Friday, September 14, 2007

AQIM Divisions

The Jamestown Foundation reports on divisions in al-Qaeda in the Maghreb:
"During an August 14 news conference organized by Algerian authorities for a select group of Algerian reporters, Benmessaoud Abdelkader, a former Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) regional commander, confirmed that there was deep disagreement within the former GSPC over national commander Abdelmalek Droudkel's decisions first to merge with al-Qaeda in September 2006 and then later to rename the group the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in January 2007 (Liberté, August 21). The split appears to have diminished the terrorist group's logistical capacity and reduced its overall size, but has also made the al-Qaeda affiliate more desperate and determined to demonstrate its continued effectiveness and relevancy. The rift in Algeria has also likely split GSPC/AQIM's numerous cells in Europe. While this means that there are probably fewer European cells supporting AQIM than previously thought, these cells have likely mutated to embrace a wider range of targets than their GSPC precursors and in that sense represent a heightened risk for European security. Similarly, possibly orphaned GSPC cells could eventually merge with other Islamist terrorist cells, such as the group behind the plot to attack the Frankfurt International Airport and the nearby U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany that was thwarted on September 4."

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