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Wagner will not help contain jihadists in Mali

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Significance

Their presence has made little dent in jihadist activities there. Jama‘at Nusrat al-Islam wa-l-Muslimin (JNIM), an affiliate of al-Qaida, is increasingly focusing on Wagner. Meanwhile, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) has achieved considerable momentum in the north-eastern Menaka and Gao Regions, exposing Wagner’s inefficacy but also highlighting the deep divisions among ISGS’s opponents.

Impacts

  • Wagner’s lack of results, and the reportedly domineering and aggressive tone of its personnel, could cause tensions with the Malian army.
  • Malian authorities’ difficulties in meeting contractual payment obligations could also alienate Wagner.
  • Failures in Mali could blunt appetite in neighbouring Burkina Faso for greater Russian involvement there.
  • If a broad anti-ISGS coalition comes together, JNIM will likely benefit.

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