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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 14-Dec-07
Algeria bombings are from a new generation of young al-Qaeda terrorists

Web Log - December, 2007

Algeria bombings are from a new generation of young al-Qaeda terrorists

Thirty people, including 11 UN employees, were killed by two suicide bomb blasts in Algiers on Tuesday. The blasts targeted the Algiers UN building and Algeria's Constitutional Council building, and also claimed the lives of students traveling to school in a school bus.

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Algiers has been targeted by Sunni Islamist terrorist bombings since the 1990s, but recent activities represent a significant change of strategy. Whereas terrorist activities in the past have specifically targeted the the Algerian government, recent bombings are targeted international targets.

The change coincides with the announcement, in September, 2006, that the major Algerian terrorist group was joining al-Qaeda in its worldwide jihadist efforts, especially targeting France, Algeria's former colonial power.

The terrorist group, called "Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC)" changed its name to "Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (Maghreb is the Arabic word for North Africa), and began much more visible terrorist activities, beginning with spectacular terrorist bombings in Algiers and Casablanca on April 11 of this year.

Professor Noureddine Jebnoun of Georgetown University was interviewed on BBC World, and described the strategy as follows:

"Q: Why Algeria today, and why the United Nations?

Noureddine: We have three attacks -- April 11, called "Black Wednesday" in Algiers, we have July 11, the suicide bomb attack against the military base in the south and east of the capital Algiers, and today, another attack. This is the symbol of al-Qaeda.

Q: Why always on the 11'th of the month -- April 11, July 11, and now December 11 -- and of course, September 11?

Noureddine: This is the symbol of al-Qaeda since 9/11 -- September 11 -- and it's become a symbol of this organization.

Q: But why would they want to target something like the United Nations relief agency, because that does send a very big signal, does it not, to the international community?

Noureddine: This is just al-Qaeda trying to cut off the support from the international community, and especially from the United Nations, and to send a message to the French government, after the visit of President Sarkozy, and to the United States.

This government is very weak and you cannot continue to supply this government against what they thought was against the Algerian people.

Q: Any danger that Algeria could revisit the violence that rocked it in the 1990s, with an appalling toll of hundreds of thousands of people killed?

Noureddine Jebnoun, Georgetown University <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
Noureddine Jebnoun, Georgetown University (Source: BBC)

Noureddine: I think so, because you know Algeria and North Africa and the Mahgrab region, you have a huge reservoir of youth, disenfranchised youth, that this organization can recruit, and it can use it against the Algerian government, against the Algerian security forces,

And now the strategy, the modus operand of this organization, was completely shifted. They tried to attack the civil target, and they tried to attack the Algerian government symbols, as for example the Supreme Court."

This emphasis on the younger generation is something I've discussed many times before.

Last month, MI5 Director General Jonathan Evans gave a speech on the UK's threat from al-Qaeda, including the following:

"As a country, we are rightly concerned to protect children from exploitation in other areas. We need to do the same in relation to violent extremism. As I speak, terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country. They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism. This year, we have seen individuals as young as 15 and 16 implicated in terrorist-related activity."

As I wrote last year, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, many of Britain's young Muslims have set up a "Hero/Prophet" relationship with the radical clerics in Pakistan's Tribal Areas. This kind of relationship is the visceral basis by means of which new genocidal crisis wars begin. There's an emotional connection between the elder Prophet generation (the idealistic generation born after the last crisis war) and the impatient college age Hero generation (the soldiers who will be fighting the new crisis war). Thanks to the internet and other modern forms of communication, this same kind of "Hero/Prophet" relationship is being set up by al-Qaeda in Pakistan's Tribal Areas.

Those who claim that Osama bin Laden is irrelevant because he's hiding out in a cave somewhere are missing the point. Al-Qaeda has become the leading worldwide terrorist "brand name," and bin Laden has become a major prophet and mentor to young, disaffected Islamist youth around the world who are looking for some way to become heroes, even if it means killing themselves.

Al-Qaeda is becoming increasingly high-tech, and is using internet videos as a recruiting device. One of those recruiting videos, "Al Qaeda Musical Jihad 2," was recently screened on David Letterman's late-night television show:

(14-Dec-07) Permanent Link
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