While the world’s attention has been focused on the US-led military interventions in Iraq and Syria a quieter build-up of military assets has been ongoing along the newer, western front of the War on Terror as the security crises in Libya and northeast Nigeria escalate and the conflict in northern Mali proves to be far from over. In the face of revolutionary change in Burkina Faso, the efforts of outsiders to enforce an authoritarian and exclusionary status quo across the Sahel-Sahara look increasingly fragile and misdirected.
Despite the crumbling façade of its interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US is preparing for a new century of ‘light footprint’ warfare, using Africa as its laboratory.
In considering security sector reform, questions of affordability have often been subordinated to questions of effectiveness and expediency. A recent series of reviews of security expenditures by the World Bank and other actors in Liberia, Mali, Niger and Somalia has highlighted several emerging issues around the (re)construction of security institutions in fragile and conflict-affected states.
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.
Not unlike the United States in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the French government has begun the intervention with talk of short timelines and minimal troops on the ground before quickly changing its tune, write Anna Alissa Hitzemann and Ben Zala for Channel 4 News .
Now well over a decade after the beginning of the so-called war on terror, yet again, another western nation is leading a military intervention against Islamist paramilitaries based in a largely ungoverned region of a state in the Global South, write Anna Alissa Hitzemann and Ben Zala for Channel 4 News.