Algerian Terrorists Rebrand as Al Qaeda

Algeria’s top terrorist group has rebranded itself as an al Qaeda franchise.

Algeria’s main Islamist militant group has changed its name to al Qaeda after getting the approval of Osama bin Laden, according to a statement posted on the Internet on Friday. The move by the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) marked the latest attempt by militants to exploit al Qaeda’s international “brand,” following the establishment of regional branches in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The GSPC, which has led an insurgency against Algeria’s secular government, said it was adopting the name Al Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb. “We had wished to do this from the first day we joined (al Qaeda) but we wanted the permission of Sheikh Osama, may God protect him. This obstacle has now been removed,” said the statement, signed by the GSPC and dated January 24.

They likely wanted to avoid being sued by Osama’s lawyers for trademark infringement.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Yes, I noticed this one, too, James, and I’m not sure what to make of it. On a “which direction are the canoes heading?” basis this would seem to suggest that the Algerian group believes that Al-Qaeda’s star is on the ascendancy.

    But that’s not the only alternative. Other possibilities include the possibility that the Algerian group’s fortunes are failing and they’re looking to ally themselves with a larger group. Sort of a “safety in numbers” kind of thing.

    Or, perhaps, they don’t define success or failure in a way that’s recognizeable to us. That may be true of Al-Qaeda, generally.

  2. Matt S says:

    It suggests to me that al Qaeda is still wealthy enough to finance distant terrorist groups with (vaguely) the same goals….otherwise, why else would this group want the association if not for money?

  3. madmatt says:

    Well at least a bunch of crazies in algeria can find bin ladin…why can’t the crazies at the bush white house?