Monday, August 30, 2010

IN PICTURES: Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM): Ghazwat al-Mansura (Expedition of al-Mansurah)

An AQIM member holds up the boots and uniform of a slain Algerian gendarme as his colleagues swarm around a captured gendarme vehicle.

Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is a transnational jihadi-takfiri group that operates primarily in Algeria and parts of Mauritania, Mali, and Niger, evolved from the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat, an anti-government Algerian insurgent group. Its media wing, the Al-Andalus Media Foundation, produces a video series, Zilal al-Sayouf (Shade of Swords, Shadows of Swords), that documents its ambushes on Algerian military and police forces. AQIM's media is among the best in terms of quality and narrative that is produced by a transnational jihadi-takfiri group, despite the fact that its actual abilities have seemingly deteriorated since a high in numbers and magnitude of attacks in 2007.

A burning Algerian gendarmerie vehicle.

The stills in this post were captured (with SnagIt software) from Al-Andalus Media's July 22 video from the Shade of Swords series, Ghazwat al-Mansurah (Expedition/Raid of al-Mansurah). Particularly significant are the non-AQIM transnational jihadi-takfiri leaders, past and present, who are quoted. Most notable is Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr, the head of the Somali insurgent-jihadi group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (Movement of Warrior-Youth; Al-Shabaab), who is quoted, I believe, for the first time in an AQIM video. I believe it is also the first, or one of the first few, times that a Harakat al-Shabab leader has been quoted by either Al-Qa'ida Central (AQC) or one of its regional affiliates.


AQIM members walk between stalled traffic and burning Algerian gendarmerie vehicles as a clip of the late founder of Al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraqi (AQIM), Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, is played.

An AQIM member tries to convinces frightened Algerian drivers of the "righteousness" of the group's cause.

AQIM members around an Algerian gendarmerie vehicle

An AQIM member drives an Algerian gendarmerie vehicle past another government vehicle that was set on fire.

Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr, the leader of Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen in Somalia, is quoted.

The late Al-Qa'ida Central (AQC) general commander in Khurasan (Afghanistan) and financial chief, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, is quoted.

An ID of one of the Algerian gendarmes killed by AQIM fighters during their ambush.

The final segment of the video includes lists of equipment captured and Algerian gendarmes killed during the ambush.

Abu al-Layth al-Libi, a late senior AQC leader in Afghanistan, is quoted as captured Algerian gendarmerie uniforms and equipment is shown.

Captured Algerian gendarmerie equipment, uniforms, and documents

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