Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Dr. Lounnas Analyzes Sahelian Future in Light of Afghanistan

Dr. Lounnas Analyzes Sahelian Future in Light of Afghanistan

Dr. Djallil Lounnas, Assistant Professor of International Studies at AUI, recently published an article titled "Is Afghanistan Present Sahel's Future?" in the news website InsideOver. In this article, he analyzes the planned French withdrawal from Mali in light of the recent US withdrawal from Afghanistan. He wonders if the subsequent takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban is indicative/comparable of what could happen in Mali with the rise of jihadi groups, such as JNIM (Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims) and ISGS (Islamic State in the Grand Sahara). 

He first discusses how JNIM is a strategic threat, explaining how the group has drawn from the strategies promoted by Al Qaeda, such as the call for having a strong presence in the local communities, preaching to them and not doing violence to them so as to win their favor, as well as forming alliances with other groups, even if non-jihadi. Dr. Lounnas concludes that although the power of the current jihadi groups in the Sahelian states after the French withdrawal from the country raises some concerns, it is important to keep in mind that there other groups that are bigger and more powerful (these are not the most powerful, compared to other groups), and that "these groups often nourish themselves on local populations grievances in the context of States weaknesses more than on their own strength."