The 21st Century Phenomenon



The Armed Islamic Group, known in its French acronym – G.I.A, was the main Islamic organization that fought the military regime in Algeria when the civil war breached out in 1992. 

When a party of moderate and radical Islamists, called the Islamic Salvation Front – FIS, won a round of parliamentary elections in 12/1991, the secular Algerian regime led by the National Liberation Front – FLN canceled the elections and banned the FIS. That was the starting event of a bloody civil war between the military FLN regime and the Islamic activists.  G.I.A was founded in early 1992 by Mansour Meliani and Abdelkader Chebouti, both veterans of the war in Afghanistan. G.I.A was one of many Islamic groups that emerged in Algeria. G.I.A became the most prominent, determined Islamic organization that fought the Algerian military regime. Mansour Meliani and Abdelkader Chebouti were arrested in late 1992.  Abdelhak Layada, known as Abu Adlane ,took over the command on G.I.A and shaped it to be one of the notorious groups in the Algerian civil war. In 1994 many leaders from FIS joined G.I.A. 

G.I.A did not articulate precise political goals but, generally,  aimed to overthrow the secular Algerian regime and replace it with an Islamic state. G.I.A cells were operating independently, had not a consistent military strategy and some cells even slided to unexplained horrifying massacres of innocent villagers or simple robberies. G.I.A also expended his activity to France, that was considered enemy, because of the French military and economical support to the Algerian regime.

As G.I.A broadened the organization suffered from many disagreements about the right interpretation of Islam, the leadership and the policy and suffered all the time from withdrawal of small groups that disagreed with the leadership. Very often G.I.A fought other Islamic groups rather then the Algerian or French government.  The most spectacular attack of G.I.A was the kidnapping of Air France Flight-8969, on 12/26/1994, to Marseille, France.  

Because of the controversy in G.I.A it slowly lost its integrity, consolidation and disintegrated from within. Many former G.I.A activists joined or formed other Islamic groups such as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat – (GSPC).

On 01/03/2006. after the arrest of Nourredine Boudiafi, the Algerian authority declared that “almost all” of the G.I.A is now “broken up”.

Today (07/2007) G.I.A is an ephemeral organization almost unnoticed in the Algerian society. 

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