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AQIM/GSPC attack patterns

April 15, 2009

We have not been feeding the terror nerds properly of late. They are stirring in their chains.

Via Jihadica, I found this impressively detailed study of attack patterns in Algeria, published by Hanna Rogan in the CTC Sentinel (PDF) in late 2008. It analyzes trends in attacks carried out by the GSPC (now al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb) from 2001 into 2008, and should be enough to chew on for a while.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. alle permalink*
    April 18, 2009 17:20

    So, definitively states are behind this AQMi, but who? Algeria? , Mauritania?, Mali?, Morocco?, Libya, the Chinese? the Russians? the US?, France?, Israel?

    Uhm. I just do not see how you arrive at that conclusion from the fact that the Liberté wrote an angry article about Qadhafi paying ransom to Islamists.

    But okay, if I have to pick a country, I think it’s the Chinese. There’s one billion of them, so the odds are in my favor.

  2. Tidinit permalink
    April 19, 2009 02:00


    You picked the chinese. Let me pick the russians. Of course these dudes have nothing to do with this. Let’s make another round and try to pick the right culprits. Let me pick Algeria, the US, France and Mali. Can’t pick Libya as it is obvious they are all over the place and you cannot make a mistake in picking Gadhafi anyway. I am leaving you with Mauritania, Niger and Israel (their Embassy in Mauritania taken over by Ghadafi Foundation against recognition of the junta and their hospital taken by Ahmedinejad against a promise of 1 billion US$ of which 10 million US$ already pocketed according to Taqadoumy – it hurts as these moors next doors in Mauritania are not reliable and “cocufient” everybody who do business with them, even the Americans who helped them to get ride of Ould Taya ).

    Shimron: Welcome. This is a free space to share your views. No one who is doing wrong is spared be it Israel … or Mauritania. I am Mauritanian and I assume you are Israeli.

  3. Tidinit permalink
    April 20, 2009 14:43

    This is even worse. This is from Le Quotidien (Sénégal) and this is the first time the Senegalese press goes that down.

    Note this: “D’après les informations reçues, des personnalités haut placées dans ces deux pays seraient des soutiens des mouvements salafistes locaux. Et cela, semble-t-il, conforterait les suspicions de complicité entre les salafistes de ces pays cités et le Sénégal”.


    En perspective d’un congrès salafiste à Dakar : Le Sénégal espionne les étudiant mauritaniens


    Le congrès du mouvement salafiste qui doit se tenir prochainement au Sénégal ameute tous les services de renseignements, aussi bien occidentaux que sénégalais. Ils sont sur le qui-vive depuis quelque temps pour empêcher la tenue de cette manifestation supposée terroriste.

    Ainsi, des fouilles sont menées par les services de renseignements sénégalais jusque dans les pays limitrophes du Sénégal comme la Gambie et la Mauritanie. Les salafistes, jusque-là inconnus des Sénégalais, pourraient faire parler d’eux prochainement. En effet, leur mouvement doit tenir un congrès, incessamment, au Sénégal. Une manifestation qui met depuis quelques temps les services de renseignements occidentaux sur le qui-vive. C’est donc, le branle-bas de combat du côté des services de renseignements.

    La menace est si grande et si imminente que toutes les pistes sont privilégiées. Ainsi, certains responsables musulmans font l’objet, depuis un certain moment, d’une étroite surveillance pour leur appartenance supposée à ce mouvement islamiste, mais aussi, pour leur supposé lien avec un milieu proche des salafistes. Les autorités sénégalaises qui se sont saisies du dossier prennent très au sérieux les menaces. Elles ne veulent pas entendre parler de terrorisme au Sénégal, un pays qui jusque-là, est épargné par de telles pratiques et activités. Ceci dit, les services de renseignements sénégalais ont été instruits pour diligenter des investigations concernant les musulmans salafistes sénégalais.

    Une façon de retrouver des suspects. C’est ainsi que certains Imams font l’objet d’une surveillance étroite, tant du point de vue de leurs liaisons téléphoniques ou par Internet et leurs déplacements. Certaines figures religieuses musulmanes font aussi l’objet d’une attention particulière notamment à Dakar et dans sa banlieue. Les responsables de certaines Mosquées comme celles de l’université Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar et de Pikine sont aussi ciblés. D’ailleurs, à l’université, de nombreux étudiants africains étrangers notamment des Mauritaniens, des Algériens et des Marocains sont aussi surveillés comme du lait sur le feu. L’étroite surveillance de ces derniers se justifie par le fait que le terrorisme salafiste avait eu à frapper dans les pays dont ces étudiants sont ressortissants.

    Pour empêcher leur cible d’agir, les services de renseignements sénégalais s’intéressent beaucoup plus aux activités des mouvements salafistes des pays environnants, notamment en Mauritanie et en Gambie. D’après les informations reçues, des personnalités haut placées dans ces deux pays seraient des soutiens des mouvements salafistes locaux. Et cela, semble-t-il, conforterait les suspicions de complicité entre les salafistes de ces pays cités et le Sénégal. Les autorités craindraient, aujourd’hui, que les salafistes s’attaquent aux intérêts des occidentaux ou bien les prennent comme cibles.

    Il faut aussi rappeler les attentats revendiqués par des mouvements salafistes mauritaniens contre des touristes français et israéliens, mais aussi contre l’ambassade de France à Nouakchott. En effet, après avoir assassinés quatre touristes français en 2007, les islamistes mauritaniens étaient passés par le Sénégal pour ensuite prendre la fuite.

    Mamadou Diallo

    © Le Quotidien (Sénégal) – Avril 2009

  4. tidinit permalink
    April 20, 2009 22:26

    There is another one from the jamestown foundation, almost like the Ennahar aticle. I don’t know the Jamestown Foundation and don’t know how serious it is. I got the shock of my life in reading this article. Enjoy the reading and this seems to me the mother of all conspiracy theories ….


    Jihadis Question al-Qaeda’s Relationship with Israel
    Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 5March 13, 2009 11:02 AM Age: 38 daysCategory: Global Terrorism Analysis, Terrorism Monitor, Brief, Home Page By: Abdul Hameed Bakier

    Since Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh announced the arrest of an al-Qaeda cell connected with Israel on October 6, 2008, many Islamist forum members have continued to speculate on al-Qaeda’s possible links to Israel (Al-Arabiya, October 6, 2008; AFP, October 7, 2008). Moderate Islamists questioned al-Qaeda’s ability to perpetrate massive attacks such as 9/11 without the help of a powerful country such as Israel or the United States. Others believe al-Qaeda is being manipulated by these countries, which also explains why al-Qaeda is incapable of attacking Israel (, January 10). Pro-al-Qaeda jihadi internet forums responded to these speculations by posting instances of al-Qaeda generated attacks on Israeli targets (, February 14).

    Those speculating on al-Qaeda’s possible links to Israel question the chances of a group of Islamists being able to penetrate US defenses, especially those of the U.S. Department of Defense (as in the Pentagon attack), unless they have inside collaborators. A forum member, nicknamed Sarhan, points to the Islamic terrorist cell arrested in Yemen in 2008 as proof of al-Qaeda’s ties to Israel. Sarhan alleges that Israel, in an attempt to divert attention from its secret links with al-Qaeda on the eve of the arrest of the Yemeni terror cell, sowed confusion in Yemen’s international waters by encouraging simple Somalis to disrupt international maritime traffic in the narrow strait between Somalia and Yemen. As evidence, Sarhan cites the use of high tech weapons and equipment that Somalis do not usually possess nor could operate unless trained by a highly capable country. The other diversion Israel tried to create, Sarhan alleges, involved accusing Yemen of supplying Hamas with Chinese-made rockets. Another forum member agreed with Sarhan’s hypothesis: “You said the right thing. Al-Qaeda is simply a Zionist organization set up to dismantle Islam and invade the Arab world. All the sectarian violence we are witnessing today is the work of the Jewish lobby” (, January 10).

    Some forum members even suggested that Israel paved the way for the 9/11 terrorist attacks through the Zionists in U.S. security and military echelons ( January 8). In the same way, a member of the Lebanese national resistance front forum noted that since the announcement of al-Qaeda’s existence in 1998, the organization has waged jihad against everybody but the Zionists. According to the post, Arab nationals should know by now that al-Qaeda is a terror organization and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri offered nothing for Palestine except “political pornography” on TV screens. The forum member recalls that, when asked why al-Qaeda has not attacked Israel, al-Zawahiri’s explanation that al-Qaeda was busy fighting in Iraq was yet another example of diverting attention from Israel. The forum member rejects the “too busy” defense, pointing out that for 16 years, long before al-Qaeda’s involvement in Iraq, the group carried out complicated terror operations such as the assassination attempt on Egyptian prime minister Atef Sidqi and Interior Minister Hassan al-Alfi in 1993 (operations that were actually carried out by al-Jihad, rather than al-Qaeda); commenced a terror campaign in Saudi Arabia in 1995; and reached almost all Arab and Western countries except Israel in the following years.

    Contesting the accusation against al-Qaeda, a pro-al-Qaeda chatter called on Arabs to rid themselves of conspiracy theories and believe in the ability of al-Qaeda to attack the strongest country in the world, adding, “When are we going to stop glorifying other nations’ heroes and glorify our own?”

    Other Salafi-Jihadi forum members were quick to respond by listing al-Qaeda’s attacks against Israeli targets. Jihadi chatters mentioned al-Qaeda’s attack on a Jewish synagogue in Tunisia in 2002 (see Terrorism Focus, February 25), the car-bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa in 2002, a Katyusha rocket attack on Eilat in 2005 (that caused no damage or casualties), and the February 2008 attack on the Israeli embassy in Mauritania (, February 14).

    Another opinion on al-Qaeda’s links to Israel took a more thoughtful approach. A posting by a Yemeni forum member, nicknamed al-Mahnon, suggested al-Qaeda is being unconsciously exploited by Israel because Israel is aware of most of al-Qaeda’s terror plans. By assisting al-Qaeda in perpetrating successful terror attacks, Israel paved the way for a U.S. war on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, consequently impeding jihadi expansion, removing the Iraqi threat to Israel and humiliating the world under the pretence of fighting terrorism under an American-Zionist flag. Without al-Qaeda’s awareness, Mossad sought the same objectives because they served the Israeli cause in the long run.

    The conspiracy theory claiming an Israeli link to terrorist organizations, in this case al-Qaeda, is not the first one nor will it be the last as long as Israel is targeted by terrorist groups. In the 1970s and early 1980s the radical Palestinian Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) was also accused of links with Israel. [1] So, was ANO connected with Israel, or is al-Qaeda cooperating with Israel? The answers to these questions lie in the fact that the security apparatus of any country aims to penetrate enemy ranks and collect whatever intelligence is necessary to prevail over the enemy. Furthermore, advanced intelligence services go beyond penetration and manipulate an enemy to their advantage. Intelligence operations involving the manipulation of an enemy’s resolve are always highly confidential, known to very few even in the security service itself. Therefore, the lack of such concrete information leads to the proliferation of conspiracy theories of all kinds. In the end, the spread of such beliefs serves to cause dissension within the ranks of a targeted organization, such as al-Qaeda.


    [1] Patrick Seale, Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire, Random House, New York, 1992.


  1. Countdown to the crackdown « Maghreb Politics Review

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