Will Mali be the Next Syria or Libya?

A Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) patch worn by a soldier is pictured during the Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, on July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Mali’s latest violence underscores an urgent need for regional stability. Twin attacks on Sunday killed five soldiers and wounded five more.

Extremist violence is up 250-percent in West Africa since 2018, Grey Dynamics reports. If political leaders cannot stabilize Mali, Open Doors’ senior analyst Illia Djadi says, it could go the way of Libya – spreading extremist violence and instability to neighboring countries and Europe.

“Since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has become a haven for terrorists and… a transit route for migrants who are heading to Europe,” Djadi observes.

“It’s not only Africa, but it’s also about [the] security of all.”

West Africa: the next Islamic State stronghold?

Put simply, weak government control and powerful surges of extremist activity led to Islamic State takeovers in Iraq and Syria several years ago. ISIS controlled roughly a third of Syria and 40 percent of Iraq at its height of power, the Wilson Center reports. In June 2014, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi announced a caliphate stretching from Aleppo, Syria to Diyala, Iraq.

Will an Islamic State caliphate surface in West Africa? “There are a lot of similarities” between what’s happening in Mali and the Middle East insurgence, Djadi agrees.

“There are several Islamist groups – some with clear links to ISIS, others to al Qaeda – operating in northern Mali and carrying out attacks to neighboring Burkina Faso [and] Niger.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth


  • Pray for wisdom and great accountability for Mali’s government and international partners as they work to restore peace.
  • Ask the Lord to guide political leaders and decision-makers according to His will.
  • Pray believers will have courage and strength as they live out their mission in Mali.