Beaux Gestes and Castles in the Sand: The Militarisation of the Sahara

Whatever the benefits for Mali, the French-led eviction of jihadist groups from northern Mali may have made the wider Sahara a less safe place, and has done little to lower the capacity of such groups to threaten European interests.. In 2014, France is implementing a major redeployment of its forces in Africa into the Sahel and Sahara. Meanwhile, the US has been quietly extending its military reach from Djibouti to Mauritania. However, as elsewhere, the western military approach to countering Islamist insurgency in the Sahel rests on very unsteady foundations and the potential to provoke wider alienation and radicalisation is strong.

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