Selava Omar – Xeber24.net
The American newspaper “Washington Post”, reported that ISIS attacks have escalated in Africa in recent times, coinciding with the Trump administration’s intention to withdraw from the region and his claim that ISIS has been definitively defeated.
The “Washington Post” reported in an extensive report that on August 5, militants waving the black ISIS flag launched a daring land and sea attack on the strategic port of “Mosimboa da Praia” in northern Mozambique, and in less than a week they defeated government forces and captured the entire city.
Days later, a different group of armed men attacked the famous wildlife park for giraffes in Niger, firing from motorbikes and killing eight people, including six humanitarian workers.
The two attacks are among dozens of violent incidents that rocked the continent, which come less than two years after the fall of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, as the terrorist group is trying to return to Africa, with far-reaching repercussions for a region suffering from poverty, corruption and the Corona virus.
And at least three militant movements are mounting across vast swaths of land, from the Sinai desert to the badlands of the western Lake Chad basin, to the picturesque Indian Ocean villages and resort islands in the southeast.
While Trump presided over the final stages of the U.S.-led military campaign to destroy ISIS’s material succession, efforts to contain the group and its violent ideology have faltered, according to current and former counterterrorism officials and independent analysts.
And the spike in violence comes as the Trump administration moves to reduce US troop deployments and threatens to reduce support for local governments fighting on the front lines of the battle against militants.
In this context, Deputy Director of Operations at the CIA during the George W. Bush administration, Robert Richer, said, “ISIS is not dead, we destroyed the caliphate, but it has now appeared in many places, and in the meantime, the global coalition to fight ISIS no longer really exists.”
Other officials say that the threat has moved to new areas and in various forms, in the eighteen months that have passed since the fall of the last Syrian stronghold of ISIS, ISIS branches in Africa have seen huge gains in land and recruits, as well as in firepower, according to a study published in August in the journal CTC Sentinel.
With the support of a coalition of more than 80 countries, the United States provided air power and intelligence support to Iraqi forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces.
“Bruce Riedel”, a former CIA official and senior adviser to four US presidents, said: “The biggest success story for us in the past ten years is the way in which we created a leadership crisis in the global jihadist movement, by eliminating the leaders of those organizations. He calls it the world of counter-terrorism. ”
But even as the United States and allied forces tightened the screws on Al-Baghdadi’s followers in Iraq and Syria, other White House policies undermined efforts to defeat violent extremist ideology globally, according to Riddell and other counterterrorism experts.
Even more surprising is the growth of extremist groups in West Africa, the home of ISIS and Al Qaeda, which operate and compete frequently across Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
And while militants have been active in the region for years, the problem has grown dramatically over the past two years, with violence in the region killing 4,825 people in 2019, the highest rate in ten years.
And by October, the number of victims this year had risen to 5,365, already confirming that 2020 will be even more deadly.
US officials say that the attack on Mosimboa da Praia in August included a sophisticated and multi-pronged military offensive by well-armed militants who outdid the local government garrison.
And the militants were able to exploit the weaknesses of poorly equipped local governments to fight armed and geographically dispersed rebellions.
However, Pentagon officials acknowledge that they are now studying plans to withdraw from West Africa, pending the results of the overseas situation review ordered by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Leaders of West African nations and their European allies urged the United States to stay, saying the intelligence and training provided by American soldiers was crucial to fighting extremism.
A French military officer focusing on the Sahel, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the withdrawal would deal a major blow to the efforts, according to newspaper.