Bottom Line Up Front Al-Qaeda maintains a stronger position in the Sahel than Islamic State-affiliated groups. Although Western targets have been struck in recent years, the vast majority of jihadist attacks and resources have been focused on local-level operations in the Sahel. Besides jihadist groups, there are various vigilante, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Increasing sectarian violence has destabilized once peaceful Burkina Faso, transforming the country into a hotbedof militant jihadist activity. Fighters linked to AQIM and the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara have been fighting for supremacy throughout West Africa. Jihadists have long viewed West Africa ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In March, 130 civilians were killed in an attack in the Mopti region of central Mali, where a growing security crisis threatens to further destabilize the country. Despite sustained international efforts, several jihadist groups are active in Mali and have exacerbated pre-existing tensions within the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Since 2016, there have been more than 230 terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, which threatens to destabilize the landlocked West African nation. In the north of the country, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara both pose growing security threats. ...

Bottom Line: A 2015 peace accord between the Mali government and ethnic Tuaregs in the north of the country has failed to produce economic or security benefits for the northern tribe, with each side blaming the other for the failure of the deal. The dispute could devolve once again into ...

ISIS has lost approximately 95 percent of the territory it once controlled across Syria and Iraq. The group may now set its sights on establishing safe havens across the Sahel, a threat that has drawn considerable attention from the U.S. government. The U.S. has been historically inconsistent in its involvement ...

Five African nations who formed a new counterterrorism force conducted their first joint operation this week in the tri-border area between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. The purpose of the Oct. 30 mission was to show the force is “operational,” Mali’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Abdoulaye Diop, told The ...

Earlier this year,  The Cipher Brief examined the deteriorating security situation across North Africa, contending that al Qaeda’s regional offshoot, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was poised to wreak havoc and generate further instability throughout the Sahel. Over the past nine months, this appears to have been the ...

Although the United States counterterrorism campaign is focused on key battlegrounds in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, the threat posed by al Qaeda in North Africa remains a concern for U.S. intelligence officials. The U.S. has partnered with France to combat extremist groups in the North African region, with ...

Developments in the Sahel are cause for real alarm. Insecurity in northern and central Mali, the epicenter of much of the region’s al Qaeda-related violence, continues to grow, while Islamist violence has spread from there and from northern Nigeria to Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Just last month, gunmen ...

Early Monday morning, at least two terrorists attacked a prominent Turkish café in the Burkina Faso capital city of Ouagadougou, leaving nearly 20 people dead including at least 8 foreigners from a number of countries, including Kuwait, Canada, France, Lebanon, Nigeria, Senegal, and Turkey. The attackers shot customers on a ...

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) propensity for kidnapping was back on display earlier this week, as al Qaeda’s North African branch released a video of Swiss Christian missionary Beatrice Stockly, who has been held captive by the terrorist group for more than a year. The recording of Stockly ...

Four years ago, French forces intervened in Mali, successfully averting an al Qaeda-backed thrust toward the capital of Bamako. The French operation went a long way toward reducing the threat that multiple jihadist groups posed to this West Africa nation. The situation in Mali today remains tenuous, however, and the ...

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) emergence ten years ago this month was a Hail Mary. In 2004, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had orchestrated the second of two national amnesties in an attempt to finally bring an end to Algeria’s decade-old Islamist insurgency. The leader of one remaining terrorist ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Kathleen McChesney about hotel and personal security in the wake of the attack against the Radisson Hotel in Bamako, Mali. McChesney was the Vice President for Global Security for the Walt Disney Company and served as the Executive Assistant Director for Law Enforcement at the ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Hans Kanold, CEO of SafeHotels Alliance, a standards organization for hotel security. TCB spoke with Kanold about the siege of the RadissonBlu in Mali, the difficulty in preventing terrorist attacks, and the importance of the human factor in keeping a hotel safe.  The Cipher Brief: ...

The Cipher Brief reached out to Dr. Geoff Porter, the founder of North Africa Risk Consulting, to get his take on security trends in Mali in the wake of yesterday’s attack against the RadissonBlu hotel. Porter, also an assistant professor at West Point, has spent more than two decades working ...

Osama bin Laden would be a happy man were he still alive. His hopes and dreams have seemingly come to fruition. And, the master plan that one of his closest disciples devised for him a decade ago to reverse al Qaeda’s then waning fortunes and launch it on a trajectory ...