Muhyi ad Din, who had spent time in Ottoman jails for opposing the dey's rule, launched attacks against the French and their makhzen allies at Oran in 1832. In the same year, tribal elders chose Muhyi ad Din's son, twenty-five-year-old Abd al Qadir, to take his place leading the jihad. Abd al Qadir, who was recognized as amir al muminin (commander of the faithful), quickly gained the support of tribes throughout Algeria. A devout and austere marabout, he was also a cunning political leader and a resourceful warrior. From his capital in Tlemcen, Abd al Qadir set about building a territorial Muslim state based on the communities of the interior but drawing its strength from the tribes and religious brotherhoods.
The French in Algiers viewed with concern the success of a Muslim government and the rapid growth of a viable territorial state that barred the extension of European settlement. Abd al Qadir fought running battles across Algeria with French forces, which included units of the Foreign Legion, organized in 1831 for Algerian service.
First War of Abd el-Kader 1832-34...Abd el-Kader (1808-83), Muslim leader and emir of Mascara, led Algerians in a war of harassment against invading French troops in Oran and Mostaganem. He was successful, forcing the French to sign the Desmichels Treaty of 1934, which recognized Abd el-Kader as the dey (governor) of Mascara and gave him control of the interior of Oran. France signed the treaty with the hope that Abd el-Kader could be used as a French agent in Algeria.