ATbar The Boiling Sahel

The Boiling Sahel

11/03/2021 | by Doukhan, David (Dr.)  

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The fight against radical Islamic terrorism is known world-wide. For 19 years, the United States and its NATO allies have been embroiled in a bloody war in Afghanistan, despite an agreement which was signed on February 19, 2020, to end the longest war in U.S. history, the end is nowhere in sight.[1] France and its allies have also been entangled in a pointless war for eight years, frustrated from total failure in Mali and the Sahel region of Africa.[2] It seems that Western countries, while trying to build a country, are doomed to failure since building a country involves, in addition to the military efforts, political, economic and governance efforts as well. Western countries actually wage 'lost wars', i.e., Algeria, Vietnam, Afghanistan, just to name a few.

This article deals with the war in the Sahel, an area that should be seen as 'the backyard' of France. Why? Because what's happening in Mali has a direct impact on France. Political and economic instability in the region, along with the flourishing of Radical Islamic Jihad organizations fuel the refugee crisis while the regional instability threatens to overthrow the regimes in some states in the Sahel.[3] In addition, France has economic interests in the region, as well as a large number of citizens living in these countries - since most of them took part in the French colonial empire. In reality, France is dealing with, and fighting terrorism at home and abroad (Mali and the Sahel).[4]

[1] Afghan conflict: US and Taliban sign deal to end 18-year war BBC (29.2.2020).

[2] The Sahel countries today include Senegal, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan and Eritrea.

[3] The Islamist rebel forces in Mali are made up of a mob that managed to seize most of the weapons that leaked out of Libya during the revolution to overthrow Gaddafi's regime. The rebels' allies are al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, al-Qaeda's arm in northwestern Africa also known as AQIM, which operates not only in Mali but also in the corridor that stretches along most of the northern Sahel.

[4]   France is home to the largest Muslim community in Europe, numbering about eight million people. France is aware of the great risk posed by radical Islam in its territory and the consequences of military intervention in a foreign country.

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