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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.

Optimizing Africa’s Security Force Structures

Africa Security Brief No. 13   published by Helmoed Heitman on May 31, 2011

Combating irregular forces has become a common feature of the contemporary African security landscape. However, the security sector in most African countries is ill-prepared to conduct effective counter-insurgency operations. Realigning force structures to address these threats while building security sector professionalism to gain the trust of local populations is needed to do so.

Security Implications of Climate Change in the Sahel Region: Policy Considerations

Recommended research   published by Philipp Heinrigs, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on December 31, 2010

Multiple climate change models foresee future environmental pressures in the harsh Sahel region that could trigger the collapse of community coping mechanisms, mass displacement, and regional fragility. At the same time, no deterministic relationship between environment and insecurity is apparent. Political and economic circumstances display a stronger role in the region’s conflict dynamics. However, adjustments... Continue Reading

Misinterpreting Ethnic Conflicts in Africa

Africa Security Brief No. 4   published by Clement Mweyang Aapenguo on April 30, 2010

Ethnic conflicts in Africa are often portrayed as having ages-old origins with little prospects for resolution. This Security Brief challenges that notion arguing that a re-diagnosis of the underlying drivers to ethnic violence can lead to more effective and sustainable responses.

U.S. Security Engagement in Africa

Africa Security Brief No. 1   published by William M. Bellamy on September 15, 2009

A significant development in Africa over the past decade has been the generalized lessening of violent conflict. Revitalized, expanded international peacekeeping, bolstered by a newly launched African Union determination to tackle security challenges, has reinforced this trend. But, much more cohesive interagency coordination under strong White House direction is required if the United States is to contribute to Africa’s sustained stability given the region’s persistent conditions of poverty, inequality, and weak governance.

Research

Africa Center research offers strategic analysis of Africa’s security challenges and practical, evidence-based insights into paths forward.

Effective Counter-Insurgency (COIN) Strategies in Africa

Program  

The program examines COIN strategies within the context of African security sector institutional capacity and work to identify African-driven problem-solving approaches to address conflict, violence, and instability that are having a negative impact upon the security of the state and the populace.