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The crafting of alliance cohesion among insurgents: The case of al-Qaeda affiliated groups in the Sahel region

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In spite of several international interventions to contain and degrade militant groups in the Sahel region, al-Qaeda affiliated groups have managed to retain their alliance and even spread and intensify their use of violence. This article explains the cohesion of the insurgency alliance as the outcome of a number of sound strategic decisions. By applying a framework of irregular strategy, the article examines the processes of early adaption to pre-existing social networks and the subsequent shaping through political, violent, and communicative lines of effort. Although the primary purpose of the strategy was not alliance cohesion, the result is that al-Qaeda related networks cooperate across ethnic and social cleavages, despite the many setbacks and dilemmas that local politics generate. The article adds an agency-oriented perspective to the growing literature on insurgency fragmentation and cohesion, which are major factors in the outcome of civil wars.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
ISSN1352-3260
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021

    Controlled Keywords

  • Africa
  • Non-state armed actors
  • Terrorism

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