In particular, we must examine the links with the organisation out of which it grew, al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, also commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
Between 2003 and 2010, the power vacuum and armed resistance triggered by the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, as well as the dismantling of Saddam Hussein’s former ruling Baath party and the Iraqi army, provided a fertile terrain for AQI’s growth and an opportunity to infiltrate the increasingly fragile body politic.
However, AQI’s rapid surge did not go uncontested and two events particularly threatened its expansion.
In 2006, the Salafist-jihadist group’s conflict with Sunni Arab tribal leaders, who were angered by the reign of terror and extremism its imposed in their provinces, triggered an internal war that led to formalised co-operation between local tribes and the Americans.
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