North Africa is no stranger to terrorist or insurgent tactics. The region has seen its fair share of rebellion, occupation and guerilla warfare-in fact some of the world’s worst. However in today’s rapidly shrinking world small elements have the ability to maximize their influence through strategic actions. These actions are then amplified by the ability to project the terrorist message to their target audience utilizing global media as the conduit. Media is used to recruit, communicate and advertise the mission of AQIM.
The entrance of AQIM, al-Qaeda's “North African franchise”, formally declared by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda “Prime’s”[ii] second in command in 2006, has been sure to make its debut known through a successful campaign of operations ranging from skirmishes with security forces to kidnappings and of course Al Qaeda’s favorite: The Suicide Bomber. Since AQIM’s debut they have not slowed with activity of kinetic operations. “The Moroccan element of AQIM attempted to carry out attacks in March and April” of 2008. They have also been sure to keep their media presence up to par with their combat operations. AQIM was the most prolific and deadly group in 2007 outside of the active war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. With Al Qaeda in Iraq facing serious problems, AQIM is in many ways carrying the torch for the jihadist movement. In fact, the only group we saw with the expertise and ordnance to hit hard targets outside of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 was AQIM. [iii]
In 1992 the fighters who were off battling the Soviets in Afghanistan returned to Algeria “and organized in the Armed Islamic Group, claimed more than 150,000 lives” during their resistance struggle against the Algerian government at the time. “The group has its origins in the campaign of violence that almost tore the country apart in the early 1990s when the military pre-empted elections that an Islamist coalition was poised to win.” However the leader at the time “in 1998, Hassan Hattab and others broke away” due to the excessive force and violence.
In March 2003 the GSPC leader Amari Saifi kidnapped more than 30 European tourists, claiming the group an estimated $10 million in ransom payments. The following year, after a long, multinational hunt led by the U.S. military, he was captured in Chad and eventually turned over to the Algerians. To get help in freeing him, GSPC leader Abdelmalek Droukdal told The New York Times last month, in his first ever statement to the Western media, the group reached out in 2004 to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Al Qaeda took the international stage as the lead actor in terrorism on September 11th 2001, drawing out many supporters and global-regional-local terror actors who wanted to align themselves with such an international presence. This led the GSPC and Al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan to engage in communication via secret messages passed back and forth discussing the possibility of a merger between the two Islamic resistance groups. After Ayman al Zawahiri announced the merger in September of 2006 between the GSPC and Al Qaeda, “the GSPC formally changed its name to AQIM.”[iv]
AQIM is an Algeria-based Sunni Muslim jihadist group that originally formed in 1998 as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), a faction of the Armed Islamic Group, which was the largest and most active terrorist group in Algeria. The GSPC was renamed in January 2007 after the group officially joined Al Qaeda in September 2006. The GSPC had close to 30,000 members at its height but the Algerian Government’s counterterrorism efforts have reduced the group’s ranks to fewer than 1,000.
AQIM mainly employs conventional terrorist tactics, including guerrilla-style ambushes and mortar, rocket, and IED attacks. The group added the use of suicide bombings in April 2007, with attacks against government ministry and police buildings in Algiers that killed more than 30 people. AQIM leadership announced in May 2007 that suicide bombings will become the group’s main tactic. The group claimed responsibility for a suicide truck bomb attack that killed at least eight soldiers and injured more than 20 at a military barracks in Algeria on 11 July, the opening day of the All-Africa Games. AQIM operates primarily in northern coastal areas of Algeria and in parts of the desert regions of southern Algeria and northern Mali. Its principal sources of funding include extortion, kidnapping, donations, and narcotics trafficking.[v]
GSPC/AQIM has been able to pull off numerous successful attacks over the years since September 11th 2001 despite global counterterrorism efforts. Some major attacks have included the following:
- September 8, 2007: Car bombing near Algerian coast guard officers. 28 dead, 30 injured.
- September 6, 2007: Suicide bombing assassination attempt of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. 22 dead, 107 injured.
- April 11, 2007: Bombing of two buildings. 33 dead and over 200 injured.
- February 13, 2007: Simultaneous car bombings of seven targets. 6 dead, 13 injured.
- December 10, 2006: Bombing of a bus carrying employees of a company linked to the U.S. construction company Haliburton. 1 dead, 9 injured (including four Britons and an American).
- April 8, 2005: Ambushed five cars at a phony roadblock. 14 dead, 1 injured.
- February 12, 2004: Ambush of Algerian paramilitary officers. 7 killed, 3 injured.
- February 2003: 32 European tourists are kidnapped. 1 dead, 17 hostages rescued by Algerian troops on May 13, 2003, and 14 released in August 2003.
- November 23, 2002: Ambush of a group of Algerian soldiers. 9 dead, 12 wounded.
There have been a number of different leaders as the organization faces an internal conflict between members as to whether or not merging with an international terrorist organization wanted by nearly every national government in the world is really conducive to the original GSPC’s goals of a national Islamic state. Some of the members are or have included the following:
- Founder: Mokhtar Belmokhtar (in Algeria)
- Founder and former leader: Hassan Hattab (GSPC)
- Founder and former leader: Abdelmalek Droudkel, a.k.a. Abu Mussab Abdelouadoud (AQIM)
- Former Leader: Sofiane El-Fassila (in Algiers)
- Current Leader: In transition, but according to some observers Ahmed Haroun is the new leader [vi]
Initially AQIM was just an Algerian threat. However as they switched to an Al Qaeda affiliate and began being forced out of Algeria they crossed borders into neighboring countries. “AQIM is [now] active in Tunisia often using it as a command center for operations in other parts of North Africa such as Algeria and to a lesser extent Morocco and Mauritania”. In February 2008, the group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Austrian tourists who disappeared in southern Tunisia late that month. In the message released by AQIM claiming responsibility they “warned of further operations against Western tourists. The statement released by AQIM [also] linked the kidnapping to Israeli military operations in Gaza”.[vii]
To combat AQIM in Northern Africa the United States began implementing various joint operations and assistance to local authorities. In late 2002, the Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI), an effort to provide border security and other counterterrorism assistance to North African nations using U.S. Army Special Forces personnel was launched. Later the US decided to enhance efforts following the increased terrorist activity in North Africa. The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) which began in 2005 with support from the Department of Defense's Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara (OEF-TS) has assisted greatly in mitigating the kinetic operations of AQIM.
AQIM’s focus of operations is primarily in Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Senegal, and Nigeria. They have recently been attempting to spread their activity, and even have absorbed Libyan rebels into their affiliation. As a franchise of Al Qaeda they subscribe to the ideology of militant Islamic fundamentalism with the goal of “establishing a theocracy in Algeria, the Middle East, and ultimately worldwide. Also seeks to expel Westerners from historically Muslim lands.” Their kinetic methods include bombings, kidnappings, and paramilitary operations against military and civilian targets. Beyond the obvious financial, logistical and supervisory guidance from Al Qaeda, “the Algerian government has accused Iran and Sudan of funding the group. In addition, AQIM has many members abroad, the majority located in Western Europe, who provide financial and logistical support.”[viii]
There are an estimated 400 to 800 AQIM members in Algeria led by Abdel Malek Droudkel aka Abdelwadoud Droukdel, aka Abu Mussab, GSPC's leader (an ex-Afghan, specialized in explosives). Abu Mussab has been rather active in media operation of AQIM. The following is a direct report form the Middle East Times about him:
“Responding to the public outcry and the dissidence among his own troops, Droukdel has been active on the media front: communiqués, video clips and audio recordings. First, in a 23-page statement released at the beginning of June 2007, signed by one of GSPC's ulema (religious authority), Abu Al Hassan Rachid, stated that the 4/11 suicide bombings are "licit and based on examples taking place at the time of Ibn Taymiya. Using suicide bombers is indeed justified, as also the fact of picking sites full of civilians in order to strike the apostates." He added that "civilians who die in terror attacks against apostates will go to heaven" and that to avoid being killed, civilians are advised to avoid going to sites near public buildings. In another communiqué, signed by Droukdel, he gave a contradictory explanation. He said that using suicide bombings was in fact due to a lack of human and material resources: Indeed, suicide attacks require less human resources and little logistics than the ambushes against security services.”[ix]
A risk management company named Startegic Forcasting Inc. in August 2008 published a paper about AQIM and reviewed their media tactics. Their writings have elucidated how active AQIM has been in the global stage of terrorist media tactics. StratFor wrote:
“Abu Musab Abd al-Wadoud, head of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), issued a call to arms Aug. 12 in response to the coup in Mauritania on Aug. 6. Although AQIM has shown a presence in Mauritania, and recent attacks there have killed police officers and foreign tourists, AQIM has thus far not shown an ability to seriously threaten Mauritania. Al-Wadoud is using the coup in Mauritania as an opportunity to recruit members and build AQIM’s support base, but the group will continue focusing its energy in Algeria. […] he urged Mauritanians to “wake up and prepare for the war; the cross is ymarching toward you.”[x]
Media operations though becoming more and more cost efficient still require a relative higher income to fund the generally expensive devices to produce such media. “AQIM has a tradition of self-financing its operations mostly through kidnappings, racketeering and smuggling of all kinds.”[xi] With such a decent income AQIM have been able to acquire more advanced equipment and technologies and have “increased use of high-tech equipment”.[xii] Increased income and low cost technologies have made it possible and feasible for AQIM to produce a greater quality and quantity of media products to disseminate into the global media matrix.
Media Operations require a lot of symbology to be used in order to tap into the subconscious and conscious realms of their audience. To begin with AQIM’s logo is a globe set against a black background with an AK-47 Kalashnikov rifle and a black flag arising from the globe. Gray lettering below the globe reads, “In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.” The yellow lettering at the bottom states the name of the group, “Al Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb.” The Anti-Defamation League has explained the logo as follows: “A black background (in flags and symbols) often represents death, militancy and the goal of restoring the Islamic caliphate – a united Muslim empire. The globe evokes the organization’s worldwide ambitions. The flag and rifle symbolize militancy. The declaration of faith, which is the first verse of every chapter in the Quran (but one) and is recited several times in daily prayer, denotes the centrality of Islam for the group.” [xiii]
In early March 2008 the Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat published a letter from AQIM entitled, "Call for help from the Islamic Maghreb." Within the letter “AQIM acknowledged that it is suffering from a lack of operatives and most importantly that its elements have "an urgent need of cash." Iraq’s franchise of AL Qaeda has set the standard modus operandi for seemingly all Al Qaeda regional franchises. AQIM has employed suicide bombings (which were not previously present, especially during the GSPC’s reign of rebellion). AQIM moved onto recruiting teenagers to do their works (particularly the suicide bombing part) and have since begun abducting foreign nationals. “The example of the Austrian hostages might just be the start of a kidnapping wave.”[xiv] So in traditional Islamic extremist nature AQIM publicizes its operations in hopes for continued support from the Islamic community via fiscal, moral, logistical and recruitment support, or otherwise.
“AQIM wants to turn the Maghreb into a new Iraq and that is why it is using suicide terror attacks rather than a classical guerilla war that it is indeed losing (suicide bombings happen also to be less costly to the organization than a guerilla war).” AQIM understands from previous experience in Algeria and of course Iraq that an insurgency often does not work in the sense of low level conflict, however brutal strategic and precise terrorism often does. If it does not, they know at least they will live on in the media and perhaps others will take up the cause down the road. [xv]
With effect of media operations it is important to note the symbolical aspects of these most recent attacks. “First, Dec. 11, 1960 is a crucial date in Algeria's history of independence from France. The constitutional court happens to be located on the December 11 Boulevard.” Also more importantly so the “11th factor” is a known Al Qaeda favorite, a “hallmark” if you will. “Not only for 9/11 in the United States, but also for 3/11 in Madrid and AQIM's suicide attacks on 3/11 in Casablanca, 4/11 in Algiers, 7/11 in Lakhdaria in Algeria and now 12/11.” AQIM has managed to add to the “11”. AQIM has succeeded in creating an "11" fixation; “some in Algeria even describe the 11th as "the date of the devil."”[xvi]
One former Pentagon intelligence officer stated “AQIM mass media campaign has been largely successful since 2003 in recruiting lower income individuals and convincing them to go to Iraq to be fighters for the Jihad. Generally the media campaigns do not mention martyrdom specifically and very few agree initially to be suicide bombers. Upon arrival to Iraq many are then coerced into suicide missions from there, when they do not have the option of going home without an AQ network willing to facilitate their travel out of Iraq without having of first made some contribution.”[xvii]
With one primary target of AQIM’s media campaign being the youth of North Africa for the purposes of recruitment, and such a vast amount of foreign fighters going to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight in the conflicts it is apparent to see the success of their media strategy targeting the right potential future recruits. AQIM “has been on a very active recruiting campaign. It is using the al-Qaida brand to attract the youth who think they are going to fight in Iraq but are then used for domestic operations, including suicide bombings.”[xviii]
The Nine Eleven Finding Answers (NEFA) Organization has acquired a number of training camp videos from AQIM. These videos can be analyzed indepth about their purpose and value to AQIM. The general theme is recurrent propaganda messages such as training scenes with a still photo of Osama Bin Laden in the back ground and the video is over laid with audio of his professing. Also, Zawahiri is apparently show via a still image with words in Arabic flashed across the screen and audio in the background playing of speeches or Arabic music.
In the training video there are many training tactics being shown. Tactics included in training are similar to tactics that the US military use, specifically in the Special Operations community and other specialized operations such as urban combat and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance). Also included are small unit tactics such as combat rolls, running, ducking, reaction drills, bounding techniques, react to contact, land navigation, ambush and raid operations, patrolling tactics, attack and withdrawal procedures, CQB (Close Quarters Combat) skills and hand to Hand combat training,
There are a lot of physical agility testing, such as climbing, crossing “monkey bar” sets, running in place, marching, jogging, and other highly physical related movements. The idea here is to show how strong the terrorists are. This is meant to strike fear into their opponents and to create a tough look that younger potential recruits would want to be part of in order to make them feel like grown men. The same tactics are used in US Military recruiting videos.
Other training tactics are taught such as disarming opponents, capture and search of EPWs (Enemy Prisoners of War or detainees), weapons maintenance, weapons loading and arming, general weapons training of specific weapons such as automatic weapons, hand guns, and rifles. Again, it is apparent that the target audience for these videos are potential future recruits; the videos being used to motivate the recruits and brag about the quality of training. The second target audience of the footage are the Western powers and their allies. The logic is to show how AQIM is a potent and professional force to be feared.
One video released by AQIM shows the suicide bomber before he dies talking to the cameraman explaining how he is going to martyr himself. It seems obvious that the boy who is a young 15 years of age is being manipulated by elder terrorists. The technology used for the video is diverse, with the bulk of the actual video footage coming from a digital video camera yet the final moments of the boys life coming from a cellular phone’s video recording function.
The imagery used and concept behind the filmography is apparent by the multiple replays of the explosion made by the truck bomb that the 15 year old detonated while killing himself. The replaying of key images are done to burn into the memory of the audience so they do not forget the power that AQIM intends to project they have. Also for those who support the mission of AQIM the replaying of the imagery serves as a way of arousing and evoking the emotions of potential and current AQIM terrorists. They producers are also sure to tap into religio-cultural consciousness of the audience by playing Arabic music in the background of the video.
There are multiple angles of filming which come from multiple distances. This serves as a full-spectrum representation of the event. The replaying of differing angles and differing distances in turn creates the event into nearly a pseudo event by taking one instance and manipulating it into a multi media-multi perceived media event.
AQIM is not shy about recording their activities on video for the sake of publication. In a CBS News Investigates report AQIM was reported as filming a false road block they had set up in Algeria in order to purge opposition that came through. On November 14th a 13 minute and twenty two second long video showing the false road block recently set up in the Tizi Ouzou province, in northern Algeria.
CBS News wrote the following about the most recent false road block video release:
“The video opened with shots showing the operatives getting ready for the operation; shaving their beards and preparing their military uniforms. Once ready, the men set up a roadblock on a forested road leading to Tizi Ouzou. They began stopping cars, checking drivers' licenses and IDs in search of any police or army personnel. After a few hours, they finally found their prey; an Algerian police officer dressed in civilian clothes who was travelling in one of the vehicles. They then lead the man to the side of the road, and make him lie on the ground with his hands behind his back. He desperately tries to tell them that he is “one of them,” but soon realized that they were not exactly who he thought they were. He therefore tried to run off into the bushes, but they immediately shot him down, before the eyes of dozens of passengers sitting in their cars along the road. Very calmly, the men unveiled their true identity to the shocked crowd, distributing statements and propaganda CDs.”[xix]
AQIM has taken some hits from the counter terror efforts in the region. Since April nine top AQIM leaders (mostly elements close to Droudkel) were either killed or arrested, including his second in command, the treasurer and the main communications operative. With the Communications specialist out of the picture it is sure that there will be a dip in the media operations of AQIM but technology is the static, not the operator. It doesn’t take much for someone to purchase a camera cell phone and record attacks or militant sermons.
Another method of indoctrination which can be viewed as media at times is the educational system that AQIM has been influencing if not running completely in certain areas of North Africa. “Al Qaeda figured out long ago that the way to change a nation/people is through their education, what better way to influence people than through their educational system.” Madrassas are appearing all over Northern Africa, one US Military Intelligence officer stated they are “springing up left and right […] many in areas that were once peaceful.” Madrassas themselves are not a threat, however these ones’ key foci seem to be militant Islam and disdain for the West, particularly America and its former European colonial powers. This is done in the vacuum of official government schooling programs and infrastructure. The Intelligence officer felt that Al Qaeda” has seen how easy it is to open a school and tell all the surrounding community that they can send their children to school for a better future. A future of what is the problem.”[xx]
The prospect of AQIM is grim in the near term yet relatively positive in the far term. The situation will get worse before it gets better and at the cost of many lives and vast amounts of financial resources. With Al Qaeda going global at a rapid rate we are seeing a joint mission amongst Islamic extremist groups all signing up to get on board. “Evidence suggests that AQIM is now in active communication with al-Qaida's network in other parts of the world. Citing intercepts by U.S. and European intelligence agencies, "they appear to be in contact with al-Qaida in Somalia and Chechnya," said Peter von Sivers, an expert on post-colonial Algeria and professor of North African history at the University of Utah.”[xxi]
As AQIM reaches out to touch base with other Al Qaeda elements around the globe we will begin to see how media tactics become a standard norm. Iraq being the primary model to copy (we saw this in Afghanistan). Terrorist groups are evolutionary and mimicking. They adapt to counter terror measures well, and can go from high tech to low tech in the blink of an eye. As technology gets pushed downwards to more cost efficient and more portable and compatible devices we are sure to see media operations increase drastically. As of now AQIM itself, doesn’t seem to have a huge internet presence aside from videos released to the web usually via third party candidates.
With America’s newest counter terror effort in Africa, the recently stood up US Army’s Africa Command, or AFRICOM, will be facing AQIM on an unprecedented level, “the war against AQIM is being led from the new headquarters of the U.S. Army's Africa Command.”[xxii] This command will be taking a front seat in the fight against AQIM especially as the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation become tamer and the African theater become more engaged and in flux. “The increasing presence of al-Qaida is making it all the more important for the United States to be present in one fashion or another in the region.”[xxiii]
Multilateral counter terror efforts in Africa will become more visible and active as they have already become, seen especially with the piracy off the Somali coast. As more nations become threatened by Africa’s instability they will realize that Africa needs to be engaged. With the engagement of Africa AQIM is surely to see a struggle ahead of itself requiring a much broader media campaign for recruitment and fundraising. As this theater of terror becomes more globalized we will see more influence on terrorist groups by other groups.
In late November 2008 in Mumbai, India “in simultaneous attacks, Islamist terrorists killed at least 195 people and injured another 300 during a 60-hour killing spree. The tactics used by the terrorists were different from the classical jihadist playbook. Does it mean that Mumbai-style attacks are the new jihadist modus operandi?”[xxiv] There is becoming an increasing worry by governments around the globe that the recent attacks in Mumbai will set the standard for future terrorist operations. The Mumbai attacks set a precedence, placing the entire nation of India under house arrest held hostage. Much of the world felt as if they had been taken hostage too. This new style of elongated terror campaign is being seen much more (read: Chechnya Theater operation). AQIM is a new upshot of a group (albeit evolved form an older experienced and seasoned cadre) and they have a quick learning curve for adopting new tactics. It is just a matter of time before AQIM sees how successful the Mumbai attacks were and they emulate them.
One Intelligence Operator in the US Department of Defense stated “I am confident we will see a Mumbai style attack in the Maghreb within twelve months. It will have to be one of international interest with foreign nationals, and in North Africa but not in Algeria because the security is too tight. I am thinking Casablanca.” He stated “the Mumbai attacks were less a kinetic operation and more of a media operation” as the purpose of them were to hold a nation and the world hostage while instilling fear into them and bringing global interest in the Islamic issues in the India-Pakistani theater.[xxv]
This new modus operandi is reminiscent of the Chechnya attack and subsequent hostage taking of theater. Old school simple attacks are just not salacious enough to elicit maximum coverage from news agencies around the world. “One of the main reasons for the terrorists switching tactics was to grab the world's attention. The new modus operandi was to attack soft targets, including major landmarks and also kill foreign nationals. While some al-Qaida affiliates - in particular al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb - have recently switched to focusing on soft targets because the hard targets are becoming so well protected, the tactics used in Mumbai are new.”[xxvi] “What is most worrisome about this new modus operandi is that 10 terrorists were able to inflict so much damage, kill so many people and hold hostage an 18-million-people megalopolis for 60 hours. Imagine how much more horrible it could have been if they were 50, 100 or 500. The fact that the operation was so successful from the terrorists' point of view could give ideas to others to do the same in Europe, Africa or even the United States.”[xxvii]
With the globalization of terrorism and AQIM attempting successfully to mimic the Iraq contingent of Al Qaeda, there is bound to be grave similarities to the Al Qaeda elements in Iraq which is a deadly prediction. AQIM has been gaining valuable experience in Iraq as visiting foreign fighters learning AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). “Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism consultant, estimates that North Africans represent between 9 percent and 25 percent of foreign fighters in Iraq”.[xxviii] The future will see more Iraqi style tactics as we have already seen with IEDs. These TTPs include media operations. ISI (Islamic State of Iraq) an umbrella organization of Islamic insurgent and terrorist groups operating in Iraq which included AQI has been renown with their uncanny ability to produce highly influential media products. [xxix] AQIM is adopting similar media TTPs in order to recruit, inform and advertise their mission and goals.
The successes of AQIM is notable in the context of global terrorist threats when we observe the fact that they have been the most active with successful attacks of all Al Qaeda in the world outside of Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operations. “The Egyptian node has not carried out a successful attack since announcing its allegiance to al Qaeda in August 2006. Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda’s Indonesian franchise, has not conducted a successful attack since the October 2005 Bali bombing, and the Sinai node, Tawhid wa al-Jihad, did not conduct any attacks in 2007. Its last attack was in April 2006.” [xxx] With kinetic operations come media operations and as successful kinetic operations increase so do successful media operations. We will surely see an increase in AQIM media operations.
[i] The Al-Qaida We Don't Know: AQIM, the North African Franchise Joseph Kirschke 26 Oct 2008 World Politics Review
[ii] Strategic Forecasting, Inc. www.Stratfor.Com
[iii] Strategic Forecasting, Inc. www.Stratfor.Com
[iv] Analysis: Algeria bombs show al-Q strength. By Shaun Waterman (UPI Homeland and National Security Editor. Published: August 22, 2008
[v] National Counter Terror Center http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/aqim.html
[vi] Anti-Defamation League http://www.adl.org/terrorism/symbols/al_qaeda_maghreb.asp
[vii] Former Pentagon North African Intelligence Officer. Interview on conditions of anonymity. 28 April 2008.
[viii] Anti-Defamation League http://www.adl.org/terrorism/symbols/al_qaeda_maghreb.asp
[ix] Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb's dilemma By Olivier Guitta Middle East Times Published: January 28, 2008
[x] Strategic Forecasting Inc. www.stratfor.Com Mauritania: The Unlikelihood of al Qaeda's Threat August 13, 2008)
[xi] “AQIM's new kidnapping strategy” By Olivier Guitta. Middle East Times Published: March 24, 2008
[xii] “GSPC Dossier” Center For Policing Terrorism June 1, 2005
[xiii] Anti-Defamation League http://www.adl.org/terrorism/symbols/al_qaeda_maghreb.asp
[xiv] AQIM's new kidnapping strategy By Olivier Guitta (Middle East Times) Published: March 24, 2008
[xv] Anthony N. Celso. “Al Qaeda in the Maghreb: The ‘Newest’ Front in the War on Terror.” Mediterranean Quarterly, winter 2008; 19: 80 - 96.
[xvi] The Maghreb: Al-Qaida's new major front? By Olivier Guitta (Middle East Times) Published: December 24, 2007
[xvii]Department of Defense Official, Former North African Counter Terrorism Specialist. Interview December 2008. Under Conditions of Anonymity.
[xviii] The Maghreb: Al-Qaida's new major front? By Olivier Guitta (Middle East Times) Published: December 24, 2007
[xix] New Video Shows AQIM Attack Using False Roadblock. November 14, 2008, 1:16 PM CBS News Investigates.
[xx] Interview, Military Intelligence Officer. Under Conditions of anonymity. December 3, 2008.
[xxi] “The Al-Qaida We Don't Know: AQIM, the North African Franchise” Joseph Kirschke | 26 Oct 2008 World Politics Review http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/article.aspx?id=2819
[xxii] “Al-Qaeda Sahara Network Spurs U.S. to Train Chad, Mali Forces” By Daniel Williams April 23. Bloomberg.
[xxiii] Africa: The Next Stage of the War. By OLIVIER GUITTA (Middle East Times) Published: June 02, 2008.
[xxiv] Mumbai: Islamist Terror's New Modus Operandi By OLIVIER GUITTA (Middle East Times) Published: December 01, 2008
[xxv] Interview. US Intelligence Operator, Department of Defense. December 5, 2008. Under Conditions of Anonymity.
[xxvi] “Mumbai: Islamist Terror's New Modus Operandi.” Olivier Guitta. Middle East Times. Published: December 01, 2008.
[xxvii] Mumbai: Islamist Terror's New Modus Operandi By Olivier Guitta Middle East Times Published: December 01, 2008
[xxviii] Council on Foreign Relations. http://www.cfr.org/publication/12717/alqaeda_in_the_islamic_maghreb_aqim_or_lorganisation_alqada_au_maghreb_islamique_formerly_salafist_group_for_preaching_and_combat_or_groupe_salafiste_pour_la_prdication_et_le_combat.html?breadcrumb=%2Fissue%2F456%2Fterrorist_organizations
[xxix] "Islamic State of Iraq." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 15 Oct 2008, 12:49 UTC. 8 Dec 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Islamic_State_of_Iraq&oldid=245432666>.
[xxx] Al Qaeda in 2008: The Struggle for Relevance December 19, 2007. www.StratFor.Com. Strategic Forecasting Inc.