Algerian Magazine Rebuts the Amnesty

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 2 Issue: 20

The fifth and latest edition of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) magazine al-Jama’ah was distributed over the forums on October 21-22. As expected, outside the customary ideological literature, much of the issue is dedicated to the question of the amnesty referendum, which took place on September 29, and which registered overwhelming public support. The commentary on the news concentrates on what the GSPC sees as the fabrication of the referendum results and the government-directed media coverage. In a declaration entitled La Silma bidun Islam (No Peace without Islam), also issued separately on September 27 on the movements’ website (, the leader of the GSPC Abdelmalek Droukdel, known as Abu Musab Abd al-Wadoud, dismissed the referendum as a waste of time. “Algeria is not in need of a charter for peace and national reconciliation,” he maintained, “but in need of a charter for Islam” without which “there will be no peace and no reconciliation.” In the body of the statement, Abd al-Wadoud enumerated some of the GSPC grievances with the Algerian state and its “unending list of treacheries”:

• Granting permission to the U.S. to establish military bases in the south of the country

• Selling off oil and gas resources to multinationals

• Enthusiastic embracing the Greater Middle East project in order to win American approval

• Joining NATO, with the Algerian army co-operating with colonial forces

• Enthusiastic embracing of membership of the Francophonie (organisation of French speaking states)

• Repealing the family law “in response to the call for moral degradation”

• Abolishing the faculty of Islamic law, as a first stage in the Christianization of Algerian schools, and granting licenses to the setting up of schools that openly flout the basic beliefs of the Umma.

Abd al-Wadoud also reappears in the online magazine in an interview where he deals with two interesting issues arising out of the amnesty: the role of former GSPC leader Hassan Hattab and claims that the earlier amnesty, promulgated in January 2000, has actually scored success for the government. Reiterating the GSPC motto “no discussion, no compromise and no truce with the Apostates,” Abd al-Wadoud reassured the readership of the full commitment of the GSPC to jihad, and that relations with Hassan Hattab had been cut since his resignation and his “prostration to the Tyrants.” There was, therefore, no influence from this man on their political positions, and the reports of his having brought over with him many penitent mujahideen were mere “media propaganda.” As to the touted success of the 2000 amnesty in that the number of attacks being reduced, “legitimacy does not depend on the number of followers.” In addition, those mujahideen who are now returning from the hills to accept the amnesty “only took to the hills for partisan political reasons, which split and divided… their presence in the hills did not remain long.” The claim of decline in jihadist activity, for Abd al-Wadoud, is similarly false: “how can you interpret the numerous strikes of the mujahideen abroad [referring to the attack on Mauritania]? Or the fighting operations north, south, east and west in the country?” The issue of communications, legitimate spokesmen and unity of message continues to dog the GSPC. The publication of the al-Jama’ah magazine itself demonstrates this, since Terrorism Focus located the text circulating on one of the jihadi forums not specifically connected with the Algerian jihad ( —the GSPC site ( having been “disbanded for good by the webmaster of”