The Islamic State : Why Africa Should be Worried

The Islamic State's emergence is the most significant development in Islamist extremism since the 9/11 attacks. Currently it controls significant portions of Iraq and Syria and has divided the global jihadist movement into two, offering a credible – and divisive – alternative to al-Qaeda. With its plethora of radical Islamist groups, Africa must consider the potential impact of this on the continent. There are genuine concerns that the Islamic State’s thousands of African fighters, with access to the group’s considerable war chest, will return home to inflame existing conflict. Reports indicate this has already happened in Libya. Africa should be worried, but it’s important not to overstate the threat. African governments must be careful not to use the spectre of the Islamic State to justify populist counter-terrorism measures that have failed in the past.