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ANALYSIS: How will ISIS setbacks impact Africa?


Denys Reva | ISS TODAY | The recent liberation of Mosul in Iraq is just one of many setbacks for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Military upsets, territorial losses and financial pressures have reportedly decreased the number of active fighters in the group from an estimated 70 000 in 2015 to around 12 000. The inflow of new recruits has practically stopped.

By mid-2017 the group had lost around 60% of its territory and 80% of its revenue. This has dealt a major blow to the self-declared caliphate. However these setbacks are unlikely to signal the end of ISIS soon. The factors that brought the organisation about, and significant support for its agenda, still exist. What should the world and Africa expect in this regard?

A recent UN report outlines a number of threats that emerge from the changing situation in Iraq and Syria. It highlights increased risks of lone-wolf terrorist attacks by home-grown perpetrators, especially in Europe, and against other ‘Western’ targets elsewhere. The report also suggests that ISIS is assessing the possibility of regrouping – possibly in unstable countries where it has a presence, like Libya.

The group is increasingly attempting to support its networks and bolster its presence in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia, it is believed. Foreign terrorist fighters will probably continue to flee from Iraq and Syria, and return to their home countries (possibly in the guise of refugees), or attempt to join ISIS-affiliated groups in other regions.



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