Most people are ignorant of the fact that the world’s worst terrorist organization is pivoting to Africa after claiming attacks in the Western, Central, and now Southern parts of the continent, which is a surefire sign that the organization is far from being defeated but is instead morphing into an altogether different beast than before, though Russia might be able to proactively thwart this threat before its too late if more countries request its “Democratic Security” services.
The “Caliphate’s” African Comeback
The average person is under the false impression that Daesh has been defeated after both Russia and the US claimed victory over the world’s worst terrorist organization, yet the fact is that the group is pivoting to Africa nowadays after claiming attacks in the Western, Central, and now Southern parts of the continent. Daesh first popped up in war-torn Libya and Somalia, but now reportedly has a presence in the Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger border triangle in West Africa, says that it carried out an attack in the Ebola-plagued conflict-wreaked eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, or simply the Congo), and now purports to have been behind a recent assault in northern Mozambique, showing that it’s spread all throughout Africa while the rest of the world failed to take notice. It’s true that local allies (whether alleged or self-declared) might have actually been the ones responsible for the latest incidents in the Congo and Mozambique, but even if that’s the case, then it still speaks to Daesh’s intent to expand into those largely lawless countries that it would claim to have been behind those terrorist attacks there.
Cynicism & Stakes
This disturbing development could act as the ultimate black swan event that might catalyze a chain reaction of chaos across the fragile West-Central-South African interconnected space, especially bearing in mind the preexisting conflict potential in each of them and the risk of the potentially unleashed instability spreading throughout the rest of the continent. Apart from the obvious humanitarian consequences that it could immediately have, this scenario might also trigger another Migrant Crisis into Europe, to say nothing of furthering the ongoing “African Spring” that’s already resulted in a handful of non-electoral regime changes all across Africa over the past decade. As cynical as it may sound, most non-African countries would probably prefer to contain these threats instead of proactively prevent them from materializing if it wasn’t for the continent’s economic importance to the rest of the world. Some of the most important minerals used in today’s high-tech society are sourced from the Congo, which is smack dab in the center of this simmering cauldron of instability, and Africa’s other resources and growing marketplace make it indispensable to China’s rise as the next superpower.
The Russian Solution
For these reasons and more, a new “Scramble for Africa” has been taking place over the past couple of years, during which time many countries have developed a strategic stake in its stability. This means that Africa’s possible Daesh-catalyzed collapse could negatively affect some of their main interests, which is why this scenario is so globally disruptive if it ultimately transpires. As it stands, the only actor credibly capable of halting Daesh’s expansion all throughout Africa is Russia as a result of its surprising “Democratic Security” successes that the author recently elaborated upon in his piece about the completion of its “African Transversal” following a new military deal with the Congo Republic (Congo-Brazzaville, which is adjacent to the DRC) that gives Moscow a sphere of military-strategic influence cutting across the continent from coast to coast. The US and France’s periodic bombing of terrorist elements isn’t a sufficient solution because it requires on-the-ground training and advisory support to sustain those short-term aerial-inflicted gains, which is where Russia’s “Democratic Security” model comes in by doing so in a cost-effective and low-commitment way through mercenaries in exchange for lucrative extraction deals.
The Anti-Terrorist Scramble For Africa
Nevertheless, Daesh has turned into an emotive buzzword capable of rallying publics all across the world to support whatever measures their governments suggest for eliminating it (again), so it can’t be discounted that the group’s expansion throughout Africa will be abused by some actors for geopolitical gain, particularly because of the resource and future market stakes involved. Russia’s already ahead of the game and is expanding its own influence there through its “military diplomacy” — both in the conventional arms-selling sense and the new cutting-edge one of “Democratic Security” — but it’ll need to scale up its partnerships and attendant anti-terrorist operations if it’s secure its position in this forthcoming competitive environment. Daesh is therefore both an obvious danger to African stability but paradoxically also an “opportunity” if looked at as a pretext for Russia to assume an irreplaceable anti-terrorist role there in stabilizing the continent, provided of course that it beats its many rivals to it. If none of them succeeds, however, then Africa will probably be doomed to more decades of conflict and never be able to reach its full developmental potential.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.