A Coordinated Jihadist Campaign Menaces the Sahel

Mar 2, 2020 | 22:37 GMT

This photo shows the outline of a soldier standing guard at sunset in Niamey, Niger, on Dec. 22, 2019.

A soldier stands guard at sunset in Niamey, Niger, on Dec. 22, 2019. A Dec. 10 terrorist attack killed 71 Nigerien soldiers in the western region of the Sahel country.



  • Al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates are reportedly cooperating in the Sahel, marking a new trend in an ever-worsening security environment.
  • The cooperation will increase pressure on regional governments but does not indicate a strategic-level rapprochement between al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
  • Actions taken by these cooperating militant groups will shape the regional strategies of France, the United States and other external players.

The local al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates responsible for thousands of deaths in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa over the past year -- namely, Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara -- are now reportedly coordinating their operations. The emerging cooperation between jihadist fighters so far appears to be centered more on de-escalating tensions, rather than actually merging their efforts. But the worrying development nonetheless could empower the two groups to wreak even more havoc in the already unstable region and expand their influence across even greater swaths of Africa....

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