Expert Comments on al-Qaeda's Statement about Fighting the Russians in Africa

Expert Comments on al-Qaeda's Statement about Fighting the Russians in Africa

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A manifesto of the terrorist organization Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), a branch of Al Qaeda* in the Maghreb and West Africa which is banned in Russia has been recently published in media.

In the document, the radicals declared their intention to fight against the growing influence of Russia in Africa and announced their plans to go to court and protect “human rights” with the help of the best Islamic lawyers. The radicals intend to preserve their “right to jihad” in Africa.

Boris Rozhin, an expert in Asian and Islamic studies, said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda that in doing so, the terrorists intended to avoid being killed by the Wagner Group mercenaries. According to him, the interests of militants and the Western players are surprisingly similar in this matter.

“The position of civilized states, at least an official and public one, is not to recognize any national or international jihads although this does not prevent certain the so called “democratic countries” from supporting and financing the activities of jihadist organizations to achieve their mercenary goals. On the one hand, there is no “right to jihad,” but on the other hand, appeals of this kind, with the specific purpose of “jihad,” are designed to make Washington, Paris or Brussels interested in supporting this terrorist organization to remove Russian influence in the region,” said Rozhin.

He believes that the author of the manifesto is aware of the current political agenda of the United States and France in Africa. Therefore, he is trying to attract Western allies into an anti-Russian ruse.

The appearance of Russian fighters in the region is source of concern for terrorists as their sphere of influence has been decreasing in recent years. Russian instructors in African countries are working on security issues and training security forces. As a result, pressure by government forces on terrorist groups is growing. For example, the national army of the Central African Republic, with the support of the Russians, has significantly reduced the influence of militants in two years.

“The Malian authorities are themselves enticing Russian mercenaries to help them. They ask France to withdraw troops because their soldiers didn’t show any significant results in the fight against terrorist and separatist groups in Northern Mali. Of course, the presence of Russia will affect the fight against anti-government and terrorist groups. The militants do have a reason to be worried and start shouting everywhere about the “right to jihad” and human rights,” said Boris Rozhin.

In his opinion, Paris and Brussels might accept aid from militants to fight the Russians and start supporting radical groupings in Africa.

* The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation recognized Al-Qaeda as an extremist organization banned on Russian territory on 13.11.2008; ruling No. 08-1956, entered into force 27.11.2008

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