Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

The Islamic State is Losing in Africa

| December 13, 2016

And al Qaeda is winning.

On Oct. 26, Islamic State fighters seized control of the ancient port town of Qandala in northern Somalia, marking the group's most significant territorial acquisition to date in that country. In a propaganda video released the following day — and described in dozens of credulous news reports — heavily armed men can be seen marching into the town and hoisting their signature black flag over a tall whitewashed building.

Look closer at the video, however, and it's the same fighters parading past the camera again and again. It was a transparent attempt by the group to seem bigger, and more resilient, than it is in reality. And sure enough, the Islamic State was soon forced to abandon Qandala, retreating to the mountainous enclave where its leader, Abdiqadir Mumin, has been hiding out since he defected from al-Shabab in October 2015....

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hansen, Stig Jarle.“The Islamic State is Losing in Africa.” Foreign Policy, December 13, 2016.