AQIM, its loyalists and allies remain a potent challenge to Algeria, countries across North Africa and, to a lesser extent, other parts of the Middle East and Europe. And there can be little doubt that the GSPC’s reinvigorated association with al-Qaida has given the guerrilla group a new lease on life through an infusion of resources and a heightened regional and international influence.
Still, analysts and historians alike say that, despite its many successes, AQIM and other al-Qaida branches worldwide like it are on the defensive. Their association with al-Qaida has spurred Western governments to action, led by the United States, energizing international counterterrorism efforts and cooperation to a degree not seen since 2001.
It is all but impossible to say how all this will play out. But given the localized grievances and organization of regional al-Qaida networks such as AQIM, it is unlikely that they will become the threat that their nominal leadership remains in the faroff border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“The Al-Qaida We Don’t Know: AQIM and the North African Franchise,” by Joseph Kirschke, 26 October, 2008.
Interesting report on AQIM. As per usual the emphasis is placed on its activities in northern Algeria, though Mauritania, Morocco, Libya and other components are discussed in a limited fashion. I think the Mauritanian component is under-served and understated, and that the Algerian branch’s progress is somewhat overstated in terms of the danger posed by the organization as a whole. In any event, it is a good primer for people interested in the big picture of AQIM, and it lacks the degree of sensationalism that dominated some of the English-language reporting on AQIM when it first metastasized.