A logic of its own: the external presence in the Sahel, realinstitutoelcano.org

Nina Wilén, director of the Africa Programme at the Egmont Institute and Assistant Professor at Lund University

The current instability in the Sahel has attracted a heavy international security presence to the region which has taken on a logic of its own. Yet there is a need to reflect on how the international presence and local power dynamics mutually shape each other to gain a more comprehensive understanding of why current efforts to stabilise the situation have fallen short. […]

For European states in particular, contributing troops to larger allies’ initiatives in the region has also become an important political means to show loyalty and commitment. While a collective NATO engagement in the region is unlikely to see the light, given the many bilateral and multilateral operations already underway, NATO members’ support for French initiatives should be interpreted as a means to reinforce solidarity between member states. US, Danish, Estonian and British support to the French-led operation Barkhane in the shape of troops, equipment and logistics is a case in point here. Macron’s call for the Europeanisation of the fight against terrorism in the Sahel has more recently been exemplified by the call for partner nations to support a French-led joint Special Task Force called Takuba in the region. While the new initiative has received a lukewarm response from EU member states, it is another platform for European states to back up France, improve European interoperability and add broader legitimacy to French initiatives in the region.

The less than enthusiastic support for Takuba is likely to, in part, be driven by a reluctance to collaborate with a former colonial power whose presence in the region is contested. Läs artikel