OSINT Guide – Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

Also Known As: AQIM; Group for Call and Combat; GSPC; Le Groupe Salafiste Pour la Predication et le Combat; Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.
Description:  The State Department designated GSPC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002.  GSPC officially became AQIM in September 2006. Abdelmalek Droukdel, aka Abu Mus’ab Abd al-Wadoud, is the leader of AQIM, who pushes a regional agenda.
Targets: AQIM has attacked UN facilities, Algerian, Tunisian Libyan, and Mali government institutions, as well as kidnapping foreigners.
Activities: AQIM has launched several high explosive attacks against the U.N. and Algerian government in Algiers. The terrorist group has primarily operated out of the Atlas Mountains region and the Sahel.  AQIM expanded operations in 2011 and 2012 in the wake of Arab Spring, culminating in the 2012 Benghazi attack.

Diplomacy: AQIM has a mutually beneficial relationship with AQ Central and regional Islamic-nationalist movements. AQIM receives ideological guidance from AQ, while the AQIM provides regional Islamic-nationalist movements with best practices.

Strength:  Estimated to be below 1,000 in Algeria with smaller cells in the Sahel

AO:  Atlas Mountains and the Sahel (Libya, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Morocco, and the Western Sahara)

Funding and External Aid:  AQIM uses TNOC, such as kidnapping and robbery, to fund its operations.

AQIM AO, courtesy of the NCTC

AQIM AO, courtesy of the NCTC

Local Media:

Malikounda. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Maliweb. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Global Media:

The Atlantic. The New Terrorist Training Ground.” October 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

BBC. Profile: Al-Qaeda in North Africa.” January 17, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

CNN. AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

CTC Sentinel. AQIM’s Threat to Western Interests in the Sahel.” April 28, 2014. Accessed December 23, 2014.

FA. AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Forbes. “The Secret Of Al Qaeda In Islamic Maghreb Inc.: A Resilient (And Highly Illegal) Business Model.” December 16, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

France 24. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

FP. AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Le Monde. AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

The New Yorker. State of Terror: What Happened When an Al Qaeda Affiliate Ruled in Mali.” July 1, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

NYT. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.” December 12, 2014. Accessed December 23, 2014.

NYT. AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Reuters. AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

RFI. AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Vice News. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

WaPo. AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Think Tanks / Academic:

AEI. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

CFR. “Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).” January 8, 2014. Accessed December 23, 2014.

CFR. “North Africa’s Rising Radicals.” April 16, 2007. Accessed December 23, 2014.

CRS. “Algeria: Current Issues.” November 18, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

CRS. “Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa.” October 10, 2014. Accessed December 23, 2014.

CRS. “Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy.” January 25, 2011. Accessed December 23, 2014.

CRS. “Terrorism and Transnational Crime: Foreign Policy Issues for Congress.” June 11, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

CRS. “Crisis in Mali.” January 14, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

CSIS. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Global Security. “Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).” Accessed December 23, 2014.

ISW. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

Jihadology. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

RAND. “North Africa’s Menace: AQIM’s Evolution and the U.S. Policy Response.” 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

Security Council Report. “Mali/Sahel.” December 2014. Accessed December 23, 2014.

Stanford University. “AQIM.” Mapping Militant Organizations. January 20, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

START GTD. “AQLIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

STRATFOR. “Dispatch: The French in Africa and AQIM.” July 28, 2010. Accessed December 23, 2014.

TRAC. “al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).” Accessed December 23, 2014.

The Washington Institute. “AQIM and Its Allies in Mali.” February 5, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2014.

Government:

DIA. “Annual Threat Assessment.” February 11, 2014.

DoD. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

DoS. “AQIM.” Accessed December 23, 2014.

NCTC. “Al-Qa‘ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).” Accessed December 23, 2014.

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