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US releases annual terrorism report

May 1, 2009

The US State Department has just released its annual terrorism survey, which as usual compiles a wealth of information, although some of it is really shoddy. In particular, the terrorist group profiles tend to be poorly updated, and the definition of “terrorism” is at times blatantly politicized. (For example, an attack against an Israeli army jeep on the Gaza border turns up as an example of Palestinian “terrorism”.)

Anyway, it’s available in full here, the Middle East/North Africa chapter is here, and the sub-Saharan Africa chapter, which includes Mali and Mauritania, is here. Note that the MENA chapter is introduced by a quote from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz praising religious tolerance. This goes to show that, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, US diplomats have not lost their sense of humor during the Bush years.

Oh, and here’s a recurring favorite, the Magic Maghrebi Math Mystery:

It was estimated that the Algerian security services killed, wounded or arrested 1,000 terrorists in 2008, compared to an estimated combined figure of about 1,100 for 2007.

These reports, on cue from the Algerian government, have consistently listed the total number of GSPC/AQIM members as being “a few hundred” for about five years now. This year, it says “AQIM has an estimated several hundred fighters operating in Algeria with a smaller number in the Sahel.” Let me predict that in 2009, it will once again be revealed that Algeria has killed about a 1,000 terrorists, and “several hundred” remain.

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