The Algerian newspaper, El-Khabar reported today that the Ministry of Defense is preparing to intensify military operations against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M), and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) in the dangerous Sahel region. As Algeria prepares its military against al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, it remains to be seen if the large North African state can launch an effective military operation against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The Sahel region spans throughout North Africa, covering areas in Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea. Both terrorist grouping aim for sharia (Islamic law) throughout northern Africa.
One of the greatest problems facing Algerian security services is the landscape and terrain of the Sahel. It is extremely expensive to monitor, not to mention virtually impossible to track all of the numerous splinter organizations in this sub-African region. The Algerians are not comfortable with the idea of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb.
After September 11th, Algeria looked to cooperate with the United States in unprecedented fashion. Now that a new Islamic challenge has emerged, and al-Qaeda is digging their heels into the Maghreb, it seems plausible that Algeria will look towards Europe, and the United States for guidance and military support.
Algeria’s Army Command has embraced new strategies along a second troubled border in the southern region of Azawad. Terrorist groups infiltrate Algeria from this area, and are being interrupted by Algeria’s newly designed observation posts, reconnaissance forces, aerial surveillance, and allocation of 3,000 military personal. However, it will take a lot more resources to break the activity of al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups in the Sahel region.
The continuing build up of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb has caused immediate concern from Paris to D.C. One thing remains certain, Algeria will not sit idly while al-Qaeda relocates to North Africa.