On 10 February, 2022, 14:00-15:00, the Egmont Institute and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) hosted a joint Live Briefing for the release of the book, 'The Islamic State in Africa'. Author of the book and keynote speaker of the event was Jason Warner, assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences and an associate of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
In 2019, Islamic State lost its last remaining sliver of territory in Syria, and its Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed. Yet its affiliates endure, particularly in Africa: nearly all of Islamic State’s provinces on the continent have reaffirmed their allegiance, attacks have continued in its name, many groups have been reinvigorated, and a new province has emerged. Why, in Africa, did the two major setbacks of 2019 have so little impact on support for Islamic State?
The Islamic State in Africa suggests that this puzzle can be explained by the emergence and evolution of Islamic State’s provinces in Africa, which it calls ‘sovereign subordinates’. By examining the rise and development of nine Islamic State affiliates, we show how, having pledged allegiance to IS Central, affiliates evolved mostly autonomously, using the IS brand as a means for accrual of power, but, in practice, receiving relatively little if any direction or material support from central command. Given this pattern, IS Central’s relative decline has had little impact on its African affiliates—who are likely to remain committed to the Caliphate’s cause for the foreseeable future.
Moderator - Nina Wilén, Director Africa Programme, Egmont Institute
Introductory Remarks - Thomas Renard, Director ICCT
Speaker - Jason Warner, assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences, associate of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and author of the 'The Islamic State in Africa'.
For related readings on the Islamic State in Africa, please see:
Demuynck, M. Civilians on the Front Lines of (Counter-)Terrorism: Lessons from the Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland in Burkina Faso. Policy Brief, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 25 November, 2021.
Demuynck, M., Weijenberg, G. The Upcoming SADC Intervention: A New Way Ahead to Combat Terrorism in Mozambique? Perspective, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 22 July, 2021.
Dynamics of Support and Engagement: Understanding Malian Youths’ Attitudes towards Violent Extremism. Report, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism and United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, 24 February, 2021.