Al Qaeda and Associated Movements (AQAM)

In this section, the Critical Threats Project details the ideological foundations [Basics] and the region-by-region outlook [Theaters of Jihad] of al Qaeda and Associated Movements (AQAM), which refers to the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden and other, potentially operationally disconnected, violent Islamist groups.

See the country pages for further information on al Qaeda affiliates such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Shabaab.


Warning Update: Escalating Protests Threaten Instability in Tunisia

By Emily Estelle, September 15, 2016

Economic protests resembling those that sparked the 2010 Jasmine Revolution are spreading throughout Tunisia and may grow into nationwide civil unrest, providing an opportunity for Salafi-jihadi groups to attack government or economic targets.

Warning from the Sahel: Al Qaeda's Resurgent Threat

By Katherine Zimmerman, Alix Halloran, September 1, 2016

The US and its partners need to renew their efforts to counter al Qaeda in the Sahel or risk AQIM developing a latent threat capability that may be directed against the US homeland or interests with little to no warning.

AQIM and ISIS in Tunisia: Competing Campaigns

By Jaclyn Stutz, June 28, 2016

ISIS is developing the ability to conduct a low-level insurgency in Tunisia. Its presence in neighboring Algeria and Libya, and now on the ground in Tunisia, strengthens the group.

AQIM and ISIS in Algeria: Competing Campaigns

By Emily Estelle, Brenna Snyder, June 2, 2016

The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are competing to be the dominant Salafi-jihadi group in Algeria.

Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS: Sources of Strength

American strategy toward ISIS has mis-identified the group’s center of gravity and is inadvertently strengthening al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra.

Competing Visions for Syria and Iraq: The Myth of an Anti-ISIS Grand Coalition

The superficial convergence of Iranian, Russian, Turkish, and Saudi strategic objectives with those of the U.S. on ISIS as a threat masks significant divergences that will undermine U.S. security requirements.

Al Qaeda and ISIS: Existential Threats to the U.S. and Europe

ISIS and al Qaeda pose an existential threat to the U.S. and Europe because they accelerate the collapse of world order, provoke domestic and global trends that endanger American values and way of life, and plan direct attacks against the U.S. and its partners.

U.S. Grand Strategy: Destroying ISIS and al Qaeda

By The Editors , January 20, 2016

The Institute for the Study of War and the Critical Threats Project conducted an intensive multi-week exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to defeat the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. View the findings of this exercise.

A Global Strategy for Combating al Qaeda and the Islamic State

By Mary Habeck, December 7, 2015

Although the ongoing US-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria demonstrate increased American resolve, the United States needs a new strategy to stop ISIS, al Qaeda, and affiliated groups: a counterinsurgency with ideological, security, diplomatic, economic, and political components.

San Bernardino Shooting a Terrorist Attack with al Qaeda and ISIS Footprints

The San Bernardino shooting of December 2, 2015 was a terrorist attack conducted by perpetrators inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and possibly linked with and inspired by al Qaeda. The U.S. must expect that both groups will devote even greater resources to encouraging and supporting such attacks here and in Europe now that their feasibility has been demonstrated in both regions.