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VOL. XVIII, Issue 2

The Islamic State in the Sahel: Understanding its Internal and External Dynamics and Attack Modalities

The Islamic State in the Sahel (also known as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, or ISGS) is one of the major jihadist groups operating in the tri-border region of the Sahel, and was formed by dissidents who shifted allegiance from al-Qaeda to ISIS. Despite their ideological affinities, there are a few internal and external factors that differentiate the ISGS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the region, such as JNIM. Drawing on evidence from previous studies and from an analysis of available data from relevant datasets, this Research Note provides a close examination of these factors to help better understand strategic choices made by ISGS leaders or militants in their external relations, their targeting logic, tactics, or attack modalities. A few recommendations are offered in the conclusion to help governments in their counter-terrorism efforts. Key among these recommendations is the necessity for African states to strengthen their cooperation and mutual support, especially at the legislative, financial, and military levels, in order to reduce the possibility for jihadist terrorist groups like ISS to survive and continue their operations on the continent. 

About ICCT

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…