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 number of Salafi-jihadists in action around the world has risen markedly since 2001. But this is no homogenous army, and the key point is that most are fighting locally. Understanding how different jihadist groups operate in varying contexts is essential for an effective policy response.
The fact that some of the recent attacks [in Nigeria] specifically targeted military bases shows they were deliberate, not opportunistic.
Given the [Nigerian] government’s continuing inability to impose its own solution to the conflict [with Boko Haram] ... the government’s exploration of dialogue [with] the insurgents is understandable.
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?