Det var de hjemvendte krigerne fra Afghanistan, Algeries egne mujahedin, som startet borgerkrigen da de ble lurt for valgseieren i 1991.
Spørsmålet man må stille seg er hva som vil skje den dagene de krigsheredede fra dagens Syria vender hjem, feks. til europeiske land.
Adam Garfinkle gjør litt historieoppfrisking:
The Algerian civil war was the first major blowback from the mujahedin war against the Red Army in Afghanistan. Returning Algerians from that fight, which ended in success in 1989, swelled the then-small cadre of Islamists in Algeria, and indeed at that time were often called “Afghan Arabs” after their veteran status. In 1991 the Algerian military, which ruled the country wearing street clothes and fronting a government political party (FLN), called an election, and, to their shock, lost it to the Islamic Salvation Front—the FIS. With support from France and the United States, the military annulled the election results, banned the FIS and jailed most of its leaders. By 1992, in response, the Islamists had formed an armed opposition and the shooting started. To make a formidably long and complicated story short, the Islamist side split into what turned out to be unstable factions that soon began fighting each other (the MIA and GIA versus the reformed FIS, now the AIS), to the government’s initial glee. But things soon got out of hand, with one of the Islamist factions (GIA) engaging in massacres of entire villages. This insane chiliastic violence gave the Algerian civil war its gruesome quality; at least 100,000 people, most of them complete innocents and all of them Muslims, died over the core 7-8 year period of the civil war. Some estimate that twice that number perished. This puts the only-nearly two-year total for Syria, so far, of 60,000 in some perspective.
Starting in around 1993, and through toward the most horrific years of the war (circa 1996-98), the French and U.S. governments concluded and remained convinced that the Algerian military could not win this war. After having had a hand in causing it by supporting the military’s annulment of the 1991 election, Paris and Washington now urged compromise. The senior Algerian generals, whose seminal experience had been the very bloody war for independence against France, believed otherwise. They doubled down, becoming utterly ruthless in an unshakable determination to win. They refused all compromise and they sustained as well as inflicted great pain—and they won. The main Islamist opposition group called it quits in 1999, but fringe groups, one called the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) continued fighting until by 2002 the military had either tracked and killed them, or they managed to flee the country.
And here, folks, in the GSPC is the origin of AQIM (born as such in 2007). That is where Moukhtar Belmoukhtar, the supposed mastermind behind the In Amena raid, came from. He was a fighter in the mujahideen war in Afghanistan; he returned to his native country and fought in the Algerian civil war; and he escaped the country before the army could track him down and kill him, as it did so many of his compatriots. (I have been unable to determine for sure if he is an ethnic Arab or an ethnic Berber or a kindred but still distinct ethnic Tuareg, but his place of birth, in deep southern Algeria, suggests Tuareg. It’s noteworthy that none of the journalists who have written about him in recent days has bothered to establish this not-exactly-trivial fact.)
Over time AQIM became more than just a band of Algerian Islamist exiles with bases here and there, including one in northern Mali. But that is still largely its core, which explains why most of the attackers at In Amenas were Algerian nationals. Moreover, it was obvious from the moment the scale and sophistication of the attack became known that this was not a near-spontaneous response to the entry of French troops into combat in Mali, as the attackers’ spokesmen have claimed. This took a lot of planning, and it’s now clear that the attackers had good knowledge of the physical layout of the plant and the grievances of some of the Algerian workers in it. Some claim that this attack’s source goes all the way back to al-Qaeda central, in Waziristan and Quetta, in which case, if it proves true, it is a more serious matter than had it been a one-off effort from a more or less autonomous, small cell. Be that as it may, In Amenas is still far better seen as a continuation of the Algerian civil war in a post-Libyan War setting, where these exiled Algerian Islamists have more money, more and better weapons, and more allies than they could have dreamed possible back in 2002, or even in 2010.