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Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb. A History of Algeria 1952 - 2009

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The devastating terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 will forever resonate in the minds of Americans. The images of billowing smoke emanating from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon caused many to ask who could do this to us To answer that question we must examine the past and look at the policies enacted by our government that caused a cyclic reaction within our enemy. The same is true for other governments that seek to expand their sphere of influence without examining those critical antecedents that affect the indigenous population. These disenfranchised subjects, when facing a foreign invader or apostate government, will often draw on a shared identity, be it cultural, ethnic, religious, or political, to sound the battle cry of resistance. This paper is organized into four chapters that focus on the terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb AQIM. The four chapters examine different facets of the collective environment that have allowed AQIM to succeed and even thrive at times. The first chapter begins with Algeria s war of independence with the French. It focuses on how the Algerians were able to successfully isolate the French from the population through the use of terrorism. It also lays the foundation for the concept of terrorism within Algeria to further a political agenda. The second chapter focuses on the nomadic Tuareg people. It seeks to show how the Tuaregs were deprived by French occupiers and how European colonization cost the Tuaregs access to vital trade routes used for centuries. The intent of this chapter is to briefly explain reasons for the lack of trust between the Tuaregs and foreign forces. It also seeks to show the exceptional ability to navigate the Sahara and how smuggling has become the basis of income for many Tuaregs. The third chapter will very briefly examine Algerias civil war and the emergence of modern terrorist groups.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Unconventional Warfare

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