a Timeline

Last Updated: 2-27-2007

Algerian Colonization and War of Liberation, 1830-1962

Algerian Islamic Civil War and Aftermath 1992-1998

  • 1992 January 11 - Revulsion builds among Algerian establishment and educated Algerians over impending FIS takeover of power. President Chadli resigns. Minister of Defense General Khaled Nezzar takes control. Second round of elections canceled (postponed?). In following weeks FIS leadership is arrested. (Field p.144)
  • 1992 March 4 - FIS dissolved and its appartus dismantled, thousands of militants interned in camps in the Sahara. (Kepel p.175)
  • 1992 June - Head of Council of State, 72-year-old Mohammad Boudiaf, is assassinated. Boudiaf has a reputation for incorruptibility and corrupt members of FLN thought to be behind the attack. (Field p.144)
  • 1992 December - "the armed movement consisted of two main branches." The MIA is led by General Chebouti, It's structured and well organized and favors a long-term jihad. Has support of Ali Behadj of the FIS. GIA is led by Layada, whose strategy is "immediate action to destabilize the enemy, with repeated attacks designed to create an atmosphere of general insecurity. His verdict on the FIS was severe." Layada, the first amir of the GIA threatens journalists ("grandsons of France") and the families of Algerian soldiers. ... (Kepel, p.259-60)
  • 1993 March - Campaign of assassination of Franco-phone professionals begins. University academics, intellectual, writers, journalists, and medical doctors murdered. Are not necessarily associated with the regime but their killing undermines regimes claim to having crushed the Islamists. (Kepel, p.262)
  • 1993 May - Seif Allah Djafar succeeds Layada as head of GIA after Layada is arrested in Morocco. Mourad Si Ahmed, aka Seif Allah Djafar (literally "Djafar, the sword of Allah"), aka Djafar al-Afghani is a 30-year-old black marketer with no education beyond primary school. (Kepel)
  • 1993 September 21 - Two French surveyors killed at Sidi Bel Abbas by GIA supporters. Beginning of campaign to murder foreigners in Algeria. 26 killed by end of 1993. (Kepel, p.264)
  • 1993 November - Sheikh Mohamed Bouslimani killed. A "popular figure who was prominent in Nahnah's devout middle class Hamas party" is kidnapped and executed after refusing to issue a fatwa endorsing the GIA's tactics." (Kepel, p.264)
  • 1993 December - GIA declares all foreigners should leave the country by the beginning of the month. Thereafter is commences killing foreigners. (Fields, p.146)
  • 1994 March - GIA amir Djafar is killed "in circumstances suggesting that the army had been given exact information on his whereabouts," i.e. an inside job by a competitor. (p.264, Kepel.)
  • 1994 March - Several hundred fighters of MEI Islamist guerilla group attack Lambeze prison and free all Islamist inmates. (p.264, Kepel.)
  • 1994 March 10 - New amir is 26-year-old Cherif Gousmi "His amirate saw the high-water mark of GIA power ..." Islamic forces combine. (Kepel)
  • 1994 May 13 - Three leading Islamist leaders (Mohammed Said, Abderrazaq Redjem (representing the FIS), and Said Mekhloufi) pledge allegiance (baya) to Gousmi. GIA is now "the undisputed principal Islamist force in Algeria." (Kepel, p.265)
  • 1994 July 18 - GIA and AIS (Islamic Salvation Army, the more moderate military wing of the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)) find "themselves locked in bloody combat." (Kepel)
  • 1994 October 27 - New GIA amir. Djamel Zitouni 32-year-old son of a poultry merchant. "His mastery of written Arabic was as limited as his knowledge of the texts of Islam," but he "quickly attracted attention as a specialist in killing French citizens." Dissension in the GIA at the "murky circumstances" under which he came to power. (Kepel)
  • 1994 December - GIA excalates war, attacking France. Hijackers seizes a French Airbus at Algiers airport and fly it to Marseille. Police attack and kill hijackers before they can execute plan to crash plane into Paris. (Kepel, p.267)
  • 1995 January 13 - FIS in exile signs platform for a political and peaceful solution to the Algerian crisis with several other opposition parties in Rome. (Kepel, p.267-8)
  • 1995 July 25 - Eight terror attacks over three months kill 10 and injure more than 175. Terrorists are poor lumpen Algerians living in France who have been contacted by Algerians and Al-Ansar. GIA does not claim responsibility but evidence "convinced most analysts that Zitouuni's GIA was behind" the attacks." Was the motivation to encourage France to cut off support to Algeria? Or were the Algerians government provacatuers plotting to manipulate France to stiffen its resolve to help the FLN/military crush the Islamists? (Kepel, p.308-9)
  • 1995 - June GIA purges start: GIA militant Ezzedine Baa defects to AIS. Is caught, judged, and executed. (Kepel)
  • 1995 November - Islamist leader Abderrazaq Redjem "announces he too wishes to rejoin the AIS, and along with Mohammed Said is mysteriously killed." GIA claims security forces did it. (Kepel)
  • 1995 Late - GIA head Zitouni issues tract condemning takfir "in attempt to disassociate himself from the members of this faction." (Kepel, p.269)
  • 1995-6 - FIS starts to become irrelevant. Urban poor are out of control. Devout small shopkeepers tire of shakedowns by lumpen hittistes turn towards moderate Hamas party. Belief spreads that GIA is thoroughly infiltrated by government agents. (Kepel)
  • 1996 January - GIA admits it, not the government, killed Abderrazaq Redjem and Mohammed Said. (Kepel)
  • 1996 Spring - some GIA regional leaders drop Zitouni (the GIA amir). "Militants desert in droves." (Kepel)
  • 1996 May 21 - Seven French Trappist monks aged between 50 and 82 years who had been abducted from a monastery in Tibehirine two months earlier are found beheaded. (Kepel, p.308,
  • 1996 May 31 - Al Ansar bulletin in London which had been the voice of the GIA, ceases publication, after demanding explanations from Zitouni over killings of two leaders. (Kepel)
  • 1996 Summer - GIA releases video of two friends of Redjem in which they 'confess' to killing Redjem and "humbly request summary execution." Further enhances GIA's image as ruthless and bloody. (Kepel, p.270)
  • 1996 July 16 - Zitouni hunted down and shot, probably by djazarists (a "technocratic" Islamist faction). (Kepel)
  • 1997 February - New GIA Amir, Antar Zouabri, "finishes off" the GIA with his fanaticism. New line as presented by The Sharp Sword party organ in London, is that the majority of Algerians have `forsaken religion and renounced the battle against its enemies.` (Kepel)
  • 1997 January-February - Month of Ramadan is the bloodiest of the entire war, with horrific massacres of civilians, whose throats were cut with knives. (Kepel)
  • 1997 August-September - Bloodbaths in Rais, Beni Messous, and Bentalha. Several hundred people killed. (Kepel)
  • 1997 September 21 - GIA Virtually disappears. AIS declares unilateral truce. (Kepel)
  • 1997 September 27 - Publication of communique of GIA, "claiming responsiblity for the massacres and justifying them by declaring impious all those Algerians who had not joined its ranks," (i.e. after earlier denouncing takfir the GIA now choses it.) Published in issue of Al-Ansar which denounces it and terminates support for GIA. Communiques cease. (Kepel, p.273)
  • 1997 - Estimated 80,000 killed in war (so far), "most of them civilians," according to Amnesty International. (Lewis, p.110)
  • 1998 - Massacres continued unabated. Are GIA groups now turning to banditry? Settling non-political scores? Become hired hands clearing squatters from land? Not clear. (Kepel)
  • 1999 - Series of elections aimed at institutionalizing gradual peace. (Kepel)
  • 1999 April 24 - Newly elected Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika takes office. Declares national reconciliation his priority. (adl)
  • 1999 April - The Algerian government claimed victory against the GIA. Security forces kill senior GIA leader Abdel Kader Rahmouni along with 18 other GIA members and seize weapons and 220 explosives. Rahmouni is believed to be the top lieutenant of GIA head Antar Zouabri. (adl)
  • 1999 June 5 - the AIS announces a halt to its fight against the Algerian government. (adl)
  • 1999 June 8? - Several days following the cease-fire announcement, the AIS storms a GIA base in Algeria's eastern province of Jijel and captures its field commander and several other armed militants. As part of the amnesty deal, the FIS had pledged to help the government combat the more radical Islamic extremist factions, in particular the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), responsible for most of the grisly massacres against Algerian civilians. (adl)


Field, Michael, Inside the Arab World
Harvard University Press, 1995

Kepel, Gilles, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, 2002. p.173, 263

Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Islam : Holy War and Unholy Terror, by Bernard Lewis, 2003