Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875,March 2, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Algeria’s Struggle Against Terrorism
Royce Schedules Thursday Oversight Hearing

BACKGROUND:  Algeria has suffered through a period of insurrection that has taken between 100,000 and 150,000 lives since the early 1990s. This conflict, waged between government security forces and an insurgency with terrorist backing, has been characterized by mass atrocities. National reconciliation efforts, including democratic advances by the Algerian Government, have brought Algeria greater social harmony, while security operations have eliminated many terrorist cells and leaders, resulting in significantly lower casualties. U.S. officials have said Algeria's counterterrorism efforts offer lessons. The U.S. is stepping-up its relationship with the Algerian government of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, largely through counterterrorism cooperation aimed at eliminating the Algerian-based Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) terrorist group, which remains active worldwide and threatens U.S. targets. The GSPC was involved in the Millennium Plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport. This hearing is an opportunity to focus on a part of the world, Algeria and the surrounding Sahel region, that is of growing concern to U.S. counterterrorism officials, while evaluating the Algerian counterterrorism strategy. What policies have worked best? Which haven’t worked? How is the U.S. aiding Algeria in its battle against the GSPC? What are these “lessons” learned in Algeria and are they applicable to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere? Do GSPC operatives pose a significant threat to the U.S. and its allies? Algeria has moved toward democracy since its army cancelled a 1992 election that the FIS, an Islamic umbrella group with a doubtful commitment to democracy, was poised to win. How far has Algeria progressed with democracy? How important is democratic progress in checking terrorism? Should the brakes ever be put on elections, as they were in 1992? Who bears the greatest responsibility for the widespread human rights abuses of the past? Is the Algerian government’s human rights record improving? How do democracy and human rights track with combating terrorism in U.S. policy?   

WHAT: Subcommittee Oversight Hearing:  Algeria’s Struggle Against Terrorism

Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation, U.S. Rep. Edward R. Royce (R-CA), Chairman
 
WHEN: 2  p.m., Thursday, March 3, 2005
 
WHERE: Room 2200 Rayburn House Office Building
 
WITNESSES: Lorne W. Craner, President, International Republic Institute; Harlan K. Ullman, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Leslie Campbell, Senior Associate and Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa Programs, National Democratic Institute; Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch; and Lorenzo Vidino, Deputy Director, The Investigative Project.

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