The ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups have suffered significant setbacks due to global military operations in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, and Northern Africa. However, the Islamist militant groups are facing a resurgence of activities, particularly due to the vacuum left behind by rising military juntas.

Military juntas in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Niger, backed by Russian paramilitary and intelligence services, have become negligent toward counterterrorism, and growing attacks by various extremist organizations are further deteriorating the continent enough to turn several countries into a new haven for the militants.

Islamist Insurgency Background

Against the backdrop of the Global War on Terror, various extremist organizations pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden and his global jihadist group, al-Qaeda. Branching out and expanding after US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, militant groups who pledged allegiance to Bin Laden took a foothold in North, East, and Central Africa.

The main al-Qaeda offshoot in North Africa, AQIM, would be embroiled in decades of fighting against various African countries and a multinational coalition led by France in Mali for nearly a decade. Supplementing France, America would build a major air base in Niger to gather intelligence and conduct drone strikes against various militant groups.

Later, at ISIS’ height of terror, the group would have multiple branches in North and West Africa, leading a deadly insurgency against various unstable governments.

ISIS in Africa

Rise of the Juntas and Global Consequences

Due to localized militaries not having the experience or prowess as the French and Americans, African countries would gradually hire the Russian PMC, Wagner, to help train their forces and help fight the Islamist insurgency. Unfortunately for the governments, Wagner would act as an extended branch of Russian interests in Africa and help prop up numerous military juntas.