state to start believing that not only change is possible, it is also feasible and attainable through a peaceful struggle with the power in place. Surrounded by these earth-shattering events, and surrounded by this infectious narrative of the Arab Spring, the Algerian political class mainly composed of the entourage of the dictator Bouteflika, the famous and dreadful intelligence agency DRS, and the military top brass was terrified. The different groups composing this class decided that they needed to put in place a plan to: 1) discredit all domestic protest movements for any serious democratic transition and reform; 2) equate all democratic protest movements with Islamism; 3) reactivate terrorist groups across the country, and especially in the volatile Kabyle region (something dubbed as a separatist region); and finally 4) admonish all international pressure and gain the sympathy of Western democracies by brandishing the specter of Islamic terrorism, of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), and literally threatening European states with an AQMI-like contagion on their soil.
This is a very efficient plan to thwart any pro-democracy movement in Algeria. Knowing that the Algerian people has been traumatized by 10 years of one of the bloodiest civil war of the 1990s (around 150,000 deaths), it is unlikely that this people would side with any protest movements that might bring back any kind of instability. When you equate pro-democracy movements with Islamic movements and terrorism, the Algerian people would always choose the other side. This is not because the Algerian government enjoys a great deal of support among the population—not at all, the Bouteflika government is by far the most hated government in the history of Algeria—but because the Algerian people is tired of 10 years of deaths, curfews, attacks, and terror. They would rather endure a few more years of one of the most corrupt government on the planet than risk a serious uptick in random and bloody terrorist attacks.
Moreover, most Algerians know—in their guts—that most of the terrorist groups are under the control of the DRS. In fact, if the DRS wanted to exterminate terrorism in Algerian, they could easily do that by tomorrow. However, the DRS has no interest in doing that. The DRS infiltrated, maintained, nurtured and even encouraged a certain number of terrorist groups to stay active. It uses these terrorism groups to advance its political agenda and protect itself from any political attack. By controlling terrorism as a political weapon, the DRS is literally untouchable in Algeria. And occasionally, just to remind everyone that the DRS is still around, they let one of those groups purposely slip through their surveillance to conduct an attack on a well-chosen (chosen of course by the DRS) and highly significant target causing the death of dozens and dozens of innocent Algerians. In fact, political messages in Algeria between rival political groups all vying for power are delivered in this manner.
So, this is the sad and ugly truth about terrorism in Algeria. It is the Algerian government, which is sponsoring, helping, organizing, and conducting terrorism in Algeria; it is the Algerian government, which is murdering in cold blood its own people. This government has innocent blood all over its hands.
Until when do Algerians have to live in fear and terror of their own government? Until when does the Algerian government keep on murdering its own people? In addition, until when do European countries and the United States keep on believing this magically weaved fairytale of Al-Qaeda in Algeria? Until when?
Addressing Cassius, Julius Caesar said that “there is no terror…in your threats, for I am armed so strong in honesty that they pass me in an idle wind.” Well, Shakespeare’s wisdom is everlasting. What he told us in this quote is that sooner or later, the good wins because deep down he is stronger even though he looks frail. This Algerian government can kill, murder, and terrorize the Algerian people, but watch out for when fear is no longer dreaded; that day will be a red day.