Publications Études de l'Ifri

Armed Violence in the Sahara. Are We Moving From Jihadism to Insurgency? Etudes de l'Ifri, December 2019

While everyone is questioning the effectiveness of the anti-terrorist response in the Sahel, the first challenge is to ensure that the jihadist phenomenon in the Sahel is fully understood. 


Jihad in the Sahel is “glocal” and must be understood as the result of interactions between dynamics at the local level and on a more global scale. Far from representing a homogeneous movement of religious essence, Sahelian jihad results from the agglomeration of local sources of insurgency built on social, political or economic fractures - sometimes very old and which have crystalized. With the expansion of jihadist groups in the central and southern Sahel - far from their historical bases - this religious dimension is likely to be even less perceptible in the future. It will give way to hybrid forms of violence where self-defense, rebellion and jihadism feed off each other. However, the response provided by both States and their international partners seems to be out of step with this reality. They advocate a purely military response to a largely political phenomenon. In the absence of a political response, the insurgents are being pushed into a genuine radicalization.

Armed Violence in the Sahara. Are We Moving From Jihadism to Insurgency?
Armed conflict Internet jihadism radicalisation Security Policy Terrorism Africa Sahara