Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Iraq War Blowback To Threaten Europe

Al Qaeda -- benefiting from the jihadist training ground par excellence presented by the war in Iraq -- is building up a cadre of trained North Africans that are stirring up trouble in Algeria and are perfectly positioned to move their terrorist activities into Europe when convenient.

"Al-Qaeda's presence in North Africa is a reality," Baltasar Garzon, a senior Spanish magistrate, said in an interview Saturday at a conference in Italy organized by the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law. "It's an ideal base from which to engage in actions against Europe. . . . Moving their next phase of action to Europe, I think, is just a matter of time."

Hamida Ayachi, editor of the Algiers-based daily Djazair News, said organizational links between insurgents in Iraq and armed groups in North Africa have strengthened noticeably in the past year.

"Iraq became a big laboratory to train kamikazes and warriors," Ayachi, the author of a forthcoming book on extremist networks, said in an interview in Algiers. "They are trying to take young people from here to Iraq for training so they can use them later in North Africa. Likewise, they are training people here in the mountains and the desert. Algeria has already become a small Iraq for training these people."

The April 11 bombings in Algiers, along with other recent attacks in the country, are evidence that al-Qaeda's network in North Africa has developed into a more serious threat and is benefiting from lessons learned in Iraq, said a senior military official at the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, which oversees operations in Africa.

"Their tactics have definitely increased in sophistication," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing intelligence matters. "Are they getting the technical expertise from the outside? We can't prove it, can't disprove it. But I would strongly suspect they are." ...

Intelligence officials and analysts said that the Algerian al-Qaeda branch, in an effort to rejuvenate its ranks, has tried to tap into independent recruiting networks that have sent a steady flow of North Africans to Iraq to fight. ...

In the past, U.S. and European officials said, it was much easier for underground recruiters to persuade young Algerians to go to Iraq to battle U.S. forces than to get them to stay home and take up arms against the government and their fellow citizens. The Iraqi networks were also better financed than their local counterparts, officials said.

By re-branding itself as an al-Qaeda affiliate, the Algerian group has boosted its own fundraising and become more competitive in the marketplace for recruits, Algerian analysts said.

Liess Boukra, an Algerian terrorism expert, called the recruitment business "a real trade in cannon fodder."

"Indeed, it is possible that the recruiters for Iraq could redirect their combatants toward new operations, either in Algeria or somewhere else in the Maghreb or in the world," he said.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Fred said...

Algeria. Oh great. There goes rubbing shoulders with Gazprom thugs at Saint Tropez' Chateau Messardiere this summer.

5/30/2007 12:35 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Fred:

You may wish to try Capri this year.

5/30/2007 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Wrong Said Fred said...

Capri is for F*gs and uppitycomers with KFC crust precariously lingering in the corner of their mouths.

6/01/2007 6:34 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Fred:

Pravda?

In that case, I'm glad I never took Graham Greene up on his invites to visit.

6/01/2007 7:08 AM  

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