In the tenth in the series of “IntelBriefs” on African security issues being produced by the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center in partnership with the Soufan Group, an international strategic consultancy, Ansari Center Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton weighs the evidence of and potential for operational cooperation between the various Islamist extremist groups in Yemen and Somalia, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Ansar al Sharia, and al Shabaab.

She concludes that, at least in the near term, the jihadist movements in the two countries will remain on opposite trajectories. However, she cautions, the prospective military defeat of al Shabaab and the evolution of its hardline core towards the adoption of a transnational jihadist identity may, over the longer term, draw the groups together.

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