AQIM and Europe?


While Europe’s latest terror threat stems from militants in Pakistan, a potentially greater menace lies just across the Mediterranean: Well-organized and financed Islamic terrorists from al-Qaida’s North African offshoot.

Over the last month alone, the group has been accused of seizing five French nationals and two Africans from a mining town in Niger, part of its effort to make millions by kidnapping Europeans and getting ransoms. It is also blamed for a truck bombing last Saturday in Algeria that left five soldiers dead.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb effectively rules a wide, lawless swath of the Sahara and is trying to overthrow Algeria’s government. It’s active online and media-savvy, and has the globally recognized al-Qaida brand name. It has also sparked arrests in Spain and France.

The question now is how far it has the will and means to turn its anger on Europe.

French and U.S. counterintelligence officials suggest AQIM’s logistics and networks aren’t yet mature enough to stage an attack on a European capital, but say it’s a broad and constant threat. France’s prime minister said Friday that the group is in touch with fellow fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

What do readers think? Is AQIM a major threat to Europe?


4 thoughts on “AQIM and Europe?

  1. Apart from a constant rhetoric, not much evidence exists that AQIM actually has an intent to plan, prepare and execute attacks in the EU. I can’t even think of any botched AQIM terrorist operation against the EU. AQIM clearly is not in a position of strength since at least mid 2009, with all the metrics indicating the group’s slow demise (caveat: i’m making abstraction of what is happening in the Sahel). While an attack in the EU would resuscitate the group’s dwindling status, it is hard to see how they would pull off such an operation: AQIM is not even capable of targetting Western interest in Algiers. What about the logistical support networks in the EU? They do seem to exist. It would probably be wrong to think that such financial support networks can easily morph into terrorist cells. These aren’t necessarily two sides of the same coin. Another element to take into account: there aren’t many EU based jihadi’s, joining AQIM, contrary to AQAM in the FATA. In itself, that probably is one of the most important elements that limit the current threat from AQIM to the EU.

    • Hi Osint, thanks for leaving this comment. You make a strong case. Do you think then that Western monitoring agencies are overestimating the threat, and if so why?

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