Crossfire War – TEHRAN – RABAT – TUNIS WATCH – Mediterranean Theatre: Tehran – Damascus – Beirut – Riyadh – Rabat – Tripoli – Tunis/Algiers – Gibraltar – Nicosia – Cairo – Jerusalem – Paris – Rome – Madrid – Washington; Second Suicide Bomb Attack in Algeria in Three Days – Threat to Pres. Bouteflika and Western Investment – Expression of Tehran’s Displeasure
Night Watch: DELLYS – In an expression of Tehran’s displeasure with the government of Algeria President Adelaziz Bouteflika and his close cooperation with the West, especially Washington and Paris, Iran had the al-Qaeda branch in North Africa set off a second suicide bomb attack in northern Algeria, this time at the Coast Guard base and barracks in Dellys, 60 miles east of the capital Algiers. Xinhua reports 30 were killed, mostly Coast Guard personnel and three civilians. The Islamic government in Tehran has always expressed a serious strategic interest in Algeria not only due to the country’s oil but also due to its location along the Mediterranean the center of international shipping-commerce and a concentration of investments from the West especially the French who retained enormous economic influence in the country after Algeria’s independence in 1962 after France waged an eight year war to maintain control over its favorite colony. Algiers was one of four capitals visited by Iran’s then President Mohammad Khatami in late summer 2004, his regional tour circumventing Cairo and President Hosni Mubarak. [XINHUA]
Algiers must have expressed some interest in the economic potential of Tehran’s foreign policy and its possibility of reducing Paris and the West’s presence in the region, otherwise Khatami never would have visited Bouteflika, but obviously, Algiers is not cooperating enough with Tehran. On Thursday, a suicide bomber attempted to assassinate Bouteflika during his visit to the city of Batna, 200 miles southeast of the capital. A spokesperson for al-Qaeda in North Africa stated the suicide bomber “carried out a suicide attack with his explosive belt…targeting Bouteflika during his visit to the town but unable to reach him, he exploded himself amid the security men.”
During last year crossfirewar.com reported Tehran’s incorporation of Islamic militants groups from all over North Africa (Aug. 14,-Sep.16,-Nov.11) and the threat it meant to investment from the West, which is the pattern of the attacks from Morocco to Indonesia. Nor is it any mystery these attacks in Algeria have been increased right after the suicide unit in northern Lebanon, Fatah al-Islam, were used by Tehran to convince most of Lebanon’s army to distance itself from Paris and the West. Of all the North African countries, none is closer to France than Algeria, which is why Iran is now concentrating on convincing Bouteflika, or whoever replaces him, to leave the Western sphere of influence. That is why Tehran named a street after the assassin of Egypt President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 because Sadat had reduced Egypt’s cooperation with Islamic governments.
It would be interesting to see if meetings between high-level officials between Iran/Algeria are increased and more bombings are then directed at economic targets linked to Western investments. Dec. 11, 2006 crossfirewar.com reported the attack in Algeria against employees of Halliburton subsidiary Kellog, Brown and Root. AP reports France Ambassador to the United Nations Jean-Maurice Ripert, and current President of the Security Council, expressed his extreme concern by describing the latest killings as, “a heinous terrorist attack.” Privately I suspect he is acutely aware the threat is not just to the Algerian government and that the same political-militant forces now active again in Algeria were the same ones Tehran employed two years ago during the three week disturbances that hit the greater Paris area and three hundred towns and cities across France October-November 2005. [ASHARQALAWSAT]