Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

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Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

Post by Admin on Mon Jul 20, 2015 1:50 am

Place(s) of Operation:

Northeastern Algeria, Northern Mali, Niger, Southwestern Libya
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Also known as: 

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  • Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

  • Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

  • Armed Islamic Group (GIA)

  • Gruppo Islamico Armato (GIA)

  • Le Groupe Salafiste Pour La Predication Et Le Combat (GSPC)

  • Organization of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat

  • Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat

  • Tanzim al-Qa’ida fi Bilad al-Maghrib al-Islamiya


Executive Summary:

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is a jihadist terrorist group based in North Africa. It is dedicated to dismantling regional governments and implementing shariah (Islamic law), primarily in Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. AQIM finds its roots in the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), an Islamist movement founded in Algeria in the early 1990s. GIA leader Hassan Hattab split from his group over ideological differences and founded the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). GSPC merged with al-Qaeda in September 2006 and rebranded itself as AQIM in January 2007.
AQIM has executed scores of violent attacks aimed primarily at targets in North Africa and made failed attempts to target French landmarks. The group is known for its de facto war with the French government beginning in 2013, as well as its extensive history of kidnapping and extortion. In 2013, AQIM was believed to have amassed at least $116 million in ransom money. It has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., the U.N., the U.K., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Doctrine:

AQIM aligns its movement with al-Qaeda’s broader goals to institute shariah (Islamic law) in all its areas of operation. Leader Abdelmalek Droukdel told the New York Times in 2008 that “Our first goal is the arbitration of the Lord of the world’s law [Sharia], and the achievement of the servitude to God. Our general goals are the same goals of Al Qaeda the mother, and you know them.”
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AQIM perceives all non-Islamist governments as illegitimate and, accordingly, seeks to replace the various governments in the countries in which AQIM operates. According to Droukdel, these governments “are all secretions of the colonialism that invaded our country in the last two centuries, and enabled those regimes to govern. Therefore, they started governing for its account and on behalf of it. They implement its programs and protect its interests and fight Islam on its behalf.”
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[size] Moreover, he group specifically targets what it sees as continued Western influence in the region. According to Droukedel, “We seek to liberate the Islamic Maghreb from the sons of France and Spain and from all symbols of treason and employment for the outsiders, and protect it from the foreign greed and the crusader’s hegemony.”[/size]
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[size] Regarding attacks on American interests, Droukdel said that, “We will strive to strike them whenever we can.”[/size]
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Organizational Structure:

Like all al-Qaeda outfits, AQIM has a distinct hierarchy, with a regional leader, Abdelmalouk Droukdel, at its head. AQIM also has a central decision-making body, the Majlis al-Ayan (Council of Notables),
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[size] its own media wing, Al-Andalus Media Productions, and a Sharia Council that governs Islamic legal matters.[/size]
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A 2011 report by J. Peter Pham, Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, noted that the group has become “increasingly decentralized…to adapt itself to the changing conditions in its Algerian base where robust anti-terrorism measure and better counterinsurgency efforts have led to large numbers of the militants being killed or captured…”
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[size] According to Pham, “AQIM is thought to be organized into geographical zones [Central, Eastern, Western, Saharan], each of which has one or more operational battalions (katibats), which are further subdivided into several companies (fassilas). A fassila is made up of two ‘platoons’ (sarayas), each with twelve to eighteen members who may be further organized into smaller cells.”[/size]
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[size] For example, Pham noted that former senior leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar was “thought to be in direct command of one of the two main units (katibats) operational in AQIM’s southern flank.”[/size]
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Financing:

AQIM acquires a significant portion of its funding through kidnapping and extortion.
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[size] The State Department’s 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism notes that in addition to kidnapping for ransom, the group also engages in criminal activities to finance its operations. Specifically, AQIM reportedly raises funds though “protection rackets, robbery, people and arms trafficking, money laundering and smuggling and increasingly, the facilitation of drug trafficking from South America into Europe.”[/size]
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[size] Lastly, AQIM also successfully fundraises globally. This includes supporters residing in Western Europe, who provide limited financial and logistical support.”[/size]
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[size] AQIM is also allegedly supported by foreign governments. According to the Anti-Defamation League, “The Algerian government has accused Iran and Sudan of funding the group. Al Qaeda also provides material and financial support to AQIM. In addition, AQIM has many members abroad, the majority located in Western Europe, who provide financial and logistical support.”[/size]
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- See more at: http://www.counterextremism.com/threat/al-qaeda-islamic-maghreb-aqim#sthash.lnWCx89Z.dpuf

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