North Africa al-Qaeda Spurns ISIS Caliphate

AQIM Remains Loyal to Zawahiri

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the major Salafist fighting group across northwestern Africa, has announced today that it does not recognize the validity of ISIS’s declaration of a caliphate based in Iraq and Syria.

The caliphate, simply dubbed The Islamic State (TIS), aims to assert leadership over all Muslims planet-wide, though outside of its own sphere of influence it seems to have comparatively little support.

AQIM, which is based in Algeria but has been active in surrounding countries, says that they remain loyal to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who they termed their “emir.”

In theory a caliph would command the loyalty of all faithful Muslims, and ISIS’s claim aimed at asserting that position. So far, however, it seems the attempt is alienating more potential allies than it has recruited out of the deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of