The transmutation of jihadi organizations in the Sahel and the regional security architecture

The Transmutation of Jihadi Organizations in the Sahel and the Regional Security Architecture

Publication date:
Djallil Lounnas, Assistant Professor of International Studies at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco

MENARA Future Notes, nº. 10

Since 2017, the jihadi scene in the Sahel has witnessed major changes with the merger of all the groups that were affiliated with Al-Qaeda, leading to the creation of a new and powerful one: the Group in Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM), under the leadership of Iyad Ag Ghali. In parallel, and since 2015, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) has emerged as a direct competitor to the Al-Qaeda affiliates in the Sahel. However, the collapse of ISIS in the Middle East raises the prospect of a new re-composition of the jihadi scene in the Sahel, namely a rapprochement between the GSIM and the ISGS. In this context and facing this major threat, the Sahelian states have been trying to set up a regional organization, the G5 Sahel, with the help of the European Union and especially of France. However, almost four years after the launch of this organization, it remains unclear whether it will be able to overcome its weaknesses and to confront the growing jihadi organizations.