The GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) has openly declared its cooperation and alliance with al Qaeda. This has long been suspected. The GSPC split off from the older GIA (Armed Islamic Group) because the GSPC people wanted to kill large numbers of civilians in order to terrorize the population into supporting the rebels. The GIA wanted to continue to just attack government and military targets.
While the rebels are taking a beating, the government has to face broader resistance from the general population. The people running the government are the same group of elderly revolutionaries that led the revolution against France in the 1950s and 60s. This group, now in its second generation, because corrupt early on. Corruption and mismanagement of the economy have led to high unemployment and low economic growth. The people are unhappy and another revolution is in the air. In the early 1990s, Islamic parties were popular, but these are now seen as bloody minded tyrants. But the people want a change, one way or another.