Islamist insurgencies, diasporic support networks, and their host states - the case of the Algerian GIA in Europe 1993-2000

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Globalisation and transnational migration have increased the impact of insurgencies overseas on European security. The presence of a significant Muslim diaspora in Europe, and the emergence of Islamist support networks in Europe for insurgencies in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia pose a number of policy dilemmas for Western governments. This report offers an empirical exploration of the insurgent-support network of the Algerian Islamist insurgents, with a focus on the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA). A theoretical framework for understanding insurgent strategies visà-vis the sanctuary or host state is presented, emphasising the difficult trade-off between maximising the benefits of sanctuary and reducing friction with the host states. The case study of the Algerian GIA’s sanctuary strategies offers particular insight into an insurgent movement’s decision to turn to violence against the sanctuary state. It appears that a specific set of coincidental factors contributed to this decision. They included a declining value of the sanctuary due to police repression, a critical stage in the domestic insurgency, and a finally, the insurgent movement’s perception that the disruption of sanctuary state – host state relations was critical to the outcome of the insurgency. In general, this study underlines the value of the sanctuary model for understanding the phenomenon of international terrorism by overseas insurgent movements.
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