This seminar presents the main findings from a new report, “Islamic Insurgents in the MENA Region – Global Threat or Regional Menace?” by Morten Bøås, Kari M. Osland and Francesco Strazzari.

Utilising a new comparative framework, this report analyse the local, regional and global strategies of a range of insurgencies in the Middle East and North Africa region. The aim is to assess the extent to which they are using Jihadist discourse to further local/regional aims, or whether they are more truly devoted to a global struggle.

Whereas almost all of the insurgencies in this sample have some connections and operational reach beyond their epicentre, the researchers find that these armed groups actively seek to achieve integration into communities through the appropriation of local grievances in order to establish some form of territorial grip. This suggest that even if some of the insurgents have been quite successful in this regard, they always have to struggle to negotiate a balance between local grievances and their global Jihadi discourses.

In this seminar, Morten Båøs, Kari M. Osland and Francesco Strazzari will present the main overall findings from this study as well as a two more detailed case studies of two less known, but illuminating insurgencies; the Macina Liberation Front (Mali) and Ansarul Islam (Burkina Faso).

Henrik Vigh at the University of Copenhagen will be discussant to the presentation.