The GSPC: Newest Franchise in al-Qa'ida's Global Jihad
MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY COMBATING TERRORISM CENTER
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The GSPC, one of the most notorious terrorist groups in North Africa, has aligned with Al Qa ida and changed its name to The Organization of al Qa ida in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb. On April 10, 2007, the new organization claimed credit for two suicide car bomb attacks in Algiers that killed 23 people. Some observers have speculated that North Africa may be the next safe haven for al Qa ida, and that European countries may face a greater risk of attack if Algerian terrorist groups expand their base of support in Europe. The alignment of the GSPC with al Qa ida represents a significant change in the groups strategy, however, its decision to join al Qa idas global jihad should be understood as an act of desperation. The Groupe Salafist pour la Pr dication et le Combat GSPC was founded in 1998 as an offshoot of the Armed Islamic Group GIA. The GIA was one of the strongest and most violent groups fighting the Algerian government in a civil war that killed over a hundred thousand civilians. Operating as a guerilla army, the GIA was able to establish control over large areas of the Algerian countryside by using terrorism against civilian populations. GIA fighters executed and sometimes beheaded anyone suspected of collaborating with the police or gendarmerie. By the late 1990s, the group had lost momentum as government crackdowns reduced its numbers while the groups own hyper violent tactics alienated the Algerian population.
- Unconventional Warfare