Blogmaster's Comments: There is a new snake in town and it is preparing to strike in the Middle East and in Egypt in particular. I have seen intelligence information which indicates that fighters from the "Islamic Maghreb" have infiltrated into Egypt with a sizable quantity of explosives and weapons. Their intended targets are believed to be areas where tourists are apt to be heavily concentrated and Metro lines in Cairo. Their intent is to de-stabilize and embarass the Egyptian secular government and to recruit more into their ranks.They also seek to divert attention away from Hamas and the activities of Syria and Iran. Violence is not limited to attacks against Israel. Analysts recommend all organizations with interests in Egypt, specifically Cairo, and tourist interests country-wide, to refrain from the use of the Cairo Metro and other transportation nodes and to stay clear of large crowds at the nation's tourist sites.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic
(aka Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat)
The items below will be addressed in this article:
- What is al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb?
- What’s the connection between GSPC and al-Qaeda?
- What are GSPC’s goals?
- What are the group’s tactics?
- Is the group capable of carrying out global attacks?
- Who are the group’s main leaders?
- How is the group funded?
- Does the recent name change represent a resurgence of the GSPC?
- Why is North Africa susceptible to Islamic terrorism?
- Does GSPC have a significant presence in Iraq?
Islamic Maghreb, the organization has taken responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks in the region, declared its intention to attack Western targets, and sent a squad of jihadis to
been relatively peaceful since the bloody Algerian civil war of the 1990s drew to a close.
The group originated as an armed Islamist resistance movement to the secular Algerian government. Its insurrection began after
U.S. State Department report (PDF) on terrorism, its ranks have dwindled to only a few hundred from nearly 28,000 at the height of its power.
Collusion between the GSPC and al-Qaeda is not a new phenomenon. According to a report by Emily Hunt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Osama bin Laden provided funding for Algerian Islamists in the early 1990s and was involved in the GSPC’s early formation. Many of the group’s founding members trained in al-Qaeda camps in
Originally, its aims included the overthrow of
centuries spanned the Muslim world. Counterterrorism experts, however, say the group’s folding into the global al-Qaeda structure may indicate a shift to take up the banner of global jihad and collude on future attacks in
Hugh Roberts, head of the International Crisis Group’s
strategies to take on an international role beyond
people are worried that it’s going to do this. So far we haven’t really seen it.”
The GSPC employs conventional terrorist tactics (PDF) to achieve its objectives in
equipment. In December 2006, the group attacked two buses carrying contractors near
minister’s office, a move
Some experts warn the group’s growing confidence could increase its willingness to target Westerners both inside and outside
revitalized, many of the Europe-based cells of the former GIA both for the purpose of fundraising and for launching attacks.
Analysts point to thwarted attacks in
a London-based GSPC militant who conspired to launch a chemical attack, and
arrested four members of a GSPC cell in
single terrorist attack in
that you have to put in balance against European security services that say the
group is a major threat.”
After the 1979-1989 jihad against the Soviets in
Musab Abdulwadood. The current chief of the northern group, also known
as Abdelmalek Droukdel, is a former university science student turned bomb
maker. He has led the group since September 2004 after the previous
leader, Nabil Sahraoui, was killed in a firefight with Algerian forces in
June of that year.
- Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Known as the "One-eyed," Belmokhtar is a former
Algerian soldier who spent time fighting in Afghanistan. He allegedly joined the group through his role as the leader of a smuggling gang, which subsequently joined the GSPC. According to Hunt’s report, his family connections allow the group to capitalize on
criminal opportunities in the South, such as smuggling. He was reportedly
killed in northern
, but Algerian authorities have yet to confirm his death. Mali
- Ammari Saifi. Also known as Abderrazak the
Parabecause he was trained as an Algerian special forces paratrooper, Saifi organized the 2003 kidnapping of European tourists in
the Algerian Sahara. He was known as the “Bin Laden of the desert” and
designated as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the
, a classification shared by top al-Qaeda commanders before he was captured by a Chadian rebel group, the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJC) and eventually extradited to United States . Algeria
Smuggling and petty crimes are a lucrative source of income, according to the
windfall for the group. Algerian authorities accuse
Algeria-watchers are divided as to whether it signifies a new resurgence of Algerian Islamism or is simply a public relations move. Algerian authorities consider the shift to be a last-ditch attempt to revitalize a domestic insurgent movement enfeebled by years of combat and
internal divisions. The Algerian state, however, has been known to suppress reporting on the real strength of insurgent groups in
Indeed, there are indications that terrorism in
The group is reported to have cross-border association with separatist groups in
middle class turned to the Islamists and their devastating critique of the prevailing order.” Unemployment is high in the region, and there are large numbers of young people, two factors that could fuel terrorist activity. Emily Hunt observes that for those who would join terrorist groups, “al-Qaeda’s global ideology intersects with local anger directed at undemocratic regimes that for years allowed mosques to be focal points of popular political
Yes. The GSPC has funneled North African insurgents to
difficult, Evan F. Kohlmann, a terrorism consultant, estimates that North Africans represent
between 9 percent and 25 percent of foreign fighters in Iraq are from North Africa, although the vast majority are still of Saudi and Jordanian origin. “They’re a significant but not dominant presence,” he says. Adil Sakir al-Mukni—a key link between the GSPC and al-Qaeda in