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

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Zawahiri, France and Napoleon

Allow me to briefly go back to the last Zawahiri interview, put on-line through Sahab media on 5 August 2009. To my knowledge, this is the first time Bin Laden’s deputy has expressed such articulate hatred for France: “France claims secularism, while her heart pours grudge towards Islam. Napoleon Bonaparte announced his famous statement to the Jews in 1799 in Akka, in which he promised to support the Jews in stealing Palestine. France is the one whose soldiers went with their horses into al-Azhar University and stood on its Qur’anic Books, and they took it as a stable to their horses. France is the one who fought Islam and Arabs in Algeria, and France is the one who supplied Israel with a nuclear reactor, and France fights Muslims in Afghanistan, and France fights hijab, and France will pay for all her crimes”. Zawahiri has long be known for his French-bashing.

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The Posts That Never Were

Apologies for the slow publication pace here at Jihadica, but deadlines and an upcoming house move mean I can only dream about serious blogging these days. This does not mean forums are quiet. Every morning this past week I found things on the forums that deserved commentary. In a dream world, here’s what I would have written about had I had the time: –    France is taking heat. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb published a statement declaring “France the mother of all evils”, and other posts fumed over the recent French plans to ban the niqab or the burka. I suspect the Americans and the Brits (who of course have long argued that France is the mother of all evils)  are happy to share the burden of jihadi attention. Unfortunately for the Anglo-Saxons, however, I don’t think the veil weighs nearly as heavy in the jihadi basket of grievances as

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