The Islamic State, al-Qaeda-linked groups, Boko Haram and other jihadist movements are protagonists in many of the world’s deadliest crises, complicating efforts to end them. We examine the evolving threat posed by these groups – both in warzones and in other places where they recruit fighters or perpetrate terrorist attacks. Our work draws on years of field research across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Through in-depth and comparative analysis of these groups’ tactics, strategy and ideology, and of the local conditions and wider geopolitical currents that have enabled their growth, Crisis Group aims to inform policies on how best to tackle or contain the threat.
The Islamic State, al-Qaeda-linked groups, Boko Haram and other extremist movements are protagonists in today’s deadliest crises, complicating efforts to end them. They have exploited wars, state collapse and geopolitical upheaval in the Middle East, gained new footholds in Africa and pose an evolving threat elsewhere. Reversing their gains requires avoiding the mistakes that enabled their rise.
The U.S. is worried that a [French] Security Council resolution [on an African counter-terror force in the Sahel] might open the door to funding at a time when cutting back their UN funding is a priority.
There is a strong sense [in Burkina Faso] that the state has never really done much for the north. [...] Strengthening its military presence isn’t enough – they need to establish trust.
We don’t know whether the former commanders [of Hezb-i-Islami in Afghanistan] will unite around [Gulbuddin] Hekmatyar or work against him. This is his last attempt to reach power.
Are we building any kind of sustainable peace [in Mali] through this kind of process that gives the most resources to the guys with guns?
The concern in Washington [about Al-Shabaab in Somalia] has been mounting for some time now ... U.S. special forces are already on the ground. Drone attacks have been scaled up.
The [recent U.S.] raid ignores the local political context in Yemen, to the detriment of an effective counter-terrorism strategy.