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Algeria’s Hidden Hand

January 22, 2013

The United States is deeply involved with a key Muslim partner in the struggle against jihadist terrorism. Although the relationship between the countries is superficially robust, encompassing years of military and intelligence cooperation and bolstered by American financial support, the inner workings of the relationship are seldom transparent to Washington. This is thanks to the dominant position of the country’s powerful military intelligence service, which is the backbone of the regime. This service often works at cross purposes to stated policy, sometimes actively opposing Western goals. At times, the service seems to be beyond the control of the civilian government and even the military chain of command. For the United States, it is a frustrating situation which seems beyond remedy.

That description encompasses the trying “frenemy” relationship that the United States has long enjoyed with Pakistan, thanks to that country’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the spy service known to the Taliban as “the black snake.” Certainly the ISI has done much clandestinely to frustrate U.S. and NATO efforts in Afghanistan, as well as supported terrorism against India. Its reputation as a regional mayhem-maker, as well as the real power in Pakistan, is hard earned.

But the description also holds true for Algeria … read the rest at The National Interest

One Comment
  1. Nicely done, John. That whole situation is just opaque to me. (Plus, I’ve been distracted by watching the complete collapse of U.S. legislative-executive relations.)

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