Small Wars Journal

ISIS’s West African Offshoot Is Following al Qaeda’s Rules For Success

ISIS’s West African Offshoot Is Following al Qaeda’s Rules For Success by Philip Obaji Jr. - Foreign Policy

As the Islamic State is squeezed out of its self-proclaimed caliphate in the Middle East, its offshoot in West Africa, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), appears to be growing even stronger.

In the last five months, the insurgent group has gained a grim kind of momentum, establishing itself in new towns in northeastern Nigeria and beyond. Along the way, its fighters have slain hundreds of people.

 

In November 2018, the group showed that it could outmaneuver the Nigerian military when it overran a base in Metele, Borno state, killing about 100 soldiers. On March 22, ISWAP demonstrated its ability to strike beyond Nigeria’s borders, killing 23 soldiers during a raid in Chad.

 

The attack came just as Kurdish and Shiite militia fighters were taking back the eastern Syrian town of Baghouz, which was widely interpreted as a signal that the Islamic State’s caliphate in the Middle East had finally been defeated after four years of combat.

 

With the Islamic State’s territory in Iraq and Syria, once the size of Britain, all but gone, it is time to look to its affiliates across the world as the next set of threats to address. Doing so won’t be easy…

Read on.