Why Isn’t Algeria Exporting Jihad—Yet?

Aug. 13 2015

As Muslims from across the globe flock to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State, very few Algerians have tried to join the fight. Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck attributes this to the prevalence of a quietist school of Islamic fundamentalism, the country’s large, highly coordinated, and sometimes draconian security forces, and the traumatic effect of recent Algerian history:

A key reason for the seemingly low appeal of jihadism among Algerians is the experience of the country’s civil war, which raged throughout the 1990s. That period, known as the “black decade”—during which 150,000 people died and 7,000 disappeared—resulted in a mass trauma that is still evident in Algerians’ yearning for order and stability, which the authorities fuel in order to justify their tough security stance. . . .

But Ghanem-Yazbeck also cautions that things might change:

[E]conomic, social, and political problems persist in Algeria. . . . On the political front, there has been a lack, if not a complete absence, of generational renewal, allowing the same apparatchiks to remain in power since even before Algeria’s independence in 1962. Their authoritarianism . . . prevented the emergence of a real opposition and led to a civil society that is plagued by anomie.

Algeria’s socioeconomic problems include high unemployment, . . . a housing shortage, . . . and abysmal wage levels and living conditions, which prompted over 9,000 riots in 2010. All this might lead the youth toward jihadist movements as a means to express their resentment and retaliation. And, with Algeria’s domestic jihadist scene still active, there is already a framework in place to host disaffected young people.

Read more at Carnegie Middle East Center

More about: Algeria, Islamic State, Islamism, Jihad, Politics & Current Affairs

The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy