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Sifting Through the Layers of Insecurity in the Sahel: The Case of Mauritania

Africa Security Brief No. 15   published by Cédric Jourde on September 30, 2011

Increasing narcotrafficking and a more active Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are elevating concerns over instability in the Sahel. However, the region’s threats are more complex than what is observable on the surface. Rather, security concerns are typically characterized by multiple, competing, and fluctuating interests at the local, national, and regional levels. Effectively responding to these threats requires in-depth understanding of the multiple contextual layers in which illicit actors operate.

Dr. Catherine Lena Kelly

Assistant Professor of Justice and Rule of Law
Rule of Law, Democratization and Governance, Stabilization of Fragile States, Preventing Violent Extremism, Program Design, Monitoring and Evaluation, West and Central Africa

A Review of Major Regional Security Efforts in the Sahel

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on March 4, 2019

Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.

Confronting Central Mali’s Extremist Threat

Spotlight   published by Pauline Le Roux on February 22, 2019

The Macina Liberation Front has opportunistically played on perceptions of ethnic, economic, religious, and political marginalization to become one of the most active militant Islamist groups in Mali.

An Overview of Africa’s 2019 Elections

Spotlight   published by Joseph Siegle on January 31, 2019

The struggle to institutionalize legitimate and resilient democracies in Africa will be further shaped by the 2019 elections – with direct consequences for security.

Responding to the Human Trafficking–Migrant Smuggling Nexus

Recommended research   published by Tuesday Reitano, Samantha McCormack, Mark Micallef and Mark Shaw, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime on July 31, 2018

While migrant-smuggling in Libya has been decried for its brutality, international assistance to Libyato counter smuggling while protecting migrantshas actually inflicted further harm to migrants. When smuggling is treated as a serious crime, the more criminal and brutal of actors are encouraged rather than deterred from operating. They merely pass the risk and cost onto migrants by adding elements of trafficking or other abuses. Ending the abuse of migrants in Libya requires stabilizing, securing, and supporting Libya and all who reside there.

Africa Lags in Protections against Human Trafficking

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on July 27, 2018

Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.

Presidential Elections in Mali: A Step toward Stabilizing a Weak State

Spotlight   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on July 25, 2018

Mali faces multiple security challenges that demand both strengthened legitimacy and state capacity to address. Building on credible elections, stabilization will also require reconciliation and extending the presence of the state.

If Victims Become Perpetrators: Factors Contributing to the Vulnerability and Resilience to Violent Extremism in the Central Sahel

Recommended research   published by Luca Raineri, International Alert on June 30, 2018

Marginalized young Fulani people in central Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger behave in different ways when faced with violent extremism. Data gathered from 36 focus groups held in four villages in each of the three countries shows that one important determinant of support for extremist groups is experience or perception that the government is corrupt and abusive. Another is whether conflict resolution mechanisms to regulate access to natural resources, in particular water for crops and land for pasture, function adequately. While jihadi justice is seen as swift, if at times inhumane, some young people who perceive complicity between the army and ethnic militias also see violent extremist groups as their only defense.

The Maghreb’s Fragile Edges

Africa Security Brief No. 34   published by Anouar Boukhars on March 19, 2018

Persistent economic and social disparities between urban centers and outlying communities present an ongoing source of instability for countries in the Maghreb.