Will AQIM Aim North or South?
It appears that this year’s Ramadan was one of the least violent in the nearly two decades of jihadi activism in Algeria. While this period is hailed by militants and their leaders as the most propitious one for jihadi attacks, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was not able to wage a major operation. The threat is still vibrant in the organization’s mountainous strongholds east of Algiers, but AQIM’s ability to strike the capital has been significantly reduced. (By contrast, the relative calm of Ramadan in 2007 was followed by the combined suicide attack against the UN headquarters and the Constitutional Court in Algiers, on December 11). This evolution fits the general trend, documented by Hanna Rogan (see also Thomas’s post on April 3), about the decreasing violent record of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), the Algerian jihadi organization that turned into AQIM in January 2007. Going