France Leads Fight Against African al-Qaeda

France Leads Fight Against African al-Qaeda

Despite the growing attention of international media, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) remains a lesser member of the global jihadist family. Chief among the reasons for this is that AQIM has no significant body of foreign troops to aim at, nor is the Sahel region where the organization operates especially rich in Western economic interests. However, after a few years of mainly carrying out what could be described as traditional tributary control of the gateways to the Sahara with no apparent overriding strategy (kidnappings and a few killings of tourists besides control of smuggling routes), AQIM now seems to have found an enemy that serves its purposes in both economic and propaganda terms. Fighting against France, the former colonial power in the region, will give greater projection to AQIM’s campaign and may lead to a surge in local support.

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