Oct 13 2007

Islamo Fascism Overreached And Failed Once Before, In The 1990’s

Published by at 8:10 am under All General Discussions,Iraq

I am no an expert on Islam or the Middle East. I have a bit of a gift for observation and sorting large amounts of information for gems of insight and key importance. I can see trends sets of complex information. They are traits very useful to engineers and scientists. I believe they help me understand what is happening in Iraq as I pore through news articles and opinion pieces.

I have been saying for the bettter part of a year that al-Qaeda overreached when it began massascring Iraqis in ugly bombings and open street examples of torture to underscore their power to rule. Their brutality and cruelty has been a nightmarish scene that includes the use of children as an extra emotional horror to try and strike paralyzing fear into those they want to subjigate. The risk of these kinds of extreme measures is they can also create a violent, mass backlash as the human instinct to survive combines with the human instinct to protect our children. The explosion that comes from a mob of people set on destroying their evil oppressors is quite powerful. And it has blown up on al-Qaeda’s efforts in Iraq.

I saw these events transpiring and predicted this would be the end of the war, as well as the end of al Qaeda’s support in the general Muslim community. It seems, though, that this is not the first time in history this pattern has played out. In fact, the same pattern played out in the 1990’s in Algieria:

Over the past six months, there has been a remarkable twist in the larger war on terrorism that has received only middling public attention. For arguably the first time since the contemporary “war on terrorism” began in 2001, the tension between and among various armed Jihadist factions and their supporters has begun to erupt into ugly public disputes, awkward confrontations – and even murder.

To better understand the present situation in Iraq, it is helpful to turn to a rather unusual source: an English-language book written by former Finsbury Park Mosque cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri titled “Khawaarij and Jihad.” Though the book is divided into various sections, it is largely focused on explaining the reasons behind the disastrous collapse of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in Algeria during the mid-1990s, as understood through the Islamic concept of “Khawaarij.” This term literally refers to those who issue extreme religious verdicts declaring other Sunni Muslims to be “infidels” because they have allegedly committed “major sins” against Islam – and who further consider it legitimate and desirable to shed their blood.

Sound familiar? Here is an early post around the time when I first noticed the infighting begin to heat up, and here is a post from the summer noting how the fighting was now spreading across Iraq and al-Qaeda was being routed from many areas. You see the same basic pattern. The Islamo Fascist had performed so many atrocities on the very people they were hiding amongst that those people rose up with one goal in mind – destroy al-Qaeda.

Here is some more history from the previous time Islamo Fascism crashed and burned in the Muslim world.

In the case of the GIA in Algeria, the turn towards becoming Khawaarij began when a new, more junior set of commanders took over the organization in the mid-1990s. These men adopted a new philosophy that was, in short, “you are either with us or against us.”

The GIA’s erratic behavior frightened many Algerian Muslims, and civilians living in at-risk areas began “carrying weapons and doing the work for the government… In an act of retaliation, the GIA started to do retaliatory measures on the spies, government supporters, informants, etc. It seems, unfortunately, that they at one point began to include some family members in their retaliation as well as the families of the perpetrators.” With added arrogance, when the GIA’s leadership was privately questioned by other Jihadists about rumors “regarding the killing of children”, “they maintained complete silence.”

Iraq has, sadly, hundreds of stories about al Qaeda atrocities against children. And it showed the same pattern of out of control desperation when it began chemical bomb attacks on Iraqi Muslims.

So, how did things end in Algiers? The author of the article points us here for the answer, but I have yet to read the ending. But it is interesting to see the Islamo Fascists have learned nothing from their defeats. They are the ones who keep doing the same thing over and over again, with the same disasterous results. It seems we are going to see another repeat of failure in Iraq – with Iraqis having stronger ties to the West in the end as a result. I have beleived this was a characteristic of human nature, to reject and destroy cancers like Islam Fascism when they arise. We saw it in WW II and now with Islamo Fascism. We are just getting better at seeing the warning signs and acting before millions have to dies taking out the disease.

Addendum: I want to note this section of the long report pointed to in the referenced article and in the last link posted above:

The popularity of the GIA took further hits as it engaged in a tit-for-tat war of attrition against the Algerian military and anyone allied with it. Recognizing the threat, the Algerian government decided to provide weapons to civilian villagers in order to defend themselves against attacks by GIA militants. This policy had a debilitating impact on GIA recruitment and support in these areas: “[It] put the armed civilians at war with the Islamic groups, particularly the GIA… Step by step, this government trap managed to create a war between the GIA and the general population of Algeria.”54 The GIA managed to further exacerbate tensions with the public by orchestrating elaborate revenge plots on would-be spies, informants, and supporters of the government. The attacks eventually extended out to target family members of the accused. In retrospect, even Abu Hamza al-Masri has characterized this tragic turn of events as

This is the exact same counter-insurgency method being employed vis a vis the Surge in Iraq. So we see strategy is not an unproven one, but actually a proven way to deal with Islamo Fascists.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Islamo Fascism Overreached And Failed Once Before, In The 1990’s”

  1. colin says:


    I’ve noticed the similarities between the jihadis in Iraq and the GIA, too. The Algerian revulsion to the GIA’s tactics was so great that the entire population turned against them, and likewise against their like-minded political movement, the FIS, an Islamist political party who had won a free election in the early ’90’s, and was not allowed to take power by the Military due to its radical politics (This demonstrates populat support for the Islamists at the beginning of what would be called the Algerian Civil War).

    I would like to caution you in pushing the Algerian model too far, though. The GIA’s tactics were so distasteful to the Algerian community that even other jihadis turned away from it. This was a good thing for Algeria, but the consequences were great for us. It is said that bin Laden himself was turned off by the GIA’s action and what it did for the reputation of Islamist terrorists in the Muslim world, and spearheaded the creation of a splinter group from the GIA, the GSPC. Even though Algeria calmed down, the GSPC became al Qaeda’s main arm used in plotting attacks in Europe, and al Qaeda bigwigs like Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada are tied to them. Before swearing bayat to bin Laden and becoming Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb last year (along with several other North African terror groups), the GSPC was considered the jihadist vanguard and the greatest terrorist threat Europe faced.

    I’m not saying this will happen in Iraq, in fact I think with the power of the US military there, we will be able to grind down all insurgent factions to such a degree that this type of reorganization will be impossible, but I still can’t rule it out entirely. If enough of the jihadis escaped from Iraq, they could act as a terrorist “expeditionary force” in much the same way the GSPC did after they split from the GIA.

    Al Qaeda in Iraq losing is an unqualified good thing, don’t get me wrong. I just worry about the Algerian example as much as I’m given hope by it. These guys are smart, smarter than we usually give them credit for. They have a plan, and they create contingency plans. We are winning in Iraq, and eventually that will become evident to everyone. However, the war won’t end there. Even our victory in Iraq could lead to dangers down the road, like the Algerian victory in the Civil War led to the creation of the GSPC. There are no good choices in the War on Terror, just “bad” and “less bad”. That being said, I think we’ve played the hand we were dealt almost perfectly under the circumstances (thank God for Bush, I think anyone else would have made errors that would have led to another attack here at home), but the threat will remain, it will transform, and we will have to confront it in the future.

    Sorry for such a long comment.

  2. AJStrata says:


    First off, the bits are free so please write your full thoughts out. Second, I know the model is imperfect and holds peril. The point is what we are doing in Iraq is not without successful precedence.

  3. colin says:


    Absolutely. I’m in agreement with you here. All I’m saying is that if I were in charge of intelligence analysis for Iraq, I would try to take full advantage of the model, not just for what happens in Iraq, but what happens in the wider world, as well. Start to look for al Qaeda-affiliated insurgent groups with an outsized presence outside of Iraq, in Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, or even in Europe (especially the Balkans, since it acts as Europe’s “soft underbelly”, to quote Churchill).

    The GIA’s loss in Algerian launched the GSPC and the North African component to global jihad. I’ve also been thinking that this phase shift, from GIA to GSPC, might have already happened in Iraq, after Zarqawi died and Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia was subsumed into the Islamic State of Iraq (really just an aQ front group, an attempt to “Iraqify” the insurgency). If that’s the case, then the thirst for blood by al Qaeda was so great that the rebranding effort was negated and the possible extra-territorial “GSPC phase” was short-circuited by their own bloodlust.

  4. MerlinOS2 says:


    You are finally coming around to where Dale and myself have been hammering for a very long time.  It is verifiable if you review my commentary on this issue.

    You will remember that I have linked this article about the GIA situation before. 

     It demonstrates the tactics and methods that for a large part parallel the positions proffered by the surge doctrine currently being practiced.  It emphasises the COIN aspect and the multi pronged approach to a mixed effort rather than just shock and awe, which serves it’s purpose in the initial phases.

    Also the article pointed out that despite the ultimate success of the situation on the ground, that the collapse of political will even after the fight was won, ended up with a recovery by the GIA and retribution against those who had supported the position of the government.

    It is well worth a read by all here.