West Africa and Maghreb

Under-governed spaces in West Africa and the Maghreb created an environment in which al Qaeda’s affiliate, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), established safe havens. AQIM currently operates out of the Western Sahara desert, including parts of Algeria, northern Mali, and western Libya. It has benefited financially from smuggling routes that cut through the region and is known to have received millions of dollars in ransom payments for kidnapped Westerners. AQIM coordinates its activities with Ansar al Din and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) in Mali, and with Ansar al Sharia in Libya. It is also strengthening ties to Boko Haram in Nigeria.

This section includes analysis of those issues.

IN THIS SECTION

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb: Leaders and their Networks

By Andreas Hagen, March 27, 2014

Degrading al Qaeda leadership is central to American counterterrorism strategy, but the leaders today are not the same as they were in 2001. Al Qaeda leaders are no longer necessarily connected by formal networks and many operate outside of any formal affiliation to the al Qaeda network.

Questions on Mali

By Katherine Zimmerman, January 23, 2013

Terrorist attacks in Algeria and French military operations in Mali have raised questions about the impact of ongoing unrest in West Africa on the United States. 

Changing Landscape: Jihad in Mali

By Katherine Zimmerman, Dominic Lisanti, December 13, 2012

The unfolding developments in Mali and across West Africa deserve close attention, particularly given the region’s emergence as the new front in jihad