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Sunday, July 17, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. applauded counter-insurgency efforts
by 'prickly' Algeria

LONDON — Algeria is said to have rebounded from an Al Qaida suicide bombing campaign.


The State Department has asserted that Algeria improved its counter-insurgency capability over the last four years. Department cables released by WikiLeaks assessed that the Algerian rebound against Al Qaida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb was detected in 2008.

"They [Algeria] are a prickly, paranoid group to work with," a cable sent by the U.S. embassy in Algiers said. "But with them we have rolled up several networks that sent Algerian jihadis to Iraq."

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[On July 16, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a security office in Algiers in the first such attack since 2001. Security sources said at least four people were killed and another 20 were injured.]

In 2007, the regime of Algerian President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika was rocked by a series of AQIM bombings in Algiers and other cities. The cables recalled that Bouteflika appealed for help from the European Union and the United States for advanced technology for CI operations. The technology included signals collection and explosive detection.

A key problem, the State Department said, was that Algeria was hesitant to cooperate with the West on military and security issues. This included Algeria's refusal to allow U.S. reconnaissance flights over the North African state. By late 2009, however, Algeria became the coordinator of regional efforts against AQIM.

"It is worth remembering that no country is more important than Algeria in the fight against Al Qaida in the Sahel and Maghreb," U.S. ambassador to Algiers David Pierce said.

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