Mali and Nigeria Should be Established as Key Regional Partners of the United States to Further Mutual Interests for Ensuring Long-Term Security and Stability in the Sahel Region   [open pdf - 920KB]

"The West African Sahel, which covers from North to West the Southern Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger and Mauritania, has developed over time into a region of significant geopolitical importance. Developed countries motivated either by the Sahel's reserves of strategic resources became involved in the region but now find it necessary to protect their interests and homelands from a variety of hybrid threats manifesting as international terrorism, migrant flow into Europe, or transnational trafficking of South American cocaine, and arms. These problems become more complex when grafted onto endogenous issues such governance, corruption, extreme poverty, climate change and famine, as well as a more urbanized populations--with marginalized fringes that tend to turn to violence within a context of conflicting interests. The West African Sahel therefore appears as a fertile ground for the expansion of threats, which if left uncheck, will destabilize the fragile Sahel countries and threaten the Western world. Local issues become magnified as state, non-state actors and criminal networks compete for hegemonic control over the region. This thesis presents a realistic analysis of the West African Sahel situation. It then argues from better understanding of the region that Western countries and their Sahel counterparts must produce a better security cooperation framework for containing hybrid threats, securing and stabilizing the West African Sahel while furthering mutual interests."

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