Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the Dilemmas of Jihadi Loyalty

Jean-Pierre Filiu


In a decade-long of activities, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has nurtured a unique mix of global and local jihadism. It has kept a distinctively Algerian leadership through all its various evolutions. But the Algerian field commanders in the Sahara region, far beyond the Algerian borders, have taken over the global dimension of jihadi projection from the AQIM leadership still holed up in Kabylia. The feud between the two main Sahara commanders aggravated the complexity of those shifting loyalties, first, inside AQIM, and second, with their regional partners and, third, in relation with Al-Qaida Senior Leadership. The short-lived “Islamic Emirate” of Northern Mali (2012-2013) and the recent coalition of a “Group for the support of Islam and Muslims” have shown AQIM enter alliances on its own initiative, while pledging unconditional allegiance to Zawahiri.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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