August 20, 2008
Sunny & Bomby Algeria,: Al Qaeda's Club Med tourist destination
Algeria sadly seems to be taking a turn for the worse, with Iraq style car bombs targeting - Iraq style once again - police stations and recruiting stations and doing so in a series. (Perhaps Emaar may wish to revise its plans for its Tourism City at Cite Colonel Abbas to something focused perhaps on AQIM personal development centres?
This follows earlier this month more Iraq style suicide car bombings; sadly the Americans seem to have actually been able to export some of Iraq's political culture.... just not the part they thought (although certainly the part I've expected). (Also from NY Times: this not useless overview on Al Qaeda fil Maghreb al Islami
Although Algeria has long been a special case, and it is easy to engage in overwrought contagion fright, it is certainly not a positive thing to have a re-export of Iraqi suicidal Takfiri Salafism to the Maghreb, and in particular where it might find ways to destabilize neighours, Sahelian such as Mali, and Maghrebine such as Morocco (and that queer beast, Mauretania).
(NB: accidentally posted this in Lounsbury thinking I was in Aqoul.)
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Residual terrorism, eh?
I don't know about other foreigners, but I suppose that Arab, French and Spanish investors know better than to bundle Morocco with Algeria, securitywise, in spite of the few episodes of terrorism that have afflicted Morocco in later years.
Posted by: Ibn Kafka at August 21, 2008 05:37 AM
Well, not directly, but one would be foolish to discount spillover. I agree with Alle on the other page that these bombings are going to do more to strangle the nihilist Takfiris than anything, but a small band of lunatics can still cause damage.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at August 21, 2008 07:13 AM
Isn't that precisely why Morocco is more vulnerable to these things than Algeria? Even if terrorism in Morocco will not reach anywhere near the levels of violence in Algeria, it will still hurt more. Algeria is more or less used to it, and no one expects otherwise. Morocco, totally different. Also, European mass tourism is a major source of revenue for Morocco, while in Algeria, it is tiny, and most Western tourists there are either 4x4 adventure-seekers or totally secluded in gated communities (Arab tourists don't seem to mind the ongoing Jihad, rather sensibly, but then they're not targets either). Actually, even Algerian terrorism probably affects Moroccan tourism negatively, considering how little people in Europe know or care about the differences between these countries...
As I see it, the most significant terrorist action in North Africa recently is the kidnapping of two Austrian tourists in Tunisia, not the constant bombing in Algeria. OTOH, as luck would have it, the kidnappers seem to be part of the GSPC's smuggler-criminal southern network rather than its hardcore bin-Ladenite core, since they're still bargaining for ransom rather than cutting them up in front of the cameras.
Posted by: alle at August 21, 2008 08:55 AM