Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-sjtt6 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-21T07:40:34.438Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

2 - The GSPC/AQIM

Schism, Coup, and a Broken Triangle in the Sahara

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 October 2020

Alexander Thurston
Affiliation:
University of Cincinnati
Get access

Summary

This chapter examines coalition politics within the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). As the GSPC transitioned into al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), debates arose about the wisdom of aligning with al-Qaida. Moreover, as the GSPC/AQIM effected a “Saharan turn,” the organization’s decentralization and the ambitions of particular Saharan field commanders led to serious debates about strategy. Only some of these debates could be definitively resolved, resulting in a high degree of variation within a single organization. At the same time, leading figures in the GSPC/AQIM sought to use religious language and concepts to maintain a semblance of unity in their coalition. AQIM developed a sophisticated legal body, partly in order to maintain cohesion and to attempt to reinforce the central leadership’s power over independent-minded field commanders. The chapter argues that jihadist coalitions can avoid destructive schisms by empowering field commanders and tolerating a high level of dissent from them, but that this strategy has substantial costs in terms of the central leadership’s ability to impose a singular vision on subordinates.

Type
Chapter
Information
Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel
Local Politics and Rebel Groups
, pp. 63 - 101
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • The GSPC/AQIM
  • Alexander Thurston, University of Cincinnati
  • Book: Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel
  • Online publication: 15 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108771160.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • The GSPC/AQIM
  • Alexander Thurston, University of Cincinnati
  • Book: Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel
  • Online publication: 15 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108771160.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The GSPC/AQIM
  • Alexander Thurston, University of Cincinnati
  • Book: Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel
  • Online publication: 15 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108771160.003
Available formats
×