Despite the recent interest in terrorism in northern Africa - particularly after the Salafist Group for Combat and Preaching (GSPC) announced its official alignment toal Qa`eda and changed its name to al-Qa`eda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM) - the threat of terrorism to the three countries under review (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) has been a reality since their independence in the 1950s and 1960s.
A historical assessment is essential to understand the magnitude of the threat, the underlying causes and the role-players. It is only when one appreciates the complexities in each of the three countries that one can explain the latest developments, including the name change and the role of Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian nationals in transnational terrorism.
About the author
Anneli Botha is a senior researcher on terrorism at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria. After completing an honours degree in International Politics (1993) she joined the South African Police Service Crime Intelligence unit, during which time she focused, inter alia, on terrorism and religious extremism.
Botha holds an MA (Political Studies) degree from Rand Afrikaans University (1999), which focused on the historical development of terrorism, religious extremism and PAGAD. She has a specific interest in research on the underlying causes of terrorism, radicalisation and counter-terrorism strategies.