Last Week’s ISIS’ Editorial was Dedicated to the Lake Chad
The editorial of week’s al-Naba magazine, ISIS’ weekly publication, was dedicated to the Lake Chad. It discuses recent operations in the sub-region and highlights how cracks in the military cooperation against it and Covid-19 will help its affiliates in the sub-region.
The piece entitled “Difficult Times for the Tawaghit of West Africa” starts with celebrating Chad’s withdrawal of its troops from Nigeria (which was completed last January) and Deby’s recent statement (which was later backtracked or clarified) that Chad will not fight so-called jihadi groups outside its territory. It claimed that Chad lost about 200 soldiers in its recent operation.
The article framed Deby’s statement and complaints that Chad is bearing the burden of the fight against Boko Haram as a sign of crack not only in the multinational task force, but also in the Africa Union. It said this shows that ISIS allies are succeeding and the troops fighting them are divided, exhausted and in despair, which open more doors of opportunity.
It overviews Islamic State Greater Sahara’s operations in northern Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso and how that, according to it, is helping Islamic State West Africa Province fighters in the Lake Chad region. It says ISIS is now operating in a vast area, almost half of the Sahel and Sahara, which is why it is hard to fight it.
The essay concludes with how Covid-19 could help ISIS’s affiliates in African. It says because of pandemic, resources allocated to fighting them will be reallocated to containing coronavirus, palliatives and the economic downturns caused by the virus. It says these will afford ISIS affiliates an opportunity to become stronger in the Lake Chad sub-region and expand their campaign.
It is shocking but not surprising to see how ISIS is closely monitoring the situation in the Lake Chad and preparing to exploit it. It is not surpring because analysts including this author have predicted all these. I have written two articles on how these groups will exploit these bizarre times. The first one is “How Jihadi Groups in Africa Will Exploit Covid-19
” published on former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell’s blog on Council on Foreign Relations, in which I discuss how violent extremist groups in Africa will take advantage of Covid-19 ideologically, operationally and strategically. The second was co-author with David Crone, it was dedicated to how countries in the Lake Chad are having to fight Boko Haram and Covid-19 with stretched resources. It was published
by The Independent.