Alex Thurston is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. He holds an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Northwestern University. His research focuses on Islam and politics in northwest Africa. He is the author of three books, most recently Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel: Local Politics and Rebel Groups (Cambridge University Press, 2020). He has held fellowships with the Council on Foreign Relations, the Wilson Center, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has conducted field research in Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria. In addition to his academic work, he has published reports with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment, the RESOLVE Network, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Additional writing can be found at his website Sahel Blog (sahelblog.wordpress.com).