Friday, November 30, 2007

al-Qaeda in North Africa

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda announced a merger between itself and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG. Andrew Black examines this development, and concludes that nothing about this will enable the group to overcome its effective suppression by Libya's security forces. However, he also calls attention to the fact that the LIFG merged with al-Qaeda central rather than al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, the Algerian organization formerly known as the GSPC. It may be that al-Qaeda doesn't consider Libya part of the Maghreb, or that personal connections between LIFG and al-Qaeda leaders led to approaching the joining this way. However, Black's observation tying this to the previously reported divisions within AQIM over the al-Qaeda merger bears noting. Al-Qaeda's global jihadist philosophy really doesn't seem to be getting anywhere in North Africa, despite some serious efforts.

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