Monday, June 14, 2004

GSPC Violates 'Accord'

We're hoping that US president George Bush got a chance to talk with Algeria president Abdul Aziz Butaflika during the expanded G8 summit at Sea Island, Georgia. Algeria has suffered greatly from Islamist terrorism over the last twenty years, which intensified greatly after the elections of December 1991, which the Front for Islamist Salvation won, which led to a coup by the country's military and calling of further elections. The party's military wing (why is it that these parties always have military wings?), the Islamic Salvation Army terrorized the country until 2000, when under a national reconciliation program it disbanded. The GSPC is an offshoot of the Salvation Army and continued, along with other splinter factions, its struggle for the formation of an Islamist State in Algeria. It has connections with Al Qaeda, and operates out of bases in the east of the country, Morocco, Mauretania and, until recently, Mali.

Arabic writes on the recent attacks against government forces, and note the moral equivalence the reporter seems to draw by referring to the 'cycle of violence':

However, the Algerian President Abdul Aziz Butaflika achieved a great success in a second Presidential term of office in the recent presidential elections as he had built his electoral campaign on the principle of national reconciliation and putting an end to the cycle of violence which has been disturbing the country since 12 years.

So terrorize a country long enough, and reporters -this in a country not famous for its freedom of the press- will start to put the two on the same heap, terrorism and fighting it.

It is a sad case of a wholly mismanaged country which was on its way to reforms, but too little, and too late, allowing for the 1991 election results and subsequent indefinite postponement of democracy. Similar arguments are being waved at us by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan at the moment. 'Yes, we know we're a bunch of dictators, but look at the alternative if we were to hold elections tomorrow' or something similar. And it's true, the alternative would not be pretty, and although under the guise of democracy would not bring about any hopes the Algerian people would have. The alternative would be the sort of 'enlightened dictatorship' that Morocco has, in which a Good King leads his people -with the iron fist to still back it up- to a moment in which elections would bring democracy without throwing the country into the Islamofascist column.

So memo to Arabic, terrorists kill, mothers, daughters, sons, soldiers of a regime, but they still kill and won't stop when they've killed all the soldiers. Don't make the mistake of putting the two on the same level by calling it a cycle of violence. And the next time you hold elections (and there will be a next time I can guarantee you), exclude parties that have a military wing. Much like Spain forgot in 1977, and confused ETA's struggle with a struggle against Franco, and found itself with Batasuna in Parliament, ETA's political wing, defending ETA's killing -which went on after the country's move to democracy in 1977.