Small Wars Journal

Trump Says ISIS Defeated - But in Mali, Fears Extremism Will Worsen

Trump Says ISIS Defeated - But in Mali, Fears Extremism Will Worsen by Siobhán O'Grady and Danielle Paquette – Washington Post

Days after President Trump declared the Islamic State’s caliphate had been eliminated in Syria, the prime minister of one of West Africa’s most turbulent nations urged the United States to shift attention to a rising extremist threat in the Sahel.

 

Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga visited Washington this week to ask U.S. officials to bolster support for his country’s fight against terrorism, warning that the weakened Islamic State in Iraq and Syria could jump-start the flow of extremists across the Sahel, Africa’s arid northwest, worsen the region’s security and jeopardize American interests there.

 

“The United States should have the same engagement in the Sahel as it does in the Middle East,” he said in an interview. “Malian security is the essential key to international security.”

 

Extremist groups, including some affiliated with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, have wreaked havoc across parts of West Africa and the Sahel. In 2012, al-Qaeda-linked extremists infiltrated Mali, taking control of some of the country’s territory. A French intervention eventually beat them back, but parts of Mali remain a hotbed for extremists…

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