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Sustainable Security Solutions in West Africa

Al Qaeda affiliate JNIM will root as a quasi-state and maintain lasting control of parts of the Sahel within the next five years if Africa and the international community do not re-prioritize and re-conceptualize what counterterrorism is, what terrorism prevention is, and what it needs to be. According to the 2024 Global Terrorism Index the Central Sahel is the new epicentre of terrorism responsible for 47% of all deaths from terrorism around the world in 2023. The capabilities, strategies, and territorial control of two al Qaeda and ISIS affiliated groups, JNIM and ISGS, have grown at alarming rates in spite of counterterrorism/counterinsurgency efforts – these terrorism successes have contributed to already complex international and regional geopolitics, including coup d’etats of democratically elected governments, a new tri-state alliance between Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, and strife in 2024 between this new tri-state bloc and regional bloc ECOWAS.

In this hybrid event, the Priority Sustainable Counterterrorism program at New Lines will explore new ways of analyzing and countering al Qaeda and ISIS and get to the heart of the problems and possible solutions with government representatives, diplomats, practitioners, civil society, and experts both in West Africa and in Washington D.C. There are approaches and policies that can be prioritized and implemented today, in respect of the current landscape and its complexity, that will further peace and security in the region over the long-term – these are Priority Sustainable solutions.

New Lines’ Priority Sustainable Counterterrorism program will share new information on the operations of al Qaeda in West Africa and will outline how better understanding the civilian experience is crucial to successful prevention and development support. Policymakers, practitioners, and experts will engage in a rich discussion on the way forward – how we may apply lessons learned to better prevent and mitigate the spread of terrorism and support strong communities and sustainable structures necessary for a peaceful and prosperous West Africa.

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