10/12/17 – It’s unofficial: “The government of Niger has approved the use of armed American drones.” Though this Reuters report is not a statement of American policy, it follows an NBC News report that American policymakers were indeed considering the use of airborne “lethal force” in the western Sahel, a semi-arid strip of land bordering the Sahara Desert. The Department of Defense (DoD)’s expansion of an airfield in central Niger and the Nigerien Minister of Defense’s public comments corroborate the story: the U.S. plans to add remotely piloted airstrikes to its policy approach in West Africa. Continuer à lire … « Niger /Sahel : Bad Idea: Armed Drones in West Africa (opinion) »
09/12/17 – The United Nations Security Council today adopted a resolution clarifying the ways in which the international community, including the UN mission Mali – known by its French acronym MINUSMA – is expected to provide support to a multi-country joint military force conducting counter-terrorist operations in the Sahel. Continuer à lire … « Mali /G5 Sahel – Security Council considers measures to support regional force in the Sahel »
06/12/17 – The aftershocks of the combat deaths of four U.S. special operations soldiers in Niger on Oct. 4 are still shaking the Pentagon two months later.
The deaths prompted a familiar refrain from the American public: “Why are we there?” This expected, if fair, question reminds us of the precisely opposite question asked about Afghanistan after the shock of 9/11: “Why aren’t we there?” Continuer à lire … « Niger – Playing Zone Defense: Niger and the Risk Versus Reward of Remote Operations »
30/11/27 – France is asking the Security Council to allow the UN mission in Mali to support the struggling African force fighting jihadists in the Sahel region, but at no extra cost to the United Nations, according to a draft resolution seen by AFP on Thursday.
The United States has pledged up to $60 million to the five-nation force but has resisted appeals from France and African leaders to allow the United Nations to shore up the military operations. Continuer à lire … « Mali – France asks UN to help Sahel force but at no cost »
Algiers 29/11/17 – A bunker full of war weapons has been discovered by Algerian army troops near the border with Mali, the Defense Ministry said in statement on Wednesday.The bunker was discovered by counterterrorism troops deployed in the southernmost locality of Bordj Badji Mokhtar, on the border strip with Mali, after a routine patrol in the area. Continuer à lire … « Mali – Algerian troops bust bunker containing massive weapons »
Nearly two months after four American servicemen were killed by terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State in Niger, there is a growing concern among counterterrorism experts that the collapse of ISIS in the Middle East will result in the group shifting its focus to Africa. An area of particular concern is the Sahel, a semi-arid region south of the Sahara spanning from Mauritania and Senegal in the west to Eritrea in the east, and dipping as far south as Nigeria. While the urge for the American military to pursue ISIS into Africa is heavily embedded within the fabric of its counterinsurgency playbook, the United States would be wise in exercising restraint by not committing significant resources towards targeting terrorists in the Sahel. If the United States is concerned with the rise of terrorism in the Sahel and wants to allocate military resources to the region, Washington should instead adopt a strategy designed to positively empower regional allies while eliminating the systemic problems that create the conditions for terrorism to thrive in the first place. Continuer à lire … « Niger : America Should Not Overcommit Forces in North Africa »
The Hague 27/11/17 – The violent conflict in Mali, initiated in 2012, is complex and continuously evolving: the groups involved include terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Mouvement pour l’Unicité and le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO), Ansar Dine, its affiliate Macina Liberation Front (MLF), and Al Mourabitoune. As the number of extremist detainees has increased due to the country’s situation, it is important to consider issues that come along with this: how to deal with violent extremists when they are in prison? What different actors can play a role during this detention time? As most of the detainees will eventually be released, it is also important to take into consideration challenges linked to re-integration. This Action Agenda aims to address a number of these issues by outlining four Action Areas that currently deserve the attention of both national and international actors in order to efficiently deal with problems associated with detaining Violent Extremist Offenders (VEOs). Continuer à lire … « Mali – Action Agenda on Violent Extremist Offenders in Prison in Mali »