JNIM: The Quest for a West African Caliphate

Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), formed in March 2017 from the merger of four Mali-based extremist groups, is a Salafi-Jihadist organization aligned with al-Qaeda. Active across West Africa, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, JNIM aims to establish a Salafi-Islamist state and expel Western influences from the region. The coalition consists of Ansar Dine, Macina Liberation Front, The Sahara Emirate of AQIM, Al Mourabitoun and other smaller factions. The group exploits local grievances for recruitment and funds its activities through ransoms, extortion, and smuggling. The US State Department designated JNIM and its leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists in 2018. 

Key Judgment 1. It is highly likely that JNIM will continue and potentially expand its operations in Mali and Burkina Faso.

Key Judgment 2. It is currently unlikely that JNIM will prioritize or succeed in launching direct attacks on Western targets outside the Sahel region. 

Key Judgment 3. It is highly likely that JNIM will continue to sustain its operations through extensive local fundraising and control of territory to exploit economic resources.

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