Africa becomes the new battleground for ISIS and al-Qaeda, after their defeat in Mideast

Two men carry the body of a victim following the explosion of a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu, on October 14, 2017. A truck bomb exploded outside a hotel at a busy junction in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on October 14, 2017 causing widespread devastation AFP PHOTO / Mohamed ABDIWAHABMOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images
Two men carry the body of a victim following the explosion of a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu, on October 14, 2017. A truck bomb exploded outside a hotel at a busy junction in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on October 14, 2017 causing widespread devastation AFP PHOTO / Mohamed ABDIWAHABMOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images

A massive blast in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu on Oct. 14 and more recent terror attacks in Somalia, Niger and Egypt highlight Africa as a new battleground against al-Qaeda and the Islamic State as they are being driven out of the Middle East.

The Islamic State, or ISIS, is seeking a safe harbor after major losses in Iraq and Syria. And al-Qaeda looks to secure its future by expanding operations and alliances in the sub-Saharan region, analysts say.

“The collapse of the Islamic State’s stronghold in Raqqa (Syria) will cause a re-coalescence of fighters on the continent, most of whom come from North African countries,” said Ali Bakr, an analyst specializing in terrorism at Future Advanced Research, a think tank in Abu Dhabi.

Tunisia alone has sent at least 6,500 volunteers who joined al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq, said Bakr. Many are now likely to join an expanding terrorist network in West and Central Africa, he said.

“The region is likely to be hit by a severe wave of returning Islamic State fighters while al-Qaeda expands into other states such as Niger, Burkina Faso and Nigeria,” Bakr said. “Niger has become a new source for recruits, and Ansarul Islam, an al-Qaeda franchise, is now active in Burkina Faso.”

On Oct. 4, militants believed to be affiliated with ISIS ambushed a team of U.S. troops in Niger, killing four soldiers and wounding two. The attack came as U.S.-supported Syrian rebels were on the verge of retaking Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital that fell on Oct. 17.

Massive attack in Mogadishu

Somalia has been a frequent target of attacks, including one outside Mogadishu on Wednesday that killed at least 17 people. It followed the horrific truck bomb 11 days earlier in Mogadishu that was one of the deadliest terror strikes since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The blast killed more than 350 and injured hundreds more. While no group claimed responsibility, the Somali government suspects al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate behind a wave of terror attacks in the region.

“I’ve seen seven suicide explosions in my life,” said Mohamed Haji Ingiris, 35, a Somali and political analyst at King’s College in London. “But this was the most devastating and traumatic experience ever.”

Ingiris had arrived in Mogadishu three weeks ago to conduct research, including interviewing defectors from al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab has been involved in 987 of 1,827 attacks by militant Islamist groups in Africa this year, according to the Africa Center for Security Studies in Washington, D.C.

The Somali group has had a long affiliation with al-Qaeda but now appears to be cooperating with ISIS, controlling much of the countryside, analysts said.

“Some told me they trained with Nigerians sent by Boko Haram,” said Ingiris, referring to the Islamic State-linked militants that have run rampant throughout West Africa. “Al-Shabab in East Africa is now stronger in Africa than al-Qaeda is in the Middle East and no longer looks to them for mentorship but still benefits from funds raised by their network in the Arab Gulf countries.”

In Egypt on Friday, dozens of police were killed in clashes with militants in the Western Desert, which is part of the Sahara. Three-quarters of the violent events linked to ISIS in Africa this year have occurred in Egypt.

A day later, gunmen in pickup trucks and motorcycles killed at least 12 soldiers in an attack on their base in Niger, about a mile from where the U.S. soldiers were ambushed near the Mali border.

Militant threat grows

The groups operating in the Sahara and Sahel are growing in size and reach, analysts and the U.S. military said.

The Islamic State has been battling rival forces in Libya, where the U.S. has targeted the militants with drone strikes.

France and other European countries stepped up anti-terror operations in Africa last year after an al-Qaeda affiliate attacked a beach resort in the Ivory Coast, a former French colony, and subsequently struck targets in Mali and Burkina Faso.

About 4,000 French troops are deployed in West and Central Africa, with headquarters in Chad, which has been battling extremists along with Cameroon and Nigeria. Germany has sent 1,000 troops to support a U.N. counter-terrorism operation in Mali.

The U.S. military has stepped up its anti-terror fight elsewhere in Africa to meet the growing threat, staging exercises and conducting training operations.

American military leaders have established a drone and air base in Agadez, Niger, and deployed 800 troops in the country to operate alongside anti-terror efforts in Nigeria and Mali, according to the U.S. Africa Command and the Defense Department.

The number of U.S. troops in Somalia has also quadrupled in the past year to 400 personnel, according to the Defense Department.

“We are assessing the needs of those who are directly fighting against al-Shabab,” said U.S. Army Maj. Leah Mock at the American military’s security cooperation office in Mogadishu. “This mission plays a critical role in enabling our partners to fight violent extremists.”

The escalation of that fight against al-Shabab may have led to the devastating Mogadishu truck bomb, analysts said.

Investigators in Somalia told local media that the bomber was a defector from the national army who joined al-Shabab after a U.S.-supported raid on the town of Barire about 80 miles southwest of the capital led to the deaths of 10 local civilians.

Analysts say the battle against the new wave of terror in Africa will require more than military operations. Also needed are better living conditions so people lacking basic necessities aren’t lured to work for the militants.

“Greater (economic) capacity has to be developed to countermand and understand this threat. That’s not really happening,” said Matt Bryden, chairman of Sahan Research, a Nairobi-based think tank.

Impoverished African governments also worry that even as they receive international military assistance, Western nations will scale back on desperately needed development programs.

They point to the landlocked nation of Burkina Faso, where on Sept. 3 the U.S. evacuated 124 Peace Corps volunteers from the country following an Aug. 13 terror attack at a restaurant in the capital, Ouagadougou.

“Peace Corps volunteers worked in rural areas, in remote villages, where the living conditions are tough,” said Boureima Ouédraogo, a city council member in Bokin, about 80 miles outside the capital. “The Peace Corps team was improving agriculture and education here. Now we need to find expensive temporary contractors to replace them. It’s a grave loss to our community.”

Underscoring the need for non-military aid, a report issued this week by the International Crisis Group found that the rise of Islamic militancy is a response to social problems.

“Economic conditions, especially poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment compounded by corruption and bad governance are incentives for terrorism,” said Augustin Loada, director of the Center for Democratic Governance, an independent policy research group in Ouagadougou. “These factors fuel the risk of violent extremism.”




25 responses to “Africa becomes the new battleground for ISIS and al-Qaeda, after their defeat in Mideast”

  1. Read: Africa becomes the new battleground for the warmongering Anglo-American necons after their defeat in Mideast.

    1. Omega is intentionally blind, can not mention really Muslim Orabian occupation of Africa?

      1. At least and unlike you, I am not intentionally immoral. I don’t justify a wrong with another wrong.

        1. ?Lol Orabian occupation, catastrophe everywhere is not wrong. Your moral is moral of hateful antisemites, jews and civilization haters

          1. Who talked about Jews here? You hate Muslims/Islam and cover it up with a projected hatred of Jews. Get a grip. I called out the Anglo-American wars and the destruction they have waged for well over a century. You legitimized it in making a reference to the Arabic invasions. You’re too stupid to understand the idea that one wrong can’t make another wrong right.

          2. Your intention is clearly visible, hateful snake, you can fool only yourself. You are just happy O.K. substitute muslim barbarian orabian or Iranian colonialism .above “Anglo-American” and “Zionism”

          3. Schizophrenia seems like a reoccurring side effect of inbreeding among your kind.

          4. check yourself, hateful idiot

          5. You confirm what I said: you’re too stupid to comprehend that one wrong doesn’t make another wrong right.

          6. You confirm what i said: you are too stupid to comprehend West Civilisation is less evil than you with your defence of more evil barbarians

  2. Danny Farah Avatar
    Danny Farah

    These cowards and pesticide keep roaming the world for a prey. They have nothing else to do but kill in the name of Allah. I hope he will not have any mercy on you and burn every ISIS and Al Qaeda believer until hell freezes over. Rot in hell you bastard and worshipers of the Devil.

    1. They don’t kill in the name of Allah. If they did, they wouldn’t kill Muslims. They kill for money as they are recruited, paid, armed, trained and supported by the Anglo-American-Israelis and their “allies”.

      1. They don’t kill in the name of idiot Omega as of now. But Omega (who knows) can be next like Bagdadi ISIS spiritual leader against Western Civilization

        1. They kill all but Jews and Israelis for shekels. Do the math.

          How many times was Baghdadi drone killed, injured and brought to life again?

          1. Math is you are friend of Baghdadi, for you he is less evil compared with West Civilization

          2. Do the math again. You can do it.

      2. Danny Farah Avatar
        Danny Farah

        Well if you are right then how come they are killing american soldiers in Niger? how come the Russians are using the Talibans in Afghanistan.. Your theory have holes in it.. Again you tend to ignore the Chinese advances in the South East Asia. Otherwise why would Vietnam, Philippines and Japan over the Chinese aggressive policies.. How about Russia who eliminate any oppositions to the Kremlin are we blaming Israel here as well. If you have fair criticism of Chinese, Russian and Anglo-Saxon altogether then its fair game.. Also how about Ruhani the Iranian President whom he said that no decision in Lebanon, Iraq cannot be made without Tehran approval. Are you accepting that fact.. Please do no level anything against Hariri because no matter what you think of him. What the Iranian President said it’s what other Iranian officials been saying on the ground. Do I want Saudi controlled gov’t hell no. I just want Lebanon to be free of all outside control.
        Yes I ventured outside the scope of this article and your accusations. But what I am getting at is to have a fair criticism of all not just the west. Peace!

        1. You did more than venture outside the scope of the article and my comment. You, as usual, pulled a series of straw man arguments to say absolutely nothing at the very end.

          I don’t know if you suffer from some kind of attention disorder (I am not saying this negatively) but it makes it very complicated to have a conversation with you. You’re all over the place, all the time.

          1. Danny Farah Avatar
            Danny Farah

            So accusing the US and Israel is not venturing? what do you really call that. you the are one who is having mental disorder since you can’t see the trees in the forest. you are blindsided and arrogant asshole.

          2. You’re the one who said you ventured outside the article; I simply agreed with you. Read again. My comment was on point and backed up: that the Anglo-Americans have been planning more wars in Africa. Their recruited, paid, armed, trained and supported Takfiri hordes are just a pretext to legitimaze military interventions to control natural ressources.

            Russia, China and what not were/are not relevant in this article. As I told you, you constantly pull straw man arguments and then go on an incoherent manic-depressive tantrum, raving all sorts of irrelevant and disconnects arguments. When called out, you resort to ad hominem. But alright, I’ll address them:

            • Russia doesn’t use the Talibans. It stated it would arm them in Afghanistan if the US didn’t respect detains of the agreed upon conditions in Syria.

            • China must protect its territorial sovereignty and its waters. What is the US doing so close to China? The same applies to Russia and Iran, the US builds bases to encircle them and then goes on whining that they (Russia, China and Iran) are expanding. Reality – and this should be aligned with your concept of overall fairness – is that all want hegemony.

            • This wasn’t mentioned but it needs addressing: China is also Africa (Sudan) for the oil – but like in Afghanistan, it doesn’t subjugate the people by waging bogus wars and killing thousands/millions. It establishes mutual beneficial business relationship. Something the Anglo-American-Israelis know nothing about – look at modern history.

            • Iran complied with the West with the nuclear deal. Look at how it’s being back-stabbed by the US. While it may well by smoke and mirrors by the Trump administration (whatever is left of it anyway since he fired all his anti-Iran advisors), it remains that it shows the usual true side of the UK-US. The West did the same to Iraq who agreed to disarm from 1990 to 2003 to then be invaded/attacked at the pressure of IsraHell with the WMD lies it pushed and sold to the US Congress. Libya (the most successful country growing in Africa) lives the same faith after it agreed to give up its WMDS, agreed to end its decades-long nuclear program.

            • Hariri? Not even sure how you diverted there. I couldn’t even if I tried for years. Either way, you did a poor job at covering up your wish for an “independent Lebanon” while cheering for the Saudi’s lapdog.

          3. Danny Farah Avatar
            Danny Farah

            Yes anything you say.. Russia is not arming the Taliban and neither is Iran. Denial is what you are good at. And China is protecting its territorial sovereignty and waters. Damn China sovereignty is extending to Japan, Philippine and Vietnam. Next will be South Korea and Quam. In Niger there are US and French troops but not until Al Qaeda and Daesh is trying to overrun the area. They are trying to hunt down the leaders and that was the mission of the Soldiers who died recently. You would think someone like who pretending to be Anti Daesh is covering up their activity by mudding it with US overtaking Africa. Are you like serious dude?

          4. What I say is irrelevant – this is not my opinion.

            • If Russia and/or Iran are arming the Talibans; show me proof. And if they (Russia and/or Iran) do, then great. Why would the Anglo-Americans be the only one entitled to hegemonic aspirations?

            • Yes, China is protecting its sovereignty. You should read less US news and research what’s really going there.

            • Do you realize there was no Deash, IS, ISIS, ISIl, et al until the US invaded Iraq and Libya? Who’s to blame? Over 1 trillion dollars later, terrorism has increased over 6000%. Get real with your Captain America saving the world fairytale.

            • About Niger, I guess you know more than the US government. There were US troops there way before this incident. The killing of the 4 soldiers only shed light on US presence. See:

            Nobody knows anything. Trump can’t recall the names of the slain soldiers. Mad Dog Mattis can’t explain what the soldiers were doing when they were killed. Lindsay Graham and Chuck Schumer had no idea the US had 800 boots on the ground in Niger, even though they had both repeatedly voted to appropriate money for Africom’s operations in the Lake Chad Basin and in the Saharan Region, allegedly to target ISIS and Boko Haram.

            Most Americans were shocked to learn that the US had any troops in Niger. Of course, most Americans were also shocked that Niger (of Bush-era yellowcake fame) is not Nigeria. They are also cautious about whether or not it is safe to pronounce the name of the country in public.


            • The US has 800+ military bases around the the world by according to you, it’s those who are being invaded, bombed, stolen, killed, displaced who are the problem. And when people don’t want to bow – because you know, they have pride, have lived on the land for thousands of years, want to live debt free, don’t want to eat that genetically modified manure, etc – they are demonized as “terrorists” to justify military interventions.

            So yes, “dude”, I am “like” serious.

          5. There are so many fallacies it is painful to read.

            “It establishes mutual beneficial business relationship. Something the Anglo-American-Israelis know nothing about – look at modern history.”

            You perception of history and reality appear to be two different things.
            And also, Iran’s government/mullah dictatorship, is one of the world biggest turd governments in power today. Iran planed to cheat on the deal as much as possible until real nuclear inspections were demanded, and then they will quit it before the US cancels it. Renewed sanctions will again put Iran near economic/political collapse.
            I am sure the mullahs in Tehran apriciate your support when most of the civilized people in the world see them as just another bunch of Islamic terrorists.

          6. I am sorry to read you are in pain. I take it your brain cannot process the truth. Some acetaminophen should help relieve your cranial inflammation. If the pain is rectal due to your reluctance at accepting the truth, then some hemorrhoidal cream (cooling gel of preference) should appease your acute discomfort.

            There is no such thing as “perception” of history – there is history; period. But for the sake of this argument, I’ll entertain the idea. My perception and reality converge: when have you seen the Anglo-American-Israelis bring a win-win offer to the table with anyone? Go ahead and name one instance; I am waiting. But before your fingers on your Sino device, think a little – the enthronement of puppets don’t count.

            What you quoted from my previous comment was about China. In Afghanistan, they signed a $3B deal to exploit a copper mine – and that is one deal alone. I don’t see the Chinese waging bogus wars in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

            It’s hilarious how every single one of your comment is about Iran – you’re hysterical. You can most certainly claim that Iran did not comply or had intentions to cheat. At the end of the day, your opinion is as relevant as your contribution to his planet: nil. Little that an idiot like you know, for the Iran deal to be approved – and it was by all of the P5+1 members (including the US under Obama) – inspecting were conducted and confirmed.

          7. I can’t disagree with that. He is just playing mind-games with you.
            He is good at maneuvering around a debate.

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