May 7, 2009

Al-Qaeda in North Africa Goes Global

Michael Petrou, Maclean's

Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had high hopes for the African Islamist group that held Canadian diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay captive for months before releasing them along with two tourists last week. Earlier this decade, violent Islamism was floundering in North Africa. Government crackdowns and amnesty programs in Algeria had weakened the once-powerful Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, an offshoot of the Armed Islamic Group, whose murder of civilians had already dried up much of its popular support.

And so, like a struggling independent business looking for ways to stay afloat, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat sought out the patronage of a wealthier and more powerful terrorist conglomerate: al-Qaeda. The first messages seeking...

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TAGGED: Osama Bin Laden, Maghreb, al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Robert Fowler, Louis Guay, Bob Fowler, North Africa


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