The origins and strategic objectives of the Al Qaeda organization in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
Hafez, Mohammed M.
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In 2007, the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) emerged after the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) aligned itself with Al-Qaeda. This development captured the world's attention and led several scholars and policymakers to ask the question: Why did this merger take place and what does it say about the motivations of GSPC? This research investigates three hypotheses: (1) This merger is merely an ideological one without operational implications; (2) this merger is ideological, operational, and logistical; or (3) this merger is merely a rebranding of a failing organization that needed to survive and, therefore, is not a genuine threat to the United States and its European allies. Exploring the evolution of Algerian Islamism, from the rise of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) to the GSPC and AQIM, this study concludes that hypothesis 3 is the best explanation of the merger between GSPC and Al-Qaeda.
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