Algerian Fundamentalists Essay, Research Paper
Armed Islamic Group, Groupe Islamic Armee, Armed Islamig Group, El-Djam’s El-islamia El Mosalaha, or GIA mean the same thing for Algerians. They all strike fear within the hearts of Algerians in almost all walks of life. Their actions are described as having “no distinction given to who they kill. They kill women, children, babies in the most horrible way.” However, the GIA justifies their actions by saying “it is clear that there are no indiscriminate killings. Our fighters only kill those who deserve to die.” They are a group that has brought the entire world to a state of disbelief. The horror these people create is beyond comprehension for the average man.
The GIA is an anti-government, anti-intellectual, anti-secularist, and anti-west policy terrorist group in Algeria. Their fatwa, or mission statement, says “The leaders of Algeria are all nowadays infidels, with no exceptions. Their minister, officers, aides, and everybody that followed their path, worked for them, accepted or did not react to their acts, falls also with them under the same category. They are all infidels and getting rid of them is a glory to Islam and Muslims.” They target those who do not pray, who drink alcohol, take drugs, homosexuals, immodest or debauched women, Jews, Christians, and infidels from Algeria. However, they declare their mission as a Holy War which won’t end until the current Algerian Government is diminished and an Islamic government has control of the nation.
The GIA is estimated to have 20,000-25,000 fighters currently. However, the number of support networks and groups that provide basic necessities from arms and ammunition to logistic, supporters, and sympathizers is unknown. Members tend to be normal, Islamic Algerians. Many of them have received their military training in Afghanistan, and many are unemployed, young men from the poor quarters of Northern Algerian cities.
The GIA formed in December of 1992 when the municipal and legislative elections were canceled in Algeria. Since then, they have killed more than 75,000 people including women, babies, mentally retarded people, and elderly. In August of 1994, GIA murdered five French embassy employees, and in December of 1994 the GIA was charged with the hijacking of an Air France airplane out of Algiers, Algeria. In August of 1996, 68 bus passengers were brutally massacred at a fake checkpoint established by the GIA. The militants asked to see passports and with rifles, daggers, and axes, they slain anyone from the village of Batna. Another 17 were killed days later in the exact same manner only miles away. It is also estimated that almost 1,000 Algerian schools have been burnt down at the hands of the GIA, and over 200 teacher have been murdered by the group. However, their most infamous act occurred in April of 1996 when seven Trappist monks were brutally killed by the GIA. This single act disgusted even supporters of the GIA along with society.
In the past three years, the GIA’s actions have peaked to their most extreme attacks and then slowed down to almost a halt. 1996 marked the beginning of the GIA’s most bizarre and horrifying acts which continued through 1997. In August of 1997, 511 civilians were killed in the village of Sidi Rais, and of those 511, 49 were under the age of two. In September of 1997, 115 died in an Algiers neighborhood, and in October of 1997, 214 died in Benthala which is only 2 miles from Sidi Rais. Thirty praying worshipers were violently killed in a village mosque in December of 1997. The GIA used guns and axes and ignored the victims’ pleas for mercy. Witnesses said that those who survived the gunfire were hacked to death or beheaded. However, beginning in 1998, the GIA started to come under control of the government as the Algerian government began cracking down more and more on the terrorists. They are currently still active, but their acts are less frequent and less devastating and drastic.
The GIA has never shown to have a favorite method of attack. The weapons most commonly used are fairly conventional. They use homemade bombs. Also, various machine guns including AK-47’s which are a selective fire, gas operated, air cooled, shoulder fired assault rifle chambered for the 7.62 by 39 mm Russian Kurtz round which fires a 125 grain jacketed steel core bullet approximately 2,800 feet per second, is capable of penetrating up to ? inch of steel plating, and is by far the choice of professionals because of its’ tried and true performance on the battlefields of Vietnam. It proved to be more reliable than the 5.56 mm (.223 caliber) US M-16, prone to jamming in only slightly dirty humid environments. Knives of all shapes and varieties are used for killing, torturing and assassinations as well. From small pointed instruments designed to penetrate the skull that leave little or no trace of the cause of death, to blatant outright slashes and the removal of limbs with instruments including everything in between, up to, and including swords and axes are also commonly used by the GIA. Their methods of killings are what is unconventional. Babies are put in bread ovens after having their throats slashed. Mentally retarded people are sometimes tortured and burnt alive, and pregnant women are tortured and killed by removing their fetuses by disembowelment as they watch in horror.
The GIA receives much of its financial aid from Algerians who sympathize with their mission. Prior to the GIA the support of Algerians was behind the Islamic Salvation Front or the FIS. When the FIS was projected to win the Algerian elections of 1992, the Algerian government canceled the elections. The people were outraged so when the GIA formed fighting for the people, Algerians were ready to support their ideas. Even people who don’t fight are willing to give money, time, and any other support they can.
The GIA was founded by Shiekh Abdel-Haq el-Ayadia. It is currently led by an emir, vice-emirs, and a council. The emir acts as the head of the board, and each of the vice-emirs heads a military zone, North, East, South, or West, of Algeria. They too are part of the board. It is estimated that there are 20 people are on the board including the emir and vice-emirs. The vice-emirs are assumed to be El-Mansouri El-Miliani, Abudllah Qalek, Abdel-Haq Ayadia, and Djafar El-Afghani. It is believed that the emir is Djamel Zitouni whose alias is Abou Aberrahmane Amine.
The GIA is a Nationally sponsored terrorist organization. They do not target Americans. In fact, America and Germany are the only two nations who are not targeted by the GIA. That is because we granted political asylum to the Islamic leaders.
The GIA has three main rivals. The first is the military faction of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) known as the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS). The GIA refuses to cooperate with any compromise presented so the tension continues to grow. The AIS has assured Algeria that the longer the GIA refuses to cooperate, the more they will crack down on their actions. The second rival is the police of Algeria. Police form a death squad against GIA members. They are the judge, the jury, and the executioner. In other words, the police need no justification or legal process to open fire upon the GIA. The third rival, and the most recent, is the United Nations. The press that surrounds the 75,000 deaths were enough to involve the UN. The UN is not the only group who wishes to help. Algeria, after years of western occupation, refuses to be assisted by anyone, even the United States of America. They insist they can handle the situation.
As everyone wishes that the terror will end, the GIA continues to devastate the nation of Algeria. As people “howling like wolves” continue to emerge from hiding in fear daily, Algerian officials continue to try and control the situation. The scary truth is that no one has an answer to the problem, and no one knows when the horror will end.