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Global Islamism Monitor - No. 48

Edited by Ilan Berman and Diana Biya
December 7, 2017


BOKO HARAM: DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
Earlier this year, in the wake of a number of military successes against Boko Haram, Nigeria's government announced that the terrorist group had been defeated. However, the Islamist organization has proven to be both resilient and dangerous. In late November, militants affiliated with the group took over a town in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno capping the most intense wave of violence linked to the group in the past two years. The seizure was short-lived, however, with Nigeria's military successfully retaking the town just one day later. (Reuters,
November 25 and November 26, 2017)

DUTCH FEARS OF FEMALE JIHADISM

The government of the Netherlands is increasingly concerned about the potential for radicalism within Dutch society in general - and the role of women specifically. In a new report, the country's secret service, the General Intelligence and Security Service, or AIVD, notes that "[t]he role of women within jihadism should not be underestimated" and finds that "[t]hese women are at least as committed to jihadism as men." In particular, according to the AIVD, the Netherlands currently harbors some 100 "jihadist" women, and since 2012 at least 80 other extremist females have traveled from the Netherlands to Iraq and Syria.

This cohort, moreover, is seen by Dutch authorities as a potentially significant future problem. "With the increasing military pressure on the combat groups in Syria and Iraq, more Dutch women are trying to flee the area," the AIVD study notes. "Current returnees differ from those who have returned before 2017. Women who are still here, have been on average 3 years in Syria or Iraq. These women are longer exposed to violence and have built up an international jihadist network. Probably a considerable part will retain its jihadist ideology and connections after returning to the Netherlands." (
Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Netherlands, November 17, 2017)

THE AFGHAN BATTLEGROUND

The struggle for control between Islamist forces in Afghanistan is intensifying. Recent days have seen repeated clashes between Taliban and Islamic State forces in eastern Nangahar Province, as the two extremist groups seek to assert their dominance there. The violence, authorities say, has led to the displacement of hundreds of families from villages in the Khogyani and Sherzad districts, and have prompted local government forces to launch a program of "emergency assistance to the internally displaced people, including cash money, tents, food items and nonfood items." (
Associated Press, November 28, 2017)

EUROPE'S NEW WORRY: BALKAN RADICALIZATION

Germany's top intelligence body is raising the alarm over rising radicalization in the Balkans, and its potentially dangerous effects for the Federal Republic. The BND, Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, is said to have expanded intelligence activities in the Balkan region amid concerns over rising Islamic extremism there. To date, hHundreds of Balkan citizens are estimated to have traveled to Iraq and Syria and joined the ranks of the Islamic State. (Berlin
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 28, 2017)

TESTING SAUDI ARABIA'S NEW APPROACH

In recent months, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman - better known as MBS - has launched a major overhaul of the Kingdom's domestic and foreign policies. This initiative now faces what may be its first real test in the sphere of counterterrorism. French President Emmanuel Macron has said that his administration will provide the Saudi government with a list of extremist organizations whose funding should be cut off - something that MBS has reportedly personally pledged to the French president that Riyadh would do. (
Reuters
, November 29, 2017)