July 01, 2021

Confronting Islamist Insurgencies in Africa: The Case of the Islamic State in Mozambique

Originally published in Orbis


The proliferation of Salafi-jihadi insurgencies across Africa challenges the United States’ counterterrorism approach. From its inception, the insurgency in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique was driven by local and foreign dynamics, which have been complicated by additional external intervention in the conflict. Using the Cabo Delgado insurgency, we demonstrate how efforts to address its global dimensions, such as the group's affiliation with the Islamic State, can work against attempts to mitigate its local drivers. We conclude with recommendations for a more effective U.S. response that takes both the local and global dynamics into account. This article builds on our February 2021 report “Combating the Islamic State's Spread in Africa: Assessment and Recommendations for Mozambique,” published by the American Enterprise Institute.

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