A profile of Iyad ag Ghali.
Ghali emerged as the new al-Qaida leader in Mali in March 2017 following his installation as the head of the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), a jihadi alliance of four al-Qaida affiliates. The group formally pledged its allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of al-Qaida following the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces in Pakistan. Ghali has transformed from a nationalist leader to the leader of a transnational jihadist group whose attacks in Mali have been spreading.
- Ghali will be the greatest obstacle to the peace process in northern Mali.
- His effective leadership and military successes in Mali could see him become al-Qaida’s leader and strategist for West Africa.
- Ghali's fighters will continue targeting security forces and kidnapping foreign nationals associated with Western entities.