Militant Islamist groups in Africa set a record pace of activity in 2019, reflecting a doubling of militant Islamist activity from 2013. Expanded activity in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin underscores diversification of threat from Somalia.
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Reversing the escalating violence of militant Islamist groups in the Sahel will require an enhanced security presence coupled with more sustained outreach to local communities.
(This article originally appeared as a chapter in "Russia Strategic Intentions White Paper," Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) publication series, NSI, May 2019.)
Russia has significantly expanded its engagements in Africa in recent years. These engagements often take the form of propping up embattled and isolated autocratic leaders of countries that are rich in natural resources. The United States can draw a distinction with Russia’s destabilizing role by pursuing a positive engagement strategy in Africa. The United States must avoid the Cold War trap of competing with Russia for the affections of corrupt, autocratic leaders in Africa, however, as such a policy would be disastrous for Africa while not advancing US interests.
The Macina Liberation Front has opportunistically played on perceptions of ethnic, economic, religious, and political marginalization to become one of the most active militant Islamist groups in Mali.
With Sudanese President Omar al Bashir facing unprecedented pressure from a diverse collection of protesters and political parties, mediation is needed to avoid a violent escalation.
China’s growing military engagement in Africa is aimed at advancing Beijing’s economic and strategic interests, in particular its Belt and Road Initiative.
External actors have sought to expand their security partnerships in Africa in recent years. The Africa Center spoke with Judd Devermont, Director of the CSIS Africa Program, about the trends and complexities of these relationships.
While migrant-smuggling in Libya has been decried for its brutality, international assistance to Libyato counter smuggling while protecting migrantshas actually inflicted further harm to migrants. When smuggling is treated as a serious crime, the more criminal and brutal of actors are encouraged rather than deterred from operating. They merely pass the risk and cost onto migrants by adding elements of trafficking or other abuses. Ending the abuse of migrants in Libya requires stabilizing, securing, and supporting Libya and all who reside there.
Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
A time-lapse review of violent episodes involving militant Islamist groups in African since 2010 provides insights into the evolution of these actors over the course of this decade.
Persistent economic and social disparities between urban centers and outlying communities present an ongoing source of instability for countries in the Maghreb.
Program materials for the Africa Center's 2018 Countering Violent Extremism in Africa Roundtable.