Par Pierre Pahlavi, Eric Ouellet, Jérôme Lacroix- Leclair
Terrorism and Political Violence, 0:1–16, 2014.
A number of observers have expressed serious concerns that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), as it expands in the Sahel, may become strong enough to be a threat to Europe and carry on the global mission of Al-Qaeda as conceived by bin Laden. This fear seems unwarranted. Using institutional analysis to study the AQMI behavioral fluctuations over the last decade, this article argues that AQMI's need to find a compromise between external and internal legitimacy has constrained its behavior. The affiliation of the Algerian terrorists with Al-Qaeda was in many ways a marriage of convenience that created a number of internal contradictions. At the cognitive level, implicit Algerian nationalism to rid the country of its corrupt regime remains at odds with pan-Islamic views shared by Al-Qaeda's leadership. At the normative level, indiscriminate suicide bombing supported by Al-Qaeda is abhorrent to many Algerian terrorists, who construe their mandate in the spirit of the Algerian war of independence where it is their duty to protect civilians. These and other contradictions prevent AQMI from developing a coherent political agenda and thus it is less likely to engage in a long-term conflict against European societies.2014
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