Islamic State and Al-Qaeda Clash in the Sahel (By Prashant Kandpal)

06/07/2020 – The Western Sahel region of the African continent has become an infighting battleground for jihadist groups competing for hegemony over the region. In May, Islamic State (IS) in its newspaper Al-naba revealed its clashes with Al-Qaeda affiliates. IS has blamed Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), an Al-Qaeda affiliate, for initiating the fierce fighting and mobilization of forces in order to wrest areas from Islamic State’s control. Continuer à lire … « Islamic State and Al-Qaeda Clash in the Sahel (By Prashant Kandpal) »

Terrorist Threat as a Pre-Text: Russia Strengthens Ties with G5 Sahel


Following the 1991 dissolution of the USSR—which maintained diplomatic relations with 46 African countries in the mid-1980s­—the Russian Federation lost a large part of the Soviet influence on the continent. Beginning in the mid-2000s, however, Russia`s regional policy started to change, and the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis solidified Russia`s resolve to pursue opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa (, February 20). A truly pivotal event that demonstrated Russia`s determination was the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum, held in Sochi on October 23–24, 2019 (see EDM, October 28, 2019). Given Russia`s relative economic weakness, one of the very few competitive advantages at the Kremlin`s disposal is military-technical cooperation. Continuer à lire … « Terrorist Threat as a Pre-Text: Russia Strengthens Ties with G5 Sahel »

Mali: Nothing Religious, Just Business

13/10/2019 – Mali continues to be the most dangerous UN peacekeeping operation with over 200 dead so far. This is largely due to northern Mali, where most of these deaths occur. There was lots of violence up there since (and before) the peacekeepers arrived in early 2013. The peacekeepers are mainly African and in 2018 the combined forces suffered a death rate of about 130 per 100,000 per year (a standard measure of such things.) The rate in 2017 was nearly double that and that high rate seems to be returning in 2019. A lot of the violence has moved south to central Mali. Continuer à lire … « Mali: Nothing Religious, Just Business »

Burkina Faso: Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s New Sanctuary

by Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner

For many years, violent extremists have exploited the impoverished and lawless Sahel region of Africa. Salafist-jihadist militias have frequently transited through the region’s porous borders, easily taking advantage of local grievances to establish a presence in countries such as Mali and Niger. Consequently, there have been countless terrorist attacks throughout West Africa, including a high-profile attack by al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch against the Ivory Coast’s Grand Bassam in 2016. Continuer à lire … « Burkina Faso: Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s New Sanctuary »

What we can learn from the British Army’s help in the fight against Boko Haram #Nigeria

2019/10/02 – For two decades, violent, extremist organisations have had a devastating impact on the African continent. Attacks by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, and their splinter group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have displaced millions within and across national borders and decimated vital services,  education, healthcare, and businesses. Since 2009, Boko Haram have claimed more than 27,000 lives in Nigeria and Cameroon, and as the Nigerian presidential election in February approaches, the terrorist group has renewed its campaign of violence. Continuer à lire … « What we can learn from the British Army’s help in the fight against Boko Haram #Nigeria »

Specter of jihadism continues to haunt Maghreb

2018/12/11 – The jihadist threat is not new to the Maghreb. However, the fallout of the 2011 Arab uprisings has fundamentally altered the political and security environment of North African countries. While states such as Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia witnessed an increase in deaths from jihadist attacks, others like Algeria and Morocco experienced a reduced impact. Despite differences, the threats are persistent and numerous, including local jihadi cells that range from the already settled to the residual to those burgeoning into external groups that operate in the Sahel, such as the well-established al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The mutual lack of trust and cooperation in counterterrorism and security among Maghreb countries further complicates countering such threats. Put together, the region’s security could become even more precarious, and the fight against jihadism might be a long one. Continuer à lire … « Specter of jihadism continues to haunt Maghreb »

The Risks of Hardened Borders in North Africa

2018/08/17 – Over the past several years, North African countries have worked to heavily fortify their borders. A 200-kilometer (125-mile) trench, completed in February 2016, runs along the Tunisian–Libyan border. Twelve hundred kilometers (746 miles) to the west, two new walls mark the border between Morocco and Algeria. These barriers are symptom and symbol of a new securitized approach to borders in areas that have historically been culturally and economically linked.
Continuer à lire … « The Risks of Hardened Borders in North Africa »

Algeria conducts security sweep in three border provinces with Tunisia

2018707/12 – The Algerian army launched a military operation in three border provinces with Tunisia in order to “prevent the infiltration of terrorists during their pursuit by the Tunisian security forces”. This comes in response to an attack on the members of the National Guard two days ago, according to a security source. Continuer à lire … « Algeria conducts security sweep in three border provinces with Tunisia »

Notorious Algerian Terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar Could Still Be Alive #Mali #Chad #Niger

2018/06/14 – The London-based Saudi magazine, El Majalaa, is reporting that Mokhtar Belmokhtar is still alive, contrary to U.S. claims in 2013, 2015, and 2016 that he had been killed in Libya. The report, which cites correspondence with Libyan and Algerian intelligence services, states that he is operating in the largely ungoverned spaces between Chad, Niger, and Mali. Continuer à lire … « Notorious Algerian Terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar Could Still Be Alive #Mali #Chad #Niger »

Mali – Talks with jihadists? A radical idea gains currency in Mali

2018/04/26 In Mali, which has been wracked by violence and is prone to frequent and deadly jihadist attacks, the once unthinkable is now being asked by observers: is it time to negotiate with the extremists?

« Every analysis of the Malian crisis shows that a purely military solution is not possible,” said Ambroise Dakouo of the Alliance for Rebuilding Governance in Africa (ARGA), a think tank. “We cannot be dogmatic. We must be open to dialogue with these groups to find out if conciliation is possible. We must find out what they want and what we can concede.” Continuer à lire … « Mali – Talks with jihadists? A radical idea gains currency in Mali »