Islamist insurgents seek to spread their influence west on the African continent, taking advantage of weak governance and struggling security forces, as well as dire economic situations and climbing unemployment figures. The Islamic State's pivot toward Africa comes after years of declining prevalence in the Middle East and provides an opportunity for the group to regain legitimacy through its affiliates. Militant groups in Nigeria, Mali, and Burkina Faso threaten West African regional stability.
Is there a connection between the threat of a growing extremist presence in West Africa and the growing number of recent coups in the region? To provide an update following our June 7 panel on the same subject, Africa Program Chair Charles Ray will be joined once again by Dr. Daniel Eizenga and Emily Estelle, with the addition of Dr. Ndubuisi Christian Ani to address this and other questions pertaining to political violence in the region.
Emily Estelle - Emily Estelle is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the research manager of AEI’s Critical Threats Project, which provides open-source intelligence analysis on the Salafi-jihadi movement and Iran.
Daniel Eizenga - Dr. Daniel Eizenga is a Research Fellow at the African Center for Strategic Studies responsible for conducting policy-relevant research advancing understanding of pressing security challenges facing Africa.
Charles A. Ray - Charles A. Ray, a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Africa Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Zimbabwe.