Center for Strategic Communication

The border region around En Amenas has been the scene of both criminal and AQIM-related activity for quite some time.  In my day job, I call this activity microinstability: very select regions or localities in a country that experience extended periods of persistent threat activity. Algeria has a perfect example. Despite relatively stable public and social life (for a dictatorship) in most of the country, Tizi Ouzou remains one of the most dangerous localities in North Africa.  In order to identify these patches of hell, an analyst needs to persistently study local activity, such as local crime and CT incident reporting.  There's nothing innovative about the methods of research and analysis here.  Rather, the innovation is how the analyst employs the information. 

The few of my (few) readers around this long weekend might appreciate this list of terrorism and CT incidents for Illizi Province, Algeria for the year 2011.  I'll get to 2012 later today or tomorrow.

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Activity Reported in Illizi Province, Algeria for 2011

12 March

2 AQIM members killed and 2 detained after they attempted
to steal trucks and other vehicles belonging to an international energy
company operating in the region

24 March

An AQIM suspect wearing a suicide belt was killed at the
border checkpoint in Debdab

04 April

1 AQIM suspect at the Debdab border as he tried to
detonate a suicide belt at the border checkpoint

22 April

Three AQIM killed at the Libyan border, and ammunition
caches retrieved

20 June

2 AQIM suspects killed, 2 arrested in Debdab

06 September

Algerian security forces initiated an operation to
identify AQIM ambush locations and arms caches along provincial oil transit

12 September

A group called Movement of the Sons of Algeria for Islamic
Justice (MFSJ) accused the government of breaking a 2008 agreement. According
to one local report, the MFSJ was established in 2007, and attacked oil
facility at En Amenas

13 September

El-Khabar reported that energy companies operating in
southern Algeria were increasing their security measures.  The measures were in response to a suspect
AQIM plot to target energy facilities in complex attacks

18 September

Algerian security forces captured 2 AQIM suspects. Local
reports suggest they were reconnoitering military facilities in the region.

18 September

Forces recovered a suspected AQIM cache of explosives
along the Niger border

On 09 October

2 AQIM suspects killed during a shootout with Algerian
security forces

08 November

35 AQIM suspects smuggling small arms across the
borderwere arrested near Djanet

08 November

2 AQIM suspects killed in Djanet

14 November

2 AQIM suspects killed and 5 arrested near the Libyan
border as the attempted to smuggle weapons. 
According to one local report, the suspects hailed from Mali and Libya
as well as Algeria

12 December

8 AQIM suspects were captured in Djanet, allegedly
smuggling weapons across the border

25 December

5 AQIM suspects killed in a shootout with local Algerian
forces in Djanet