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Thursday, September 13, 2007

AQIM May no longer be United in Suporting Al Qaeda Objectives

According to a recent analysis by Geoff D. Porter of Jamestown.org AQIM is having difficulties setting Global Objetives when many joined for local reasons.

-Shimron


The current split is due to two related disagreements:
  • should the group try to redefine its struggle as part of a global jihad,
  • or should it remain focused on overthrowing the secular government of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika?

Second, is it legitimate to attack civilians, or is the government the only permissible target?

Droudkel's AQIM wants to expand throughout North Africa and join forces in neighboring countries along the Mediterranean coast and in the Sahel. In his worldview, anyone who is not AQIM is against it and therefore a legitimate target. The September 6 attack on a crowd awaiting the arrival of President Bouteflika that resulted in at least 15 civilian deaths is a case in point (Le Quotidien d'Oran, September 6).

The GSPC's grievance was with the government that scuttled an Islamist electoral victory in 1991. It drew a clear distinction between the government and the populace at large. The GSPC's evolution has significant ramifications for Droudkel and the AQIM's continued viability.

Benmessaoud was the commander of the GSPC/AQIM's Zone IX, a long corridor down the middle of the country stretching from the high plateaus in the north to a large swath of Sahara Desert along Algeria's borders with Mali and Niger.

Benmessaoud took over the position after its previous incumbent, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, entered into negotiations with the Algerian government (through interlocutors in Tamanrasset) to surrender and decamp to Mali where his wife and children live (El Watan, June 16).

Zone IX has historically been critical for the viability of GSPC/AQIM activities in the north of the country.

  • Through contraband smuggling, drug-running and weapons sales, Belmokhtar and Benmessaoud funneled funds and guns to the group's northern zones.
  • With Belmokhtar's resignation and Benmessaoud's surrender, however, Droudkel is deprived of this key source of money and arms.

Benmessaoud also said that Droudkel responded repressively to a spate of defections following the alliance with al-Qaeda. According to Benmessaoud, Droudkel's trouble retaining recruits prompted him to forbid new AQIM members from straying out of sight of trusted veteran fighters.

Three car bombs used in the April 11 attacks in Algiers were wired with remote detonation devices in addition to the detonation devices triggered by the drivers because Droudkel feared that the bombers would abort their missions.

--end of excerpt---

There is much more quality analysis from Geoff D. Porter of Jamestown.org

The bottom line, is that AQIM, the once shining example of how al Qaeda franchises its operations, is failing along the fault line of national verses interational interests.

Radicalized Muslims seem to be saying:

  • I am willing to be a martyr for my own islamic state
  • Al Qaeda leaders are showing themselves to be bad Muslims
  • I dont trust al Qaeda to make my martyrdom worthy of heaven

-Shimron

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