Recent talk of peace negotiations in Chad and a ceasefire between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram were a sham. So is negotiating with Boko Haram even possible? What might be the terms on which a political settlement could be reached, and with whom?
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.
Sustainable Security programme Director Richard Reeve discusses our latest report ‘From New Frontier to New Normal: Counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel-Sahara’. The report, commissioned by the Remote Control project, finds that 2014 is a critical year for militarisation of the Sahel-Sahara and the entrenchment of foreign powers there.
As activists around the world participate in a Global Day of Action against criminalisation of drug use, evidence from the multi-billion dollar War on Drugs in Colombia suggests that militarized suppression of production and supply has displaced millions of people as well as the problem, not least to Mexico. The wrong lessons are being exported to Central America and beyond, but a groundswell of expert and popular opinion internationally is calling for alternative approaches to regulating the use and trade in drugs.
Following the abduction of over 200 school girls from Chibok in northern Nigeria, clarion calls on social media for action in Africa have once again become an excuse to flex military muscle, as the rhetoric of ‘humanitarian’ interventions is increasingly outfitted with the tactics of the war on terror.
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.
With skills and expertise in fighting insurgencies and drug trafficking networks, Colombia’s armed forces are increasingly being sought for engagement in similar security challenges in West Africa. But increasing Colombian engagement gives rise to a number of important questions – not least of which is the goal and expected outcomes of replicating militarised approaches to the war on drugs that have already failed in Latin America.