Jacob Zenn

Jacob Zenn is an adjunct professor on Violent Non-State Actors in World Politics at the Georgetown University Security Studies Program (SSP) and fellow on African and Eurasian Affairs for The Jamestown Foundation in Washington DC. He has written on international law and security for Jamestown’s Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor, Militant Leadership Monitor, and Eurasia Daily Monitor; Jane’s Intelligence Review-China Watch; the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst; and for academic journals such as Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Journal for De-Radicalization, African Security, and the International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law. He graduated as a Global Law Scholar from Georgetown Law and from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Nanjing Center for Chinese-American Studies in Nanjing, China and has studied Uighur and Persian at Xinjiang University and Samarkand State University. He also co-authored a book (in Russian) in 2017 with Erlan Karin called “Between ISIS and Al-Qaeda: Central Asian Foreign Fighters in the Syrian War” and a book chapter with Svante Cornell called “Religion and the Secular State” in “Uzbekistan’s New Face”, which was edited by S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell and published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018. He has also drafted several reports and monographs on Boko Haram, including editing a multi-authored report for the West Point Combating Terrorism Center in May 2018 called “Boko Haram Beyond the Headlines: Analyses of Africa’s Enduring Insurgency.”

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Articles by Jacob Zenn

AQIM’s Resurgence: Responding to Islamic State

AQIM’s Resurgence: Responding to Islamic State Jacob Zenn and Dario Cristiani Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its allied militant groups have undergone something of an operational revival since

AFP Quotes Jacob Zenn

Jamestown Fellow Jacob Zenn was quoted by the AFP on the possibility of improving relations between Boko Haram (a.k.a. Islamic State West Africa Province) and Islamic State provinces in Libya in the

Jacob Zenn Quoted in Al-Monitor

Jacob Zenn discussed the importance of Central Asian fighters to both the Islamic State's and Jabhat al-Nusra's battles in Syria with Metin Gurcan and Al-Monitor.

Jacob Zenn Cited by the AP

The AP cited Jacob Zenn's recent report on a number of Boko Haram fighters fighting with the Islamic State's branch in Libya. 

Jacob Zenn Quoted by Voice of America

Jacob Zenn, an analyst of African affairs for Jamestown, discussed the upcoming visit of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to Washington, DC with VOA

New York Times Quotes Jacob Zenn

The New York Times quoted Jacob Zenn in a article on how Boko Haram and the Islamic State courted each other before the former declared allegiance to the latter.

Jacob Zenn Quoted by CNN

CNN discussed Boko Haram's social media outreach to the Islamic State with Jacob Zenn, an African affairs analyst with Jamestown.

Jacob Zenn Quoted by Business Day

Jacob Zenn, a Eurasian and African affairs analyst for Jamestown, was quoted on the relative strength of the Nigerian Army to Boko Haram for Business Day, a South African newspaper.

LA Times Quotes Jacob Zenn

Jacob Zenn recently discussed Turkey's relationship with China in the context of Uighur migrants with the LA Times.

AP Quoted Jacob Zenn

Jacob Zenn, an African and Eurasian affairs analyst for Jamestown, discussed Boko Haram's attack of Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria's largest city.

Jacob Zenn Quoted by Time

Time discussed Boko Haram's attacks in the context of Nigeria's upcoming presidential elections with Jacob Zenn.

Vice News Quoted Jacob Zenn

Jacob Zenn, an African affairs analyst for Jamestown, discussed the increasingly important role that women have played in Boko Haram's attacks in Nigeria with Vice News.

Jacob Zenn Quoted by Wall Street Journal

Jacob Zenn, an African affairs analyst for Jamestown, discussed Boko Haram's attempts to govern the territory under the militant group's control with the Wall Street Journal.

VOA Quotes Jacob Zenn

Jacob Zenn, an African affairs analyst, discussed Boko Haram's use of female suicide bombers in recent attacks in Nigeria with Voice of America.


REAPPEARANCE OF ‘SLAIN’ DAGESTANI MILITANT DISPROVES FSB CLAIMS Mairbek Vatchagaev Practically every month, Moscow boastfully announces that it has killed a leader of one of the territorial branches of the

Al-Jazeera quotes Jacob Zenn

Jacob Zenn, a Jamestown analyst, was quoted in an article on increased U.S. cooperation with Mauritania against terrorists.

NPR Interviews Jacob Zenn

Jacob Zenn was interviewed for a story on NPR's Morning Edition on the recent terrorist attacks in China and their possible foreign support.

Jacob Zenn Quoted by Vice News

Jamestown Analyst Jacob Zenn was quoted in an article on how the global campaign #Bringbackourgirls will not have an impact on Boko Haram.

USA Today Quotes Jacob Zenn

Jamestown analyst Jacob Zenn was quoted in an background article on Boko Haram, the Nigerian militant organization, by USA Today.

Jacob Zenn Quoted by NBC News on Boko Haram

Jamestown analyst Jacob Zenn was quoted in an article by NBC News on possible negotiations with Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram for the more than 250 schoolgirls that were abducted.

Toronto Star Quotes Jacob Zenn

In an article on recent bombings carried out by Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, Jamestown Analyst Jacob Zenn was quoted by Toronto Star.

Jacob Zenn Interviewed by CNN

Jamestown analyst Jacob Zenn was interviewed by CNN about recent Boko Haram attacks and Nigeria's response to the terrorist group. 


MUHAMMAD MAJID AL-KHATIB: A RISING LEADER IN THE FREE SYRIAN ARMY  Nicholas A. Heras  The Free Syrian Army (FSA) fired its military chief Salim Idriss on February 16 for being

Jacob Zenn cited by Think Africa Press

Jacob Zenn was cited by Think Africa Press regarding the Islamist militant group Ansaru, which is targeting Western interests in and around northern Nigeria

Tiananmen Attack: Global, Local or Both

On October 23, in Beijing, a driver crashed his Jeep into a gate in Tiananmen Square, setting off an explosion that killed two foreign tourists, the driver and his two

Tiananmen Attack: Global, Local or Both?

On October 23, in Beijing, a driver crashed his Jeep into a gate in Tiananmen Square, setting off an explosion that killed two foreign tourists, the driver and his two

Afghan and Syrian Links to Central Asian Jihadism

Since September 2013, Central Asian jihadists, including returnees from Syria, have attempted to carry out high-profile attacks in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Other Central Asian jihadists in Syria have increasingly publicized

China and the SCO: Dead Wood but a Good Platform

In the week before the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Bishkek on September 12, Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping visited four countries on China’s western flank—Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and

Jacob Zenn quoted by Reuters

Jamestown analyst Jacob Zenn was quoted by Reuters in an article titled "Nigeria backlash against Boko Haram spurs risky vigilante war."

China Claims Uyghur Militants Trained in Syria

The Chinese government has claimed since 2012 that Uyghur militants from Xinjiang are fighting with the rebels in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad (Global Times [Beijing], October 29,

Boko Haram’s Elusive Cameroonian – Mamman Nur

In Boko Haram leader Abu Shekau’s first public statement in June 2010, he surprised Nigerian government officials when he addressed the message to the “Leaders of al-Qaeda and its affiliated

March Briefs

SECTARIAN ATTACKS AND RISING TENSION IN QUETTA, PAKISTAN Nicholas A. Heras Sectarian attacks and rising tension have risen in a natural resource-rich province in southwestern Pakistan over the last few

January 2013 Briefs

CAPTURED SHINING PATH LEADER REFUSES TO REMAIN SILENT AT TRIAL  The leader of the Shining Path faction in the Upper Huallaga Valley, Comrade Artemio, was captured in February 2012 after

December 2012 Briefs

AQIM LEADERS MOKHTAR BELMOKHTAR AND ABDELMALEK DROUKDEL SPLIT  Mokhtar Belmokhtar is an Algerian-born former commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). In July, he was reported to have been

November 2012 Briefs

DRONE STRIKE KILLS 2008 EMBASSY ATTACKER ADNAN AL-QADHI NEAR SANAA  A drone strike on a car in a village less than 40 kilometers from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa on November

Boko Haram’s Growing Presence in Niger

The recent arrests of Boko Haram members in the Niger town of Zinder come at a time when the Islamist movement’s fighters are taking advantage of the porosity of the

October 2012 Briefs

SWISS JUND AL-KHILAFAH AMIR KILLED IN MIRANSHAH, PAKISTAN Jund al-Khilafah (JaK) is a terrorist group based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, which was founded by three Kazakhstani men from Atyrau

August 2012 Briefs

IMU ANNOUNCES USMAN GHAZI AS NEW AMIR AFTER MONTHS OF DELIBERATION The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) announced in a statement that Usman Ghazi is the IMU’s new amir (high-ranking Sheikh), taking

Instability in Nigeria: The Domestic Factors

On June 19, 2012, The Jamestown Foundation held a conference on Boko Haram entitled "Threats to Nigeria's Security: Boko Haram and Beyond" at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in

July 2012 Briefs

NEW AQ LEADER IN PAKISTAN TAKES COMMAND AS ATTACKS ON NATO CONVOYS CONTINUE On July 18, 2012, a bomb exploded in a fuel tanker after which insurgents opened fire on

June 2012 Briefs

SAUDI ARABIA, U.S. AND INDIA COOPERATE TO CAPTURE MUMBAI “26/11” ATTACKER ABU JINDAL Syed Zabihuddin Ansari (a.k.a Abu Jundal) is infamous for being the “voice” that delivered orders from a

May 2012 Briefs

UGANDA CAPTURES LRA COMMANDER CAESAR ACELLAM Caesar Acellam was captured with his wife, daughter and a helper by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) on May 13 while crossing the

April 2012 Briefs

PAKISTANI TALIBAN JAILBREAK OPERATION FREES ADNAN RASHID Adnan Rashid was one of 384 inmates freed from a prison in Bannu, Pakistan on April 13 (Daily Times [Peshawar], April 16). The

March 2012 Briefs

INTELLIGENCE LEADS ATS TO BIHAR IN SEARCH OF INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN’S YASIN BHATKAL India’s anti-terrorism squad (ATS) picked up clues about the location of the operational leader of the Indian Mujahideen

February 2012 Briefs

ABU SAYYAF AND JEMAAH ISLAMIYA MEMBERS KILLED IN AIRSTRIKE An airstrike on an Abu Sayyaf camp on the island of Jolo in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Philippines on

January 2012 BRIEFS

ABU SHEKAU ISSUES VIDEO MESSAGE TO NIGERIAN PRESIDENT Abu Shekau, the leader of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnati Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, issued a message on YouTube