The Islamic State group established a presence in North Africa following its successes in the Middle East. Shortly after the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) changed its name to the Islamic State (IS) and declared a caliphate spanning eastern Syria and western Iraq in late June 2014, pledges of allegiance rolled in from groups in North Africa to the declared leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. IS was subsequently able to establish a significant presence in Libya, where a "capital" conceived along the lines of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria was established in the coastal city of Sirte. IS has also gained a foothold in Egypt and, albeit to a lesser degree, in Algeria and Tunisia. The many pledges of fealty, or bayaa, appeared to signal that IS was expanding rapidly in North Africa and eroding the position of al-Qaeda as the foremost transnational jihadi organization in the region. However, the fortunes of IS have been changing of late. The loss of Sirte in December 2016 to militias loyal to Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), assisted by U.S. airstrikes, represented a major setback to the group's ambitions in North Africa and further draws attention to the group's overstretch. With its weaknesses becoming more apparent, will IS be able to remain and expand in North Africa as its slogan asserts?
There is little doubt that IS will survive in North Africa, having managed to carve out a place in the jihadi landscape, making gains at al-Qaeda's expense. Moreover, as long as Libya remains at risk of a renewed civil war and its governance continues to be inadequate, the possibility that IS will regroup and retake small pockets of territory cannot be excluded. IS may also be able to make additional gains in Libya and Tunisia, in particular, as a result of the defection of some younger members of al-Qaeda-linked groups, such as Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and Tunisia, that may want to break away from the old guard. However, the IS expansion in North Africa over the longer term is far from certain. In order to compete with al-Qaeda, which is much more firmly embedded in the region, IS would need to adopt a similar strategy. This would mean not only morphing into a more traditional terrorist organization, with a long-term approach to the project of building an Islamic state, but also supporting local jihadi groups and inserting itself into local narratives to be less conspicuous. Internal disputes within IS affiliates about their groups' future direction, defections from the groups, and the formation of splinter groups should be expected. The jihadi landscape in the region, therefore, runs the risk of becoming even more fragmented.
To further undercut the momentum behind the growth of IS in North Africa, pressure on IS in Libya, as well as in Syria and Iraq, should be maintained; this will lay bare the vulnerabilities of its strategy and undermine the appeal of its brand. Yet, this needs to be accompanied by sustained efforts to achieve an inclusive and durable political settlement to the Libyan conflict, as well as international assistance to improve governance in the country. Tunisia's lack of experience in countering violent extremism, its governance deficiencies and the fragility of its political consensus also leave it especially vulnerable. Security assistance and broader support for the political transition in the country should, therefore, be a priority. Further fragmentation of the jihadi landscape in North Africa, perhaps accompanied by spectacular attacks as groups assert themselves, will also mean that counterterrorism efforts in the broader region may need additional support, as will initiatives to enhance regional security cooperation.
The territorial gains of IS in Syria and Iraq, as well as the return home of Libyans fighting alongside IS in Syria, created the impetus for the emergence of a number of IS affiliates in North Africa from the latter half of 2014 onwards. Not surprisingly, IS established its strongest presence in Libya. Civil war, raging in the country since mid-2014, had created permissive conditions for an IS affiliate to be founded with relative ease. The Libyan chaos also sparked the interest of the IS leadership in Syria. According to IS propaganda, Libya was perceived as a potential safe haven for IS militants, should IS in the Levant come under increased pressure from the anti-IS coalition. In addition, its geographic location was seen as favorable to expansion into Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia, as well as southern Europe.1 The strategic value of Libya prompted the IS leadership in Syria to send an outreach mission to the country. In early 2014, members of the Battar Brigade, an IS unit in Syria made up of Libyans, returned to their homeland and set up Majlis Shura Shabaab al-Islam (the Islamic Youth Shura Council, MSSI) in the eastern coastal city of Derna. Senior militants from IS in Syria were dispatched to help the members of MSSI establish an IS province in Libya, which came to fruition in October 2014, when a "Wilayat Barqa" (Cyrenaica Province) was declared.2 However, the group was driven out of Derna in June 2015 by a local, pro-al-Qaeda umbrella group, the Mujahedeen Shura Council of Derna, in response to oppression of the local population by IS, in addition to tribal considerations.3 Yet, it was able to rebound.
IS militants then moved into Muammar Qadhafi's hometown of Sirte without significant opposition. They were initially able to capitalize on the local population's harsh treatment by anti-Qadhafi brigades, although people did eventually attempt to rise up against the group, only to be brutally suppressed. Before the recent offensive to liberate Sirte by brigades loyal to the GNA, IS not only controlled the city but had expanded its territory to include 200 kilometers of the coast east of Sirte. The group had also launched several attacks on nearby oil terminals, raising fears that it intended to capture key oil infrastructure. In addition to holding territory, IS has also been operating by means of a cellular structure. A number of IS cells are known to exist in Tripoli, Benghazi, Sabratha near the border with Tunisia, Bani Walid in the northwest, the Jufra district in central Libya and the Kufra district in the southeast.4 The overall number of IS militants in Libya is unknown; however, prior to its loss of Sirte, estimates ranged from 2,000 to 10,000. The actual number is likely to have been somewhere in the middle, around 5,000 to 6,000. This would still have made IS one of the largest non-state armed groups in Libya.5 Its numbers today are likely to be much lower, following the reported flight of a number of its fighters from the country, both southward to join Boko Haram and west to Tunisia.6
In Egypt, too, IS has been able to gain a considerable foothold, though primarily in the Sinai Peninsula. It is most active in the North Sinai Governorate bordering Israel. The group's notable presence in Egypt stems from a pledge of allegiance in November 2014 by the formerly al-Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (Supporters of Jerusalem, ABM), after which the group became known as "Wilayat Sinai" (Sinai Province). ABM was created in the midst of a security vacuum on the peninsula following the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. It provided an ideal place from which the group could build up its capacities and launch high-profile attacks on Israeli targets, such as the city of Eilat and the gas pipeline to Israel. However, following the ousting of former President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, the group turned its attention to targeting symbols of the Egyptian regime, though still largely in North Sinai.7 With the group's pledge of allegiance to IS the following year, more spectacular attacks followed, no longer confined to national targets, as the bombing of the Russian Metrojet flight departing from Sharm el-Sheikh in October 2015 indicated. The group also now appears more interested in demonstrating control of territory. Although it cannot be said to hold land in the same way as the IS Libyan branch has been able to, Sinai Province has made some zones in northern Sinai "no-go" areas for Egyptian security forces. The group is also believed to have cells in southern Sinai, Cairo, areas north of Cairo (Dakahlia and Qalyubia) and northeast of Cairo (Ismailia), and Matrouh in western Egypt. While Sinai Province is Egypt's main jihadi organization, it is considerably smaller than the IS branch in Libya had been before the liberation of Sirte, with an estimated 500 to 1,000 fighters in Egypt as a whole.8 Its links to the IS leadership in the Middle East also appear to be weaker than in the Libyan case, although connections between Sinai Province and senior IS commanders in Sirte are thought to have existed.9
The IS presence in Algeria remains fairly limited, even though it was the first North African country in which an IS affiliate emerged, when a splinter group from the "center zone" of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Jund Al-Khalifa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), defected to IS. In a statement released in September 2014, the leader of Jund al-Khalifa, Abdelmalek Gouri, accused al-Qaeda's North African franchise of deviating from the true path and proclaimed his allegiance to IS.10 Shortly after the statement was released, Jund al-Khalifa kidnapped and beheaded Hervé Gourdel, a French national who had been hiking in Kabylia in northeastern Algeria. The beheading was apparently a reprisal for French involvement in the anti-IS campaign in Iraq. Several months later, in December 2014, Jund Al-Khalifa announced the creation of a Wilayat al-Jazair (Algeria Province). Yet, despite the group's much-publicized arrival on the scene, its rise has been short lived. Following a concerted campaign by the Algerian security forces against the group, its manpower is believed to be minimal: approximately 30 fighters.11
Jund al-Khalifa's bayaa was followed by a series of pledges of allegiance to IS, the first being in May 2015 by a group of formerly AQIM-loyal jihadis in Skikda Province in eastern Algeria. The same month, Humat al-Daawah al-Salafiyah (Protectors of the Salafist Call), a jihadi group operating in Tlemcen in northwestern Algeria and affiliated with AQIM, also switched sides. This was followed in July 2015 by a pledge of allegiance to IS by fighters who claimed to be former members of AQIM's al-Ghuraba Brigade operating in the eastern city of Constantine. Shortly after this, a number of militants claiming to be members of AQIM's al-Ansar Brigade in central Algeria also announced their defection to IS. While the quick succession of pledges gave the impression that IS was growing rapidly in Algeria, these four groups have carried out no attacks since their bayaa and are believed to comprise no more than a dozen fighters each.12 Thus, the numerous defections to IS are less significant than they may appear.
IS has been slower to emerge in Tunisia, yet it does have a growing, though still modest, presence. A little-known Tunisian jihadi group, Jund al-Khalifa, claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, but its capacities, as well as its size, are difficult to assess. It claimed to have carried out the attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March 2015. However, the Tunisian security services insist that Uqba Ibn Nafi, an AQIM-affiliated group waging an insurgency in the Chaambi Mountains near the border with Algeria, was responsible. Jund al-Khalifa has also claimed responsibility for the death in November 2015 of a shepherd whom it accused of informing the army of its movements in central Tunisia. It is also believed to have murdered a soldier in central Tunisia during the same month. Another IS-affiliated group, Mujahedeen Tunisia Kairouan, declared its allegiance to IS in May 2015. The attack on tourists at a beach resort in the coastal town of Sousse in June 2015 was carried out by a gunman believed to be linked to the group. However, again, little is known about the group itself.13
The inroads made by IS in North Africa have certainly come at the expense of al-Qaeda, as defections to IS suggest. However, loyalty to al-Qaeda remains strong. Its regional franchise, AQIM, like IS, took advantage of the turmoil in Libya to expand its influence in the country, using it as a safe haven for its fighters as well as a source of arms.14 Though discreet, AQIM's influence in Libya is significant. Rather than announcing its presence, as IS has done, AQIM has chosen to back local jihadi and Islamist-oriented armed groups, empowering them to act as fronts. It supports one of Libya's largest jihadi organizations, Ansar al-Sharia; originally established in Benghazi, it has also emerged in towns along the central and eastern coast of Libya, such as Derna, Sirte and Ajdabiya. While defections from Ansar al-Sharia to IS have taken place, the group's senior leadership has strong al-Qaeda connections and remains loyal. AQIM has also backed a number of key Islamist-oriented militias in several cities in eastern Libya, including the Abu Salim Martyrs' Brigade in Derna, the Mujahideen Shura Council of Derna — responsible for driving IS out in 2015 — and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council.15 Ansar al-Sharia's prominent role in both of the latter is suggestive of the way in which pro-al-Qaeda groups are joining forces.16
In Egypt, the defection of ABM to IS was certainly a blow to al-Qaeda's influence in the country. However, the defection was largely opportunistic and has since created fissures within the group. Not all of its members were in favor of the organization's becoming an IS province, and there have been returns. The most damaging defection so far occurred in July 2015, when the leader of Sinai Province's mainland division, Hisham al-Ashmawy, formed a splinter group, al-Mourabitoun (The Sentinels), and announced his allegiance to al-Qaeda, taking with him the still-loyal faction of Sinai Province on the mainland. In addition to causing such a damaging fracture, linking up with IS may prove a poisoned chalice in another respect. It could compromise the group's ability to maintain and expand its operations on the mainland. Before ABM became affiliated to IS, it had relied on collaborative relations with other jihadi groups in the Nile Valley in order to extend its reach beyond the Sinai. The al-Furqan brigades had begun building up cells and operational capacity in the Suez Canal zone, Cairo and the Sinai, and was responsible for attacks on vessels navigating the Suez Canal. In exchange for ABM's fidelity and a place on its Shura Council, the al-Furqan brigades provided manpower and equipment to help ABM carry out one of its first large-scale attacks outside the Sinai Peninsula: the bombing of a military-intelligence building in Ismailia in October 2013. The continued cooperation of groups such as the al-Furqan brigades, some of which are also pro-al-Qaeda, cannot be taken for granted,17 although Sinai Province could still cooperate with other non-al-Qaeda-linked jihadi groups.
Al-Qaeda also remains dominant in Algeria, AQIM's historical base. It emerged in 2007 as a result of the switch in focus of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, from local to global jihad, pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda and becoming the latter's North African franchise. AQIM essentially comprised two main branches: one in Kabilya in northeastern Algeria and one in the Sahel. Competition between the leader of the Kabilya branch and alleged overall emir of AQIM, Abdelmalek Droukdel, and the head of the Sahel branch, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, caused the latter to break away from AQIM in December 2011. He joined forces with the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an offshoot of AQIM active in Mali, to form a new group, al-Mourabitoun, which would focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Belmokhtar's departure represented a considerable loss of capacity for AQIM. His group was responsible for a number of high-profile attacks, including the In Amenas gas-facility hostage crisis in January 2013 and the attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, in December 2015. However, despite the split with AQIM, al-Mourabitoun remained loyal to al-Qaeda. Moreover, in order to stave off competition from IS, AQIM has not only stepped up its operations in Algeria; it has reunited with al-Mourabitoun, boosting its credibility and strength,18 making it a force to be reckoned with.
AQIM has also retained its influence in Tunisia. After some confusion about Uqba ibn Nafi's loyalties, caused by a statement released in September 2014, the Tunisian jihadi group has since publicly associated itself with AQIM. Ansar al-Sharia also has links to AQIM, reportedly being counseled by the latter on how to proceed in Tunisia and receiving funds from al-Qaeda's North African franchise.19 However, since the Tunisian authorities began to crack down on Ansar al-Sharia in 2013, the group has suffered losses, with some of its members being arrested, others joining Uqba ibn Nafi, and still others traveling to the Levant or Libya to either fight or train.20 While some Ansar al-Sharia militants who went to Libya are likely to have joined its sister organization, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya,21 others may have been lured into joining the ranks of IS. The return of at least a portion of these foreign fighters will have an impact on Tunisia's jihadi profile and could potentially strengthen IS's influence in the country. Thus, while AQIM remains more embedded in Tunisia at this stage, there is room for IS to grow, even over the short term.
REMAINING BUT NOT GROWING
Despite the continuing al-Qaeda influence in North Africa and the IS territorial losses in Libya, IS will not disappear from the region. The group's setback in Libya is not a death blow. Over the short term, the possibility of its regaining some territory in the country cannot be ruled out, as long as Libya remains divided and the rebuilding of security institutions is stalled. Even if it fails to hold territory, IS could still operate through its clandestine cells, focusing on derailing efforts to reconcile Libya's factions. Moreover, as long as the IS brand remains attractive, there is still room for further recruitment of younger militants, whether from Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and its equivalent in Tunisia or from the large cohort of radicalized youth in both Tunisia and Egypt. The fact remains, however, that many local jihadis in North Africa are engaged in essentially nationalist struggles; as long as IS continues to pay little attention to forging alliances and building up support locally, as al-Qaeda has done, it could face additional barriers to its growth down the line. Al-Qaeda is simply more deeply rooted in the region and could even benefit from the now evident vulnerabilities of IS.
While both al-Qaeda and IS have the same goal, building an Islamic state, their strategies for achieving it differ. Whereas IS has adopted a largely top-down, authoritarian approach that offers immediate dividends to young and impatient militants, al-Qaeda has taken a longer-term, bottom-up approach that aims to slowly build support for its agenda among local groups and communities. This strategy has clearly been pursued by its North African branch, AQIM. Emir Droukdel is reported to have expressed the view that holding territory and declaring a caliphate would be foolhardy, given that it would incite such a forceful response from Western states that an Islamic state governed by al-Qaeda and its allies would be rapidly overpowered.22 AQIM has, instead, focused on fostering ties with local Islamist groups to gain traction. As pointed out, in Libya, AQIM is providing support for Islamist dominated militias, as well as Ansar al-Sharia, in order to quietly expand its influence.23 A similar strategy has been pursued in Tunisia, through Uqba ibn Nafi and Ansar al-Sharia. In Egypt, al-Qaeda has also expanded its network since 2011 by partnering with local groups and inserting itself into the post-revolutionary jihadi narrative.24 IS, by contrast, has paid less attention to politics and has consequently found it harder to be relevant to local struggles. In Libya, for example, local Islamist militias have been, at best, ambivalent about IS and, at worst, hostile. IS has attempted, but failed, to establish a durable presence in Benghazi and Derna. In the former, it has failed to win the allegiance of the most prominent umbrella Islamist militia, the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, despite the fact that both groups were fighting the same local adversary, and the newly established coalition, the Benghazi Defence Brigade, specifically targets IS. IS was driven out of the city of Derna by the Mujahedeen Shura Council.25
IS has also proven less successful in winning the support of local communities. It was, indeed, the group's brutality against the local population in Derna that prompted the Mujahedeen Shura Council of Derna to push them out. In Sirte, there was no strong rival militia to drive IS militants away. Before IS moved into the city, it had been under the control of a local militia, al-Faruq, which had allied with Ansar al-Sharia in Libya. However, there was a falling out that led to a crisis in decision making and al-Faruq's defection to IS. Yet, even here, IS had been unable to arrange a pact with former members of the Libyan regime, although it had attempted to do so with individuals who had served in Qadhafi's security apparatus. A demonstration by Qadhafi loyalists was violently suppressed in mid-2015.26 In Egypt, too, the brutality of IS has proved controversial among local jihadis. The fissures within Sinai Province have been partly generated by differences of opinion about how to proceed outside the Sinai. The leadership and membership of the group's mainland division are drawn from militants who remember what can happen when a group overreaches and alienates itself from the local population. This happened to al-Gamaa al-Islamiya following the 1997 attack on tourists in Luxor, after which it suffered a considerable loss of support.27 Even among the Sinai population, which is alienated from the Egyptian regime, opposition exists. The most credible attempts to prevent incursions by Sinai Province into tribal lands have come from the Tarabin tribe, who occupy the land south of where Sinai Province has consolidated its presence in the North Sinai Governorate.28
To be sure, IS could continue to do significant damage as a traditional terrorist organization, launching attacks on national and international targets. In order to reduce hindrances to its short-term growth, it should be expected to attempt to disrupt the rebuilding of Libya and its security institutions, as well as to destabilize the fragile political consensus in Tunisia. However, the extent to which it is able to fully exploit tribal, ethnic and even political differences here and elsewhere will be limited unless it modifies its strategy. In order to expand its influence in North Africa in a sustainable way, it may have to adopt a more patient approach to establishing Islamic statehood, one that is based upon becoming a more integral part of the fabric of the local jihadi landscape and does not incur the wrath of the local population. Were it to do so, however, this would imply more fierce competition with al-Qaeda for the allegiance of jihadi armed groups and local communities and stepping up attacks to increase the value of being associated with their respective brands. Intense disputes about the group's strategy should also be expected, perhaps accompanied by defections to al-Qaeda. New groups could also form, announcing their presence through dramatic attacks. In short, traditional terrorist threats in the region will continue and could even proliferate.
HINDERING THE GROWTH OF IS
Reducing the short-term growth potential of IS is now vital. In the first instance, this means continuing to take IS-held territory to expose the weaknesses of the IS strategy and tarnish its brand. IS no longer holds territory in Libya, but the prospect of its regaining territory remains. The United States should, therefore, maintain its anti-IS and counterterrorism posture in Libya in support of GNA-allied forces that have led the fight against IS on the ground. However, military assistance alone will not be enough to reduce the chances of IS rebounding in Libya. For several months now, the peace process in Libya has been deadlocked. The implementation of the UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), under which the GNA was established, has experienced serious setbacks. In August 2016, the House of Representatives, the legitimate parliament under the agreement, voted to reject the GNA and then withdrew its support for the LNA in March 2017. Besides lacking legitimacy, the GNA cannot be said to control more than a pocket of territory in Tripoli, and it is failing to provide essential services to the people. In the meantime, Libya's armed groups have been taking advantage of the ongoing political uncertainty, clashing on the ground as they attempt to control more territory. Further escalation of the crisis would provide a perfect environment in which IS could once again burgeon. Limiting the extent to which IS can regroup in Libya, therefore, necessarily implies redoubling efforts to successfully renegotiate the political settlement in the country, as well as support from international actors to rebuild security and governance institutions. In the meantime, international actors could be doing more to help ensure adequate provision of public services and the reconstruction of Sirte.29
The vulnerability of Tunisia to IS growth in the near term should also be taken seriously. Tunisia does have a large pool of radicalized youth for whom the IS brand is likely to remain attractive. To make matters worse, IS in Libya has had a marked Tunisian profile; a large proportion of its foreign fighters come from Tunisia. Some of these militants, including senior leaders of IS in Sirte, have already started to return home, reinforcing IS capabilities in Tunisia.30 Yet, despite the formidable challenges facing the country, Tunisian authorities have been slow to develop a coherent counterterrorism strategy. In the meantime, there has been a lack of inter-agency cooperation and coordination between security services and the civilian leadership. The security services have also been criticized for making mass arrests, often without sufficient evidence. In addition, the authorities are still struggling with how best to deal with returning foreign fighters. Tunisia will, therefore, need sustained international assistance that not only focuses on training and equipping to improve counterterrorism and border-security capacities, but also on enhancing security-sector governance with respect to civilian oversight, accountability and respect for the rule of law.31 Support for the political transition more broadly should also remain a priority, given that the political consensus in the country is still fragile, and conflicts within the state are hindering effective governance. Both can be exploited by IS.
Working with countries in the region to improve their capacities, whether soft or hard, to counter violent extremism should also be combined with efforts to foster stronger cooperation among the various regional stakeholders. Regional cooperation to limit the growth of IS, and violent extremism more broadly, remains fairly limited, due to countries' preference for bilateral relations with external partners. The presence of IS in the region has, nevertheless, prompted greater cooperation among several North African states. In 2015, Tunisia and Algeria intensified their cooperation on border security. They also cooperate on counterterrorism, which includes military-to-military cooperation and information sharing. Although the lack of an effective Libyan partner and tensions between Morocco and Algeria make broadening this type of cooperation extremely challenging, international actors should work to facilitate cooperation of this kind, as well as softer measures aimed at counter- and de-radicalization. The EU's new Global Strategy stresses the importance of resilience, capacity building for security provision within the rule of law, and support for practical cooperation among states within its neighboring regions.32 North Africa would be a good place to start to implement it.
1 Charlie Winter, "Libya: The Strategic Gateway for the Islamic State: Translation and Analysis of IS Recruitment Propaganda for Libya," Quilliam Foundation, February 2015, 6.
2 The Soufan Group, "Libya, Extremism, and the Consequences of Collapse," January 2016, 12, http://soufangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/TSG_Libya-Extremism-and-the-Consequences-of-Collapse-Jan2016-1.pdf.
3 Eran Lerman, "The Libyan Tragedy and Its Meaning: The Wages of Indecision," The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Ba-Ilan University, Mideast Security and Policy Studies 126 (December 2016): 28, https://besacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/MSPS126-Web.pdf.
4 Lisa Watanabe, "IS Defeat in Sirte Leaves Tunisia Vulnerable," CSS Policy Perspectives 4/9 (November 2016): 2, http://www.css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/pdfs/PP4-9.pdf.
5 Lisa Watanabe, "Libya––In the Eye of the Storm," CSS Analysis 193 (June 2016): 3, http://www.css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/pdfs/CSSAnalyse-193-EN.pdf.
6 Marine Pennetier, "While ISIS Loses Libya's Sirte, Tunisia Fears Fleeing Fighters," Haaretz, September 6, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.740673.
7 Mokhtar Awad and Samuel Tadros, "Bay'a Remorse? Wilayat Sinai and the Nile Valley," CTC Sentinel 8/8 (August 2015): 2-3, https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/baya-remorse-wilayat-sinai-and-the-nile-valley.
8 Zack Gold, "Salafi Jihadist Violence in Egypt's North Sinai: From Local Insurgency to Islamic State Province," ICCT Research Paper, April 16, 2016, https://www.icct.nl/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ICCT-Zach-Gold-Salafi-Jihadist-Violence-in-Egypts-North-Sinai-April2016.pdf; and "Sinai Province: Egypt's ISIS Affiliate," Wilson Center, May 19, 2016, https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/sinai-province-egypts-isis-affiliate.
9 Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Jacob Zenn and Nathaniel Barr, "Islamic State 2021: Possible Futures in North and West Africa," Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, February 2017, 10, http://www.defenddemocracy.org/content/uploads/documents/022017_DGR_ISIL_Report.pdf.
10 Djalil Lounas, "Les mutations des mouvements djihadistes en Afrique du nord et au Sahel: d'AQMI à l'Etat Islamique," Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, note 18/2016, octobre 25, 2016, 5, https://www.frstrategie.org/publications/notes/les-mutations-des-mouvements-djihadistes-en-afrique-du-nord-et-au-sahel-d-aqmi-a-l-etat-islamique-18-2016; "Islamic State Algeria (IS, ISA, ISISA)––Jund Al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria)," Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, https://www.trackingterrorism.org/group/soldiers-caliphate-algeria.
11 "Inside the Algerian Terror: Who Are Jund Al-Khalifa?" Mediterranean Affairs, May 4, 2015, http://mediterraneanaffairs.com/inside-the-algerian-terror-who-are-jund-al-khalifa/.
12 Nathaniel Barr, "If at First You Don't Succeed, Try Deception: The Islamic State's Expansion Efforts in Algeria," Terrorism Monitor 13/22, https://jamestown.org/program/if-at-first-you-dont-succeed-try-deception-the-islamic-states-expansion-efforts-in-algeria/; and Jacob Zenn, "Islamic State and West Africa," Terrorism Monitor 12/21, https://jamestown.org/program/islamic-state-and-west-africa/#.VqegzPkrK….
13 Simon Speakman Cordall, "The Dramatic Rise of the Islamic State in Tunisia," Middle East Eye, July 3, 2015, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/dramatic-rise-islamic-state-tunisia-2…; "Tunisia Announces Killing of Jund al-Khilafa's Leader," Arab Weekly, November 9, 2016, http://www.thearabweekly.com/Mena-Now/6986/Tunisia-announces-killing-of…; Carlotta Gall, "Group Linked to Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Tunisia Attack," New York Times, March 31, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/01/world/africa/group-linked-to-islamic…; and "Jund Al-Khilafa in Tunisia Claims Beheading of Teen Shepherd," Alalam, November 23, 2015, http://en.alalam.ir/news/1762407.
14 UN Security Council, Letter dated 18 November 2015 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities addressed to the President of the Security Council, November 19, 2015, 6.
15 Thomas Joscelyn, "Libya's Terrorist Descent: Causes and Solutions," Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Long War Journal, September 27, 2016, 8, 11, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/09/libyas-terrorist-descent-causes-and-solutions.php; ECFR, "A Quick Guide to Libya's Main Players," http://www.ecfr.eu/mena/mapping_libya_conflict; and Emily Estelle and Katherine Zimmerman, "Backgrounder: Fighting Forces in Libya," AEI Critical Threats, March 3, 2016, http://www.criticalthreats.org/libya/estelle-zimmerman-backgrounder-fighting-forces-in-libya-march-3-2016.
16 Estelle and Zimmerman, ibid.
17 Mokhtar Awad and Samuel Tadros, "Bay'a Remorse? Wilayat Sinai and the Nile Valley," 2, 5-6; Lisa Watanabe, "Der Jihad am Nil," Tages-Anzeiger, September 21, 2015; and "Hisham al-Ashmawy––A Threat to Sisi," Global Jihad, http://www.globaljihad.net/?p=17562.
18 "The Re-emergence of AQIM in Africa," Al-Jazeera, March 20, 2016, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/03/emergence-aqim-africa-160320090928469.html; Angelique Chrisafis, Julian Borger, Justin McCurry and Terry Macalister, "Algeria Hostage Crisis: The Full Story of the Kidnapping in the Desert," The Guardian, January 25, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/25/in-amenas-timeline-siege-algeria; Djallil Lounnas, "Confronting Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghrib in the Sahel: Algeria and the Malian Crisis," Journal of North African Studies 19/5 (2014): 813; "Those Who Sign Their Name in Blood Brigade," Mapping Militant Organizations, Stanford University, http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/613?highlight=AQIM; Nathaniel Barr, "If at First You Don't Succeed, Try Deception: The Islamic State's Expansion Efforts in Algeria" and "Assessing the Jihadist Threat in Egypt: Mainland Egypt," Statfor, June 30, 2016, https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/assessing-jihadist-threat-egypt-sinai-peninsula.
19 Kal Ben Khalid, "Evolving Approaches in Algerian Security Cooperation," CTC Sentinel 8/6 (June 2015); Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, "Did the Islamic State Exaggerate Its Role in the Bardo Museum Attack," Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Policy Brief, March 30, 2015, http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/gartenstein-ross-daveed-did-the-islamic-state-exaggerate-its-role-in-the-bardo-museum-attack/; Aaron Zeli, Andrew Lebovich, and Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, "Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb's Tunisia Strategy," CTC Sentinel, July 23, 2013; and Aaron Zelin, "The Tunisian-Libyan Jihadi Connection," Washington Institute for Near East Policy, ICSR Insight, July 6, 2015, http://icsr.info/2015/07/icsr-insight-tunisian-libyan-jihadi-connection/.
20 Aaron Y. Zelin, "Between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Tunisia," Washington Institute for Near East Policy, ICSR Insight, May 11, 2015, http://icsr.info/2015/05/icsr-insight-islamic-state-al-qaeda-tunisia/.
21 Aaron Zelin, "The Tunisian-Libyan Jihadi Connection."
22 Thomas Joscelyn, "Libya's Terrorist Descent: Causes and Solutions," FDD's Long War Journal, September 27, 2016, 2, 5-6, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/09/libyas-terrorist-descent….
23 "Al-Qaeda in Libya : A Profile," A Report Prepared by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress under an Interagency Agreement with the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office's Irregular Warfare Support Program, August 2012, 18.
24 Thomas Joscelyn, "Al Qaeda's Expansion into Egypt," FDD's Long War Journal, February 11, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/02/al_qaedas_expansion.php.
25 Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel – The Expansion of a Regional Threat, CSIS Expert Notes Series No. 2016-12-05, December 2016, 30.
26 Ibid., 31-2.
27 "Can the Islamic State Establish a Foothold in Mainland Egypt?" Intelligence Quarterly, August 25, 2015, http://www.intelligencequarterly.com/2015/08/can-the-islamic-state-establish-a-foothold-in-mainland-egypt/.
28 Zack Gold, "Salafi Jihadist Violence in Egypt's North Sinai – From Local to Islamic State Province," ICCT Research Paper, April 2016, 25, https://www.icct.nl/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ICCT-Zach-Gold-Salafi-Jihadist-Violence-in-Egypts-North-Sinai-April2016.pdf.
29 John Pearson, "Libya Slips into Further Chaos as Haftar's Army Pounds Militias at Oil Ports," The National, March 7, 2017, http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/libya-slips-into-further-chaos-as-haftars-army-pounds-militias-at-oilports; Mattia Toaldo, "How to Stabilise Libya If Haftar Won't Play Ball," Middle East Eye, February 23, 2017, http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/how-stabilise-libya-if-haftar-won-t-play-ball-988020679.
30 Gartenstein-Ross, Zenn and Barr, "Islamic State 2021: Possible Futures in North and West Africa."
31 Watanabe, "IS Defeat in Sirte Leaves Tunisia Vulnerable."
32 Ibid., 3-4.