Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2010

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Jean-Pierre Filiu

November 2009

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)—an Algerian jihadi group that pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden in 2006—garnered worldwide media exposure after simultaneous attacks in December 2007 on the United Nations building and the Constitutional Court in Algiers. AQIM, however, has not been able to sustain this level of violence and failed to transform itself into a North Africa-wide organization. AQIM’s global aims have been thwarted by the Algerian government’s more effective military strategy and the collapse of al-Qaeda in Iraq—the conflict in Iraq helped attract followers. Violent incidents fell from 200 in 2007 to below 150 in 2008. Still, the danger of terrorism in the region is real and considerable attention should be devoted to North Africa and the Sahel.