The Evolving Threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

By Andre Le Sage Strategic Forum 268

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The Evolving Threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
The Evolving Threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Strategic Forum 268
Photo By: Andre Le Sage
VIRIN: 180314-D-BD104-011

Key Points

  • Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) poses the greatest immediate threat of transnational terrorism in northwest Africa and is escalating its attacks against regional and Western interests. 
  • The U.S.-led Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership has focused on building local and regional capacities to combat AQIM, but these efforts have proved insufficient to prevent further attacks, let alone defeat the group. 
  • While Algerian counterinsurgency operations in the northeast of that country have degraded the group’s capabilities in the Maghreb, AQIM activity in the Sahel—including Mali, Mauritania, and Niger—has increased dramatically since 2007. 
  • Extremist AQIM leaders threatening attacks in Europe, emerging ties with militants in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, the potential for AQIM to benefit from unrest in North Africa, and AQIM’s growing connections to West Africa’s drug trade are all factors that may force a more robust U.S. response.

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